In the world of food, the burger is pretty low on the totem pole. Sure, it's loved. And of course, it can be delicious. But fast food's interpretation of the burger has ruined its reputation.
However, its rep has been improving over time. Shake Shack, the famous New York burger enclave, has helped elevate the burger's status by teaming with chefs like David Chang to create limited edition burgers, such as the Shrimp Stack. And high-end restaurants have begun adding them to their menu (albeit, with foie gras on top). The burger is on the up and up, folks.
The latest example of this is a new burger festival that's being held in the Berkshires called Here's The Beef. The idea behind this event is not only to support sustainable agriculture by working with small cattle farmers, but to highlight the unique flavors and expressions of different breeds of cattle. Six three-ounce burgers, each made from a different type of cow, will be served in three courses, two at a time -- condiments and pickle on the side. By tasting the burgers side by side, guests will hopefully be able to taste the incredible range of flavors in the different beefs. (And there'll even be wine pairings served with each course. You see that? The burger is getting fancy.)
The folks running this event, Jazu Stine and James Burden of Red Apple Butchers, and event organizer Josh Young, are working with five local farms who all raise different breeds of cattle. One of them is even a heritage breed called Randall cattle, which nearly went extinct until local farmer Cynthia Creech began raising them. And one of the burgers will be made with beef from the grocery store for comparison.
By now, most people know there's a big flavor difference between sustainable, grass-fed beef vs. the stuff you find at the supermarket -- we did a taste test to be sure of this claim. But the idea that different cattle from different farms will impart unique flavors to our burgers is a new idea that we're excited about. And it's not just the breed that influences the flavor, but the soil, grass and other things the animal forages on, too. Just like that, beef has got terroir.
If you're interested in the event, it's being held Saturday, Oct. 4 in the Berkshires. Tickets for the dinner are starting at $95. You'll also be able to chat with the farmer who raised the cattle, the butcher who broke it down and the cook who grilled it.