The Very Best in Grass-fed Beef
Most people are privy to grass-fed beef and all the quasi-healthful benefits attached to it. By allowing cattle to graze free-range, the animals are stretching their muscles and imbuing their bodies with a more well-rounded, wholesome diet free of antibiotics and hormones. The result for omnivores like us is a beef product that is succulent, tender, juicy, and rich with grassy aromatics. Think of the aroma of a freshly cut lawn on a breezy summer day. Now just imagine that in the form of a nice burger. Mmm. Now that you're well-versed in the lore of grass-fed beef, don't you just crave a grass-fed beef burger? One of the best ways to partake in grass-fed farming practices is in burger form, as the meat is ground and loosely packed, neatly heaped onto a bun and ripe for your mouth. Herewith, check out some top-notch spots to enjoy a tasty grass-fed meal.
(Standard Market Grill's brunch burger)
Grass-fed burgers are a fresh new addition to the menu at Standard Market Grill, the Lincoln Park restaurant that is anything but standard. Using ingredients derived and sourced from Standard Market, the restaurant peddles some of the freshest, most pristine locally sourced ingredients for their eclectic menu. For this bracing new burger, beef is ground daily in-house, and topped with white cheddar, tomato-bacon jam, kale slaw, and red onions on a pretzel bun. Classic flavor combination, updated with invigorating results.
Nestled in the shadows of the Loop, Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House has long been a steady player in Chicago's prominent burger landscape. Lauded by many as having some of the best burgers in town, what some don't know is that the tavern makes all of their burgers with grass-fed beef. This meat — certified for High Animal Welfare by the AWA — tastes as good as it will make your heart feel. Especially when the juicy patties are topped with the likes of barbecue sauce, beer cheese, and fried onion strings.
One of the "cheffiest" burger joints to emerge in recent years, at the forefront of the current craze, is DMK Burger Bar. And the Michael Kornick-helmed restaurant still holds up strongly to this day. The restaurant is the largest consumer of grass-fed beef in the Midwest outside of grocery stores. Think about that for a minute. Each and every beef burger on their sprawling, beefy menu is made with certified grass-fed beef. It's all a part of the meticulous approach to burger perfection, ensuring each and every component of the burger, from the beef to the perfectly sized and baked buns, is masterful. With numerous beef burger options to try, there's something for everyone, whether it's the Mexican-spiced #6 burger with chorizo and guacamole or the deli-inspired #3 with pastrami, Gruyere, sauerkraut, and remoulade.
Another solid chef-driven burger joint to take root in Chicago is Butcher & the Burger, an eatery that goes the extra mile by also serving as a butcher shop. So diners can see the fresh meat right in front of them before digging into a custom burger creation. Sure the offbeat menu is easily distracting what with exotic burger options like elk and ostrich, but the grass-fed beef burgers take a back seat to no patty. The shop offers composed orders, but the more popular option for guests is to customize their own fixings, opting for toppings such as duck eggs, foie gras, and black truffle aioli.
Flying quietly under the radar, The Burger Point has been steadily slinging some of the finest grass-fed quickservice burgers in Chicago. Located on a hushed stretch of the South Loop, the sunny restaurant peddles a myriad of grass-fed options, from one topped with blue cheese, bacon, and bourbon-bacon jam, to a Jersey-inspired version heaped with marinara, mozzarella, and pepperoni.
- Matt Kirouac