I am a huge fan of Thousand Hills Cattle Co. The concept of 100% grass-fed beef was unknown to me until I started selling meat for a living, but now I honestly have a certain amount of trouble eating any beef I know to have been finished on grains (especially conventional corn-fed). I have to psych myself up, & even then the "normal" taste seems "off" to my adjusted taste-buds. What really clinched the deal for me was attending a tour of their operation a couple of years ago. There's much to praise about the grass-feeding system of cattle raising, touching on issues ranging from animal well-being to environmental benefits. But right now, I want to talk about hamburgers.
Look at that. Oh gawd. I guess I'll take a moment to apologize to my fellow challenge participants who are of the Vegan/Lacto-Veg contingent. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but just look at those beautiful hamburgers. Seriously, I want to go back in time & eat them all over again.
This meal took about an hour to prepare. I used MN-grown red potatoes for the fries (non-local canola oil for the frying). The buns are from Saint Agnes Baking Company, which while not my favorite local bread (Rustica & A Toast To top my list), do seem to contain the highest percentage of local ingredients.* They also happen to be perfectly acceptable hamburger buns.
Here are the all the eventual hamburger parts, previous to assembly. The local buns (MN) spread with local Hope Creamery (MN) butter for browning, the local Pastures Aplenty (MN) uncured bacon, a tuft of Dragsmith Farms (WI) micro-greens, & peeking out from under some paper towel, that titan among local cheeses, Roth Kase Grand Cru Surchoix Gruyere (WI). Oh, & crazy ripe hydro tomatoes (MN). The patties include Thousand Hills ground beef (MN), some kosher salt & cracked pepper, & the ubiquitous green garlic. Some hamburger purists might scoff at these patty additives, but I'm not listening.
Grass-fed beef is very lean, so when gently pan-searing them, one has to lubricate the pan with some sort of shortening agent. I knew I was going to use up most of my non-local allowance with the frying oil, so I was forced to use some leftover bacon drippings. Oh, shucks, right?
I must cop to also spreading both a little mayo (I hope to make my own with local eggs, when I have the spare time), & a dab of mustard on the buns. By volume, I'd say this meal weighed in at well above 80% local, though. One thing I found interesting was the effect of the micro-greens on the flavor of the burgers. Because of the random mixture of greens, each bite was unique. Pretty neat.
* According to the research done by Liz (& Dave?), who should consider making a post out of the findings (hint, hint).