Being raised on a dairy farm, I know a lot about cows. What they should eat and what is best for them would have been on top of the list. Feedlots (where they raise large amounts of cows feeding them mostly grain) are not what I would support. And below are a few reasons why.
Generally speaking, grass-fed cows eat (mostly) grass, while grain-fed cows eat (mostly) an unnatural diet based on corn and soy during the latter part of their lives. Our cows only eat grass (and Hay, which is dried grass in the winter time and the occasional treat of cabbage) and we take pride in knowing that our beef is the best you can get. No hormones or antibiotics are used on our farm.
Why is it important to make the right choice and buy grass-fed beef:
- Grain-fed cows are fattened using mostly Corn and Soy, which are produced using GMO’s and lots of toxic Glyphosate, the main ingredient of the herbicide Roundup, which has been shown to cause leaky gut and inflammation.
- Cows raised in feedlots receive hormones and steroids to get bigger in less time.
- Grass-fed beef may contain less total fat than grain-fed beef, but a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which are both linked to health benefits.
- Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed is much higher in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants.
- The environmental cost of feedlots is largely underestimated- One of the reasons they don’t allow them in Europe is that they wouldn’t know where to put all the toxic waste they’re producing.
Now that you’re convinced that grass-fed is better than Grain-Fed 😉 , here is some tips for cooking Grass-Fed Beef:
1. Your biggest culprit for tough grass fed beef is overcooking. This beef is made for rare to medium rare cooking. If you like well done beef, then cook your grass fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce to add moisture.
2. Since grass fed beef is lower in fat, coat with virgin olive oil or a favorite light oil for flavor enhancement and easy browning. The oil will also prevent drying and sticking.
3. Marinating the leaner cuts of beef (like round steaks or sirloin) before cooking will make a big difference! Choose a recipe that doesn’t mask the delicate flavor of grass fed beef but enhances the moisture content. A favorite marinade using lemon, vinegar, wine, beer or bourbon is a great choice.
4. Stove top cooking is great for any type of steak . . . including grass fed steak. You have more control over the temperature than on the grill. You can use butter in the final minutes when the heat is low to carry the taste of fresh garlic through the meat (and feel like a Chef!).
5. Grass fed beef has high protein and low fat levels, so it usually require 30% less cooking time and will continue to cook when removed from heat. For this reason, remove the beef from your heat source 10 degrees before it reaches the desired temperature.
6. Let the beef sit covered and in a warm place for 8 to 10 minutes after removing from heat to let the juices redistribute. And never use a fork to turn your beef . . . precious juices will be lost. Always use tongs.
7. Reduce the temperature of your regular 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.
8. Never use a microwave to thaw your grass fed beef. Either thaw your beef in the refrigerator or for quick thawing place your vacuum sealed package in water.
9. Bring your grass fed meat to room temperature before cooking . . . do not cook it cold straight from a refrigerator.
10. Always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill before cooking grass fed beef.
11. When grilling, sear the meat quickly over a high heat on each side to seal in its natural juices and then reduce the heat to a medium or low to finish the cooking process. When roasting, sear the beef first to lock in the juices and then place in a pre-heated oven.