Unfortunately for die-hard carnivores, the fact is that beef consumption isn’t very eco-friendly. It takes about 1,850 pounds of water to produce a pound of beef. To put that number in perspective, that would be like taking not one, but two extra showers every time you order a four-ounce beef patty from the HUDS grill.
Yeah, there’s the Mediterranean Quinoa Burger or the Turkey Burger, but sometimes you just want the beefiness of, well, beef.
Did you know that HUDS offers a Beef and Mushroom Burger? That’s right: mushrooms. Just let the idea steep. Beef. Mushrooms. Bart Minor, 16-year-long president of the Mushroom Council, says the two “go together like peanut butter and jelly.” Is he right?
Consider beef stroganoff: what’s in it? Beef, check. Oh, and mushrooms, check. I’m not suggesting that HUDS’s beef-mushroom patty tastes like a hunk of beef stroganoff, but the fact of the matter is that you’re probably more used to the marriage of beef and mushroom than you realize. You may have tasted the two foods together in sauces, taco fillings, and chilies; these dishes make use of the beef-mushroom combo in Harvard, Yale, and the University of Southern California’s food services, with many more institutions jumping on the bandwagon. In these dishes, as in the HUDS burgers, mushrooms bring moisture, chewiness, and that oh-so-overused umami flavor that’s so sought-after by casual foodies. “It gives you a depth of flavor, but you still taste the meat, the cheese, the garlic, everything,” says Nage in the District executive chef Dwayne Motley.
Plus, most beef-mushroom mixes are still heavily tilted towards the beef side. Fifty-fifty blends still do well with test groups, but such a large percentage of mushrooms begins to interfere with the beef taste people expect from a burger. According to a 2014 Washington Post article on the subject, twenty percent mushroom is the golden ratio where people can’t even tell they’re eating mushrooms, but they still get the nutritional benefits offered by the shrooms. In fact, executive chef of the New York fine dining institution Graffiti uses a 1:3 ratio of mushroom to beef in his signature burger. “It just tastes like a very flavorful burger,” he reports.
This is the ratio that HUDS uses. Maybe not the same recipe as at Graffiti, but at least they’ve got the right idea, right?
Obviously, the burger-mushroom blend is much healthier than 100% beef. It comes with fewer calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. But it is also better for the environment. In a very abstract way, a grill order of the beef-mushroom burger saves multiple gallons of water.
What could be the harm of trying it? The worst outcome: you don’t like it and never have to order it again. But if you do become a convert, you’ll have discovered a HUDS hack that could lead to better health, for you and the environment.