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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Hamburger Month & Hamburger History

One of our favorite burgers, from Built Burger.


We can thank German immigrants for one of America’s favorite foods, the hamburger (as well as the frankfurter).

What became known as Hamburg steak or hamburger steak—chopped beef mixed with onions and pepper—appeared on American menus as far back as 1836, although the term “hamburger steak” first appeared in print in a Washington state newspaper in 1889.

As with the frankfurter—a sausage in a bun—it took good old American ingenuity to wrap bread around a beef patty.

Several American towns lay claim to this watershed in American cuisine. One of them is Seymour, Wisconsin, which claims that in 1885, one Charlie Nagreen was having trouble selling his meatballs at the Seymour Fair—it was hard for people to eat them as they walked around. So Nagreen flattened the ball of meat and placed the patty between two pieces of bread.

That same year, the Menches brothers, who sold sausage patty sandwiches, ran out of pork at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Their butcher suggested that they use beef, and they christened the product the Hamburg sandwich.

  • Learn more burger trivia by taking this burger trivia quiz.
  • Tips to make a better burger.
  • Forty different burger recipes.


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