it’s barbecue time! not only is there sun, but there is some delicious meat to be had here in london. chris and i went to a picnic organized by our new friends from yelp last weekend on the oh-so-englishly named hampstead heath. thanks to a running joke about our ‘stupid american’-ness, we decided to bring some super patriotic mini hamburger sliders to the picnic. how do you know a burger’s done? poke it on the grill and it bleeds red, white, and blue, dammit.
of course, we had to get the very best of british beef for these high-quality bites of americana. i took advantage of my broadway market trip last weekend to pick up some ‘fine mince’ ground beef from the wild beef stall. this company is based in devon in the southwest of england, and they sell meat from the most purely naturally raised cattle i’ve ever seen.
in the states, the best quality meat is from cows fed only grass rather than corn, soy, or scary things like ethanol waste because that’s how cow stomachs evolved to digest. the lucky ones might get to graze a pasture rather than being confined to a pen or feedlot. the cows from wild beef, however, graze the grasses on the uncultivated soil of devon, without any supplementary feed to promote growth or mass amounts of antibiotics to combat high risk of infection due to unsanitary living conditions.
they call it ‘nutritionally, ecologically, and gastronomically the best‘and they might just be right. their old breed north and south devon and welsh black cattle roam the windy, fertile moors like heathcliff (sorry, just finished wuthering heights), free to feed on grass, herbs, weeds, and shrubs to their heart’s content. and then they become delicious, meaty, flavorful, safe-to-eat beef. it’s a little expensive, but i’d rather eat good, farm-fresh or wild-moor-fresh meat less often than eat cheap but scary industrially processed meat that’s probably full of anthrax. always better to eat your burgers without fear of death from bacterial infection. here’s some more information on why sustainably produced meat is better than the industrial stuff in an article i wrote for eat.drink.better (sorry for the self-plug but i already did the research and now it’s in one place. if it ain’t broke, why write it all over again?)
anyway, back to sliders. with meat this good, all you need is a little salt and pepper and it tastes fantastic. then in keeping with our american-only-in-theory hamburgers, i made my favorite gougeres for buns, but we’ll just refer to them as cheese puffs to keep up appearances. chris and i brought a mini barbecue grill to the heath, which we’re pretty sure is illegal, but sometimes you just gotta be gangsta like that. chris grilled these little morsels of meat to the perfect level of chargrilled flavor on the outside and pink juiciness on the inside. i did my best to set the cheese puffs on fire as i appear to have a singular talent for incinerating bread products. perhaps i could parlay this skill into a baking/circus career.
chris is teaching me the ways though – we’re throwing a barbecue party this weekend. you may or may not know that he is a former barbecue professional, after all. if you’ve seen any photos of him on this blog so far, you’d also know that he really likes to bite things. first a spatula, then a yummy slider. RAOWR.