All too often we get a phone call or email with someone saying their meat (usually a steak) that was too tough or chewy. Almost always after a quick conversation we can conclude that it had everything to do with how the meat was cooked. But why is that?
Roughly 5% of the meat consumed in the United States is not from a feedlot and less than 3% is grass-finished beef (never eating any grain). Why is this significant? Most feedlot beef (and what most Americans are accustomed to) is fed a cocktail of corn, soy, other grains and supplements, plus hormones and antibiotics to get them fatter faster cheaper. This process not only speeds up the weight gain of the animals but it also enhances the fat marbling which is what Americans are used to (and is what the USDA grades beef on). This fat marbling is also what makes conventional beef less healthy than grass-fed beef.
Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner than conventional beef and can causes a tougher, even drier product. Along with less fat, a grass-fed beef typically take a year longer to finish and gets plenty of exercise which results in thicker muscle fiber. Grass-fed beef, needs a little extra attention when preparing! Deborah Krasner (author of “Good Meat”) said, “Fat is an insulator. So if you cook something that is very fatty and you cook it badly, it’s still going to taste pretty good because the fat insulates the meat. When you have a leaner meat, you don’t have that safety net, so you have to cook it carefully.”
So what does carefully mean?
Tougher Cuts (Brisket, Short Ribs, Roasts, Stew Meat)
o Very low, very slow
Cooking Light used the following method for a 12oz grass-fed New York Steak…
1. Preheat a cast-iron pan on high (turning on the fan, nearly smoking out the kitchen!)
2. Allow a three-minute sear on each side
3. Turn down the heat and baste the steak with two pats of butter
4. When done, rest of a short time under foil, then slice
Primally Inspired uses a bit different method, but results in the same desired outcome.
1. Pick your steak (any steak will do)
2. Season your steak with 1 tsp of course sea salt per side (salt relaxes the tighten woven protein cells and helps break down the protein and fat)
3. Add additional herbs and seasonings to both sides
4. Let steak sit for 1 hour per inch of thickness
5. Rinse the steak well
6. Pat both sides completely dry (very important!)
7. Grill, cook or broil your steak using your favorite method
8. Season with pepper and add a pat of butter, ghee, duck fat or other fat of choice
9. Let sit for 5 minutes
We applaud you for making the switch to grass-fed beef. Know that with anything it takes a bit of practice, but keep at it and let us know if you find an amazing recipe for your grass-fed beef… we would love to share it with our other customers!