It’s a welcome shift in the industry that more burgerias are starting to offer grass-fed beef on their menus. I’ve been on the lookout for grass-fed beef burgers. I haven’t found an outstanding one yet. It isn’t that grass-fed beef doesn’t taste good. I’ve used Costco’s organic GFB in meat loaves with wonderful results.
At the Issaquah Farmers Market over two weeks ago, the BUNS food truck appeared alongside Maximus/Minimus. And wouldn’t you know that BUNS uses only “natural” grass-fed beef for their burgers?
The menu is short. For the beef-averse, there are chicken and salmon burgers. At the head of the list though are beef burgers with (“The Cheesy”) and without (“The Classy”) a slice of white cheddar cheese from Beecher’s (a local, nationally renown cheese maker), accompanied by a tomato slice, lettuce, red onions, pickles and a housemade sauce. Other variations include a burger with bacon and pineapple (“The Maui”), a New Mexican-style one with mild green chiles (“The Easy Hottie”) and a spicy one for chileheads (“The Flamethrower Hottie”).
The equipment in the truck includes a commercial charbroiler and deep fryer. You can see the flames lapping up through the grates. Everything is made-to-order, which translates to a wait time of approximately ten minutes, a good thing knowing that nothing is made ahead of time other than condiments.
I root for vendors who have the commitment to feed the masses without CAFO beef. Could BUNS deliver on excellence? It’s almost impossible not to overcook ground beef over a very hot broiler. More to the point, purveyors have to comply (by default) with health-code standards to cook patties to the well-done stage. BUNS, like any food vendor serving ground beef (grass-fed or not), is forced to conform because the large-scale, mechanized slaughterhouse industry that by its very scale and feed practices could not guarantee food safety. Our “Cheesy” burger partly suffered an overcooked fate even if its flavor was beefy and lightly smoky. Beyond that, the patty harbored bits of gristle that was off-putting. The sandwich was wrapped in an excellent, light Kaiser roll-like bun, made by local Grand Central Bakery. Despite the (required) warning of undercooked beef, you can request that BUNS cook your burger to any degree of doneness, I discovered later. I like my patty to be on the medium-rare side. So, while BUNS’ burger (☆☆½) represents an admirable step forward toward a healthier burger, I will continue in search of the great grass-fed example.