Do you know about the history of the hamburger? It seems that you can get this ubiquitous beef patty sandwiched between two fluffy buns nearly everywhere. You can order a hamburger with whatever toppings you want at nearly every fast food joint in America. That’s not even to mention the many diners and restaurants that will claim they have the best burger in their area– the best hamburger in New York, in Philly, in Chicago!
You can’t deny the universal appeal of the hamburger or its popularity. Top it with cheese and it’s a cheeseburger! Top it with bacon and you’ve made a very good choice. Whether you like it with pickles or onions, lettuce or tomato, or just as many toppings and condiments as you can fit, there’s no wrong way to eat a burger.
So how did this classic dish even come to be? It seems difficult to even imagine life without it. Find out more about the history of the hamburger by reading on.
Some say that the burger was invented in America, and some say the Mongols. Even if the burger were invented in America, the problem is that three different people have all claimed that they were the ones who came up with it!
In the Mongol origin story, legend has it that the Mongols would carry raw beef with them while riding. They would keep it under the saddles of their horses and between the weight of the rider and the saddle squishing it, the meat was tenderized and softer, easier to eat in its raw state. It is said that the Mongols brought this to Russia– the original inspiration for steak tartare. This meal ended up in Germany, where it is said that they modified this dish even further.
Germans took the idea of this tenderized soft meat and shaped it together, cooking the combined pieces. This was called a Hamburg Steak. The concept of forming small bits of meat together came to America eventually, where multiple people immediately laid claim to coming up with it.
Lois’s Lunch thinks they made the burger in 1900. Louis Lassen is said to have created it for a man in a hurry, broiling the beef patty and placing it between two slices of bread so he could eat it on the go with his hands. It is also said that in 1885, five years prior, Charlie Nagreen invented the burger. The story goes that while selling meatballs at the summer fair, he placed the meatballs in some bread so customers could eat them while walking instead of needing to sit and use utensils.
A third story goes that the Menches brothers invented the burger in Hamburg, New York, in 1885. Charles and Frank Menches were selling sausages when they ran out and had nothing to sell. With some beef on hand, they fried that up instead and sold it at the Hamburg Fair– calling it the hamburger.
So who really invented the burger? No one knows. Either way, it was a process that ended in the burger entering the menu of many a restaurant or eatery, and the world will never be the same.