As National Burger Month comes to a close, we decided to do a quick overview of burger products we’ve seen in local grocery stores to satisfy our curiosity. And with summer practically here, it seemed a good time to expand our horizons.
A few items have recently caught our attention during shopping tours at various grocers — Schweid & Sons fresh patties, Bubba Burgers frozen boxed patties and Simply Essentials Beef, a new ground beef. Here’s what we tried with good results all-around.
We didn’t sample store-brand fresh patties because the selections were too wide ranging. Instead, we tried the Schweid & Sons brand from Tops.
The upscale packaging caught our eye. The company calls itself a high-quality ground beef purveyor. The ground beef comes in a variety of blends: Butcher’s Blend, Signature Series, The Chuck Brisket, The Prime Burger, The Katana Blend (no hormones or antibiotics) and The Grass Fed Standard. Prices ranged from $7.99 to $9.99 for four burgers.
We tried the Signature Series ($8.99 after Tops Bonus Plus $1 off). Patties are 5.3 ounces. There was some grilling shrinkage as the blend is 75 percent lean, 25 percent fat. Overall the taste was beefy and pretty good. We ate the burgers on the outstanding Tops St. Pierre brand brioche buns that come four per pack ($3.99), making it easy to match the packaged burger patty count to buns. The buns really elevated the burger.
Verdict: A decent burger that can be dressed up with toppings and bun. A quick dinner option when you don’t have time to make your own patties. We’d even serve them at a party because they are easy and tasty, and just the right size if you are adding hot dogs or other grilled item to the mix.
Bubba Burger Frozen Patties
Bubba Burgers come six to a box and are sold at most grocery stories plus big-box stores like Target and Walmart. We got ours at Wegmans ($10.99).
The quirky story on the box about Walter “Bubba” Eaves assured us we’d find, “the taste and texture of a handmade burger, with the convenience of a frozen one.” Bubba Burgers come in different incarnations including original, Angus beef, sweet onion, jalapeno, grass fed, turkey and veggie. Most are gluten free. We went with the Angus version, with a patty size of 5.3 ounces.
The shape is odd right out of the package, and burgers go on the grill frozen. We laughed at the instructions, “Don’t mess with it until you see the juices on top, and don’t press it.”
Once again there was shrinkage, but not dramatic. For a frozen burger, the taste was on par with the Schweid & Sons fresh burger.
Verdict: We like the versatility of Bubba Burger. We envision packing different types in a cooler with ice and hauling it to the beach or park to give everyone a different choice. The burgers are perfect to have on hand in the freezer to feed your kids and their friends over the summer for when that impromptu pool party or "can we please have a sleepover" happens.
Simply Essentials beef burgers
Market in the Square (940 Union Road, Southgate Plaza West Seneca) recently added Simply Essentials beef to its meat case.
According to the company, the cattle, “roam pastures of the Midwest, feeding on lush greens,” before being transitioned to a flaxseed-based diet, which in turn “naturally lowers the cholesterol and raises the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the beef.” (Normally, cattle are corn-fed to fatten them up.) The beef has no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed.
The $3.88 price per pound is on par (even a little cheaper) than high-end and organic ground beef. To make six, 6-ounce burgers, you’d need just over two pounds of beef.
Verdict: This burger was delicious, with very little shrinkage or flare ups during cooking. Those not used to grass-fed beef might notice the meat is a little chewier, but we like that. The flavor was beefy, on par with similar higher end counterparts.
Story topics: burgers; grocery stores