Grass-Fed (Goat-)Cheese Burger

 

I never thought I’d eat a cheeseburger again.  Those of you who read my blog know I eat goat cheese occasionally.  But recently I also started eating red meat again.  Grass-fed beef, that is.  It’s a totally different experience.  It has a very distinct flavor, and healthier fats.  Not only is it healthier to eat grass-fed beef, but the animals themselves live healthier, happier lives. Before WWII, all cattle were grass-finished, and heart disease and cancer were not epidemic.  Today, the vast majority of our nation’s cattle are sent off to a small number of gigantic CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations), crowded “cities” where they are fed an unnatural diet of corn (which causes them severe indigestion and great discomfort and promotes the growth of dangerous e. coli bacteria) and are forced to stand in their own waste.  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  It’s an efficient way to mass produce beef that is quickly fattened for market, but not without enormous environmental, ethical and health costs.

 

In contrast, grass-finished cattle roam on pastures for the duration of their lives and consume the diet that they evolved to eat: grass.  Grass-fed beef contains much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the cancer-fighting polyunsaturated fat CLA, and is much leaner than commercial beef from grain-fed feedlot cattle.  It also contains nearly twice the amount of beta-carotene and vitamin E.  My experience has been very positive – neither my husband nor I have experienced any gastric discomfort after eating it, as we have in the past with conventional beef.  We now enjoy it almost once a week.

 

It is important to note that grass-fed beef cooks much faster than grain-fed beef.  I have tried cooking grass-fed steaks but have not mastered the cooking time yet.  There seems to be a very small window between rare and medium-well.  But I’ve had much better luck with ground beef (which is also the most economical cut!), especially burgers. 

 

My advice is to make your hamburger patties a little thicker than you usually would, as they tend to slightly shrink in size.  (This also prevents them from over-cooking.)  Add a splash of Worcestershire or Tamari sauce if you like and season with sea salt & fresh pepper.  Heat your skillet (I use a cast-iron) with a little butter or even lard for ideal cooking. Throw a few thick slices of red onion in the pan as well.  If you like a medium-rare burger, cook it for 5 minutes or so on each side, until just no longer bloody when pressed with a spatula. You can always cut into it a bit to check.  When cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and top with a few slices of goat cheddar and the sauteed onion.  It’s so delicious you won’t even miss the bun!

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