Origin Story of the American Hamburger


Did you know there is a town in Germany by the name of Hamburg? And if you think that the American hamburger has something to do with this town then you are right. In fact, the origin story of America’s favorite binge menu item, owes much of its time to Hamburg and immigrants who eventually made it to American shores in the early 19th century.

It is believed that sometime in the 18th century, a few Germans noticed on their trip to Asia that the locals kept the beef between saddles on rides. This helped soften up the meat making it easier for consumption later. The Germans immediately fell in love with this innovative idea and they took it back to their home town of Hamburg. Over time, this kind of meat was recognized as the Hamburg Meat. Some years later though, as German immigrants began migrating to the US, they carried with them their specific recipes.

Hamburg meat was one recipe that caught the attention of the press in 1884 and thanks to the fifteen minutes of fame, people began experimenting with the Hamburg Steak. Soon, folks put their own unique twist on the concept. By 1885, the first American Hamburger was introduced. This did not have the cheese and other additions commonplace today. Even the bun was missing. It was only towards the start of the 20th century that the first true Hamburger as we know if now came into existence.

Facts On Hamburger

  • The first Hamburger restaurant chain in the US happens to be the White Castle chain. It was started by Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram in 1921 in just $700.
  • The year was 1968 and the cost was $0.49 for the Big Mac – the first time it was introduced.
  • Largest hamburger ever cooked and served was in 2001 and it weighed a whopping 8,266 lbs.
  • Since 1998, you can get the 6-pound hamburger called the Ye Olde 96er at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield.
  • There is a hall of fame for Hamburgers in Seymour, Wisconsin.
  • The modern day hamburger actually owes a debt to a certain kitchen appliance. Known to you all as the vacuum sealer, vacuum sealers allowed manufacturers to easily store and transport pre-made burgers across the nation. Without the vacuum sealer, far less outlets, fast food chains and restaurants would be able to sell such delicious burgers!

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