Sandy Alley: Where's the ham in hamburger?

2014-08-06T00:00:00Z 2014-09-09T14:49:05Z Sandy Alley: Where's the ham in hamburger?By SANDY ALLEY The Billings Gazette
August 06, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Where is the ham in a hamburger?

I just don’t get it. If a buffalo burger is made from ground buffalo, a salmon burger from ground salmon, a pork burger from ground pork, why isn’t a hamburger made from ground ham?

Did you know that the term 85/15 on your ground beef package means 85 percent lean meat and 15 percent fat? 80/20 means 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent fat. The higher the fat content, the better your ground beef patty will hold together and the juicier it will be when cooked.

Here is a family favorite recipe given to me by Kathy Palin, Absarokee.

Ham & Cheese Meatloaf

Mix together your favorite meatloaf recipe. Pat the meatloaf out onto plastic wrap in a rectangle shape, about ½ inch thick. Place ham slices overlapping down the middle stopping ½ inch from the ends. Top the ham with slices of your favorite cheese. Roll up the loaf and bake as you do with your meatloaf recipe. Once the meatloaf is done. Let it set for 10 minutes before slicing.

My husband always asks me to make the following hamburger family favorite when we attend potlucks, the problem though, is that by the time we get through the food line, my crockpot is usually empty.

Calico Beans

from my aunt Phyllis Tiefenthaler, Odebolt, Iowa


1 lb. hamburger

1 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces

1 c. onion, diced

Brown the hamburger, bacon and onion in a large Dutch oven. Once cooked, drain off the fat and then add 1 can each of butter beans, lima beans (I use black beans instead of lima beans), red kidney beans, pork & beans. Drain the beans before adding. Then add:

1 c. ketchup

1 ¼ c. brown sugar

1/4 c. vinegar

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. dry mustard

Put contents into a crock pot on low for 4 hours. Stirring occasionally. I recommend you save a couple of servings at home or be the first in the food line.

The following recipe came from the “Flavors of Fishtail” cookbook:

Marjie Jahn’s Taco Salad


1 lb. cooked hamburger

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 pkg. taco seasoning

½ c. chopped onion

1 small head lettuce

1 pkg. grated cheddar cheese

1 large tomato, diced

½ c. black olives chopped (optional)

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

1 small bag corn chips

1 bottle Catalina dressing

Add tomato sauce and taco seasoning to cooked hamburger. Set aside to cool. Chop lettuce, onion, tomato, olives and put into large bowl. Add kidney beans to lettuce mixture. Smash corn chips and add 2 cups to the lettuce. Top with cooked meat and cheese. Pour dressing over salad – start with ½ bottle and after stirring, taste and add more dressing if needed.

Alley resides south of Absarokee with her husband, three dachshunds and a flock of chickens. She has six grown daughters and three grandchildren. Along with cooking she enjoys painting silk scarves, sewing sheep and crafting.

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