Why Is the Burger Stuffed with Braised Meat? - West Side Beef
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Why Is the Burger Stuffed with Braised Meat?

The burgers that you receive in each Beef Share of WSB are the same burger that we serve at Richmond Station. The burger is among the most popular items on the restaurant menu and among the most coveted items in each Beef Share.

For the initiated, you must be wondering why we put the braised meat in the centre of each patty.

It certainly isn’t commonly found and we are the only source for this burger in the city. While there are more and more restaurants buying their meat directly from farms, there are not many buying whole sides of beef and using all the cuts included in an entire carcass.

Making the burger this way certainly isn’t a time saver: it takes three people working side by side about 1 hour to make 100 patties: that means 180 minutes to make those patties, which equals 1 minute 48 seconds per burger patty. And that’s after all the butchery is completed, which takes hours in and of itself. And after the animal has been raised to 800lbs, which takes two years!

The first reason we make the burger the way we do is that it’s delicious. Simply put, its the best burger we can make. And once we reach the point where our recipe, our process, can’t be improved, we put all our effort into keeping that product consistently perfect.

The second reason we make the burger the way we do is that it’s a great use of the whole animal. WSB is focused on buying only whole animals and directly from the farm. While this always makes for better tasting meat, it is not an effort to be taken lightly. In addition to the sheer size of each animal and the time and effort required to break it down, there are also challenging sections of each carcass that can require a lot of time to butcher or a lot of creativity on behalf of the cook to make them delicious.

As a young butcher, I remember butchering beef neck after beef neck. It is an inexpensive cut that customers never want to buy. The head butcher can afford to let a young apprentice cut this meat up without fear of product loss. But even once I got good at butchering this piece, it never became a fast and easy task.

All these years later, it turns out the best way to butcher beef neck is to braise it until the meat falls off the bone! Approached this way, the yield goes way up as the amount of meat that will fall off the bone is far more than I could ever carve off with my knife. Better still is that the rich and sweet braised neck meat is perfectly cooked this way, and being able to cook it on the bone makes it that much better.

The burger is the natural extension of buying whole animals and trying to find the best way to use all the cuts in the side. The burger is the perfect representation of our purchasing policies and our commitment to making delicious food. I can’t imagine going back to hand butchering beef neck any more than I can imagine going back to making a standard ground beef patty devoid of braised beef neck stuffing.

– Ryan Donovan, Butcher

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