Cooking Our Meats

It is commonly thought that grassfed beef is leaner than grainfed beef, therefore it cooks faster. This is not necessarily true. As you’ll find out, grassfed beef can have a nice amount of fat. Often it is leaner than conventional beef, but not always super lean. What our beef does have is more developed muscle since our animals actually walk around to find food. This means muscles can have much more definition in their fibers and more connective tissue. Connective tissue contracts and hardens up when subjected to high heat. Grassfed meat does best cooked on low heat, which allows the tough tissue to melt away and leaves incredibly flavorful and tender meat. It’s fine to sear meats to caramalize the outsides of roasts or steaks, but always remember to finish on low heat.

I like to think about the cuts of meat on a cow in relation to the muscles on our body. Muscles that get used a lot are “tougher”: think shoulders and rumps. More tender muscles get used less: on us our abs and core muscles, on cows the middles: tenderloins and loins down the back.

Grassfed meat is also “done” at lower temperatures. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer.
120 for rare
125 for medium rare
130 for medium

Always remember to let your meat rest after cooking before carving, ideally for 5- 10 minutes tented under foil. This allows the tissues to relax and tenderize.

Here is a nifty graphic of beef cuts and cooking recommendations. Also check out recipes below for some ideas.

General guidelines for cooking beef cuts

Dry heat is best for tender cuts. Dry heat can be searing on a grill or pan and then cooking low, or roasting in an oven. Moist heat is best for leaner, tougher cuts. Moist heat refers to pot roasts or braises where meat is cooked with liquid.

T-Bone, Rib, Porterhouse, Tenderloin, Sirloin, NY Strip Steaks: Dry Heat, Grill or Pan Sear then finish in oven to medium rare

Flank Steak: Marinated, then grilled or braised, sliced thin against grain

Rump and Chuck Roasts: Moist Heat; low and slow,

Ground Beef: Dry or moist heat

Short Ribs: Moist heat; braise before finishing in grill or oven

Tri-tip roast: dry heat

Sirloin tip roast or steaks: Dry heat, low and slow

Top round roast: Dry heat, low and slow

Stew Beef: Moist heat

Brisket: Moist heat, low and slow

Arm roast: Moist heat

Shanks/soup bones: moist heat

What are the benefits of eating grassfed beef?

“Grass-fed beef is better for human health than grain-fed beef in ten different ways, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. The 2009 study was a joint effort between the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina. Compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef was:

1.Lower in total fat
2.Higher in beta-carotene
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
6. Higher in total omega-3s
7. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
10.Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease”

S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”

For more information and studies, visit: http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

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