I picked up some ground beef (frozen, by the way, but it doesn't make a difference, believe me) and some knucklebones from the Highland Hill Farms Beef booth at the Ferry Plaza market.
According to the nice lady behind the table, this is entirely grass-fed beef (pricey, and actually quite hard to find). That is, it's grass-fed and grass-finished, unlike much grass-fed beef which is grass-fed and then grain-finished.
While mostly grass-fed, then grain-finished beef is still good (the saturated fat has less detrimental qualities, it is believed, and is overal more healthful to eat because it is the cattle's natural diet), entirely grass-fed beef is rare, because it's extremely expensive to raise.
Well, I can tell you, if you really like a fine burger then this is worth it. They were out of the steaks by the time I got there (9am!) but the ground beef is excellent. I mean, really excellent. Definitely the best tasting burger ever. It's so flavorful it barely needs condiments. Really really excellent meat, in my opinion, only needs the barest sprinkling of salt. When we grilled these flavorful beauties I even forgot to add a little salt before shaping the patties (like I usually do). No need -- such flavor! It's coarsely ground, and probably pretty well off the charts in the fat department (I don't eat like this all the time!) and it is just divine. It is worth the high pricetag. Boy it's good. Can you tell I like it?
The knucklebones were another find. I make stocks quite a bit, and the quality of the bones often separates a good stock from a great one. After 20 hours of simmering the beef stock, which included these knucklebones, was bursting with good beef flavor. Usually Mr. Smith wrinkles his nose at stock making -- he doesn't much care for the smell (though he loves the sauces which come from good stocks), but he actually liked the smell from this stock. The stock gelled perfectly, as it should, and in addition to the fine beefy flavor, had a slightly deeper color than usual, too.
If you like beef a lot, and also are concerned with trying to consume a more healthful, natural version of it, give Highland Hills a try. I believe these are less usual breeds of cattle, too -- the lable shows one of those cute looking steers with the fetlocks and the hair covering their eyes. Whether it's the grass feeding, the breed, or both, this is definitely the best beef I've ever eaten.
Ooh look, I found a website for them!
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