Why are hamburgers called hamburgers

A hamburger is a type of food that is prepared by putting a patty of well ground meat within two pieces of sliced bread. Although the meat is the main ingredient, vegetables like lettuce and tomato, condiments like mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup as well as a variety of other spices, pickles and vegetables are also added depending on the maker or the recipe. Although turkey, chicken or pork is also used in hamburgers, beef is usually the type of meat used in hamburgers. On this point rises the question “Why hamburgers are called hamburgers when they contain beef instead of ham?”

As with most questions such as this, there are controversies regarding the origin of the name, but most stories are related to the Tartars, a nomadic group of people originating from Turkey. It is believed that during the 18th century, Germans came to know about grounded beef through a German merchant who had been to Asia and seen the Tartars (or the Tatars) pound their beef to fine bits by placing it under the saddle of their horse. As they rode around on their horses every day, the beef was grounded by the continuous pounding action and finally when it was thought to be ready for seasoning, the beef was taken out. The merchant took this knowledge back to his hometown in Hamburg, Germany. The cooks in Hamburg now utilized the concept of ground meat in their own way and thus the name “Hamburg Meat” came into existence.

The exact term “Hamburger”, was coined in the United States though. “Hamburg meat” made its way into the US through German immigrants, but it was not until 1834, that the term “hamburger” was seen on the menu of a restaurant for the first time. It is believed that it was Delmonico’s restaurant in New York that first introduced hamburgers to the US in that year, but unfortunately it is not confirmed as a recipe was not present to support the fact. Officially, Charlie Nagreen during the Outagamie County fair, as well as Frank and Charles Menches during the New York County fair are held to have introduced the United States to a proper hamburger.