2017 1021 Grass Fed Beef Cooking Tips

October 23, 2017

Farm Update – this week I want to use this space to share Grass Fed Beef Cooking Tips.

Grass fed beef is full of flavor and extremely tender if cooked right. However, the first time you try it, you might be disappointed. The reason is, like most people, you will get caught up in the excitement and rush home to cook this marvelous piece of beef as if it were the same as conventional grain fed beef. You probably will not account for the leanness of the meat and over cook it. Believe us when we say "guilty as charged".

We don't want you to make the same mistake, so we've put together the following grass fed beef cooking tips.

1. Lower the cooking temperature. If your grill, oven or stove top is too hot, you will cook off the beneficial fat and dry this beef out quickly. Low and slow is the way to go with this beef. A general rule of thumb is cut the temperature down by at least 50 degrees. For roasts, cook at 225 degrees or in a crock pot. For steaks, you can sear on medium, but then quickly move to low heat to slowly finish the cooking process.  Unlike grain fed beef which requires a higher searing temperature, grass fed beef will sear on medium.

2. Invest in a meat thermometer. Most people can cook a conventional grain fed steak perfectly just by eyeballing it. But with grass fed beef, there's less wiggle room because grass fed beef cooks quickly and can go from perfectly cooked to overcooked in less than a minute. Remove it from the heat source when it is 10 degrees below your desired cooking temperature. Don't worry, it will continue to cook once it's taken off the grill.

The suggested internal cooking temperatures for grass fed beef are 120 - 140oFahrenheit (which is lower than the USDAs guidelines for beef which is 145 - 175o).  Here's how the grass feed beef cooking guidelines break down:

Rare — 120F

Medium Rare — 125F

Medium — 130F

Medium Well — 135F

Well — 140F

 Just remember, if you like your meat more on the medium to well done side, make sure you turn the heat way down to allow the meat to cook slowly. Your patience will be rewarded.

 Note:  These suggested cooking temperatures come from The Grass Fed Gourmet cookbook by Shannon Hayes.  Per Shannon the same concept applies to all pasture raised meats.  Here's her cooking chart for all pastured meats.

Meat                           Grass Fed Suggested               USDA Recommends

Beef & Bison              120 - 140o                                145 - 175o

Ground Beef              160o                                         160o

Veal                           125 - 155o                                145 - 175o

Lamb & Goat             120 - 145o                                145 - 175o

Pork                          145 - 160o                                 160 - 170o

Chicken                    165o                                          165o

Turkey                      165o                                         165o

3. Let it rest on the counter top for 10 minutes. While your meat was cooking, all the water molecules were heated up and excited. Resting it allows the juices to redistribute. Cutting into it too soon will allow all the moisture to drain out. The result? More moisture on the plate than in your mouth.

4. Start with steaks and roasts that are at room temperature before cooking. Thaw your meat in the refrigerator, or if you are in a hurry, in an air tight bag submerged in cool water. But never thaw it in the microwave. Once it is thawed, allow it to come to room temperature covered on the counter top before cooking. This prevents the meat from being shocked when you put it on the hot surface.

5. Tenderize. One great way to tenderize grass-fed beef is to use a tenderizing marinade.  We got this tip from Stanley Fishman's Tender Grass Fed Meat, Traditional Ways To Cook Healthy Meat cookbook. 

This basic marinade involves rubbing beef with 2 or more tablespoons of Organic, Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive oil.  The unfiltered oil contains enzymes that help tenderize the beef and enhance the flavor.  Let the oil soak into the meat for two hours at room temperature (overnight if in the fridge). 

For some of the tougher cuts of beef, try a more physical approach.  Cover the beef with plastic and pound your steak a few times to break down the connective tissue. But no need to pulverize it! A few whacks should do the trick.

Follow these tips and you will experience an extremely tender, flavorful and healthful piece of meat.

Quote Worth Re-Quoting – “The biggest offenders doing damage to our mitochondria are our diets and our lifestyles. This is where we're able to show in the research that upwards of 95 percent of all chronic illness, and especially cancer, is secondary to our diet and lifestyle choices.”   ~ Nasha Winters from her interview in Acres U.S.A. titled "Cancer: Fighting Back"

As always, thank you for supporting our regenerative, local farm.

Ben & Beth

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