Sunday, August 31, 2014

You bloody, sexy thing!

June 8, 2010 4:59 pm by: 10 Comments

Frankly, I believe the whole burger thing is way over played. But it seems I’m the only one who thinks so. “Burger mania” has taken the town by storm, and grass-fed is the en vogue choice of meat among Atlanta’s new hip burger joints.

Flip Burger Boutique (1587 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, 404.343.1609) was the first full blown burger concept in town to exclusively offer this form of humanely raised beef when culinary director, Richard Blais, made the switch to 100% grass-fed from a unique blend of corn-fed beef that included brisket.

Recently opened Farm Burger (410 B West Ponce De Leon Avenue, Decatur, 404.378.5077) is the first of two trendy burger joints to open this spring claiming to strictly serve locally raised grass-fed burger meat. The other is Shaun Doty’s highly anticipated Yeah! Burger, slated to open this month in White Provisions on the Westside — probably already slinging burgers by the time you’re reading this. A second location is already under construction in Virginia Highland.

Food is like sex; you don’t forget your first time — good or bad. And based on my meals at Flip and Farm Burger, two major grass-fed players feeding a whole bunch of first-timers, grass-fed virgins are getting, uh, shorted.

By now, most everybody is aware that grass-fed meat contains less intramuscular fat than that of corn-fed, making preparation extremely difficult, especially in fast-paced environments.

Make no mistake, besides being healthier — and, despite its lower fat content — grass-fed burgers are superior in taste to any other, even kobe. IF prepared properly.

Let’s take a closer look at Flip and Farm Burger to see what’s wrong.

Starting with Flip Burger Boutique, the strength here lies in Blais with his witty creations and fun flavor combinations. But his kitchen staff does to grass-fed meat what BP is doing to the Gulf of Mexico.

To start, the burgers taste grossly over seasoned and salty, which explains why the burgers at Flip, after the switch to grass-fed, became weighty, and sometimes dense miniature hunks of meat that are better served as weapons than food.

Most seasoning is high in sodium. Sodium eats fat.

Salt shouldn’t be caught anywhere near grass-fed beef, nonetheless touch it.

To add insult to injury, Flip’s kitchen goes about their busy day perfectly happy to incinerate all burgers to a stiff medium-well, regardless, and I assume blissfully blind to the fact that the ticket swinging in the window displaying my order specifically says medium rare.

When handling this delicate beef one must respect its limitations. Once it’s cooked to medium temperature or higher, it’s not only stripped of its distinct clean flavor that makes it such a wonderful meat, but it’s also hijacked of its health benefits.

Why can’t the kitchen at Flip cook a burger to temperature? I asked two different servers, and was told it’s a volume issue.

Perhaps grass-fed isn’t the best choice for this fast-paced burger joint.

Grass-fed beef, however, is without doubt the only option for newly opened Farm Burger in Decatur, given who they are (the same folks as Farm 255 in Athens) and what they stand for.

Farm Burger boasts locally raised grass-fed meat that’s aged first, then freshly grinded in house.

The kitchen here seems to have a better grasp of the product. Seasoning, if any at all, is judiciously applied. But they, too, are experiencing technical difficulties cooking to temperature. Why? Like Flip, I’m told it’s a volume issue.

The first week Farm Burger opened, the menu claimed chef would cook your burger to what he thought to be perfect temperature. Our burgers arrived medium-well.

During a recent visit I was informed burgers are only cooked to two temperatures, medium and well done. Huh? Why not medium rare and medium well? Anything over medium is the same, anyway.

This begs the question. If you can’t work within a product’s limitations, why work with that product at all? In this case, I do see Farm Burger’s point. I don’t agree with their two-temp solution.

Many first-timers will visit Farm Burger seeking a real grass-fed experience. Is a medium rare hamburger too much to ask?

So, what if your grass-fed cherry was popped at Flip or Farm Burger? No worries my dear reader, if it is a true grass-fed experience you seek, I recommend a visit to Muss & Turner’s (1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Smryna, 770.434.1114). Though not technically a hamburger house, Todd Mussman serves up one studly burger, the best in town. It’s a lush locally raised grass-fed burger cooked perfectly to a gushy medium rare. Juicy and dripping with healthy omega-3s, Mussman’s burger possesses a certain seductive silky center to go along with that sexy grass-fed flavor.

You bloody, sexy thing! Reviewed by on . Frankly, I believe the whole burger thing is way over played. But it seems I’m the only one who thinks so. “Burger mania” has taken the town by storm, and grass Frankly, I believe the whole burger thing is way over played. But it seems I’m the only one who thinks so. “Burger mania” has taken the town by storm, and grass Rating: 0

Comments (10)

  • hudson

    your shot of the burger at Muss and Turners rocks. makes me what to get up and go right now!

  • kimmie

    “But his kitchen staff does to grass-fed burgers what BP is doing to the Gulf of Mexico.” lol ;)

  • pizza_guru

    That there is a beauty! Been to M&T’s several times but never ordered the burger. I will now. What are the toppings Tom?

  • Tom Maicon

    pizza_guru, the green is roasted poblano, cheese is Grafton cheddar, then we’ve got red onion, and it all gets a smear of house-made cilantro aioli. Bread is by Grateful Bread. In my opinion, the best burger in town.

  • jason

    The salt issues @ Flip might be an issue of time and pre-preparation of the burger pucks. When ground meat is presalted and then formed into patties, the salt pulls out myocin, meat protein, from the meat chunks. This is sticky stuff indeed, and in sausage making, something you want to pull out and develop to get a good bind of the meat paste. In hamburgers, this is not desirable, as you want the texture to be loose and crumbly.

    So the issue might be salt quantity, how long before cooking they are salted, or how much the meat is worked once ground.

  • Tom Maicon

    Yep, salting is a huge issue @ Flip. There is absolutely no need to salt a grass-fed patty, if cooked properly it tastes great on its own. I never salt my grass-fed burgers at home. I checked with Todd Mussman at M&T’s when doing the article and he, too, says he never salts or seasons his grass-fed burgers.

    I like my burgers to be thick and cooked over a chargrill, not a greasy flat top. The hot flat burner gives that fast food style flavor. I like a gushy, juicy texture. I use White Oak Pastures at home — my personal favorite.

    I am far more impressed with Farm Burger right now than I am Flip. That being said, I did lunch today At Yeah! Burger and wasn’t impressed in the least. Patties are thin enough to swipe through a credit card machine and only offered medium well. Dry and flavorless.

    I was looking for more out of Shaun. It’s hard to believe that’s White Oak Pastures he’s using considering I use the same and the flavor and texture I get is so totally different. He’s certainly not doing White Oak Pastures justice.

  • jason

    I need to go to Muss&turner’s. It’s about 2 miles from me..and i’ve been once.

  • jason

    The M&T burger is incredible.

  • David

    US Cafe in Smyrna. That’s all you need to know about good burgers.

  • H Lamar Thomas

    Love the two posts by Jason! Grass fed does require attention to how the meat is prepped and to how it is cooked. Anyone can source but it is what takes place in the kitchen that matters. Blaming inability to cook to temp on volume is a leaky bucket and a lie. Cooks cook to temperature in all aspects of cooking from cold to hot preparations. Grass fed is delicious and if the restaurant is incapable of training their cooks to cook then just go with factory meat instead and save everyone the headache. I am in the rare to medium rare as the ONLY temperature set for grass fed for all reasons from biological to chemical to taste preference. I have served it, buy it as a customer and use at home. Restaurants invariably over cook this great beef. Last time was a burger and my medium rare was medium well and the other was medium that was well. Thanks for nothing restaurants I will not name. No need to ride a wave if you can’t surf.

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