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Tue, Jan. 28

Chew on This: BigA seeks more sustainable burger in Blended Burger Contest

BigA’s blended burger’s elements come from local sources. (Courtesy)

BigA’s blended burger’s elements come from local sources. (Courtesy)

Prescott’s BigA normally has grassfed burgers but through the end of July, the restaurant is participating in the Blended Burger Contest put on by the James Beard Foundation and promoting a more sustainable beef patty.

Where beef providers such as the Broken Horn D Ranch has to cut back on their cattle because of the drought, BigA is using that local meat and adding some locally grown mushrooms so it can be more sustainable, said Cassandra Hankinson of BigA. Chef John Panza said that mushrooms are an easy-to-grow sustainable resource that don’t take a lot of water.

“When you cook them and chop them and mix them with the ground beef, it mimics the texture and the feel of ground beef without using as much ground beef,” Panza said. “Essentially we can use a third less ground beef because of the mushrooms which just so happens to be what they have to cut their herd by.”

The burger, which costs $14, contains beef from Broken Horn D Ranch, local shitake mushrooms, “Hassiago” cheese, local arugula and smoked tomato pesto.

The smoked tomato pesto is a creation by Panza, the arugula is from Whipstone Farm in Paulden, and the “Hassiago” cheese is an asiago from the Hassayampa Vineyard and Farm in Kirkland, Hankinson said.

“It’s a very local burger,” she said.

The entire thing brings the whole community together, Panza said. The beef from the ranch is grassfed, but it’s finished with grain from Prescott Brewing Company, he said.

Since there’s not as much ground beef in it, it’s healthier too, Panza said. The Patty is five ounces, but only three of that is beef with the rest being the mushrooms, he said.

For more information about the James Beard Foundation and its mission to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and leaders of food culture across America and its Blended Burger Contest, visit

To vote for BigA and its Blended Burger, visit

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