Hamburgers are a popular option when it comes to food choices across the world. Did you know that hamburgers make up 60 percent of all sandwiches sold each year? There are tons of memorable moments in hamburger history, from the creation of the biggest hamburger to the most expensive hamburger.
But where did the hamburger come from? How did it become one of the most popular and beloved food options in the world? And where can you find the best burgers? These are all great questions that foodies and casual burger enthusiasts alike deserve answers to.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about the history of hamburgers and how this delicious type of sandwich found its way into the mainstream of food. Continue reading to learn more about hamburger history.
Hamburgers have a long history stretching back thousands of years and all the way across the globe. While this style of food rose to prominence in North America, and particularly the United States, the hamburger has a history going all the way back to Genghis Khan and his riders.
Legends state that Genghis Khan and his riders needed food that they could eat while riding into battle on horseback. They used ground meat and placed it between their saddles and their horses’ backs to make the meat more tender and then would eat these meat patties while on the go.
From there, the Russians adopted the Mongol cuisine and made it their own. This was passed on to the German port of Hamburg which led to the invention of the hamburger. Hamburg was a thriving port city that saw tons of sailors from all over the world make visits. This meant that the hamburger quickly grew in popularity.
This also happened to occur right around the time that the German Federation came into being and coincided with many Germans immigrating to the United States. It should be no surprise that these German immigrants brought with them their love of the hamburger and introduced it to American culture. Click to discover more on the best burgers in America.
The Hamburger Arrives in the United States
In the late 1800s, the hamburger truly arrived on the center stage of American foods. Around this time, many German immigrants were making their way to large cities in America like Chicago and New York. One of the best ways that they found to earn a living was by opening restaurants serving foods from their native country.
Many of these restaurants had an option on their menu known as Hamburg Steak. This meat option was a mix of the German version of the hamburger combined with an Americanized version. It gained rapid popularity in the United States. Up to that point, there was no bun involved.
At the peak of the Industrial Revolution, factory workers received Hamburg Steaks from food carts operating in the factories. These meat patties proved to be difficult to eat while standing and working so a solution was needed. From there, the story states that a cook came up with the idea of placing the Hamburg steak in between two pieces of bread to make it easier to consume.
This proved to be the last big step in the evolution of the hamburger and was a pivotal moment in hamburger history. It meant that the Hamburg sandwich was officially born.
Who Invented the Hamburger?
There are multiple people in history that claim that they’re the inventor of the classic sandwich. Some historians claim that the name of the hamburger’s inventor is lost to history since it was born out of convenience for feeding factory workers at the height of the Industrial Revolution.
Others claim that there is a proven inventor of the hamburger. Louis Lassen is one of the most popular names provided when it comes to the inventor of the American Hamburger. Charlie Nagreen and Charlie and Frank Menches are the other popular names brought forth when it comes to determining who invented the hamburger.
Regardless of who invented it, the hamburger first came to national prominence at the 1904 World’s Fair in Saint Louis, Missouri. This was the first time that the general public of the United States had a chance to try the novel idea of a burger pattie on a bread bun. This led to millions of people enjoying this new cuisine.
It wasn’t long after that Upton Sinclair released his book, “The Jungle”. This book did a lot to taint the image of hamburger meat in the eyes of Americans. This remained the case until Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson came along and started their White Castle burger restaurant.
This restaurant was focused on health and cleanliness and went far to show its customers that burgers were safe to enjoy. They even went so far as to commission a health study to show the benefits of eating hamburgers. This brought on a golden era for hamburgers as McDonald’s and In-and-Out Burger were born not long after.
Thanks to those restaurants and the post-WWII years, the hamburger became an American classic and a staple in American cuisine for years to come. It led to the American hamburger making its way overseas with the help of American servicemen and servicewomen that brought this tasty meal abroad with them.
Since then, burgers of all different types have grown in popularity. There are vegetable burger patties and other burger substitutes. These allow vegetarians and people from different cultures to enjoy the experience of eating a burger of all kinds.
Now You Know Your Hamburger History
Hamburger history goes back hundreds of years through a variety of cultures and countries. From Genghis Khan to the 1904 World’s Fair up to McDonald’s and White Castle, the hamburger’s journey had many twists and turns. Ultimately, it became one of the most beloved meal options in the world.
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