A hamburger (or burger, for short) is a sandwich
consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat, usually ranging from beef,
pork, and/or turkey placed in an open, wheat bun or between two slices
Left: A fast-food hamburger.
Hamburgers are often served with lettuce, tomato, onion,
pickles, or cheese and condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup.
These condiments or excess material are optional for the consumer.
The term hamburger originally derives from the
German city of Hamburg, Germany's second largest city, from where many
emigrants emigrated to America. The term "burger" became the synonym for many types of
round sandwiches, although this word actually described a type of food rather
than their creator(s) who allegedly originated in Hamburg.
Left: North American
Hamburgers are usually a feature of fast food restaurants.
The hamburgers served in major fast food establishments are mass-produced in
factories and frozen for delivery to the site. These hamburgers are thin and of
uniform thickness, differing from the traditional American hamburger prepared in
homes and conventional restaurants, which is thicker and prepared by hand from
ground beef. Hamburgers in fast food restaurants are usually fried, but some
firms, such as Burger King use a grilling process. At conventional American
restaurants, hamburgers may be ordered "rare", but normally are served well-done
for food safety reasons. Fast food restaurants do not offer this option.
The McDonald's fast-food chain sells a sandwich called the Big Mac, one of the
world's top selling hamburgers. The first McDonald's
restaurant was opened in 1940 by Dick and Mac McDonald
in San Bernardino, California. Their introduction of the "Speedee Service
System" in 1948 established the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant.
The McDonald brothers began franchising in 1953. Other major fast-food chains,
including Burger King, also rely heavily on hamburger sales.
Hamburgers are often served as a picnic and party food, cooked outdoors on
barbecue grills. Hamburger patties can be cooked rare, medium rare, medium,
medium well, or well done. These terms refer to how thoroughly the meat is
cooked, ranging from having a little bit of pink coloring to being dark brown,
cooked almost to a crisp. However because of the potential for food-borne
illness, it is recommended that hamburgers should be cooked to an internal
temperature of 170°F (80°C). If cooked to this temperature, they will be well