We've been hearing about the ground beef at the Moscow Food Co-op for a while and finally decided to give it a try. We usually buy regular ground beef in the BIG packages and never the lean or super lean. We both grew up with ground beef being super cheap and when it went to over $2 a pound we went into sticker shock and have been there ever since.
Still, we've been wanting to try and buy more local (or as local as we can. I count anything from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana as local) and popped in one evening to buy some. They didn't have any of the family packs out, so the meat counter guy ran tot he back to see about them. While we waited for them to finish a couple up we talked with him about the meat.
The Co-op gets their meat in a whole muscle and grind it there, none of this grinding it in a big factory and then regrinding it to make it look fresh when it hits the mega mart. By grinding it there they can avoid some of the problems of contaminated ground beef the big processors have. They also get beef from producers that believe in raising the animal in as sustainable and humane way as possible.
So we get our package and it really isn't that much more expensive then the lean at the mega stores and this was the Co-ops regular ground beef. We took it home and I made up patties and used only a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning. Popped them into the oven on a rack and let them bake (I use a baking sheet and a wire rack to cook burgers on. Regular ground beef has lots of fat and it helps the patties drain as they cook).
When the burgers were done I added some nice cheddar cheese and onto the buns they went. Handed hubby his and he looked at it, picked it up and siad "I hope I don't like it!". He took a bite and had a resigned look on his face and said "it is wonderful!". LOL!
He was right. The burger tasted like a hamburger should. The burgers we make with regular mega mart beef is mixed with onion soup mix and a few other seasonings to give them flavor. The burgers from the Co-op beef needed nothing beyond the salt and pepper and probably didn't even need that.
We will keep getting the cheap stuff form the mega mart, for a lot of my recipes it doesn't matter and the money we save on that means we can treat ourselves to the burger from the Co-op a bit more frequently.