The all-American hamburger is a) named after a German city and b) contains no ham. If thoughts like these keep you awake at night, it may be time to visit the Main Street Market’s Organic Butcher, where manager Robert Collins and his staff can hook you up with a variety of locally raised alternatives to the classic ground chuck.
Says Organic Butcher manager Robert Collins, when it comes to burgers, beef isn’t your only option.
The meat grinder is always fired up for turning, say, some pastured pork and peanut-fed Surrey ham into a burger that bursts with Virginia tradition. Housemade chicken sausage with fennel and herbs make a great Italian burger, says Collins. He’s also a fan of mixing the house pork sausage with grass-fed beef for extra juiciness and flavor.
Season local ground lamb with peppery harissa, cumin and mint for a pita burger that begs for cucumber-yogurt sauce, or snag some Double H bacon for a bacon-topped burger slathered with a funky bleu cheese from Feast! next door.
You’ve devoured bacon, but pork belly? More flavorful than leaner loins or chops, this humble cut is hugely versatile because of its perfect fat-to-meat ratio.
No wonder local chefs have jumped on the belly bandwagon. Downtown at Brookville, chef Harrison Keevil serves it cured, glazed with maple syrup and sliced for sharing. The sweet blends beautifully with the savory, like dipping bacon into maple syrup. Just a million times better.
Chef Craig Hartman turns pork belly into extraordinary ‘cue at Gordonsville’s Barbeque Exchange. Succulent and tender, the slices melt in your mouth. An upscale alternative to pulled pork when paired with cornbread and green tomato pickles.
It’s gourmet belly at C&O on Water Street. Grilled, then served over sourdough with citrus jam and pickled fennel slaw. The fennel’s licorice plays against the light sweetness of the jam and smokiness of the pork to create the perfect belly bite.—Jenée Libby
Control your temperature
Invest in a meat thermometer that includes the recommended temperatures for various meats to eliminate the guesswork (and the burns) from the “poke method” taught by chefs. Find one at Seasonal Cook for $15.95.
For your funny bone
What’s the cheapest kind of meat?
Deer balls—they’re under a buck!