This is a tricky question to answer, as there are many people who decided to put a meat patty between two slices of bread. It is thought that the town of Hamburg in Germany was the origin for the word, but there is no conclusive evidence of this. The word “hamburger” is thought to have originated with German immigrants who used to grind up steak and call it Hamburg steak. Later, it became hamburger, and the suffix “burger” is now attached to many prefixes describing the ingredients. The word appeared as far back as 1889 and has been used ever since to describe meat of some sort between two slices of bread or on a bread roll.
Ground or finely chopped meat was first seen as early as the Egyptians and has been noted as being eaten by the Mongols under Genghis Khans’ reign and that of his grandson, Khubilai Khan. The diced meat was placed under the saddles where it was further tenderised between the leather and the horse’s back.
15th Century Europe used minced meat to make sausages, and recipes have been found in old cookbooks dating to this time. The Art of Cooking Made Plain and Easy was published in 1758 and contained a recipe for Hamburgh Sausage containing chopped beef with spices and suet. The serving suggestion was to have it between two slices of toasted bread.
In 1854, the Boston Cooking School Cookbook contained recipe for broiled meat cakes and Hamburgh Steak. The broiled meat cakes contained finely chopped beef, seasoned with onion, salt, and pepper, shaped into flat small, flat cakes, and broiled till brown. Hamburgh Steak used a piece of round steak that had been pounded to break up the fibers filled with cooked onions and folded up to make a parcel, which was then broiled.
There are several claims to the first hamburger from different states in America, most originating in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
There are several more instances of hamburgers being created in various parts of the USA – too many to mention here in this short article.
Look out for Dr. Foodle’s Best Hamburger Recipes, coming soon!