Who invented the hamburger? That is a good question, and one that is not easy to answer. And there will inevitably be arguments…
There is no doubt that the origins of the name “hamburger” lie in the “Hamburg steaks” that were served in Germany in the nineteenth century. These comprised fried patties of beef, egg, onion and seasoning that were popular in restaurants in the city of Hamburg. Not dissimilar to Italian or Greek meatballs or our own ‘rissoles’.
Meat grinders or mincers were patented from 1845 onwards and this technical advance enabled larger scale production of beef mince. Prior to that, and nowadays in the best restaurants that serve “Beef Tartare”, the steak is very finely chopped with a knife, and this is, of course, a very laborious process.
There are conflicting claims from the U.S.A. about the invention of the hamburger as we know it. One story is that a Charlie Nagreen sold meatballs between two slices of bread at Seymour or Outgamie County Fair from 1885 onwards, and they were so popular that customers came back for more. Another story is that a Fletcher Davis, known as “Old Dave” sold them from his eaterie at Tyler Street, Athens, Texas, also in the 1880s. And then, of course, McDonalds started their hamburger franchises from the 1940s onwards.
At our Top Meadow Farm butchers shop in Butchers Row, Barnstaple, our prime local beef steak burgers, usually made from our own Red Ruby Devon or Aberdeen Angus beef, are very popular indeed. They are tasty, firm and succulent, grilling or frying exceptionally well. So very different from the factory-made or frozen burgers sold in many stores. Our prime steak burgers, with onions, French fries and some of our home-made Stone Farm pickles, (and, of course, a cold beer) make for a real summer treat!
So, whoever invented the hamburger, our prime Top Meadow Farm steak burgers are a ‘must’ when you get out the barbecue for a really tasty al fresco summer lunch or evening meal with family and friends.