Enlarge Image Credit: Todd Coleman
Several high-quality meat purveyors known for mail-order steaks also ship frozen ground-beef patties that make excellent hamburgers. The hefty ten-ounce USDA Prime patties from Allen Brothers in Chicago have a rich, steaklike flavor. At $5 apiece, they're a splurge, so you might as well go all out: try them with luxe toppings like shaved truffles. For $3 each, the La Cense ranch in Montana sells patties of a more standard size—six ounces each—that are made from grass-fed Black Angus steer; the burgers have a fine, delicate flavor. Vande Rose Farms, an Iowa-based company specializing in well-marbled Hereford beef, produces a thick six-ounce patty ($2.75 each) that would be our choice for cookouts. We also like the one-third-pound patties ($2.45 each) from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats in Wyoming. Made from naturally raised steer, the burgers have a clean flavor and pair well with rich but fresh-tasting toppings like avocado. Finally, for aficionados of the square burger, there are the one-third-pound square patties from Dakota Natural Beef, a company based in Salem, South Dakota. At less than $2 each, they cook up with a nicely browned crust; they're excellent for satisfying everyday burger cravings.