KOL Foods - Glatt Kosher | 100% Grass-Fed Beef & Lamb | Pastured Chicken, Turkey & Duck | Wild Alaskan Salmon
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Grass-Fed Cooking Tips

There is a bit of a learning curve to cooking with grass-fed meat because its chemical make up is significantly different (specifically, healthier fat) and requires different cooking methods. Folks that are used to cooking with conventional meat sometimes have a hard time in the beginning. Be sure to follow these simple steps to achieve delicious dishes that will make you and your family never want to go back to conventional meat. Most importantly avoid overcooking. Grass-fed meat and pastured poultry are leaner than grain-fed and will cook in less time!

KOL Foods Recipes



How to Roast a Pastured Turkey

Ten Tips for Tender and Delicious Grass-Fed Meat & Pastured Poultry

The single most important tip in making tender meat is temperature. It is a must to follow tip #9 and drop whatever you're doing and go buy a meat thermometer right now.

1. Never use a Microwave to Thaw
Either thaw your beef in the refrigerator over a 24 hour period or seal in a plastic bag and run cold water over it. Never let meat sit out on your counter top for more than 2 hours.

2. Bring your meat to Room Temperature
Never cook your meat straight from the refrigerator, allow the meat to come to room temperature. This should take between 30 min and an hour for most cuts. Never let meat sit out on your counter top for more than 2 hours.

3. Tenderize
Place our steak between two sheets of plastic wrap on a sturdy surface. Then take a meat tenderizing hammer and hammer until the steak is thin. This breaks down the connective tissue and reduces cooking time, however, this method isn't suitable for every steak or recipe.

4. Marinate or Brine
Marinating adds flavor and may help tenderize the surface of your meat. Using lemon, vinegar, wine, beer or bourbon is a great choice. Use slightly less than you would for grain fed beef because grass-fed cooks quicker so the liquor or vinegar won't have as much time to cook off. Always marinate in the refrigerator.

If you don't have time to marinate and don't have a meat tenderizer, just coat your thawed steak with your favorite rub, place on a solid surface, cover with plastic (or place in a zipper plastic bag) and pound your steak with a rolling pin or whatever is convenient.

Brining is usually done with whole poultry but can be done with any type of meat and has been proven to increase the moisture content of the meat. However, kosher meat and poultry are already brined during processing for about 45 minutes so brining may not be necessary.  If you are sensitive to sodium, we suggest that you rinse your meat thoroughly before cooking (you should be doing this anyway) and be sure to taste before you season.

5. Lower the cooking temperature and/or reduce cooking time
Grass-fed meat is higher in protein and leaner than conventional meat. Since fat is an insulator, and since grass-fed beef has less fat, heat moves through it quicker, therefore, reduce cooking temperatures by 25 - 50 degrees or reduce cooking time by 30%.

6. Use tongs, not a fork to handle meat
Choose tongs over forks to handle your meat. Poking holes in your steak or roast lets precious juices escape. Also, resist the temptation to press down on your burgers. The less the product is handled, the better the results.

7. Sear Your Meat

Always sear/brown your meat for 30 seconds to a minute on all sides prior to cooking. Although this doesn't seal in juices, it does create tons of wonderful flavor. How to Sear:
    • Make sure the meat is dry before it goes into the pan; pat it down thoroughly with paper towels. This is especially important with previously frozen meat, which often releases a great deal of water.
    • It is important for any cut sides to be absolutely smooth and flat. The best way to achieve uniform cuts is to avoid any kind of sawing motion and to only pull the blade in one direction. Use either a very sharp chef’s knife or carving knife, preferably at least 8 inches long. This same technique can be used when portioning any other type of boneless meat into smaller pieces.
    • When you're ready to put the meat in the pan, make sure the pan is hot by preheating it over high heat until any oil or fat added to the pan is shimmering or close to smoking.
    • Make sure not to overcrowd the pan; there should be at least 1/4 inch of space between the pieces of meat. If there isn't, the meat is likely to steam instead of brown. If need be, cook the meat in two or three batches to keep from crowding the pan.
8. Add moisture
Grass-fed meat is lean. Brush your steaks with olive oil. Add caramelized onions, olives or roasted peppers to your burger mix. Or, of course, you can marinate!

9. Use a meat thermometer
Instant read thermometers will help you judge when your meat is done. Since meat continues to "cook" even after it's removed from the heat, remove meat from the heat when it's 10° shy of your goal temperature. Follow the temperature chart below. Grass-fed meat is best at rare to medium rare.

Why is this so important? As the internal temperature of meat increases, the protein fibers (which contain all the moisture) begin to shrink, squeezing out the moisture. As the meat loses water, it becomes tougher and tougher (think jerky). It doesn't matter whether you are dry roasting or braising, if the internal temperature gets too high, you will have dry, tough meat.  The exceptions to this rule are cuts with high collagen contents such as lamb shank, cheek or brisket.  These cuts do not become tender until the collagen melts, somewhere around 200 degrees for grain fed so probably around 130-140 in grass-fed meat.

Suggested internal temperatures:

Beef
Our beef is best when prepared rare to medium rare. If you like well done beef, cook at very low temperatures in a sauce to add moisture.

Rare: 120° F
Medium-rare: 125° F
Medium: 130° F
Medium-well: 135° F
Well: 140° F

Lamb
120-145° F

Poultry (unstuffed)
165° F

10. Let your meat rest
Cover your roasts and steaks after cooking and let them rest for about 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to reconstitute into the meat.  

During the cooking process the protein fibers coagulate and squeeze out moisture but the coagulation process is at least partly reversible. As you allow the meat to rest and return to a lower temperature after cooking, some of the liquid is reabsorbed by the protein as their capacity to hold moisture increases. As a result the meat will lose less juice when you cut into it, which in turn makes for much juicier and more tender meat.


Additional resources
"The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook" by Shannon Hayes.

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