A bun cut in half, with a patty made of minced meat, raw vegetables, cheese, and sauces – this is the classic hamburger recipe. It can cost $2 at a fast-food restaurant in the neighborhood or thousands of dollars, at extremely pretentious restaurants, from various corners of the world. Although it seems a quintessentially American dish, being one of the most popular dishes on that continent, its origins date back to the time of Genghis Khan’s Mongolia.
In the 12th century, Mongol warriors placed slices of raw horse meat under the saddle, to make it more tender and to be able to consume it without having to stop. Their descendants, the Tatars, brought the habit of eating pieces of raw meat to Eastern Europe. In the 14th and 15th centuries, sailors from the port of Hamburg, then the largest in the world, discovered that Latvians, Finns, and Estonians consumed raw beef.
A butcher from Germany had the idea of grilling this minced beef, and in the 18th century, Hamburg steak (Hamburger) was served all over the port. A century later, migrants brought the recipe to the USA, where it was quickly adopted in restaurants. Officially, according to documents from the American Library of Congress, the Dane Louis Lassen, the owner of a restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut, is considered the inventor of the hamburger, as it is known today, in the form of a meatball placed between two slices of bread.
How Much Does a Hamburger Cost?
Depending on the place you buy it from, the geographical location, and the quality, plan on spending anywhere between $4.50 and $8 for a pound of burger. If you choose to make your burger at home, you will spend anywhere between $1.15 and $5 per burger, depending on the local cost of living and the ingredients being used.
Before purchase, frozen hamburgers are raw and uncooked, and for a six-pack made from high-quality beef, you will have to pay anywhere between $9 and $13. For instance, Costco sells a 20-pack for almost $24.
At a local restaurant, the cost of a hamburger will be affected by the type of restaurant and the geographical location. For example, at a local fast-food chain, the price of a simple hamburger will be $2 to $9, without any extras like French fries, while at a high-end pub in New York City, you will have to pay almost $20 for a burger. The price of a burger at a local restaurant chain like Ruby Tuesday would be anywhere between $10 and $14, while at White Castle or McDonald’s the cost of a burger is anywhere between $2 and $5.
According to a study made by the Eater website referring to the price of a hamburger across the United States of America, in New York City this is around $13, while in Philadelphia a hamburger costs around $8.
Also, the AOL website made a study comparing the cost of the Applebee’s burger with that cooked by you at home. If you choose to prepare your own burger at home, you will spend $4, while purchasing from Applebee’s will cost you $10.
What are the additional expenses?
In case you only purchase the patty, the additional expenses would be for the ingredients added to the burger, including lettuce (anywhere between $1.5 and $4 per head), the hamburger bun (anywhere between $2 and $5), ketchup (anywhere between $3 and $7), cheese (around $7 per pound). It all depends on your taste and the hamburger you want to make.
Important things to consider
According to The New York Times, Americans consume around 16 million burgers per year.
The homemade hamburger recipe is not at all difficult. In addition, it can be adapted according to tastes and preferences, but also according to the ingredients we have at home. To make a good homemade burger, you have to forget that it could be a patty, you know, sausage, eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic, etcetera. A good, juicy burger should be treated just like a steak, that’s what it’s all about.
Tips for saving money
One of the best ways to save on hamburgers is to prepare fresh patties at home, from scratch. Always, premade patties, both frozen and fresh, will be more expensive than ground beef.
Moreover, a homemade hamburger is a much healthier alternative to the burgers we find in fast food. With a homemade hamburger, we know exactly what ingredients we put in, thus avoiding additives, preservatives, and other not-so-healthy substances.