Monday, June 28, 2010


Some food historians believe that the origin of what we now call hamburger stems from the Mongols, who if we believe what we are told, put low-grade cuts of meat under their saddles to tenderize it, and at the end of their long day ate it raw.

In the thirteenth century the Mongols, called Tartares by the Russians, invaded Moscow and brought their “ground” beef with them. The Russians adapted the dish and called it Steak Tartare, which has become quite the delicacy and can be found on the menu in very fine restaurants. The dish now includes an egg yolk, capers, mustard, grated onion, and seasonings. It has a spectacular presentation, and is usually served and mixed at table by the Maitre d’.

So, how do we get from Russia to Germany? Some food historians claim that in the 1600’s German sailors from the port of Hamburg began stopping in Russian ports where they were introduced to—you got it—Steak Tartare, which they brought back to their native city. The Hamburgians adapted the dish by shredding their poorer cuts of meat, adding some seasoning, cooking it, and changing the name to Hamburg Steak. When folks from Hamburg began immigrating to the United States, guess what they brought with them—you got it—Hamburg Steak. Here in the States, it has been adapted and shortened to just plain Hamburg, which has become synonymous with ground beef.

The Hamburg has been further adapted by yours truly. From frustration born from serving too many bad burgers, I began experimenting and came up with this recipe. It made sense that if binders could be added to ground beef to create meat loaf, why not burgers? Hence, Bobbie Sue’s Burgers. Tasty and moist even if I do so myself, but don’t rely on my word ask Bella—she’ll tell you straight. And, so will anyone else who’s had them.

Notes for this recipes: The bread will flavor the burger, so be sure to use one that will compliment the flavor you wish to achieve or at least be neutral. The home made bread I use would probably translate into 1-1/2 slices of commercial bread. Other herbs can be substituted for the thyme to suit your taste. (In summer I often use Summer Savory or Basil.) Adding additional liquid is not recommended as the burger becomes too wet. If you are grilling, preheat the grill for at least 10 minutes and spray the racks with a little olive oil to prevent sticking before putting on the burgers.

Bobbie Sue's Burgers

1/4 c. (approx.) milk

1 egg

1 thick slice whole grain bread

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 tsp. (heaping) horseradish

1 tsp. (heaping) Dijon or coarse mustard

1 tsp. thyme, crushed or 1 Tbsp fresh time



In a bowl mix together the milk and egg. Tear bread into this mixture and allow to set until bread in completely softened. About 10 minutes. With your hands mix the bread and egg to finish breaking down the bread.

Add the ground beef, horseradish, mustard, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. With a ½ solid cup measure shape into patties and broil or grill to desired doneness.


  1. I've had these! And they were deliciously tasty and moist, even when cooked to well-done.

    (Despite local custom, I, like most non-Americans, still won't eat hamburgers that aren't anything other than well-done. Eating underdone mince in most countries is just asking for food poisoning!)

  2. Here's one American who is right there with you on the won't eat them anything but cooked through! That includes Steak Tartare, which is right at the top of my scary food list. (I'll tell you how I was introduced to this dish when you are here.) And, thanks for the nice words about the burgers.