January 17th, 2013

Grass fed organic hamburg

I’ve never been fond of meat, even as a child, although I do like lamb. When I was little, my parents even had to prod me to eat at least a small amount of steak when we had it for dinner (!).

And you don’t want to hear about the way tongue was served in our house. Let’s just say it was quite recognizable as being—well, a very large tongue.

But I have to say that this hamburg meat is really, really yummy, and it tastes good even without ketchup or any other seasoning.

[NOTE: If you’re interested in a discourse on tongue and why it should not be served whole, take a look. I wish my family had taken heed back in the day.]

41 Responses to “Grass fed organic hamburg”

  1. KLSmith Says:

    It’s also supposed to be better for you, too. As well as butter from grass fed cows.
    (think I’ll give the tongue a miss though)

  2. Don Carlos Says:

    All beef cows and steers are grass-fed. All. It’s only at the end, when fed corn on feed lots, that some don’t eat grass. Grass-fed-only yields less tasty, tougher beef, produced at lower cost, for which the grassfed worshippers pay more.
    Ain’t nothing objectively better about the purely grass-fed, nor their butter. Milk and butter, BTW, do not come from beef cattle.

  3. T Says:

    “Ain’t nothing objectively better about the purely grass-fed, nor their butter.”

    All I can say is that for the twelve years I lived in Montana I ate steaks that, for half the price, put the best steaks on the East coast to shame. I’m not a rancher so I can’t confirm the reason for the difference, but I can attest to the difference itself.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: I never said why this product was tastier. I have no idea whether it’s the grass fed thing, or something else about it. Nor did I say it was more healthful, or anything of the sort. I ate it, and I liked it because it was a lot more flavorful than the hamburger meat I usually eat, as well as juicier and less dry.

    And it’s not sold on Amazon, so I don’t even get any money out of promoting it.

  5. KLSmith Says:

    Don Carlos: well duh, that’s why they’re called beef cattle and not dairy cattle. and I bet most cows are raised in pens and are fed whatever and don’t eat grass. and so what, we’re all going to die in the end anyway.

  6. T Says:


    BTW my mother ate tongue. She worked in a packing house and really liked it. They also have them lined up in the meat case at the butcher shop near my office so I know what you mean. I confess to be a hypocrite as a carnivore; I don’t want to kill it and I don’t want it to look like what it was when I eat it.

  7. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    I remember looking at cow tongue in the display case in the butcher’s section of the grocery store. Ick, ick, ick.

  8. Don Carlos Says:

    You bet? You lose.
    The pens to which you refer are usually called pastures.

  9. stu Says:

    My sisters loved tongue. I wouldn’t touch it. Now a good chicken neck, that is a real delicacy.

  10. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I love tongue! The problem is my wife doesn’t like to cook it because it’s not pleasant smelling while cooking. I guess I come from meat-eating ancestors. I am a meat eater. I like it in every form and even like gamy things like antelope and venison.

    One of my greatest dining experiences was eating in a restaurant in Nairobi called Carnivore. They brought small slices of different game meats. As you finished one they brought another. 20 or so different game meats from Africa. (Yes, they were all “grass fed.”) The only one that was a bit strong for my tastes was Zebra. There was a flag laying on the table. The meal was over when you raised the flag. For me it was a truly memorable experience.

  11. KLSmith Says:

    Don Carlos: if most cattle in agribusiness America are free range, that’s news to a lot of people. Anyway, I’m not looking for a fight. I get enough angst from my government.

  12. parker Says:

    Beef cattle are generally penned and put on a grain (corn or corn-soybean) diet around 6 to 10 months of age. Ranchers decide when to put their calves on the market based upon limitations of pasture and/or based on the market for feeder calves. The grain diet greatly increases weight and fat content in a shorter time period than keeping them on pasture. Grass fed (only) beef is leaner and does taste different than the meat of cattle ‘finished off’ on grain. Like many things in life, its a matter of taste and there is no accounting for taste.

  13. csimon Says:

    I remember having tasted tongue among the array of sliced meats when we were having deli for dinner. (And I was NOT a courageous food taster (quit the opposite) — it just looked similar to the other things so I figured OK.

    Then one time I went with my Dad to the deli to pick up the food. And right there in the refridgerator case, staring me in the face was this giant humongous whole tongue! Then it clicked.

    Never again!

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    Head cheese was not uncommon. mom likes it

    Head cheese or brawn is a cold cut that originated in Europe. A version pickled with vinegar is known as souse. Head cheese is not a cheese but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow), and often set in aspic. Which parts of the head are used can vary, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed. The tongue, and sometimes even the feet and heart, may be included.

    On another note. i married into a Chinese Indonesian family… nothing like a handful of durian insides with big seeds to get the durian off of in the raw… or any number of unusual dishes that most would find difficult to eat. including some of THE hottest foods on the planet.

    you will find that most of these more exotic recipes and foods are common among peoples who starved at some time, or had to hide their food. with that, even scraps are valuable and we learned to eat everything.

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    Sorry to be picky. But I was p/o’d at our gov’t when I earlier posted and regret I showered on you.
    It’s OK if you don’t know anything about cattle-raising.
    The Whole Foods crowd tends to favor Baraq, and they love Organic. I lump these likes together. Organic and Baraq. Overrated.

  16. Gringo Says:

    An otherwise vegetarian cousin will eat venison at another cousin’s house. Organic..tasty..what’s not to like?

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I am a meat eater and love the stuff. I’ve had tongue but once in my life and it was prepared and served by my ex’s grandmother, who certainly knew how to prepare and cook it properly. She and those of her generation considered it the finest of delicacies.

    It was, without a doubt the singularly most unappetizing thing I have ever eaten.

    My tongue was served whole and its quite a sight, there’s absolutely no doubt as to what it is, so it really brings home the whole carnivore thing. (I’ve been telling my daughter for decades that if today people had to slaughter their own meat, the number of converts to vegetarianism would skyrocket.)

    Many people claim though that the Scottish dish Haggis is even worse. Haggis is a (“savoury(?) pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.”)

    I’m not surprised that the Hamburg meat is so good, it’s probably Prime grade and the difference between Prime (which is no longer available at most grocery meat counters) and the common ‘Choice’ grade is a night and day difference.

  18. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    A friend who raises grass-fed beef says the most important factor in how beef tastes is not how the animal is fed but how the meat is handled after slaughter — how long it’s aged, how it’s aged, things like that. I don’t know the details, but she took me to a nondescript little steak house on a back street in a little farm town in Iowa once, promising me the beef would be the best I’d ever tasted because of the treatment she described, and yes, indeed, it was.

    As for pens v. pastures, people who don’t farm are full of fantasies about the evil treatment farmers love to dole out to those poor abused cows they hate so much. People who do farm are too busy caring for the animals whose health determines their wealth to fantasize. No cow, whether it ever sets foot in a pasture or not, is raised on pure grain. Among other things, people forget that hay is dried grass.

  19. KLSmith Says:

    Mrs Whatsit: do you remember the name of the place & town? I’ve visited Iowa a couple of times and plan on driving through again sometime soon.

  20. Larry G. Says:

    The product flavor of an animal is strongly affected by what it eats. Drink a glass of whole milk from a small dairy in New York State and compare it to similar dairy from Utah and the difference is quickly noticed, assuming the source breed is the same. Likewise, the same is noticed in wild game such as elk or venison. Venison from central Washington State is strongly flavored, while venison from Indiana is much milder. The difference is what the animals were browsing in; spruce and sagebrush versus cornfields and soybean fields.

    Do you want to get fat – eat nothing but Snickers bars for 6 months. Do you want your beef to get fat, feed him soybean and corn for 6 months as you pump him full of hormones and antibiotics – the processing plant is paying for weight and ‘acceptable’ wholesomeness (health). Grass fed beef is more flavorful if it’s handled properly after slaughter – but it’s also more costly for the rancher. The rancher needs to make a living and there are a lot of variables involved, so the beef end up in feed lots to ensure top dollar.

    Today almost all of the big meat packers send their products to your local grocery in wet-pacs; large sealed plastic bags. These are used to both age the meat and for transportation. This is great for the processor, the shipper and the store butcher, but the consumer is getting an inferior product. Fifty years ago meat, even from the larger corporations, was aged by hanging the carcass. Meat aged in this manner has a more intense flavor – but also costly.

    Here’s a Wiki link that gives a good idea of what’s happening with ageing beef: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_%28meat%29

    I’ve worked in Seattle, Billings MT, Cincinnati, Fargo, KFalls and a host of other cities in the past forty years. The best beef I’ve tasted came from several little Jewish grocers in Cincinnati. They were always located on a corner in a residential neighborhood and filled with little old ladies pushing their carts. The stores themselves seemed shabby and weren’t all chrome and lights like Safeway or Krogers – the butchers counter actually smelled like fresh meat! When I asked for a steak, the butcher would cut one off – and it would melt in my mouth after being fried in butter! In small towns around the country it’s possible to still find butchers who age their meat by hanging it, usually doing custom slaughtering also. Sorry to disagree, but Montana had the worse beef I’ve ever eaten! I would shop at Albertson’s or Safeway and their steaks would make great shingles for the shed, but not to eat.

  21. Lurch Says:

    Organic beef? those poor cattle. how are the parasites controlled? how are the flies managed EFFECTIVELY? don’t be so selfish, people. treat the animals how you’d treat yourself if you had a parasite in your gut or under your skin. you’d seek medication!! just because you’re going to eat them is no reason to tormet the poor creatures.

  22. thomass Says:

    I prefer finding steaks that were given feed. Now that we are more aware of prion diseases grass fed seems a bigger risk. Not only for ‘mad cow’ but also chronic wasting disease transferred from other animals (like deer).

    On the plus side; prion diseases do seem to require longer incubations in older people… which means you probably die of old age before it really hit. Still; ironically, if my kid wants a burger a well done non organic one is probably safer…

  23. T Says:


    “Sorry to disagree, but Montana had the worse beef I’ve ever eaten! I would shop at Albertson’s or Safeway . . . .”

    I wasn’t thinking of Safeway or Albertson’s when I wrote that. I was specifically referring to the independent local steakhouses (no chains). My favorite was Sir Scott’s Oasis in Manhattan, MT (you know, the city that never sleeps).

  24. thomass Says:

    I’ll just add; they don’t autopsy the average old person that dies. I wouldn’t be surprised if many people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s actually had a contagious malformed prion disease.

  25. MollyNH Says:

    We need to avoid consuming any animal parts containing the nervous system of the animal
    (and hope no contamination took place in the slaughter) this also applies to organs in close proximity to the nervous system (the brain & spinal cord are the main components ) like the eyeballs. This is all implicated in prion & mad cow disease & another human prion disease Crutzfelds (spelling ???). Prion disease is fascinating (& deadly) it s not an infection in the typically understood manner caused by a bacterium or virus. But a renegade protein that when established recruits the hosts native protein to follow the prions destructive path.
    The renegades are not destroyed by sterilization of the prion, nor can the “infection” be stemmed by anti biotics or anti virals. In fact in suspected cases all the instrumentation in an operating room procedure, the gowns, masks & foot gear of the team must be changed mid operation, there is an off chance that some degree of contamination occurred. For us every day people wear a mask if you use bone meal in your garden
    there is some suspicion of it as a source of prion disease. Finally think twice about consuming meat in a foreign country, if you travel its a great time to take up vegetarianism & cheese is a terrific protein source, bring your own jar of peanut butter ! From the travel channel animal eyeballs seem to be delicacies the world over.

  26. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    KLSmith, this was years ago and all I remember is that it was someplace near Ames. Next time I see my friend I’ll ask her — she’ll remember.

  27. thomass Says:

    Grass fed organic humbug


  28. Don Carlos Says:

    Has anyone gone to Neo’s link, Verde Farms? Anyone? What do you think?

    Per the website, Verde does not raise beef. Verde buys beef, packages it, and sells it mostly to Costco, limited pretty much to the East Coast stores.

  29. Don Carlos Says:

    During the great bison slaughter after the Civil War, done for the bison hides for the Northeast, the shooters took only two meats from the carcasses to sustain themselves: the hump and the tongue.

  30. KLSmith Says:

    Why hamburg rather than hamburger?

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    KLSmith: because I like the way it sounds.

    Wanna make something of it :-)?

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: yes, if I recall correctly (don’t have time to check it right now), the meat is imported from Uruguay and New Zealand. The map shows a wide distribution in the east, and lists a lot of Costco stores and some restaurants. It’s actually available elsewhere, too, in places that are not listed on the website. I’m not sure what your point is: buy American?

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: why is grass fed a bigger risk for prion disease? I thought animals got prion disease from consuming feed made of animal parts from the nervous system (i.e. brains). When last I checked, that wasn’t the content of either grass or grain.

  34. Don Carlos Says:

    White-tailed deer in northern WI have a prion disease, called “wasting disease”, and they’re all wild foragers.
    Ingest a prion, that’s all it takes, whether in commercial feed or vegetation tainted by a prion-positive deer’s saliva.

  35. fmt Says:

    Hey, Lurch, Bingo! “Organic” should be called cruelty to animals. Why do “organic” dairy cows produce less milk than conventional dairy cows? Because they are less well fed and less well cared for. I can’t use the word “organic” with a straight face. The chemicals aren’t killing us, the chemicals are keeping us alive.

  36. KLSmith Says:

    Thanks, Neo. Thought maybe it was a regional thing or some new word rule I’d missed. Like, it’s not hamburg-er unless it’s actually made in to a burger.

  37. thomass Says:

    neo-neocon Says:

    “I thought animals got prion disease from consuming feed made of animal parts from the nervous system (i.e. brains).”

    Some of the proteins are in their waste and they’re very tough proteins that persist for awhile. So; even after the ‘rest’ is gone they can still be on grass (which ends up being the transmission medium). Someone else mentioned even bone meal fertilizer could be contaminated which can give you an idea. So; non organic crops grown with chemical fertilizer can be safer feed.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: I see what you’re saying, but there’s something about it that isn’t convincing, and I’ll tell you what it is. The empirical evidence about the disease does not support it. If you read about the disease and how its been transmitted and its natural history so far, you’ll find that grass-fed cattle are less susceptible, not more. The epidemiology appears to indicate no cases in countries such as Uruguay where the beef is much more predominently grass-fed.

    If cattle are really grass-fed, and the disease is not introduced into the population in the first place, it’s hard to see how it could be spread by contaminated grass. The grass can only become contaminated from a diseased animal in the first place. And although there is evidence that for some other prion-type diseases (such as the deer disease Don Carlos mentioned above) the grass is probably a vector of transmission, that is for a somewhat different disease, and in a population where the disease is already widespread.

    It’s very complex, but the bottom line is that in terms of actual evidence rather than theoretical speculation, grass fed beef is safer. Actually, the entire beef population is safer than it used to be in this regard, due to more stringent regulations about feeding and testing animals.

  39. thomass Says:

    Your mixing your samples. If the environment in Uruguay is free of prion diseases… no practices will spread something that isn’t there.

    These diseases are in the wild in the US and UK… We have both ‘mad cow’ and chronic wasting. The UK has mad cow and scrapie. Papua New Guinea has kuru… et cetera…

    On the plus side… as our bodies slow down (re: age) the effects take longer. So; we might all have it but if it is small amounts it won’t matter… whereas a growing child might die from the same amount. Anyway; I guess cancer won’t be the only problem if they find a way to reverse aging by playing with cell telomeres…

  40. thomass Says:

    Read the link. It used the British experience / government as a its major source and I think that is a problem. I’ve read articles about the various methodology errors in their research over the years. One being they did not take the age issue I mentioned above into account. Since few people died they drew various conclusions about how it was spread based on that.. but most of the people were young who died and they didn’t look into whether many more people had low level exposure / infections (that wouldn’t kill them before other causes)… which would then point to it being spread in other ways.

    As a counter point I would raise chronic wasting. Its an epidemic in the US but it is among wild omnivores.

  41. thomass Says:

    Wild herbivores… Oops

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