Hamburger: How This Food Got Its Name

This is how hamburger got its name

Hamburger is one of the most popular foods all over the world and a famous item on fast-food menu list as well.

Based on the definition from The Oxford Dictionary, this food is a backyard “barbecue staple as “a flat, round cake of minced beef, fried or grilled and typically served in a bread roll garnished with various condiments.”

It is called “hamburger” but why it does not contain a single hint of ham? So, how did this food get its name?


Based on the article in Reader’s Digest, the origins of hamburgers can be traced back to Hamburg, Germany. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Europeans began to immigrate to the United States. They brought with them their favorite foods and one of those was the Hamburg steaks.

It is also called fried patties of minced beef and chopped onions that were bound together with eggs, bread crumbs, and mild spices. The burger nowadays comes from the Hamburg steaks. The term was shortened to “Hamburgs”.

When the beef was sandwiched between two slices of bread, the term “hamburgers” was brought to life. It was believed that restaurant menus first featured this food in 1873. Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City advertised a hamburger steak on its menu. Eventually, Americans abbreviated it to “burgers.” 

There are several versions of the origin of hamburgers. Some believed that brothers Frank and Charles Menches, who were inventors, placed a beef patty between two slices of bread at a county fair in Hamburg, New York, in 1885.

Another story was that Charlie Nagreen, a teenager who placed meatballs between slices of bread and sold them as hamburgers at the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour, Wisconsin, that same year. It could also be Oscar Weber Bilby, who first sandwiched a patty in a bun in 1891 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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