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ETpro's avatar

If ground beef is hamburger what do you call ground ham?

Asked by ETpro (34550points) April 22nd, 2012

It certainly doesn’t make sense to call ground ham beefburger. How did ground beef get to be called hamburger to begin with?

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31 Answers

Trillian's avatar

Check it.

Ground ham is, I believe, know as “Deviled”.
Go figure.

john65pennington's avatar

That’s a good question and I do not have an answer.

rooeytoo's avatar


Keep_on_running's avatar

I think we should just call burgers by their animal name. Cowburger, pigburger, sheepburger. I mean we do have chicken and fish burgers. It just makes sense, although makes it far less appetizing.

ETpro's avatar

@Trillian Fascinating link. And to think when White Castle first opened the burgers were just $.0.05 each.

@john65pennington Well, me either. That’s why I asked. I always learn fascinating facts from questions that seem so… mundane.

@rooeytoo Ya think Oinkburgers would be a big seller?

@Keep_on_running I really have no problem with turkey-burger. I buy that and ground chicken almost exclusively rather than the far less healthy ground beef,

rooeytoo's avatar

I remember eating at the White Castle on Wisconsin Avenue in DC many times. I don’t remember $0.05 but I remember when you could get a bag of 10 I think for a buck! First MacDonalds I can remember is about 1963 in Annapolis, they were $0.15 then. In my memory they all tasted great, I wonder what I would think of them today.

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo The first White Castle opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921. I think the first McDonald’s opened in Norfolk. VA out on the Military Highway in 1960. I know we went there before I graduated high school. In 1962, they added the now-familiar Golden Arches to the restaurant, and a year later the marque announced they had sold their billionth burger. And yes, they were $0.15. They were lousy hamburgers compared to what mom made at home, but they were way better then that the fried cardboard they serve today.

Adagio's avatar

Meat is named far more straightforwardly in NZ.… What you call hamburger we call beef mince… The same applies to pork and chicken etc… The meat is minced and so beef/pork/chicken mince seems about right to me.

anartist's avatar

Hamburg Germany origin of hamburger
Frankfurt Germany origin of frankfurter
And we thought these were All-American fast food staples!
Now how about Apple Pie? German, too, I think.

ETpro's avatar

@Adagio Now that makes WAY too much sense to be adopted in the USA. :-)

@anartist Do you have a reference on that?

ucme's avatar

Pig shit?

anartist's avatar

Hamburger as a concept evolved from Hamburg Steak [which eventually got called Salisbury steak] a cut of beef pounded until tender. Grinding a tough cut of beef was just one more step.
By the time of his death in 1905, the ground-beef patty Dr. Salisbury was prescribing was referred to in many parts as Hamburg steak
[I like the Tawdry Knickers explanation of the revisionist obfuscation of the German origins, which wouldn’t have happened until at east1914]

Putting it in a bun was all American though

Frankfurter is a lot easier to prove:
The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages served in a bun similar to hot dogs originated.[1] These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King.

JLeslie's avatar

@anartist Said what I was thinking. It’s all about the history behind the name. I still use frankfurter with my family.

ro_in_motion's avatar

Ground pork is called ‘non-Kosher’.

cookieman's avatar


cazzie's avatar

In the ‘other’ English speaking parts of the world, ground beef is called ‘mince’... as in ‘minced up steak, or beef’. Ground pork is just called ground pork, not ‘hambuger’ as ‘ham’ is a cured process pork goes through to become it and as @anartist mentioned, it has nothing to do with the beast it came from, but the geographic region.

So, in England, ground beef is not called ‘hamburger’ but ‘mince’.

If anyone is interested, In Norwegian, ground meat is called Kjøttdeig which, literally translated means ‘meat dough’ and it is marked whether it is from cow or pig.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

It would depend what you’re making with the ground ham. Just like with ground beef .. it’s not always for making hamburgers.

Coloma's avatar


JLeslie's avatar

Ground beef is called ground beef in the raw state, and some do say ground beef patty when cooked rather than hamburger. Hamburger refers to the beef patty on a bun in my opinion, while the beef patty itself is just that. Some people do say Hamburger patty though. I feel like I am talking in circles. Ground ham and ground pork would be two totally different things in my opinion. When I make meat sauce for pasta, I don’t call it ground hamburger, but probably some people do.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ratboy Stole my answer…:D

ETpro's avatar

@anartist Thanks. I knew that as simple (even silly) as this question sounded, I would learn a good deal by asking.

@JLeslie Hot dogs (thankfully NOT made from ground dog meat) are routinely called “all beef franks” even though all beef is a bit of a misnomer. There’s extra water; the skins; meat trimmings and fats, spices like salt, garlic and paprika; and preservatives such as sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite.

@ro_in_motion I am sure it is. Even air pork would be non-kosher.

@cprevite Copy that.

@cazzie Yes, good point. I’ve run across that naming difference in my travels. And a ham is not a reference to curing methods but to the region of the animal. It refers to the upper thigh of the rear legs, or in a turkey, the legs.

@JustPlainBarb Great point. @JLeslie expounds on that theme.

@AshlynM I’d be willing to call either one that, or that @Coloma.

@ratboy Ha! Too bad that stuff is so toxic. I rather like the taste cooked with pinaple slices or applesauce.

@SpatzieLover Ah well, back to the spätzle then,

anartist's avatar

BTW don’t forget ground lamb, ground veal, and ground venison [leaner ground meats]

and, -we can always call hamburgers ‘pink slime’ now

@rooeytoo the jukebox in that White Castle was a nickel a song, too.

rooeytoo's avatar

@anartist – are you an alumni of that White Castle too? I was trying to remember exactly where it was or perhaps is. Seems like it must have been Wisc and O Sts? We would always grab a bag on the way home from a night bar hopping around Georgetown, I don’t remember ever staying there long enough to check out the juke box.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro All beef franks just means the only meat is from beef. No other animal is in the hot dog. It doesn’t mean there are not other additives.

ETpro's avatar

@anartist & @rooeytoo I think the first White Castle I went to was in Washington, DC too. There weren’t any in Virginia Beach as far as I know.

@JLeslie I think that’s what I indicated.

anartist's avatar

@rooeytoo it was in Georgetown. Maybe across the street from where the Pied de Cochon used to be [the restaurant that had a plaque on one bench where a Russian spy ate his last meal before being deported/repatriated]. A fancy Italian restaurant has had the old White Castle site [with others before] for at least 10 years. I used to go there as a high school/college kid with friends from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS scene.

rooeytoo's avatar

I only remember 1 in Georgetown so it had to be the same one. I haven’t been in DC for 15 years but I am pretty sure it was there the last time I passed that way. I don’t recall the restaurant you mention but bars and restaurants came and went so quickly that is not surprising.

Thanks for the trip down memory land. Georgetown holds some great memories for me!

Ron_C's avatar

Ground ham is ham salad or deviled ham.

Let’s see, if hamburgers were invented in Hamburg
and frankfurters were invented in Frankfurt
then Deviled ham must have been invented in Hell.

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