Grass-Fed Cooking Tips
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.
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.
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.
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.
Suggested internal temperatures:
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 done: 135° F
Well done: 140° 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.