Ever try an elk burger? Is elk lean?

My quest to find lean meat options brought me to the Twin Cities one recent weekend and a restaurant my daughter-in-law and son recommended that serves something called a Game Burger.

The Game Burger at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul is a mixture of bison and elk, two red meats known to be leaner than most beef cuts. I had eaten deer sausage at the Berghof in Chicago years ago and not liked the taste or smell. Elk and red deer are the same species and what restaurants sell as elk is often farm raised red deer, I later discovered. But I was willing to try a blend, hoping it would satisfy my taste for a juicy burger on a Saturday night.

MY Game Burger. Tasty and, hopefully, leaner than beef.
MY Game Burger. Tasty and, hopefully, leaner than beef.
Continue reading “Ever try an elk burger? Is elk lean?”

How Lean Can Lean Beef Be?

My trio of nutritionist don’t agree on eating beef on my restricted diet. The first told me straight out to eat vegetarian, which I do not want to do. The other two were more understanding and suggested limiting beef intake to six ounces a week and finding the leanest beef possible.

For me, six ounces is one serving, even though for nutritionists, it’s two. So I’ve bought some six-ounce fillets as a weekly treat.

But I also love hamburgers and wanted a way to continue eating those. Hamburgers you eat out can range from 75 percent to 80 percent lean, which means they’re 25 to 20 percent fat. That’s not doable for me, so I’ve cut out McDonald’s, Wendy’s and White Castle burgers.

A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.
A lean burger, along with peppers and asparagus.

At home, I had been buying 90 percent lean ground beef, thinking it was the leanest available. But as I’ve scouted my local stores with the new eyes of someone on a no-salt, no-fat, no-sugar diet, I discovered that one Chicago supermarket, Jewel, sells a leaner ground beef, 96% lean in fact.

It’s the most expensive of course, as healthy items invariably are, but I’m paying the price to keep hamburgers in my life.

I buy packages a bit over a pound to make four burgers and freeze them for future use. My first nutritionist, the nutrition nazi as I call her, said the only type of hamburger bun I can eat is something called an Ezekiel bread bun, available frozen only at Whole Foods in my area. Continue reading “How Lean Can Lean Beef Be?”

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