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Nov 13, 2013 08:35 AM

Best Burger I ever ate!

I recently came back from Dublin, Ireland and took a train out to Galway on the west coast. I had lunch in a small restaurant (Griffins Bakery Tea Rooms Restaurant - there since the 1800's) and had the best burger I've ever had (yes I know I call myself Flexitarian, which is a vegetarian that eats meat, but rarely). I added nothing to the burger - no mustard ketchup or relish, etc. as I wanted to taste it unaduterated. All it had was some lettuce and tomato and I think a bit of butter and mayo. The bun was fresh baked on the premises, which only helped of course, but the burger itself was out of this world. It had a taste that was almost like filet mignon. My friend who I was travelling with also agreed (and he's no vegetarian!). The butcher shop where the burger came from (Colleran's, a 3rd generation butcher shop) was listed on the menu and was just down the street so I headed over after my meal and talked to the butcher to find out about this incredible burger. He told me the burger was ground from beef on-site (as my Mother has always does as she tells me it's really the only way to know what is in the burger) and was taken from the shoulder of the cow as the shoulder has less fat and that it is from a heifer, which is a young cow before she has had her first calf. All that was then added was salt and pepper. He did not know the species of cow.

Anyway, now I want to recreate this experience (as best can as I live in Rosedale, not the west cost of Ireland). So, I am curious where those of you who grind your own beef for burgers (or does anyone any more?) or have the butcher grind it for you get your beef, what kind of beef you use and where you buy it in Toronto. I was thinking I might start at Cumbrae's, my 'go to' meat store.

Now, just to pre-empt a few of you, please don't tell me the only reason it tasted so good was that I don't eat meat that often and it was therefore more the feeing of eating meat again rather than the actual taste of it (not to mention my carnivorous friend felt the same). I have very discerning taste buds that are unaffected by that type of bias! ;)

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  1. With my friend Peter, we have been grinding our own meat for burgers for many years. It makes all the difference to taste & texture. We've mostly experimented with locally raised, fully grassfed bison, but the techniques work just as well with beef. Although I don't buy often from butcher shops, I think I'd give Sanagan's a try. Our experiences can be found here:

    1 Reply
    1. re: OldEater

      Thanks, I will try Sanagan's. I didn't even know about the. Great website and blog they have. I think I'll buy both beef and bison and do a blind taste test.

    2. I use the Blue Label Burger blend and have received nothing but rave reviews from everyone who has tried my burgers (I do use shortribs instead of oxtail, as suggested in the notes):

      1 Reply
      1. The Cheese Boutique grinds the meat on site and it's usually $0.90 per 100 grams. I bought it often last year and it made fantastic burgers and I even ate it raw in some dishes. This year I haven't been so lucky with it, but it's still worth checking out if you ever go there. Once it was ground extremely fine for some reason and another time it had more fat that usual. It is labelled as lean or extra lean and "aged 42 days".