To experience the full flavor of grass-fed beef there are a few things that you’ll need to do differently. It’s not the same as cooking grain-fed beef…but that’s a GOOD THING.
PREPARING AND THAWING
When thawing frozen grass-fed beef, never use the microwave to defrost it. Either thaw overnight in the refrigerator or you can put it in a cold water bath, for no longer than 30 minutes, to speed thawing. Make sure you take your grass-fed meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to starting to cook. Never cook the meat cold, straight from the refrigerator.
For leaner cuts, or to cook well-done, we suggest using a marinade. Make sure the recipe is mild in flavor so that you do not alter or mask the flavor of the meat. For safety, make sure you always marinate in the refrigerator.
Tenderizing helps to break down and soften the tough connective tissue in the meat. We recommend a Jaccard tenderizer. It is a handheld device with small needles that pierce the meat allowing the marinade or rub to penetrate below the surface, which enhances the flavor and moisture of the cooked beef. If you prefer rubs, to marinades, another method is to cover the cut of meat with your favorite rub and then place it in a plastic bag. Put it on a hard surface and pound it a few times with a metal meat mallet, rolling pin or other smooth hard objects that won’t puncture the plastic bag. Unless your recipe calls for it, be careful not to flatten the meat. Not only will this process tenderize the cut but it will also force the rub into the meat, enhancing flavor.
The number one thing to remember when cooking grass-fed beef is it typically cooks 30% faster than grain-fed beef. If you’ve ever spoken to someone who isn’t crazy about grass-fed beef then more than likely it was overcooked. This is due to the decreased fat content of the meat. Additionally, this lower fat content may also require that you add fat (such as coconut oil or olive oil) to the meat while cooking to make sure you’re meat remains moist. When you’re cooking grass-fed beef use a thermometer, not standard cooking times, to make sure the meat is done and not OVERDONE. You can go from undercooked to overcooked in less than a minute. Also remember, the meat will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, so when it reaches a temperature 10 degrees cooler than your “DONE” temperature remove it from the heat.
Grass-fed beef cooks best at rare to medium-rare temperatures. If you prefer your meat more “well-done”, then we suggest that you cook it slowly over lower temperatures with a sauce or light marinade to keep it moist. For lean cuts, such as New York strips or sirloin steaks, we suggest you use a marinade. Marinades that are mild in flavor is typically best so that it won’t mask the flavor of the meat. Lightly coating the meat with an extra virgin olive oil or other light oil will help ease browning and prevent the meat from drying out while searing.
Make sure you preheat your pan, oven or grill prior to starting to cook. Pan searing is the best way to cook a grass-fed steak. When grilling, sear each side on high heat quickly then reduce the heat to medium or low to finish cooking. Make sure you marinade frequently to add moisture. Use tongs when turning beef on a grill or pan, never use a fork. Grilled hamburgers, often lose moisture during the cooking process, you can add back that lost moisture with caramelized onions or grilled green peppers. Make sure you always allow your cooked or grilled meat to sit covered, in a warm place, for 8-10 minutes so that the juices redistribute. If you’re roasting the cut of beef, make sure you sear it in a pan prior to putting into the oven. Reduce the recommended oven temperature by 50 degrees F.
Now that you have the basics, try your hand at cooking your grain-fed beef from Ranchlandfoods and leave your tips and hints in the comments below.