Monday, July 21, 2008

It Makes a Difference

Y’know how all the time you hear about grass-fed, free-range, organic, free-willed, cage-free, hormone-free, happy sunshine cows or chicken or people, for that matter. Every once in a while you stop and ask yourself, does it really make a difference? Does it seriously taste soooo much better than the regular stuff sold at the fluorescently-lit and warehouse-like grocery supermart of your choice? Y’know what? It does. It does taste better.

I had the luck to try out some burgers from Roseda Beef. First, Roseda farms offered to send me burgers to try out. Meat by mail? No thanks. I was ready to say no. Then I read further. They said they are a family-run business, they said they raise and breed their own Black Angus cows, they said the cows are grazed on grass and that the meat is dry-aged before it’s ground into burgers. Then they mentioned they are located in Maryland, close to where I grew up in Northern Virginia! Who says no to that, I ask you. Not I.

I said yes. I said yes, and I got eight ginormous burgers in the mail to try out and comment on here. So here’s my comment – Yum. These people don’t fool around. The burgers are shipped frozen (d’oh! Wish I could have been in MD to pick them up myself) along with a bunch of instructions and neat background on the company. The instructions said that you don’t have to thaw the burgers before cooking, just throw them onto a hot grill or pan. I was skeptical, I have to admit, but it worked.

The instructions suggested cooking the burgers for a total of 14 minutes, flipping them
from side to side in a carefully-controlled choreographic manner. Fourteen minutes is enough time to take even a frozen burger far past well-done. That, combined with the fact that I was completely starving and not willing to wait and coordinate my choreography, led me to cook my burger for a total of about 8 minutes on the stovetop (three minutes on each side, followed by another minute or so on each side), in a well-heated and heavy pan. I got crusty, juicy, medium to medium well burger that hardly shrank in size with cooking. It remained as ginormous and pretty as it was before the cooking.

Not sure my pictures do it justice, but this is one good burger.

I ate the burger plain at first, just so I could taste the meat. It was so… beefy. There is no better way to describe it. It had more beef taste than a lot of burgers I have had. It wasn’t packed too tight, yet didn’t fall apart. You could tell that it was good stuff, not the run of the mill pre-packaged burger. In this case, as in many others, attention, care, and quality really made a difference in the product. I was happy that a family-run business is doing well, I was happy they are turning to bloggers to spread the word for them, and I am happy that my dinner took 8 minutes from start to finish.


JC said...

That burger looks really good! There's a ranch about 30 miles from where I live that sells grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. They sell at the local farmer's market. I wish their stuff wasn't so expensive, but "cheap" meat is expensive in other ways that may not be immediately apparent.

Green Armadillo said...

We'll have to check the local supermarkets for them, though the farm seems to be north of Baltimore so they might not be down in our neck of the woods. Sadly, it doesn't look like they actually have a physical store you can just drive to; I share your reservations about delivery snafus.

Melissa said...

Now that I'm all grows up, I never know what to get my parents for the holidays. Enter meat-by-mail. My father and I have never felt closer than when I receive that call that the Omaha steak box has arrived. I'll definitely but this new company on my short list for this season! Keep the food posts coming - we've missed you!

mehdi said...

Hey Anna,

Roseda beef has linked to your blog. Check them out!

aimee said...

Happy sunshine cows? Heh :)

It's true, the organic stuff is far superior all round. It's just a shame the costs tend to be so out of proportion with the average earnings. Even as someone who loves food and understands the benefits of organic, I must admit that probably no more than 10% of my shopping is organic. If it was any more than that, I'd have no money to do anything.

Anna said...

JC - Ha! Good point. I recently learned the word "gristly" as applied to meat. It doesn't usually bother me, but yellow sinewy fat does. Ick. Don't get that so much with higher quality meat. It is quite a bit more expensive though.

Allen! Hellooooo. They have a list of restaurants they supply, so maybe you can go there? Dunno. Meat by mail is a bit dicey, I agree. It might be worth it though if you know you're going to be home to receive it at a certain time.

Melissa - Hee :) I am glad to hear that meat by mail is good for your family. It's certainly been good for me. I am for it.

Mehdi - Thanks for the heads up! This is very exciting.

Aimee - So true. The prices just keep going up too. The organic produce box I get every two weeks has gone up in price three times now in a year and a half. Ouch. I think everyone has something they spend on though. I don't really buy clothes or jewelry or make-up... I buy food. It's my splurge. Or has been until now. I need to get a job that actually pays soon.

leena! said...

Never deny free meat. It is sort of a motto of mine. I recently found some amazing free range pork in the form of Italian sausages and breakfast sausage at my local farmer's market, and it cost the same as you would pay in the store, but tastes soooo much better. Totally worth going out of my way to buy!

Hey, by the way, I tagged you for a meme, check out my blog for details.

Hillary said...

I had a grass fed roast beef sandwich and it definitely had a different taste so I know what you mean! Glad you enjoyed these burgers! Now I want some in the mail!