Monday, February 1, 2010
Ground Chuck at Laurel Meat Market
As snow fell Saturday afternoon, I made hamburgers. Mark Bittman's cast iron skillet recipe with some oven fries, a pickle, and sauteed mushrooms. I had to walk next door to borrow ketchup because we were out of season, but burgers were a real pick-up meal on a day when we stayed indoors.
The key was ground chuck from Laurel Meat Market. You can probably get similar meat at any of Howard County's best butchers like Boarman's, Treuth, or Beiler's at the Laurel Dutch Country Farmers Market, and it is worth the effort because ground meat makes all the difference. Laurel Meat Market grinds meat for its hamburger. Real cuts of meat.
I didn't know the difference until the New York Times started writing about industrial techniques used to scrape extra pennies from each cow. Literally scrape. Smart businessmen are figuring out ways to use fatty scraps -- formerly used for pet food and cooking oil -- to mix with meat for restaurants and supermarkets to sell as hamburger. The NYT is writing about problems with the processes, but I was thinking, "What am I eating when the process works right?"
Seriously, I'm not preachy about food. I won't repeat the NYT details here. But I'm going to buy my hamburger in Laurel where they take pieces of chuck and grind them. No pink slime. (Okay, that's one detail.) It's $3 a pound, but they'll give me exactly what I want so I save overall. Plus, the burger was delicious even though it wasn't from the grill. Four months to Memorial Day!!!
(Update: You should also consider Laurel Meat Market if you're looking for a large cut like a standing rib roast. My friend got great advice and a nice piece of meat for Christmas Eve 2010.)