The modern day hamburger is one of America’s best known and most loved food. The burger first came to the States in the late eighteenth century; the largest ports in Europe were in Germany. Sailors, who had visited the ports of Hamburg, Germany and New York, brought this food and term "Hamburg Steak" into popular usage. To attract German sailors, eating stands along the New York City harbor offered "steak cooked in the Hamburg style." In 1802, the Oxford English Dictionary defined Hamburg steak as salt beef. It had little resemblance to the hamburger we know today. It was a hard slab of salted minced beef, often slightly smoked, mixed with onions and breadcrumbs. The emphasis was more on durability than taste. them was Hamburg Steak. The Germans simply flavored shredded low-grade beef with regional spices, and both cooked and raw, it became a standard meal among the poorer classes. In the seaport town of Hamburg, it acquired the name Hamburg steak.
Fletcher Davis is believed to have sold hamburgers at his café at 115 Tyler Street in Athens, Texas in the late 1880s, and then brought them to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
My Kind of Burger
This is probably one of mine and America’s favorite foods. You cannot beat a well cooked, well seasoned medium rare cheese burger.
When I am buying ground meat in the restaurant or at home I buy 75/25, or 80/20. If you don’t know what this means it’s the proportion of fat to meat. As everyone knows fat is flavor. When portioning and cooking the burger you want a nice size thick burger, 6oz to 8oz is a good size. Portion them up and make them into balls, once you get to that point push down on them to form a burger. The way you cook and season the burger is important as well. I don’t put any seasonings in the ground meat, I think it takes away from the flavor of the meat. All I do is season the outside with a lot of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
There are two ways I cook a burger, either in a really hot cast iron skillet or a very hot grill. The reason I say very hot is because you want to put a good sear on the outside. The heat also gives the burger a really good texture. For medium rare you want to cook it for about 3-4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.
Everything you put on the burger is important, from the bun to the cheese. We use aged cheddar on our burgers at the restaurant. Its sharpness helps to cut through some of the fat of the burger. Our Devil’s Pool Burger is topped off with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion on a sesame seed bun.
We also have two more burgers name after our favorite Cow Boy, Clay Self and our favorite bar tender Adam. The Clay Self is made up of a Grilled burger, basted with barbeque sauce, topped with coleslaw, smoked bacon and a breaded onion ring with a sesame seed bun. The Hey Adam is a black and blue, spicy grilled burger, topped with Maytag blue cheese and a thick cut piece of white onion on a sesame seed bun.