While I was pushing my cart around the massive Wegmans in Fayetteville, I marveled at all of the things that the rich east-side folk have that us bottom feeders in Fairmount do not. There was the dry-aging case behind the meat counter, slowly decaying USDA Prime beef into perfection. Up front there was a team of people chopping vegetables as if to say, “Here rich people. Let us chop your carrots so that you will never have to use your $500 Wusthof knife set.” To its right was a gentleman whose sole purpose was to crush oranges into fresh juice. And don’t get me started on the prepared foods department.
One thing that did catch my eye was a case in the meat section featuring New York State meats. There was Empire State bred pork, lamb and beef, including ground meat from Angus Hill Farm in Randolph, N.Y. — a sleepy little burg about 30 minutes from my alma mater St. Bonaventure University. The sign said that the cattle was grass-fed and the meat packed within the past seven days. Priced at $5.49 per pound, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. According to the Ellicottville Special Efects, the Black Angus calves are free-range, hormone-free and pasture-fed. When its time for them to meet their demise, the cattle are shipped down I-86 to Panama for slaughter, where the farm’s owner has set up his own operation. Angus Hill supplies 10 Wegmans outlets with meat from his farm, including the store in nearby Jamestown.
The beef itself had a nice fat content, which I’d ballpark at 80 percent lean based on taste and juiciness. In the interests of flavor preservation, I mixed only a little salt and pepper into the beef before packing the burgers. The Wife and I were rewarded with some of the best meat we’ve eaten in a long time. This is my first dance with grass-fed beef and there is a noticeable difference. The flavor was richer and almost creamier than regular beef. Think of the difference between freshly squeezed orange juice and Tropicana. The first time you drank freshly squeezed, you tasted the pure juice of the orange. No sugar, no vitamins or calcium and no extra water. It was just juice. This was the same way.
- 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
- sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the salt, pepper and beef with your hands. Break the beef into two evenly distributed chunks of meat. Take the first piece and roll it between your palms to make a ball, then slightly flatten it. Repeat with the other chunk of meat
Preheat your grill until it reaches approximately 500 degrees. Reduce the burners on one side of your grill to medium-high and the burners on the other side to medium-low. Cook burgers on the medium-low side for eight minutes. Turn the burgers and cook for an additional three minutes. Resist the urge to press the meat with your spatula. I repeat DON’T PRESS ON THE MEAT. Preserve the juice of this burger.
Note: I HIGHLY suggest toasting the buns. Set them on the medium-high side for the last three minutes. These burgers are very juicy and your rolls may get soggy if not toasted.