I was asked by meat expert Josh 'Mr. Cutlets' Ozersky to be on a panel that would taste NYC butcher Pat La Frieda's latest burger blend. The runaway success of their now-famous mix of chuck shoulder and brisket led to the next obvious step - a more complex blend of cuts, all from a cow.
I'm not a huge fan of blending different cuts of beef myself because I can never really get it right. I usually stick to 80/20 chuck as a safe bet. Pat La Frieda has created a blend that is based on a dry-aged 70/30 ribeye, blended with skirt, brisket, and short rib. That's right, the fat content is high!
Many great burger minds were in attendance, including Nick Solares (one of my former NYU 'students'), Andrew Fishel and Scott Smith from R.U.B., and Michael White from Alto. We tasted 8oz. hand-formed patties that were dusted with salt and cooked on a flame (Nick took one sniff of the raw patty and exclaimed, correctly, 'dry-aged!'). The high fat content created an exterior char that left the center of the burgers juicy and rare. The buns were sort of ridiculous so I tasted mine without. There were no condiments (I did see some cheese floating around) and none were necessary. These burgers actually tasted like cooked steak.
Even though the burger was amazing, I was wondering how the blend would fare in other, less qualified hands. The chef handling the cooking (forgot his name) did a great job and pointed out that the meat cooked very differently than other blends. And then we found out from Pat La Frieda V.P. Mark Pastore that the blend was going to be very expensive and offered only to some of their high-end clients. My guess, if you want to taste this beef, expect to make a reservation, don a jacket, and pay a premium. It'll be worth it though because this meat needs to be in the hands of a high end chef. This ain't your average backyard barbeque patty.