CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Suzanne Strassburger is a self-styled “east coast cowgirl.” But she’s more than just a pretty face in a cowboy hat; Strassburger is a fifth generation meat producer from the legendary Strassburger family and Strassburger Meats, which specializes in prime cuts. Recently, the meat maven took time out to talk through her newest venture, Suzy Sirloin.
“I’m very lucky,” Strassburger muses. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do at a very young age. From the time I was about four-years-old, I worked with Papa. Instead of tutus, I was wearing a hardhat and a white coat.”
Having spent a lifetime in the meat industry, this Chappaqua native has watched the business change, and she is determined to evolve with hit.
“I noticed that more and more, consumers want an all-natural product that tastes good. They want something they can trust.” So Strassburger launched Suzy Sirloin, a new line of all-natural, antibiotic and hormone free meats, including beef, lamb and pork. “Suzy Sirloin is actually my nickname,” she laughs. “I thought it was fun and playful.”
But this east coast cowgirl isn’t just about image. “I wanted to find a way to connect with and represent the ranchers and farmers,” she says. “They feed the world. And they work awfully hard to do it. They don’t take holidays, or quit working just because it’s their birthday. I have immense respect for what they do.”
Stassburger’s goals are ambitious. In many ways, she is becoming a kind of meat ambassador. “Americans love beef,” she says. “And when they get informed, they learn that they can feel good about eating it. That’s one of the reasons I created ‘The Sirloin Report.’”
“The Sirloin Report” is Strassburger’s information-centric website geared toward educating consumers, producers and grocers alike about all things beef related. From recipes to carbon calculators, Strassburger is building a comprehensive single resource for those who want to learn more about meat. “Whether you want to know the difference between cuts, or which is the leanest, or the difference between natural and organic, I’ve tried to incorporate everything you might want to know.”
In her own kitchen, however, Strassburger lets others take the reigns. “I’d love to tell you that I’m the next ‘Iron Chef,’ but no,” she laughs. “But a better burger starts with the product. There are so many different cuts. You want a nice, lean cut, that you don’t over or under-cook. To be safe, you want to get the meat up to 160 degrees. And flip the burgers with a nice wide spatula. Don’t squeeze them and let all those delicious juices out.”
I was able to get in one final question before Strassburger had to ride off into the sunset: Ketchup or mustard?
“I love ketchup on my burgers when I eat them with a bun,” she laughs. “Without a bun, I’ll go with mustard.”
Suzy Sirloin meats are currently available throughout Westchester County, at multiple markets, including: Mrs. Green’s in Briarcliff Manor, Katonah, Mt. Kisco; the Chappaqua Village Market; Cherry Lawn Farms in New Rochelle; Lords Farm in Mamaroneck; and Cherry Blossom Farm in Armonk.