[Photo: Sean Cooley/Thrillist]

Shake Shack Says They Are Not Halal In Chicago Or The US, Here’s Why They Need To Be

Bad news, Chicago Muslims. While the beef used at Shake Shack River North in Chicago was confirmed by management to be all Creekstone Farms beef, Shake Shack corporate has contacted Muslim Eater stating that this is not guaranteed to be the case going forward.

“Creekstone Farm is one of our main beef suppliers, but we work with several suppliers for our all-natural Angus beef. All of the other suppliers meet or exceed the standards that Creekstone sets for humane treatment of animals, etc., so you should feel comfortable eating our burgers and hot dogs. However, we can’t guarantee that our meat in the US is halal, and we can’t guarantee that Creekstone is or will always be our supplier in Chicago.”

As such, Muslim Eater no longer recommends eating at any Shake Shack that confirms their beef is all Creekstone Farms, even though all of their beef is processed Halal, and apologizes for any confusion or frustration this may cause.

But there’s a bit more to this whole story than what was sent from Shake Shack. There’s a history of their handling Halal inquires in their restaurants across the US and a clear indication of how going Halal is in their best interests.

So while Muslim Eater does not recommend eating at Shake Shack if you only eat Halal, here’s a bit more on the issue. Continue reading

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Shake Shack Chicago Only Uses Halal Creekstone Beef, and Your Location Might, Too (Updated, They No Longer Do)

Note: This is an outdated article. Please see our latest on how Shake Shack corporate states that they are not Halal including the Chicago location. As such, Muslim Eater no longer recommends eating at Shake Shack Chicago or any other location that claims they only use Creekstone Farms beef. This article is left for archival purposes.

Good news, Chicago Muslims Eaters. Shake Shack in River North, Chicago has confirmed that they use only Creekstone Farms beef. Since Creekstone Farms’ beef is processed as Halal, that means you can order a burger from Shake Shack that is Halal. I recently went and had the iconic burger myself and present to you my review and everything you need to know about lines, parking, ordering, and more.

How The Confirmation Came

A friend of mine recently received confirmation from management at Shake Shack Chicago that the beef they use at the location is, in fact, only Creekstone Farms Premium Beef. I couldn’t believe it.

But then I called the location and received the exact same information. The manager I spoke to told me that they use all Creekstone, and Creekstone only. He asked about some reasons as to why I asked, and I gave him a brief explanation of the story behind Creekstone and its Halal production. At the end of the conversation, I hung up confidently knowing that their meat was solely from Creekstone Farms. Continue reading

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Use Leftover Turkey Breast For The Best Day After Turkey Dinner Sandwiches Ever

leftover_turkey_sandwich07The most exciting part of turkey dinner for me is not the turkey. It’s not the stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, or even gravy. It’s not even the pies. In fact, it’s nothing that is offered at the dinner itself.

It’s leftover turkey meat for the next day to use for entirely new dishes. Sure, you could reheat your turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and cranberry sauce for a reenactment of the traditional dinner from the night before. But roasted turkey meat is very versatile. As a leftover it can be used in a variety of exciting culinary ways the likes of which can be even better than classic turkey dinner. Plus, since you just had it presumably 12 to 24 hours beforehand, why eat the same meal when you can eat an entirely awesome new one instead?

The go-to use leftover turkey meat in our house? Sandwiches. They’re a big deal for us throughout the year as it is. But come turkey dinner, and you will notice us looking at a roasted bird in a manner that totally looks like we’re plotting to do something to it later. Something different. Continue reading

[Photo: William Brinson]

Shake Shack Is Not Halal in the US, But Some Day Could It Be?

shake_shack_william_brinsonShake Shack is one of the most famous burger chains in the world. Started in 2004 as a hot dog stand in New York’s Madison Square Park, the chain exploded in popularity and can be considered one of the inspirations for the “better burger” renaissance for the past fifteen years in America.

But there’s something about Shake Shack that has recently come to the attention of many Halal eaters. Shake Shack uses Creekstone Farms beef. The same beef that is processed as Halal with standards set up by Halal Transactions of Omaha. So, if Shake Shack uses Creekstone, and Creekstone is Halal regardless of whether the restaurant knows it or not, then that mean we could potentially eat a Halal burger at Shake Shack?

The answer, unfortunately, is no.

While they do use Creekstone beef, Shake Shack also uses other suppliers of beef for the burgers at their restaurants and doesn’t offer details on how that works. It’s impossible to know which company’s beef goes into the burger you order at one of their restaurants. As such, there is no way to guarantee your burger is all Creekstone and thus Halal.

Continue reading

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Why You Need To Visit A Cider Mill This Fall

Every single fall, Americans have enjoyed the art of apple appreciation in the form of cider mills. For nearly two centuries, families, kids, couples, and the elderly all stand in lines long formed outside tall barn doors for a taste of fall as unique as it is traditional. What has them coming back every single year?

Parmenter’s Cider Mill in Northville, MI.
Parmenter’s Cider Mill in Northville, MI. [Photographs: Saqib Shafi, except where noted]
Maybe it’s because of their love of an all-American iconic fruit, the apple. Cider mills celebrate them at the highest level. Visitors of the mills spread throughout the Midwest and east coast can buy bags of locally picked apples, apple pie, apple butter, candied or caramel apples, and even apple merchandise. But these are just the bench players.

Apple cider, chilled. [Photo: Jennifer Bowman/Awesome Mitten]
Apple cider, chilled. [Photo: Jennifer Bowman/Awesome Mitten]
Because apple cider is what the mills are all about. Apple cider is the ultimate expression of the fruit. Thousands of apples are ground and pressed daily to create cider unlike any apple juice you’ve ever had at a supermarket. The stuff is thick, rich, slightly pulpy, and downright… appley!

Never been to a cider mill before? Visit one for yourself and see. One drink and you’ll understand. There’s something about the mills that will bring you back year after year.

Continue reading

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Halal News Gone Viral, Cross-Contamination, and The Vertical Cut – An Update on Creekstone Farms Beef

40,000 views in one day. 85,000 since debut. Over 10,000 shares on Facebook. Restaurant groups changing their business operations. Big name food organizations reaching out for follow-up.creekstone_dry_age_mattingly_foods

When I published the debut post for Muslim Eater on Creekstone Farms offering Halal meat I knew it would be big. I didn’t know it would be that big.

The experience overall has been quite the ride. It’s taught me a lot about the Muslim community and our interest obsession with meat while forcing me to learn more detail about the intricacies of Halal slaughter than I ever knew existed. Thousands of Muslims have found happiness in the fact that they now have access to top quality Halal beef all across America. I’m glad Allah blessed me with the opportunity to provide that for them.

I’ve gotten a number of questions from readers about Creekstone Farms and the article I wrote. I collected the common ones and have some answers I’d like to share. Continue reading

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Where To Eat In Southeast Michigan and Halal Food at ISNA 2014

Southeast Michigan is a very special place to me. I have fond memories of summers spent with my cousins rotating between my five maternal uncles’ houses. I found my wife there and even moved there for about a year and a half for work. Without any hesitation I can say that area is my second home.

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “what are some good places to eat in Michigan?” Michigan is one of most highest Muslim-populated states in America with most Muslims residing in the southeast part of the state. Muslims come from all over to visit the region for weddings, family gatherings, and events.

The question on where to eat usually is in regards to the city of Dearborn, the most Lebanese concentrated area outside of the actual country of Lebanon. Muslims and non-Muslims alike know all about the famous strip of garlic-sauce and shawarma filled restaurants on Warren Rd east of Southfield Freeway until the Interstate 94.

But Dearborn isn’t all southeast Michigan has to offer. Home to the majority of the state’s businesses and population, the greater “Metro” area is a diverse combination of history, community, and culture.

You know what else southeast Michigan includes? Detroit. As in the infamous gotham of a city that invokes images of rundown streets, poor politics and financial disaster. It’s telling that whenever people tell me they’re visiting the area they say they’re going to “Michigan.” Not Detroit (and even more telling is the same goes for many residents of the suburbs when I ask them where they live, they say Michigan, where as in the Chicago suburbs residents say Chicago, not Illinois).

But for those who really know Detroit know it’s actually the home of a new American renaissance. Suburbanites are moving into redone areas and neighborhoods, tech companies like Twitter have set up office, and a scene of arts, culture, and especially good eats, both old and new, are an integral part of the future of Detroit that’s underway.

That’s why my list of places to eat go beyond just Dearborn. There are great bites to grab all over greater Metro Detroit. And since my concept of Halal is not limited to just meat, this list appeals to all sorts of cuisine: ethnic, local, vegetarian, and more.

So, if you’re planning an upcoming visit, are a local who’s looking for something new, or will be attending the 2014 51st Annual ISNA Convention, here are best bites to eat in southeast, MI for the Muslim Eater. Continue reading

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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Dates

It’s Ramadan! And in addition to fasting, praying, reading Qur’an, and focusing on atonement and self-improvement, this month means dates. Lots and lots of dates.

Dates hold special status for Muslims. The Qur’an mentions Allah provided Mary with dates just after giving birth to Prophet Jesus. The Prophet Muhammad’s life is filled with stories of dates, too, peace be upon him. Not only was it the choice food he broke his fast with, but dates played a notable role in the lives of the people of Madinah, both in everyday cuisine and religious practice.

If you’re Muslim, you know these fruits of the date palm tree, usually dried, show up in your households in the dozens if not hundreds during Ramadan. Eating them straight up to break your fast, as the Prophetic practice was, is a cherished seasonal memory we all have.

But there are ways to enhance your date eating experience. Whether you want to do something special for an upcoming iftar party or just want to try dates in a totally different way, here are some ways to upgrade your dates. Continue reading

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Creekstone Beef Served in Top Restaurants Around America Is Halal

What if I told you that the high-quality beef served top restaurants across America was actually Zabihah Halal meat? Impossible, right?

Well, guess what? It’s actually true. Creekstone Farms, one of the top choices of beef for restaurants across America, just so happens to be a fully Zabihah Halal beef processing company.

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That means you can walk into any restaurant that gets beef from Creekstone, select a dish that is made with that beef, ensure it’s cooked and prepared without cross-contamination with other meats or alcohol, and enjoy some of the best meat in the country.

And what’s more is this is not run-of-the-mill average stuff. These are some of the top rated restaurants in major cities and even across the country.

And it’s all Zabihah Halal. Hand slaughtered Zabihah Halal.

Unbelievable, huh? It is. Which is why I’ve done my research and have laid out how it all works in this article. For those of you who want to read the details, you can scroll down below. But if you just want to just eat this high-end beef, check out this running list, call up one of the restaurants and do a couple checks to verify the dish is prepared Halal, and enjoy. Continue reading