Salisbury steak is a version of Hamburg steak. The history of the preparation of this steak goes back to the Middle Ages. Minced meat was a delicacy in medieval cuisine.
In a large German trading port Hamburg, minced meat steak has become a popular dish in city restaurants. When immigrants from Germany came to America, they brought this recipe with them. It was called Hamburg Style Steak.
This steak was most popular in New York. The oldest document that refers to the Hamburg steak is a Delmonico’s Restaurant menu from 1873 which offered customers an 11-cent plate of Hamburg steak that had been developed by American chef Charles Ranhofer. This price was high for the time, twice the price of a simple fillet of beef steak.
Coming from this history of Hamburg steak is the Salisbury steak, which today is usually served with a gravy similar in texture to brown sauce. James Salisbury was an American physician and chemist, advocated for a meat-centered diet. The term Salisbury steak has been used in the United States since 1897.
It is what he writes in his recipe:
The pulp should not be pressed too firmly together before broiling, or it will taste livery. Simply press it sufficiently to hold it together. Make the cakes from half an inch to an inch thick. Broil slowly and moderately well over a fire-free from blaze and smoke. When cooked, put it on a hot plate and season to taste with butter, pepper, salt. Also use either Worcestershire or Halford sauce, mustard, horseradish or lemon juice on the meat if desired. Celery may be moderately used as a relish.
Cooking Salisbury steaks outdoors in the Dutch Oven has become a tradition a little bit later.
This dish is popular in the USA as one of the main dishes for outdoor cooking.