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Best Hamburger Steak - The Final Results & Rankings

The Hamburger Steak Hullabaloo took place on April 5, 2008. We put 8 hamburger steaks, from some of the so-called best places, through a WOW Grinds blind taste test. The results shocked me. My two favorites ended up ranking toward the bottom. Please note that scoring for this taste off was based on 3 weighted criteria: Taste worth 50%...Texture worth 30%...Presentation worth 20%.


Findings & Conclusion

I was completely shocked and appalled at the results of the Hamburger Steak Hullabaloo. If had put money down on my 2 top picks, I would have lost it all. I don't know how things turned out the way they did, but here's my best guesses...


Hamburger Steak Selection Rationale

In the random order we served them, here are the list of hamburger steak competitors and the reasons we selected them to compete...


Planning the Hamburger Steak Hullabaloo

Since this was the second blind tasting, we thought planning the Hamburger Steak Hullabaloo would be much easier. Again, we were small kine wrong. First of all, the list of possible competitors was way more than the Beef Stew Bonanza list. There were so many places that family and friends liked and that were named in media or blogs. Scaling down the list to a manageable number delayed things a bit, but we finally settled on a manageable number for the tasting. After developing the list, we were faced with the following questions...

  • You guys going just taste the patty and gravy or the whole plate?
  • What about including onions on top?
  • What criteria you going use to rate the hamburger steaks?
  • How you going get the food to the tasting without the gravy drying out?

Here's what we decided...
  1. We decided to taste the hamburger steak as it is served as a plate lunch with rice, mac salad and however else they serve it. We figured, who orders just a side order of hamburger steak? Nobody.
  2. We decided that if the place serves it with onions on top, we'd serve it that way. If they served it with no onions then we'd serve it that way. Let the plate compete as is.
  3. We got a little tantaran this time and rated the hamburger steaks on a scale of 0 to 10 in three areas. Taste (how's the flavor?), texture (how's it feel in your mouth?) and presentation (how's it look?). Each criteria was weighted with taste 50%, texture 30% and presentation 20%.
  4. We tried our best to address this problem by ordering the gravy on the side in a separate container. Surprisingly, each location said people order hamburger steak this way often so it wasn't a problem. We picked up the hamburger steaks just before the tastings.
We conducted the rest of the tasting in the same basic way. Masked the identities of each hamburger steak plate, served them in a random order, had the judges serve their own portion, averaged the scores and then ranked them from highest to lowest.

What is hamburger steak?


Hamburg steaks (served without buns) are similar to what is known as Salisbury steaks in the USA. They are made from minced beef, pork or a blend of the two, mixed with minced onions, egg, breadcrumbs and spices. They are served with brown sauce (or demi-glace in restaurants) with vegetable or salad sides, or occasionally in Japanese curries. It is a popular item at home, and in casual, western style suburban restaurant chains known in Japan as "family restaurants". It became popular in the 1960s.

In many Southern dining establishments, "hamburger steak" refers to a ground beef steak served without gravy, while "Salisbury steak" is only used for the version with gravy. [citation needed]

In Hawaii, Hamburger Steak is very similar to the Japanese Hamburg Steak. It consists of