One of America’s Favorites – Hamburger

November 4, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Hamburger with french fries and a beer

A hamburger (short: burger) is a sandwich consisting of one or more cooked patties of ground meat, usually beef, placed inside a sliced bread roll or bun. The patty may be pan fried, grilled, smoked or flame broiled. Hamburgers are often served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, or chiles; condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, or “special sauce”; and are frequently placed on sesame seed buns. A hamburger topped with cheese is called a cheeseburger.

The term “burger” can also be applied to the meat patty on its own, especially in the United Kingdom, where the term “patty” is rarely used, or the term can even refer simply to ground beef. Since the term hamburger usually implies beef, for clarity “burger” may be prefixed with the type of meat or meat substitute used, as in beef burger, turkey burger, bison burger, or veggie burger.

Hamburgers are sold at fast-food restaurants, diners, and specialty and high-end restaurants (where burgers may sell for several times the cost of a fast-food burger, but may be one of the cheaper options on the menu). There are many international and regional variations of the hamburger.

Hamburg steak has been known as “Frikadelle” in Germany since the 17th century.

The term hamburger originally derives from Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city. In German, Burg means “castle”, “fortified settlement” or “fortified refuge” and is a widespread component of place names. The first element of the name is perhaps from Old High German hamma, referring to a bend in a river, or Middle High German hamme, referring to an enclosed area of pastureland. Hamburger in German is the demonym of Hamburg, similar to frankfurter and wiener, names for other meat-based foods and demonyms of the cities of Frankfurt and Vienna respectively.

The term “burger” eventually became a suffix back-formation that is associated with many different types of sandwiches, similar to a (ground meat) hamburger, but made of different meats such as buffalo in the buffalo burger, venison, kangaroo, turkey, elk, lamb or fish like salmon in the salmon burger, but even with meatless sandwiches as is the case of the veggie burger.

There have been many claims about the origin of the hamburger, but the origins remain unclear. The popular book “The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy” by Hannah Glasse included a recipe in 1758 as “Hamburgh sausage”, which suggested to serve it “roasted with toasted bread under it”. A similar snack was also popular in Hamburg by the name “Rundstück warm” (“bread roll warm”) in 1869 or earlier, and supposedly eaten by many emigrants on their way to America, but may have contained roasted beefsteak rather than Frikadeller. Hamburg steak is reported to have been served between two pieces of bread on the Hamburg America Line, which began operations in 1847. Each of these may mark the invention of the Hamburger, and explain the name.

There is a reference to a “Hamburg steak” as early as 1884 in the Boston Journal. On July 5, 1896, the Chicago Daily Tribune made a highly specific claim regarding a “hamburger sandwich” in an article about a “Sandwich Car”: “A distinguished favorite, only five cents, is Hamburger steak sandwich, the meat for which is kept ready in small patties and ‘cooked while you wait’ on the gasoline range.”

A bacon cheeseburger, from a New York City diner

According to Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the hamburger, a ground meat patty between two slices of bread, was first created in America in 1900 by Louis Lassen, a Danish immigrant, owner of Louis’ Lunch in New Haven. There have been rival claims by Charlie Nagreen, Frank and Charles Menches, Oscar Weber Bilby, and Fletcher Davis. White Castle traces the origin of the hamburger to Hamburg, Germany with its invention by Otto Kuase. However, it gained national recognition at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when the New York Tribune referred to the hamburger as “the innovation of a food vendor on the pike”. No conclusive argument has ever ended the dispute over invention. An article from ABC News sums up: “One problem is that there is little written history. Another issue is that the spread of the burger happened largely at the World’s Fair, from tiny vendors that came and went in an instant. And it is entirely possible that more than one person came up with the idea at the same time in different parts of the country.”

Hamburgers are usually a feature of fast food restaurants. The hamburgers served in major fast food establishments are usually mass-produced in factories and frozen for delivery to the site. These hamburgers are thin and of uniform thickness, differing from the traditional American hamburger prepared in homes and conventional restaurants, which is thicker and prepared by hand from ground beef. Most American hamburgers are round, but some fast-food chains, such as Wendy’s, sell square-cut hamburgers. Hamburgers in fast food restaurants are usually grilled on a flat-top, but some firms, such as Burger King, use a gas flame grilling process. At conventional American restaurants, hamburgers may be ordered “rare”, but normally are served medium-well or well-done for food safety reasons. Fast food restaurants do not usually offer this option.

Hamburger preparation in a fast food establishment

The McDonald’s fast-food chain sells the Big Mac, one of the world’s top selling hamburgers, with an estimated 550 million sold annually in the United States. Other major fast-food chains, including Burger King (also known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia), A&W, Culver’s, Whataburger, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s chain, Wendy’s (known for their square patties), Jack in the Box, Cook Out, Harvey’s, Shake Shack, In-N-Out Burger, Five Guys, Fatburger, Vera’s, Burgerville, Back Yard Burgers, Lick’s Homeburger, Roy Rogers, Smashburger, and Sonic also rely heavily on hamburger sales. Fuddruckers and Red Robin are hamburger chains that specialize in the mid-tier “restaurant-style” variety of hamburgers.

Some restaurants offer elaborate hamburgers using expensive cuts of meat and various cheeses, toppings, and sauces. One example is the Bobby’s Burger Palace chain founded by well-known chef and Food Network star Bobby Flay.

Hamburgers are often served as a fast dinner, picnic or party food and are often cooked outdoors on barbecue grills.

A high-quality hamburger patty is made entirely of ground (minced) beef and seasonings; these may be described as “all-beef hamburger” or “all-beef patties” to distinguish them from inexpensive hamburgers made with cost-savers like added flour, textured vegetable protein, ammonia treated defatted beef trimmings (which the company Beef Products Inc, calls “lean finely textured beef”), advanced meat recovery, or other fillers. In the 1930s ground liver was sometimes added. Some cooks prepare their patties with binders like eggs or breadcrumbs. Seasonings may include salt and pepper and others like as parsley, onions, soy sauce, Thousand Island dressing, onion soup mix, or Worcestershire sauce. Many name brand seasoned salt products are also used.

* Safety
Raw hamburger may contain harmful bacteria that can produce food-borne illness such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, due to the occasional initial improper preparation of the meat, so caution is needed during handling and cooking. Because of the potential for food-borne illness, the USDA recommends hamburgers be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F (71 °C). If cooked to this temperature, they are considered well-done.

Burgers can also be made with patties made from ingredients other than beef. For example, a turkey burger uses ground turkey meat, a chicken burger uses ground chicken meat. A buffalo burger uses ground meat from a bison, and an ostrich burger is made from ground seasoned ostrich meat. A deer burger uses ground venison from deer.

A veggie burger, black bean burger, garden burger, or tofu burger uses a meat analogue, a meat substitute such as tofu, TVP, seitan (wheat gluten), quorn, beans, grains or an assortment of vegetables, ground up and mashed into patties.

A steak burger is marketing term for a hamburger claimed to be of superior quality. or, in Australia, a sandwich containing a steak.

Steak burgers are first mentioned in the 1920s. Like other hamburgers, they may be prepared with various accompaniments and toppings.

Use of the term “steakburger” dates to the 1920s in the United States. In the U.S. in 1934, A.H. “Gus” Belt, the founder of Steak ‘n Shake, devised a higher-quality hamburger and offered it as a “steakburger” to customers at the company’s first location in Normal, Illinois. This burger used a combination of ground meat from the strip portion of T-bone steak and sirloin steak in its preparation. Steak burgers are a primary menu item at Steak ‘n Shake restaurants, and the company’s registered trademarks included “original steakburger” and “famous for steakburgers”. Steak ‘n Shake’s “Prime Steakburgers” are now made of choice grade brisket and chuck.

A steak burger with cheese and onion rings

Beef is typical, although other meats such as lamb and pork may also be used. The meat is ground or chopped.

In Australia, a steak burger is a steak sandwich which contains a whole steak, not ground meat.

Steak burgers may be cooked to various degrees of doneness.

Steak burgers may be served with standard hamburger toppings such as lettuce, onion, and tomato. Some may have additional various toppings such as cheese, bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, additional meats, and others.

Various fast food outlets and restaurants ‍—‌ such as Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, IHOP, Steak ‘n Shake, Mr. Steak, and Freddy’s ‍—‌ market steak burgers. Some restaurants offer high-end burgers prepared from aged beef. Additionally, many restaurants have used the term “steak burger” at various times.

Some baseball parks concessions in the United States call their hamburgers steak burgers, such as Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.

Burger King introduced the Sirloin Steak sandwich in 1979 as part of a menu expansion that in turn was part of a corporate restructuring effort for the company. It was a single oblong patty made of chopped steak served on a sub-style, sesame seed roll. Additional steak burgers that Burger King has offered are the Angus Bacon Cheddar Ranch Steak Burger, the Angus Bacon & Cheese Steak Burger, and a limited edition Stuffed Steakhouse Burger.

In 2004 Steak ‘n Shake sued Burger King over the latter’s use of term Steak Burger in conjunction with one of its menu items, claiming that such use infringed on trademark rights. (According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Burger King’s attorneys “grilled” Steak ‘n Shake’s CEO in court about the precise content of Steak ‘n Shake’s steakburger offering.)

In the United States and Canada, burgers may be classified as two main types: fast food hamburgers and individually prepared burgers made in homes and restaurants. The latter are often prepared with a variety of toppings, including lettuce, tomato, onion, and often sliced pickles (or pickle relish). French fries often accompany the burger. Cheese (usually processed cheese slices but often Cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, or blue), either melted directly on the meat patty or crumbled on top, is generally an option.

Condiments might be added to a hamburger or may be offered separately on the side including mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and barbecue sauce.

Other toppings can include bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms, cheese sauce, chili (usually without beans), fried egg, scrambled egg, feta cheese, blue cheese, salsa, pineapple, jalapeños and other kinds of chili peppers, anchovies, slices of ham or bologna, pastrami or teriyaki-seasoned beef, tartar sauce, french fries, onion rings or potato chips.

Miniature hamburgers (“sliders”)

* Standard toppings on hamburgers may depend upon location, particularly at restaurants that are not national or regional franchises.
* Restaurants may offer hamburgers with multiple meat patties. The most common variants are double and triple hamburgers, but California-based burger chain In-N-Out once sold a sandwich with one hundred patties, called a “100×100.”
* Pastrami burgers may be served in Salt Lake City, Utah.
* A patty melt consists of a patty, sautéed onions and cheese between two slices of rye bread. The sandwich is then buttered and fried.
* A slider is a very small square hamburger patty sprinkled with diced onions and served on an equally small bun. According to the earliest citations, the name originated aboard U.S. Navy ships, due to the manner in which greasy burgers slid across the galley grill as the ship pitched and rolled. Other versions claim the term “slider” originated from the hamburgers served by flight line galleys at military airfields, which were so greasy they slid right through you; or because their small size allows them to “slide” right down your throat in one or two bites.
* In Alberta, Canada a “kubie burger” is a hamburger made with a pressed Ukrainian sausage (kubasa).
* In Minnesota, a “Juicy Lucy” (also spelled “Jucy Lucy”), is a hamburger having cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts, resulting in a molten core of cheese within the patty. This scalding hot cheese tends to gush out at the first bite, so servers frequently instruct customers to let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before consumption.
* A low carb burger is a hamburger served without a bun and replaced with large slices of lettuce with mayonnaise or mustard being the sauces primarily used.
* A ramen burger, invented by Keizo Shimamoto, is a hamburger patty sandwiched between two discs of compressed ramen noodles in lieu of a traditional bun.

 

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