Shake Shack's Burger Meat Standards Are Higher Than You Think

Shake Shack, the burger chain that originated in New York City, has become one of the more sought after fast-casual chains around the United States for its tasty burgers, though it still is a fairly rare find given that there are fewer than 250 locations in the country. But perhaps that is what allows the chain to keep its burgers so high quality — probably even better quality than you thought. Shake Shack's website clearly states how they define quality meat: "we came up with a custom blend of 100% Angus beef from premium whole muscle cuts — with no hormones or antibiotics, ever."

Beyond that, Shake Shack firmly believes in the welfare of its animals, and it requires that all animals used in its food are taken care of to certain standards while they're raised. Of course, if you've ever bitten into a Shake Shack burger, you can likely tell that it's something different compared to the standard fast-food burger you're used to.

Shake Shack requires that its animals are treated with care

In order to get the best quality meat, Shake Shack eliminates hormones and antibiotics, but it doesn't stop there. The brand also demands the "humane treatment" of its cattle and eliminates any animal byproducts or "sub-therapeutic antibiotics" in the cattle's food. Plus, all of its cattle are raised in the United States, and its beef is always fresh; no frozen patties are served.

The brand's website outlines all of its rules for the various types of meat on its menu, as well as eggs and dairy. Shake Shack touts its cage-free egg policy and only sources eggs from hens that have room to walk around and spread their wings, among other natural behaviors.

Interestingly, the chain does note that there is "room for improvement" in terms of its chicken sourcing; there seems to be an acknowledgement that it doesn't quite meet the same standards as its burger meat in terms of conditions, such as how much light the chickens get.

Shake Shack is paying closer attention to its meat alternatives, too

Shake Shack might be known for its burgers (and that delicious herb mayo on its chicken sandwich), but it offers a variety of meatless burgers, too, and the chain recently launched a veggie burger with real, distinguishable vegetables.

Back in May 2023, Shake Shack's Veggie Shack burger hit the market, and customers can recognize everything in it: sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, quinoa, and farro. It's topped with cheese and onions, plus the iconic Shack Sauce.

Perhaps this much is to be expected from a brand that sources its meat from Pat LaFrieda, a New Jersey-based meat wholesaler that provides to some of New York City's finest dining restaurants. And while Shake Shack might not exactly hit the "fine dining" nail on the head, its meat is comparable to some bigger, fancier spots, which says a lot about a fast-casual burger chain that got its start as a food cart.