Hack: How To Order A Better Epic Burger and Have Epic Sauce Without White Wine In It

Epic Burger is good. A smashed burger, fresh cut fries, and multiple locations throughout Chicagoland to hit up for a craving of burgers or treat visitors from out of town.

But when Muslim Eaters flocked there after news of Creekstone Farms being Halal certified broke, they agreed on something: their burger is underseasoned and overcooked.

This bugs me. Epic Burger uses Creekstone Farms Premium beef, some of the best beef in America. While they offer a promising burger with their motto of “a more mindful burger,” it is quite often cooked dry and lacks adequate seasoning. Their burger should be totally on point, but multiple people I’ve come across have reported otherwise.

Also, the highly rated Epic Sauce contains white wine. Since you want to avoid that to keep Halal, you miss out on a key flavor component of the burger.

But all this got me thinking. What if I just ordered my burger in a way to address these issues? After a satisfying first visit, I decided to go back and give it a shot.

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Homemade Pizza: How To Make Awesome Pan Pizza Using Storebought Dough

 Get the recipePan Pizza

Pizza is one of the most widely eaten foods in America. And with pizza chains improving the quality of their offerings, finding good pizza for a weeknight dinner is easier than ever before. So chances are, you eat pizza pretty frequently and eat it pretty good.

Despite this easy access, many people still want to make pizza at home. Why?

Easy. Because homemade pizza is:


[Photography: Saqib Shafi, unless otherwise noted]

Fresh. Hot, cheesy, saucy deliciousness coming out of your oven immediately as a pizza finishes baking beats one that took 45 minutes to arrive with the delivery guy.

Customizable. You choose the toppings, like Halal meat, and ratio of sauce to cheese.

Cheaper. Per pie, a homemade pizza always costs less than ordering out.

Fun. Stretch your own dough, prepare it with your own toppings, and bake it in your own oven and watch it bake as you eagerly wait to eat your creation. Pizza at home lets you be the pizzaiolo.

The question is: how do you make pizza that’s great? Because maybe you’ve tried to make pizza at home and it didn’t exactly turn out right. What are the secrets to excellent pizza at home?

That’s the goal of our series on homemade pizza. From dough making, to Halal meat toppings, to cooking pizza on a grill, we will get you into pizza making like you’ve never imagined.

For this introductory post, we’ll start with something simple but insanely delicious: a pan pizza, baked in a thick, heavy pan with an ultra crisp crust sturdy enough to take on your favorite toppings.

This recipe is based off of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s No Knead Pan Pizza but is optimized for a larger pan while providing guidance on Halal ingredients. Since this is a beginner recipe, we’re going to use store bought dough and sauce, letting you focus on the baking and leaving the dough and sauce making to someone else. But, as always, we’ll show you how to use those ingreidents in the most optimally flavorful way.

Ready for the pan pizza of your dreams? Lets-a-bake!

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Eating Out? 3 Reasons Why Seeking Beyond Meat Gets You Better Food

A couple years ago, I took a trip to San Francisco with my family. Before going, a friend asked me about where I was planning to eat in the Bay Area. Having already done some research, I excitedly rolled out a list of pizza and seafood joints I had read positive reviews for.

My friend returned a peculiar look on his face. “There’s not much out there in San Francisco, then, huh?” he asked.

That’s when I noticed something. I didn’t mention any options for meat, such as Halal restaurants. As such, he thought I was not going to have a very good eating experience overall. In other words, no meat, no good eats.

The thing is, my wife and toddler son at the time actually did eat some excellent food in San Francisco. We enjoyed Neapolitan pizza, gourmet doughnuts, authentic San Francisco sourdough, memorable breakfasts, and great coffee. And while we did hit up some Halal restaurants, we still had some real good eats without really consuming much meat at all.

That’s because when I go out to eat, I don’t only look for Halal meat. I look for good food period, be it with meat or without. By seeking beyond meat you get better food. Here’s why.

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Want Great, Easy, Fast Chili? Reach For a Salsa Jar, Tortilla Chips, and Real Chiles

Get the recipe: Chili We Like

A great bowl of chili on a cold February Sunday evening is one of the best Game Day meals out there. There’s something so juxtapositioning about it. Rich yet comforting. All-American yet clearly Mexican. And a simple home cooked stew that’s… controversial and timely?

Indeed, chili is a dish that is full of flavor and often takes time to fully develop a satisfying bowl. There are numerous ways people make chili, each as diverse and defended as certain opinions in the various schools of Islamic law. It makes sense that a lot of people are passionate about it.

Now, I’m all about the long way of doing things if I have the time. It often leads to the best ever results. But if there’s a way that takes less time but still gives excellent results that’s just marginally less than the long way, I’ll take it.

With our chili, we have just that. A chili that cooks fast and easy but also has the deep, roasted, concentrated flavors that a chili cooked low and slow delivers. And best of all, it puts the flavor of chiles, as in chile peppers, up front and center by using multiple whole chiles in the recipe.

In fact, this chili is so straight forward, we don’t just make it for the Super Bowl. We actually make it throughout the year. And with this guide you can, too.

Want to see how we do chili in our house? Right this way.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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