grass fed cooking tips
The leaner and healthier composition of grass-fed beef makes it more susceptible to overcooking, which can impact the tenderness, moisture, and flavor of the final product. A little extra care in the kitchen or on the grill, however, easily alleviates the problem.
Because of its high protein and low fat levels, grass-fed beef requires about 30% less cooking time than grain-fed beef.
Since grass-fed beef cooks so quickly, cooking on a lower temperature than grain-fed beef will increase control over the cooking time. Make sure and test the doneness of your cut by sight, touch, or a meat thermometer (always inserted into the side of the cut). Once you get the hang of it, the touch method is the best for steaks.
Beef continues to cook when removed from the heat source, so remember to pull off the cut 5-10 degrees before the desired final temperature.
Grass-fed beef is best for rare to medium-rare cooking but if you like well-done beef, then cook your grass-fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce to add moisture.
It’s best to thaw your beef is in the refrigerator; second best is placing the sealed package in water for a few minutes. Try to avoid the microwave.
It’s always preferable to bring meat to room temperature before cooking.
Marinating or using a meat tenderizer is always a good choice. For leaner cuts, such as NY Strip and Sirloin Steak, this is especially recommended.
The best marinade is one with a certain level of acidity to tenderize the beef. Citrus juice, crushed tomatoes, vinegar, Italian salad dressing, and wine are some of the many great options. A mild marinade is recommended so that the natural flavor of the grass-fed beef is not overpowered. Remember to use a little less vinegar or alcohol than you would for grainfed beef because it will have less time to cook off.
Coating with virgin olive oil or other favorite healthy oil is another great option for flavor enhancement and easy browning. The oil will also help prevent drying and sticking.
Stove top cooking is a great method for any type of steak because it increases control over the temperature of the meat. A little garlic butter in the final minutes when the heat is low and BAM…you’ll be a regular Emeril Lagasse!
Always use tongs to turn your beef! A fork can puncture the meat and release flavor.
When roasting, reduce the temperature of your grain-fed beef recipes by 50 degrees i.e. 275 degrees for roasting or at the lowest heat setting in a crock pot. The cooking time will still be the same or slightly shorter even at the lower temperature. Sauces are a great way to increase the tenderness and flavor. Don’t forget to watch your meat thermometer.
Briefly searing a steak or roast (e.g. 30 seconds each side on a hot cast iron skillet) before placing it in the oven or on the grill is the best way to lock in natural juices.
After cooking and before serving your beef, let it sit covered for about 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute.
Check the Doneness of Meat by Touch Like a Pro
Now gently press the tip of your pinky and your thumb together. Again feel the fleshy area below the thumb. It should feel quite firm. This is what well done meat feels like when you press on it. (Check this out the next time you overcook a piece of meat.)
Press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little more. This is what meat cooked to a medium doneness feels like.
Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is medium rare
Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below the thumb should give quite a bit. This is what meat cooked to rare feels like. Open up your palm again and compare raw to rare.