March 3, 2004

WENT TO FUDDRUCKER’S with the kids the other night and had an Ostrich Burger. It was yummy and low-fat. A couple of other places in town have them, and some also serve Buffalo Burgers, which are also yummy and lowfat.

I talked to the manager and he said that the ostrich was selling well. I asked him whether that was because of its low-fat nature, or because of fears about Mad Cow. He wasn’t sure which, but said that given the number of regular burgers they were selling he didn’t think that Mad Cow fears were very widespread. That seems about right to me.

I’m a big fan of both ostrich and buffalo, and I’d certainly like to see them become more common — they’re much healthier, and taste just as good. In fact, I actually prefer the buffalo to regular ground beef. I suspect that whether or not Mad Cow fears are affecting consumer behavior, they’re at least making people in the food business look at alternative products, just in case. And although I think that Mad Cow fears are probably overrated, I’ll be happy if that makes these alterna-burgers more common.

UPDATE: Not these, please.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ostrich-fan Dave Farrell is happy:

From the heart of ostrich farming country in South Africa’s Cape Province, bravo for the ostrich instalaunch. I swiitched to ostrich from beef after a triple bypass, and unlike margarine v butter, there isn’t a downside. I now prefer ostrich steaks, ostrich mince in my spaghetti bolognaise, and ostrich sausage on the barbecue. I’ve also noticed that cooking ostrich medium rare is a lot less tricky than beef rump steak, because it seems to be bloodier.

I haven’t grilled any ostrich, but maybe I’ll give it a try.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Will Collier emails:

The Five Seasons brewpub in Atlanta has an occasional grilled ostrich special, and it is just outstanding. Like a really good, tender filet mignon. If I can find a meat market around here that carries ostrich steaks, I’m going to try those suckers at home the first chance I get…

My favorite gourmet grocery has ostrich, but only frozen. Maybe I’ll see if I can get ’em to order me some fresh steaks. Meanwhile Spoons emails:

Every time I go someplace that serves ostrich, they tell me they’ll only serve it rare or medium rare. Since I can’t stand meat cooked that way (it’s medium or medium well for me), I always end up passing on the bird.

What is it about ostrich that requires it to be undercooked? What would happen if they cooked it to medium?

Beats me. I get the burgers medium and they’re fine. I suspect that the low fat content means that it tends to dry out if its cooked more than that, though.

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