Your Most Meaty Conversation Starter and Shopping Guide for July Fourth Cooking

For Independence Day menu inspiration, consider “The Kindest Cut of Meat is Ground,” in today’s Times, where I argue that ground is “the most sustainable, economical, gastronomically flexible and morally responsible cut of meat.”

And if you’re moved to seek out the perfect patty—be it beef burger, pastured poultry or a toothsome blend of local lamb and venison (a Bridgehampton farmer I know uses the marbled lamb to temper the gamey deer with great success), here is a short list of must-visit sources.

At Dickson’s Farmstead Meats in Chelsea Market, Butcher Jake Dickson peddles some of the best meat in the city, and he patiently explained why for small farmers trying to make it outside the factory paradigm, healthy sales of lesser-loved cuts can make the difference between economic feast or famine.

Heritage Foods USA, the Brooklyn-based supplier of heritage breeds (including ground beef, buffalo, pork and more) to restaurants and consumers around the country, has a shop at Essex Market, and owner Patrick Martins has often told us that while he’s grateful for every American who buys a heritage bird come Thanksgiving, he’d love if more of us ate ground turkey year-round, since the birds that don’t make the grade for turkey day are burger-bound.

Finally, seek out ground at your local Greenmarket, where it’s likely the most economical and flexible cut on offer. When you buy it, you’re keeping money in the local economy, helping small farmers and taking your cooking to a higher ground.

Brian Halweil

Brian is the editor at large of Edible East End, Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and oysters. He is also obsessed with ducks, donuts and dumplings.

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