Texas is a big state known for its big burgers, but some of its burger-joint owners are taking up a new trend: the movement toward organic.
They don't call it the Longhorn State for nothing. Known for its chicken-fried steak, big juicy burgers, and lip-smacking barbecue, Texas is for meat lovers. And these days many restaurants and stores, as well as culinary schools in Texas, are becoming more socially responsible about their beef.
It's easy enough to find the restaurants that are serving up burgers made from grass-fed, hormone-free cows: just visit the suppliers' web sites and they'll gladly tell you who's dishing up their beef so you can reward these responsible establishments with your patronage.
For instance, Burgundy Pasture Beef in Grandview, Texas, is a farm that only sells beef that meets its philosophy of being simple, wholesome, and rich in flavor — which translates to animals raised on a pasture in a natural setting, without hormones. Burgundy also packages their meat on the premises, and they can easily point you to the restaurants and stores where you can buy their product once it leaves the farm.
Green Spot Market in Dallas proudly sells Burgundy's sustainable beef. But if you don't feel like buying the packaged stuff, the market is also home to the Green Spot Café, where you can munch on a hamburger made from the hormone-free, nitrate- and nitrite-free beef (on a whole-wheat, challah, or gluten-free bun, of course).
Hankering for a more formal setting when you dig into that juicy — and sustainable — Texas burger? Try Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine in Forth Worth. Bonnell's Smokehouse Burger features dry-aged, grass-fed beef topped with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
McKinney, Texas' trendy burger joint, Square Burger, has also become known for its grass-fed beef burgers, with fresh meat delivered daily from Genesis Beef — a farm committed to grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free products.
Genesis raises its animals on the pasture, which it says makes for "happy cattle." That means its cattle should be healthier than the average cow and that the organic burger you're being served should be healthier than the average restaurant burger. Plus, fewer chemicals in the beef equal fewer chemicals in your body and in the environment.
It's not just the restaurants that are going organic with their meat in Texas. The practice of making high-quality Texas burgers with organic, grass-fed beef starts at some of the top culinary schools in Texas. For instance, The Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas, prides itself on promoting sustainable farming. This top chef school also practices farm-to-table philosophies.
So whether you're seeking a culinary arts degree that can teach you to cook with organic ingredients fresh from the farm or just hankering for a place to go for a juicy, organic burger, chances are you can find what you're looking for in Texas.
Stacey Makely is a writer with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked at several newspapers, covering everything from business and technology to education and culinary adventures at Chef2Chef.net. Her articles have appeared in dozens of major newspapers and leading online news sites across the country.