1) Thaw in Fridge – cook from Room Temp
Assuming you buy your beef frozen and in bulk you will want to get the beef out a few days before you want to use it, the best way to thaw it is in the fridge as it will slowly thaw as opposed to thawing at room temperature or worst of all in hot water. At the fridge temperature you won’t rupture the cell walls as much as if you were to thaw at room temperature or in hot water. When your meat is thawed, let it sit out for an hour or two and cook from room temperature. This process essentially brings the meat up to temperature slowly and does less damage to the cell walls. This will ensure better quality of your finished product when you and your guests are sitting down to munch down delicious grass fed organic beef
This is especially important for cuts like round steak, sirloin tip steak, flank steak, eye of round steak or any cuts from the hind quarter (excluding tenderloin, strip loin, or rib eye) Sirloin steak should still have enough marbling even if its grass fed but you can always tenderize it if you’d like (not to be confused with sirloin TIP steak which is a much tougher cut with a tighter grain in the meat). With corn fed or conventionally raised beef the fat that results from that creates spaces between the muscle fibers making for a much more tender cut of meat that allows marinades and the like to get into the fibers. With grass fed beef there is very little fat in the meat so tenderizing will create space between the fibers allowing marinades and spices to penetrate into the meat. Even if you don’t marinate however this will make a tougher cut of meat much nicer to eat. You can get a tenderizer that looks like this – see below, or for those who don’t see a need for yet another kitchen tool…. I use one end of a rolling pin (the roll part – not the handle!)
Due to the tight grain of some of the cuts of meat (especially the hind cuts) alcohol does a really good job of breaking down the tissue. Generally the meat you get should be aged at least 14 days, in the industry meat could be aged anywhere from 1 day to 10 days and in specialty stores and butcher shops up to 50 or 60 days. As the meat ages it will shrink, the aging process breaks down the tissue with naturally occurring enzymes (that are within the meat itself). By marinating in alcohol you will help this process. By adding fat into your marinate you’ll add some fat into these cuts (especially after you have tenderized) that wouldn’t normally be there, be sure to select your fats that are healthy a great source for lists of healthy fats is here. Salt or brining your meat will also help break down tissue. Salt will also bring out the flavor of the meat, if you bought grass fed organic you’ll likely want to show off the flavor of the meat so you can just use a simple salt brine, or you can add pepper and garlic, these simple spices nicely compliment a grass fed organic beef roast or steak and don’t over power it.
click here for a great list of fats
4) Cook slow and low
I often say that fat is the “margin for error”, I only mean that with meat that has lots of fat there is more room for over cooking because there is moisture in the meat still. With grass fed it is critical to not over cook. In fact if you like your steaks medium to rare you’ll have an easier time with grass fed and probably enjoy it more. With roasts it is beneficial to slowly cook – sometimes I’ll stick it in the oven the night before, on 150-200 with a little bit of water put a lid on it and poof, in the morning – wonderfully cooked easy to cut and pull apart beef.
5) Rest before eating
After cooking (especially with steaks) you’ll want to let it rest for a couple minutes before eating. This tip is not just for grass fed beef – you’ll see this for all kinds of beef, it helps the juices in the beef to work its way through, it finishes cooking in the last little bit while its sitting off the heat and on the cutting board before you cut it. It is actually amazing how much difference it makes when you let it rest before you eat it. Sometimes I’ll just leave it on the counter for a couple hours and it makes for awesome beef!!
6) Cut selection
This is crucial for when you are entertaining you’ll want something that want something that will feed lots of people, if you bought your meat in bulk you likely won’t have 20 tenderloin steaks, you could do several different kinds of steak but that would require lots of different prep techniques. I always suggest using either a roast or some stewing beef, if you marinate the roast or stew and then slow cook it in alcohol and fats you’ll come out with the most tender cut with your fork beef. If you are looking to make your beef go further, you can use either a roast or steak from the hind quarter that is a tougher cut and slice it thin for stir fry stack it up with lots of veggies and you’ll feed lots of hungry mouths.
7) Overcooking – learn to love it medium rare
This is a sin when it comes to grass fed beef. It will make it the texture of shoe leather! If you are ok with a little pink in the middle of your beef you’ll get the most out of your grass fed beef. You want to also be sure not to cook it too long over the heat. Often it will seem like it isn’t cooked when you take it off the grill or heat and after you let it rest it will be perfectly cooked.
Enjoy your grass fed beef; if you have any questions you can always submit a question to “Ask the Farmer’s Daughter” page – happy cooking and entertaining your family to the super healthy beef that you have purchased!