My book club (aka salon) is reading Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser this month. If you are familiar with the book you know that it reports an inside look at the history of fast food, the suppliers, the economics of keeping the food inexpensive and the politics of food safety, or lack thereof. I haven't eaten fast food in years...after this book I never will again. Google Books description in part reads:
"Eric Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. He hangs out with the teenagers who make the restaurants run and communes with those unlucky enough to hold America's most dangerous job -- meatpacker. He travels to Las Vegas for a giddily surreal franchisers' convention where Mikhail Gorbachev delivers the keynote address. He even ventures to England and Germany to clock the rate at which those countries are becoming fast food nations.
Along the way, Schlosser unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization -- a phenomenon launched by fast food.
FAST FOOD NATION is a groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that may change the way America thinks about the way it eats."
The book supports my belief that eating organic, locally grown food is the best way to promote health, community, safety and economic policy. You won't want to eat low-cost supermarket beef again after reading the book...if you are fortunate enough to be able to purchase grass fed beef...please do so. Since I spend most of my time in Taos, New Mexico these days, I am also able to easily find beef alternatives such as bison and elk. These choices are purported to be leaner than commercially grown beef with less cholesterol and the animals are treated humanely throughout their lives. My family likes the taste better than beef, and I like the fact that, with each purchase, I am supporting small, local ranchers.
Today I am sharing my recipe for elk burgers. Due to the lower fat content, I add a bit of minced white onions to add some moisture. I also cook to medium rare. Please do go any further than "medium" when cooking...they will dry out too much with additional heat. Maybe give elk a try for the 4th of July?
Best Ever Elk Burgers
1 lb ground elk
1/2 cup minced white onions
extra virgin olive oil (for grill)
4 whole wheat or sourdough hamburger buns
butter or olive oil
your favorite hamburger toppings i.e.
crisp lettuce leaves
sliced red onion
cheddar cheese, if desired
Combine elk and minced onions in a small bowl. Form meat into four patties. Using your thumb, make a depression in the center of each patty. (This will help prevent shrinkage) Generously season each patty with salt and pepper. Set aside
Prepare coals if using an outdoor grill or heat grill pan until hot. Grease grate or grill pan with olive oil. Grill burgers 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. You want medium rare or medium...cooking any longer will result in dry, tough meat. If using cheese, add during the last minute of cooking to allow melting. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Butter or olive oil insides of each bun. Grill for one minute being careful to not let burn.
Add elk patties to buns and add your favorite toppings. Serve immediately
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