Steak Haché Vs. Burgers: What's The Difference?

If you've seen steak haché on a menu and had trouble distinguishing it from a burger, trust us, you aren't the first.  Steak haché is a relatively simple dish of ground beef shaped into a patty and cooked like a steak. It's a French dish, where choice beef cuts are ground up fresh to be griddled. While that sounds a lot like a burger, once you get into the gritty details, there are some meaningful distinctions. It mostly comes down to the finished product, as steak haché is served like a proper steak, topped with sauces and seasonings, intended to be cut up on a plate with a fork and knife, in contrast to burgers, which ... you know, are eaten by hand on a bun.

The problem in locating the difference between steak haché and a burger is that there is no one "correct" way to prepare either. Purists will tell you a burger should not have any seasonings mixed in with the meat, while steak haché recipes will frequently mix the beef with herbs, mustard, and onions. However, plenty of people mix seasonings into burgers, and some versions of steak haché are just plain meat patties. 

Another distinction is that steak haché is a single cut of steak like sirloin, chopped up fresh, and re-formed. But while ground beef for burgers may use a premade mix of beef, they can frequently be ground fresh themselves and often use single cuts like chuck.

Steak haché is a burger relative without a bun

The difficulty in distinguishing steak haché from a burger makes sense, as they share a common ancestry, with a burger essentially being a simpler version of dishes like haché. Hamburgers evolved from similar European dishes like Hamburg steak and its American cousin, Salisbury steak, which are both very similar to steak haché. European immigrants carried those ground beef dishes to the U.S. and they became a cheap food sold by vendors on streets and at fairs around the country. The precise moment when those dishes became a hamburger isn't clear, but the unifying thing in all the claims of inventing the burger is the movement onto a bun. That's what made it something new, and that evolution is what made burgers American.

So think of the difference between steak haché and burgers as a contrast between the fresh, fancier French way of eating and cheap, easy American practicality. If you want to make steak haché, get a good steak chopped up fresh, mix in some seasonings if you like, sear it, and serve it with utensils. Maybe top it with some herb butter, mushrooms, or a red wine sauce. If you want a burger, do whatever you want to whatever type of ground beef you've got, and throw it onto a bun. Steak haché and burgers are two dishes where the difference is more about the mood than anything else.