All Ground Special $69

Xtra thick ground round burgers w/garlic & balsamic worked in

Get either a 10 (2 each type)or a 15 (3 each type)-nominal 1 pound each- assortment of grass- fed ground beef delivered: beef brick, beef quarter-pound patties, chuck brick, round brick, and sirloin brick: all dry-aged and vacuum packed. $69 for 10 or $99 for 15.

Firehouse Chile Gumbo will get you thru a cold wintry spell.

Limit one (1)  Special per order/delivery address. Only PayPal (not mailed check) $20 “special” deposits received while this post is active will be eligible. Special flat total delivery charge of $7.00 per order/address. See “How to Order” on menu. Make note during PayPal checkout of which order size.

Currently Unavailable. Consider Lil” Bit Variety Samplers instead as they contain 6 packages of various ground forms/ varieties.


promo stunts

Bike Audio Trailer

Conceived, designed and built specifically for large public bicycle rides. Lightweight, aerodynamic and electronically efficient so can provide hours of clean stereo sound -with a touch of bass punch-to the biking community along the varied and constantly morphing “listening chambers” constituting the ride’s course. Three prior years (2016,17,18) of riding with a system of massively over-rated Logitech Z313 internal amp 2.1 computer gaming speakers powered via a power-sucking inverter and carried by a poorly-sprung EMT conduit trailer equipped with 12 inch foam Strider wheels bore this revelation. Full 700C wheels and a lightweight sprung suspension with linear damping minimize bounce and rattle on the wonderfully-curated and meticulously preserved collection of pavement hazards unique to the Minneapolis Bike Tour.

Amp: Amplifier Board TPA3116D2 50Wx2+100W 2.1 Channel Digital Subwoofer Power X1B4 Bigger, cleaner sound (with speakers below) than even Logitech’s outrageously overrated (200 watt RMS!) big bro’ the Z623.

Power Supply: Car Rover Li-Ion 26,000 mA-hr @ 12 volts

Stereo Speakers: Alpine SPS-10c 2; 30 watts RMS, 92 dB sensitivity, silk dome tweeter, polypro woofer

Sub-Woofer:: Sound Storm SS10: 88 dB sensitivity, 32 Hz resonant freq, 69 ounce weight, operating in sealed 17 inch inside diameter spherical enclosure .

Enclosure: Marine plywood laminated and lathe-turned sub mounting ring integral to 1 inch foam core and fiberglass-epoxy inner and outer structural skins.

Music Source: Spotify playlist in offline mode on LG Nexus 5 with dual 3.5 mm connection cord to amp.

Quality Beef

Retail Grocery Steak Shoot-Out (Review)


Gaining perspective on what others are experiencing with their Twin Cities area retail meat counter steak quality choices is important to a beef producer. We tend to get accustomed to our own product and need to force ourselves to explore the larger world. That’s what this post series is about. I set out to find which stores and brands provide the Twin Cities best grocery steak value.


We’ll focus on the New York Strip cut as the best compromise between flavor and tenderness. Grass-fed and conventional. Refrigerated distribution steaks will be frozen if unable to prepare b-4 exp. date. All frozen steaks will be defrosted in sealed packaging immersed in cold water . NYT Cooks “Cast -Iron Steak” (“salt the pan, not the steak and flip early and often”) cooking method will be used to a 125 to 130 deg F internal temp. Steaks will be rested 2 minutes on a steam-heated stoneware plate before slicing and tasting.


Composite quality score will be calculated by multiplying a 0 to 5 Flavor by a 1 to 3 Texture score. Flavor has the upper hand here with potential of a Zero score. Why eat beef if it doesn’t taste like beef? Value score will be the Composite Quality score times 10 divided by $ price per pound paid (corrected for un-chewable discard pieces).

The Contestants:

No-Name (Original)

I recall these as being a quality product back in the 80’s and was curious as to the direction they’d taken since. Frozen in 8 oz pouches, $15 for 24 oz net ($10/pound). Country of origin NOT spec’d. Brined up to 7% w/water, salt, sodium phosphate, dextrose, papain. Cut not spec’d.

The pre-cooking beef is a boneless rectangle unidentifiable as to cut. Surface and partial thru-slices (to tenderize?) appear randomly. Wet, “plumped-up” appearance. Totally saturated a half-sheet of Bounty w/surface moisture.

Flavor Score: Zero (0) No discernible flavor characteristic of beef. Only a vague salty flavor.

Texture Score: One (1) Soft, squishy. Easily chewed.

Composite Score: Zero (0)

Value: Zero (0)

This outfit has constrained themselves to a price point that apparently demands they focus only on providing “tenderness” They’ve gone way too far down the rabbit hole for this to even be realistically regarded as “steak” any longer. They’d be ahead of the game simply molding a bullion-flavored gelatin into the shape of a steak.

Springerhill Ranch Brand

Refrigerated distribution at Fresh Thyme “Farmers” Market. $12.49 for 10 oz ($20/pound) trimmed NYS. Origin USA/Texas. Grass-fed, no added antibiotics, hormones, steroids.

Pre-cooking note: moisture absorbing “bib” built into rear panel of package. Some weight to it.

Flavor Score: Five (5) Robust grass-fed beef flavor. Clean w/no off-flavors.

Texture Score: Two (2) A bit over-tough on both ends of the strip with 2 only partly reducible-by-chewing (dogs got’em) pieces and 1 fatty/gristly piece.

Composite Score: Ten (10)

Value Score: 5

Exemplifies the Grass-Fed conundrum of getting both flavor and tenderness in the same cut of beef.

Thousand Hills

Refrigerated distribution at Coburns. $12.99 for 8 oz heavily trimmed NYS steak ($26 per pound). Origin USA. Grass-fed. No added antibiotics, hormones, grain.

Flavor Score: Three (3). Mild flavor straddling-the-fence between conventional and grass-fed. Fails to hit any of the distinctive grass-fed notes. Clean, no off-flavors.

Texture Score: Three (3). Heavily trimmed, angular, unnatural NYS shape most likely directed at eliminating “tough” portions. Total unchewable “gristle” at end around half an ounce. Otherwise ideal steak texture.

Composite Score: Nine (9)

Value Score: (3.5)

For an outfit that crows “Lifetime Grazed”, why stake out such a please-everyone flavor profile? Excessive reliance on focus group direction produce innocuous, undistinguished products like this.

Angus Farms

Refrigerated distribution at Hugo’s. $9.58 for a 0.71 pound NYS ($13.50 per pound). The “brand” label appears to be simply a stick-on to conventional in-store tray/film package so no country of origin or other claims on label other than” USDA Choice” which implies conventional (grain) fed.

Curious that this trademark is a front for “Cargill Meat Solutions” whose website blithely claims “Only the best cattle meet our strict standards for quality”. Huh? Everyone knows the “best cattle” in the conventional feeding game are graded USDA Prime. USDA Choice is the middling grade above Select. Double-take: USDA doesn’t grade “live cattle” ; only “hanging carcasses”! So these clowns are playing a shell-game w/us! They’re happily choosing some secret definition of the “best cattle” that an indifferent USDA only grades as “Choice” when they become carcasses. Apparently Cargill isn’t a very good judge of cattle.

Other than their place of birth there’s not likely much of anything like a “farm” in these animals’ experience. This is industrial feedlot beef.

Flavor Score: Two (2) Very mild verging on bland. No off flavors.

Texture Score: Three (3) Tender and juicy with exception of discarded fat and gristly pieces.- which totaled 0.070 pounds. It occurred to me that rather than discount the Texture score it would be more fair to let the Value score deal with “waste” portions, which were larger in total with this contestant than those prior. Both Springerhill and Thousand Hills value scores would be somewhat lower if waste were taken into account.

Waste-adjusted price per pound : $14.96

Composite Score: Six (6)

Value Score: Four (4)

Post-script: Their website recently began claiming dry-aging but you sure can’t verify from the bland flavor result.

Four Brothers

Refrigerated distribution at Coburn’s. Store film over tray pack with only paper stick-on exterior lablel . No COO claims. Only claim is “Hereford Beef” as part of logo. No in-tray diaper but loads of free moisture. Packaging dripping. Steak saturated 3 half-sheets of Bounty. $9.05 for 1.01 pounds ($8.99 per pound).

Flavor Score: Two point five (2.5) Mild but quite distinctive beef flavor ; Hereford influence?

Texture Score:: Two (2) “Dry” (like lean round steak) in center portion of strip. Ends w/more fat very good. Total discard: 0.030 pounds.

Waste-adjusted price per pound: $9.23

Composite Score: 5.0

Value Score : 5.4

Four Brothers originated in AU. If this is AU beef why no COO claim?

Hyvee Choice Reserve Beef

Refrigerated distribution at store meat counter. Paper wrap at POP with stick-on label claiming “Born , Raised, Harvest USA” Purchased 10-12-19 at $7.99 for 8 ounces and prepared w/o freezing on 10-14.

Flavor Score: One point five (1.5 ) Lower two-thirds of steak had next to NO flavor. Only the upper third redeemed the score. Course texture comes off as Hereford but nowhere near a flavorful as the Four Brothers previous review.

Texture Score: Two (2.0) “Dry” but not generally tough. Total un-chewable discard 0.75 ounces.

Waste-Adjusted Price per Pound: $17.76

Composite Score: Three (3.0)

Value Score:: One Point Seven (1.7)

So what’s so great about Hyvee?

Recipes Roasts

Homemade Pastrami

Pastrami is to beef brisket as bacon is to pork belly. The “Michael Symon’s Carnivor” recipe (on which I based this) uses a hybrid cook of dry smoke to 150 deg F internal followed by enclosing the brisket in a covered pan w/water (steam) cook to finish. I considered it a waste to cut short great smoke conditions for cheesy steaming so used apple wood chunks (for smoke) in an indirect heat Kamado grill setup with a cup of water in the drip pan (early steam) and allowed the grilling temperature to slowly increase from 225 deg F to 275 over 4-5 hours, removing the brisket at 180 deg F internal, foil wrapping and “resting” 1.5 hours in a towel-lined insulated “cooler”. My indirect Kamado set-up elevates the meat rack 3 inches with a 14 inch flat aluminum pizza pan “heat deflector”, 1/2 inch air gap and 12 inch deep dish pizza “drip pan” between the coals and the meat- blocking radiant heat transfer.

The result is firm, a bit on the dry side, and intensely smoky-salty flavorful. I sliced by hand (chef’s knife) so could only control to around 1/8 inch thickness. Firm enough to go half that thickness with a power rotary slicer. Steaming it prior to some uses might be desirable. Portioned slices into freezer gauge ziplock bags for future test of Symon’s “Fat Doug Burger”.

The 3 -day wet brine for a 5 pound brisket calls for 1 gallon water, 1.5 cups salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 8 tsp curing salt ( I used Tender Quick), 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 2 tbsp minced garlic and 1 tbsp Pickling Spice (next paragraph). Bring all to a simmer, cool, pour over brisket in non-reactive container , weight to submerge and refrigerate for 3 days.

Pickling Spice makes 1/4 cup (more than enough for a 5 pound brisket) and calls for 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seed, 1 tbsp coriander seed, 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 1/2 tsp mace, 1 1/2 tsp whole cloves, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 small cinnamon stick and 10 bay leaves.

Remove brisket from brine, rinse in water and dry with paper towels before coating in a coarsely ground blend of a tbsp each toasted black peppercorns and whole coriander. Place in preheated smoker or grill setup and monitor internal temperature to desired done-ness. Steam or not: it’s your call.

Ground Recipes

Firehouse Chili Gumbo

This NYT Cooking recipe works great with Hay Creek Ground Round. Serve with grated cheese and tortilla chips. Stands up to liberal use of hot sauce. Good stuff.



  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef, Round or Sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste


  1. Make the chili. Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the beef, stirring often, until it has begun to brown at the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a bowl.
  2. Pour off excess fat, turn heat down to medium and return the browned beef to the skillet or pot. Add salt, peppers, chile powder, turmeric, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir again. Cover the skillet or pot, and cook, stirring a few times, for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Make the gumbo. Place a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, and put the butter and oil into it. When the butter is melted and foaming, sprinkle the flour into the pan, and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, shallots, bell peppers, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have started to soften, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Make the chili gumbo. Add the beef mixture to the pot with the vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice and ketchup, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, then add apple-cider vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Take the pot off the heat, and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to cure. Heat before serving.
Ground Recipes

Old-Time Diner Style Keto- Burgers

This high (20-30%) fat burger is absolutely melt-in- your- mouth luscious and a wake-up jolt to the leaner-is-better crowd. Add frozen-shaved grass-fed suet (50 grams per pound of thawed Hay Creek ground beef ) and fry to 130 degree target internal temperature. This takes a good while since all the fat has to begin melting before the temperature will rise. Don’t overcook or you’ll melt out all the fat! Have Brioche buns already toasted and avoid overloading with condiments. A bit of ketchup, mayo, and fried onion maybe. Skip the tomato slice -or any other cold, moist mass-for sure. Eat ’em right away. Don’t let the fat cool and solidify.

Beef suet -with it’s unique flavor and melting point profile- is the only fat that will work for this. No Substitutes!

You could use an auger/plate style meat grinder with 3/16 to 7/32 inch plate openings to regrind the entire rolled-up “log” in photos above. NO “food processor”: it’ll destroy the meat texture and melt the fat.

Do not try this with commercial, wet-aged beef or you’ll have a mess, to say nothing of risk of illness.

No matter your take on the origin of the American burger, this preparation style dates from a time before any consumer had heard of e. coli – much less it’s numbered mutations. No one had heard of an official 160 deg F internal temperature cooking recommendation or had any equipment capable of measuring it in such a thin piece of meat. How did the burger become popular if it was always accompanied by the threat of illness or even death? The answer is most likely the growing dependence on fed antibiotics in the commercial cattle feeding business.

The USDA inspected processor I use handles only small- farm grown beef and has NEVER had a recall. Seems to me that the rewards outweigh the risks of “under-cooking”small farm, small processor beef: particularly so if grass-fed.. I never cook Hay Creek ground beef burgers to 160 deg F, just to the point the “squish” disappears at around 130 deg F. You judge for yourself.

Recipes Steaks

Beef Stroganoff via Time Machine

Set the time machine for 1963, pop the hatch and emerge into a weird parallel world where everyone smokes constantly, fear of meat, dairy, and dietary fat is unheard-of and “fat kids” are an anomaly still worthy of ridicule by peers. Anxiety over Soviet missiles and MAD could only be relieved by smoking, drinking, the antics of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and escape into the romanticized past of Camelot. ” Dr. Strangelove ” wouldn’t be seen till ’64. Something evil (besides Boris and Natasha) stalks this confounded scene: causing a dramatic rise in coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in relatively rich, western nations. The evil needed identification and eradication. All was about to be turned upside-down. This classic Stroganoff recipe provides instant transport back to the 60’s.

Ancel Keys (U of M) had already set the course by then with his graphic association of CHD death rate vs percent of dietary calories from fat for 6 countries. Everyone thought he was onto something and researchers piled-onto the “diet-heart idea”. More cool-headed skeptics found that Keys had cherry-picked the 6 countries from a total of 22 for which data was available. Had he included all 22 the correlation for sugar consumption versus CHD deaths would have been higher than that for total fat.

The zeal of funding institutions and researchers soon took on a religious crusade quality of certitude in direction and outcomes. No one questioning the “diet -heart idea” could get funding or an audience. Investigators manipulated data in ways to present the accepted outcome. Framington (MA) study analysts at year 30 could only find positive news in overall death rates of men (CHD death rates in women had never been shown to be influenced by blood cholesterol level) in the lowest cohort of blood cholesterol being a half-percent less per year than those in the highest. They failed to point out that deaths in question were not even CHD specific OR recognize that for men beyond age 47 survival rate was indifferent of cholesterol level! See “The Cholesterol Myths”.

So how did we get to today? How did all that momentum and low fat/high carbohydrate diet endorsements get reversed so that it’s now OK again to eat butter, bacon and beef? Reality intervened is what happened. Maverick cardiologist Dr Atkins started recommending the opposite; a high protein/low carb diet that had outstanding success in reversing the CHD symptoms of his patients. Packaged food companies eagerly switched over to cheap refined carbohydrates and sugar in place of expensive fats and -as a result-by the mid 80’s adolescent type 2 diabetes was becoming a problem. Endocrinology- the study of the body’s hormone reactions- came to better understand the roles of insulin and glycogen and the group of symptoms leading up to insulin resistance. Gary Taubes summed it all up in 2002. Since then diet-related autoimmune disorders and the huge role of gut microbes have begun to be understood.

Beware of vegan groups recovering the fallen, soiled banners of this era’s misguided protagonists, laundering them and representing them as underappreciated heroes. They were merely the wrong-headed opportunists of their time. Their endorsement by association lends no legitimacy to the vegan cause.

This is a wonderful, classic recipe. Be sure to cut steak to specified size while partially frozen. It’s impossible when completely thawed. The piece size is critical for chew-able texture as there isn’t much cooking time to help tenderize. Spring for fresh Italian parsley and the wide “nested” type egg noodles like Sams Choice Italia Pappardelle. Try a bit of fresh-grated nutmeg on a portion for that distinctive flavor.


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef round steak or boneless sirloin steak trimmed of all exterior fat and cut into 2-by-1/8 inch strips (like for stir fry).
  • ½ cup (one stick) butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock, ideally homemade
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley


  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the mixture.
  2. Brown the meat in one-quarter cup of the butter in a saucepan. Remove meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until transparent. Add the mushrooms and remaining butter and sauté 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add the beef stock or bouillon and bring to a boil. The preparation, to this point, may be done ahead.
  5. Add the meat to the sauce and cook until meat is tender but not overcooked, 3 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Combine sour cream, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Add some of the beef sauce to sour cream mixture. Return to pan and heat meat and sauce, stirring. Do not boil. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with buttered parsley noodles.

Have you cooked this?  Mark as Cooked



Soup Bones Special $2

Add-on (by request) to any “available” order meaty Hay Creek soup bones for only $2 per pound plus 10 or 12 cents per pound delivery (Fargo/MSP). Great for broth or basis for stews. Great starter for nose to tail eating experience. Easily sub’s for oxtail in Oxtail Stew recipe.


Shanks Osso Buco $4 Special

Add-on shanks to any “available” order for $4 per pound of shanks plus 10 or 12 cents per pound delivery (Fargo or MSP).

Great foundation for Osso Buco Milanese

Ground Recipes

Special Agent Suet Part 1: Pemmican

Pemmican is an all-natural , long-lasting energy food originally made by native Americans from wild large game, dry berries and nutmeats. Suet rendered into tallow (chemically/biologically stable at normal temperatures) serves as an important energy source and binder for all the components.

Suet is the “hard” fat from inside the body cavity of a beef animal. It’s not simply collected “trim” fat from the exterior. It’s 52 % saturated and 32 % mono saturated with a smoke point of 392 deg F. REMEMBER: NO legitimate scientific research has EVER established a causal link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease – despite what people who should know better continue to say. Suet seems hard and dry but in fact contains significant water moisture and will decay even under refrigeration.

Rendering the suet into tallow changes it’s chemical/biological stability at normal temp’s. Beef tallow is composed primarily of the saturated fats Palmitic (26%) and Stearitic (14%) as well as mono-saturated Oleic (47%) with a composite melting point of 86 to 113 deg F which provides a melt-in-the mouth sensation. The rendering process basically involves slowly heating suet (cut into small chunks) over a long period of time to drive out water. This is best/most safely done in a device with limited heat input capabilities (crockpot) or better yet a device that is thermostatically controlled (self-heated roaster). Small (1-3 pound) quantities rendered in a crockpot can be started out on “high” but must be monitored by thermometer inserted into the suet regularly to check temperature. Reduce crockpot setting to”low” when the 212 deg F “plateau” is past (most of the water evaporated) and the temp begins to climb rapidly. Stop heating when temp reaches 260-270 deg F, strain thru a SST kitchen strainer and pour into a glass or crockery vessel with removable cover to cool and store .

I based my pemmican trial on this site’s recipe #1. 

My interpretation used a 1# brick of Hay Creek Ground Round thawed and spread out (like a pizza dough) onto a roughly 16 inch diameter circle of parchment paper and oven dried for 8 hours @ 180 deg F. It sticks with unbelievable tenacity so the parchment is highly recc’d. Break the dried sheet of meat into rough chunks and food-processor mill into a granular powder. I ended up with 135 grams from the original 454 grams of beef. Place powdered beef into 2 quart mixing bowl.

Melt 200 grams of tallow (you already rendered and saved ) over a double boiler.

Hand chop (with a knife) 3/4 cup (117 grams) roasted almonds .

Measure out 1 1/2 cup(50 grams) dried cranberries (NOT Craisins which are sugar-enhanced. Even the “reduced sugar” Craisins contain 2X the sugar of an equal-weight serving of true dried cranberries)

Pour melted tallow over powdered beef while mixing with a silicone spatula. Add nuts and cranberries and mix till uniform.

Immediately plate out (pack with spatula while doing) onto smooth plate or pan and place in cool location to partially solidify. Test ability to break into chunks with knife or scraper after an hour of cooling. Store chunks in sealed plastic ziplock or rigid plasticware in refrigerator. Freeze for long-term storage.

The flavor and mouthfeel is entirely unique, subtle and becomes even more appealing with familiarity. Great trail food! Feel Good points on using grass-fed for the Omega-3′ benefit!

Where to get grass fed suet?

Ground Round ready for drying