Salisbury steak

1945 Recipe: Salisbury Steak

Enjoy a classic beef dinner from the U.S. Navy, based on a recipe used to feed sailors in the year World War II ended and Noble Research Institute began.

  Estimated read time: minutes

Noble and a Navy Favorite

Salisbury steak, or hamburger steak as it was called before World War I, was a staple in Navy cookbooks by 1904. We think it’s likely that founder Lloyd Noble might have enjoyed a Salisbury steak or two during his brief service in the Navy, after enlisting in spring 1918. The steak is named after Dr. J.H. Salisbury, who promoted a meat-based diet as the means to optimal health in the mid-1800s. His original recipe called for “the muscle pulp of lean beef (to be) made into cakes and broiled,” and it was served with Worcester sauce, mustard, horseradish or lemon juice.


For Salisbury Steaks:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated onion
  • ½ cup beef stock

For Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons fat (from cooking the meat)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 12.5 ounces beef stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking hamburger meat


Step 1: Combine the ground beef, beef stock, salt, bread crumbs and grated onion in a large bowl, and mix to combine.

Step 2: Form patties from the meat mixture. You should be able to get about six to seven patties.

Step 3: Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat, and cook patties. Flip the meat about halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.

Step 4: Once the meat has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, set it aside. Keep about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan to make gravy.

Step 5: Add the beef stock to the meat drippings, salt and pepper as desired, then add the flour and whisk vigorously to combine so that there are no clumps. 

Step 6: Bring the gravy to a boil, continuing to stir until thickened.

Step 7: Lower the heat on the gravy and simmer before serving.

Step 8: Ladle the gravy over the cooked meat patty.

Step 9: Enjoy!

Salisbury steak finished

Original Recipe

This recipe is based on the CHOW blog post, written by Matthew T. Eng, published by the Naval Historical Foundation. Eng shares his experience with cooking “Griddle-Broiled Salisbury Steaks,” which was originally published in the 1945 Cookbook of the United States Navy. You can read the blog post and see the original recipe at

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