Why Not Beefburger?

Why is A burger called A HAMburger? shouldn’t it be BEEFburger?

They were named after Hamburg, Germany.

Yes, but is there any particular reason why? Ground beef patties in bread does not seem so German. Now sausages sure.

Trivia - “Salisbury Steak” was WWI’s “Freedom Fries”, substituting an Americanism (J.H. Salisbury had been a Civil War era physician who promoted an Atkins style three hamburgers a day diet) for something of mythically German origin.

And “beefburger” was apparently tried and failed in the 40s.

Hamburger, Frankfurter, Berliner, how many foods do we have named after German cities?

Why no Hanoverer? Stuttgarter?

“Hamburg steaks” were more like a meatloaf, perpared from ground beef and salt/ fillers to help preserve it on sea voyages. Food stands in Atlantic coastal ports would advertise “Hamburg-style” to tell sailors they were selling cooked (and usually seasoned) ground beef patties. The term Hamburg steak sandwiches was shortened to “hamburgers.”

The use of “burger” to mean a ground meat patty is derived from that sandwich, the sandwich was not named as a type of “burger.”

Because there is no German city called “Beefburg”?

Pretty cool name for a town, though, gotta admit.

There’s also Braunschweiger. And if you want to put Austria into the fold, we also have Wiener.

Do you know who else wanted to “put Austria into the fold?” That’s right.

“Beefburger” is common in British English, at least when and where I lived, but I think linguistically that’s Hamburg + er > hamburger > burger > {cheese, beef, veggie} + burger rather than a specific objection to Ham- sounding like “ham”. (I think the German “Ham-” means “home, homestead,” same as the English placename element -ham).

In the US I sometimes saw lamburger (lamb + burger) and in Spanish I’ve heard both “hamburguesa” (standard Spanish) and “cheeseburguesa” (really, really nonstandard).

Along those lines, I’ve often wondered why that huge early 1970’s political scandal wasn’t called something like Nixongate, Burglargate, or Hotelgate.

I’d move there, though it kind of sounds like the name of a gay bar.

If we include the Netherlands as somewhat ‘german-ish’ we have Gouda!

And if we include the Eskimos as somewhat German-ish, we get “Blubber tartare”!

Do you have a source for this? I’ve read the version that there was some German guy wanting to sell meatballs at state fairs and who figured as a hand food it would sell better smushed up in a bun (with nothing to back it up other than as a story told) but not this one before.

Online Etymology Dictionary

I can find this FWIW:


I find no cities or towns or ice floes named “Blubber” or “Tartare” on Google maps.

And my own sainted grandmother, born in the Netherlands, considered germans to be sort of like Hollanders, except they talked funny, and took orders a lot more readily than Hollanders.

Pounded meat -* that* sounds Germanic. I could see a restaurant making up something with cheaper beef as a take off from Wiener Schnitzel (with veal) and marketing it as “Hamburg Steak” in contrast to the better known and pricier Austrian originated veal Viennese Cutlet.

I was going to mention that. It’s not ‘Hambur + er’ (in the manner that I’m reading the post). The -er suffix indicates ‘of’ or ‘from’ (not to be confused with aus or von). A Hamburger is someone from Hamburg. A Bonner is someone from Bonn. A Wiener is someone from Wien (Vienna). For food, it’s roughly ‘as made in’. For example, a particular sausage made in the Vienna, Austria style is Wienerwurst. In the U.S. these came to be known as ‘wieners’. (Note: Wiener Schnitzel is not a ‘wiener’; Schnitzel is a cutlet.)

Did he used to drive that blue car?