Ham Vs Hamburger [Major Differences!]

As a kid, the naive, innocent me was pretty confident that hamburger was made from ham. It was only as I grew up and slowly learned how vastly they both differ from each other.

Those like me who make such an inference like me are making an epic mistake! It is essential to know how they differ from each other, especially for those who do not eat beef.

Ham and a hamburger are absolutely different! The primary and major difference is in the meat. Ham comes from the hind legs of the pork whereas hamburger is a sandwich that encompasses bread and patty of ground beef meat. Ham can be added to a hamburger to make a variation of the classic burger.

In this article, we shall look into some of the major differences between a ham and a hamburger and some of the most common questions which arise for many of us.

Difference Between Ham vs Hamburger

The table below the various differences between ham and hamburgers. Also looking at the differences below it will be easy for us to understand how vastly different they are from each other.

Sr. No.HamHamburger
1.Ham is the meat that comes from the pig’s hind legs.It is essentially a sandwich made with a ground beef patty.
2.Ham has many varieties however all are from pork.Hamburgers are specifically made with beef only.
3.The ham meat is served as is or can be a part of sandwiches and burgers or salads.Classic hamburgers are made with round buns, beef patties, lettuce, onion, and tomatoes.
4.Varieties include cured ham, fresh ham, country ham, black forest ham, or bone-in ham.Other ingredients such as cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, chillis, ketchup, sauces, or pickles can be added as per preference.

Where Does The Ham Come From?

All ham meat comes from pork. The meat mainly comes from the pig’s hind legs. In simpler terms, we can say that ‘All ham is pork, however, all pork is not ham’.

Ham meat can also be obtained from the cow or bull. This mainly refers to the meat obtained from the back of the cow or bull’s thigh.

It is easy to get confused when ham is used as a generic term to refer to meat. However, this confusion can easily be pushed aside as all ham refers to meat from pork. Ham obtained from the cow or bull is almost always referred to as beef ham.

Is Hamburger A Ham?

A hamburger is not a ham. There is a vast difference between the two as hamburger is a sandwich whereas ham is meat obtained from the pork’s hind legs.

A hamburger sandwich is primarily made from beef meat. The meat used can be from various parts of a cow or a bull. The common cuts of meat used are chuck, round, and sirloin. These are usually cheaper cuts compared to the other parts.

Sometimes primal cuts can also be incorporated. Also, beef fat is separately added to the patty mixture to bring out the richness as well as make the beef patty tender.

Why Do They Call It A Hamburger If It’s Not Made Out Of Ham?

The term ‘hamburger’ originated from the German port town of Hamburg where the beef patties were sold locally and referred to as ‘Hamburg Steak’. These grew quite popular amongst the locals and American sailors who has been there for the war.

It was the sailors who brought the dish back to America which inspired the Americans to sandwich a beef patty in between the bread and loosely call it the ‘Hamburger’.

Hence the term ‘hamburger’ originated and thus it does not have any connection with the ham.

Is McDonald’s Hamburger Made Of Ham?

Absolutely NOT! McDonald’s hamburgers are made from beef and ham comes from pork. McDonald’s.com the international website of McDonald’s exclusively states that all McDonald’s Hamburgers are made from 100% beef. It also lists the ingredients used that are 100% pure beef and cooked and prepared with salt, and pepper.

McDonald’s website also states that no fillers, no additives, and no preservatives are used in the burgers. Also meat trimmings of cuts like the chuck, round, and sirloin for their burgers, which are ground and formed into hamburger patties.

However, using beef meat for patties is not only true for Mcdonald’s but it is also true for most hamburgers from different chains in the United States. As a hamburger is a dish exclusively made from beef meat.

Did the Original Hamburger Have Ham In It?

The original hamburger was also made with ground beef patties just like today. There are various claims to pioneering hamburgers in the United States. The Wikipedia page for Hamburger mentions some of these claims.

All claims show that Hamburger was invented in the late 1800s, specifically 1890s. Also around the same time ‘Hamburger steak sandwiches’ have been widely advertised from New York to Hawaii. However, many recipes since the 1750s were widely publicized for serving hamburger steak with toasted bread.

The particular dish of Hamburg Steak with two slices of warm bread was popular amongst the Jewish immigrants from Hamburg to New York. In Germany, a dish that specifically serves hamburger steaks with warm bread goes by the name ‘Rundstuck Warm'(warm bread roll).

All these references have contributed to the origins of the Hamburger, but the most noteworthy fact is that everyone one of the dishes has made use of beef meat in their patties. Thus, the origins of Hamburger had beef meat and no ham in it.

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