How to Cook Grass Fed Beef
Grass fed beef has not always had the best reputation. It is typically leaner than grain finished beef, and, if not managed properly, can result in a chewier end-product. But that is only if it is not managed properly.
If beef cattle are raised on a regenerative and rotational grazing system that is meeting their needs for pasture and forage, then the results are unparalleled; a beautiful texture, a wonderful beefy flavour, and all the nutrients you could want from your lunch, supper, or breakfast. Where grain fed and finished beef bulks up quickly, it lacks the flavour profile of beef that has been well managed on exclusively grass, not to mention the healthy fats and balances of omega 3 and omega 6. Feeding grain and corn adds lots of fat to your t-bone steak, but the more scientists look into it, the more we learn about how they aren't necessarily the fats you want to be filling your belly with.
100% grass fed beef has a lot of health benefits, a topic I won't delve into here, but I will try to touch on again soon in a blog post (not that there aren't already a million posts out there about it). I'm not a nutritionist, but I grew up in a whole foods household, and have continued the tradition! Whole foods for our family, and whole natural foods for our animals. And I don't know that it makes sense to dwell too much on the nutritional justification for eating good meats and good fats. Why not also eat it because it tastes delicious? Comparing fries made in any kind of vegetable oil, versus those fried in rendered beef tallow.... no competition.
In this post I wanted to talk about some tips for cooking grass fed beef, because for all of its positives it is not necessarily as forgiving as grain finished beef when you're aiming to maximize tenderness.
But it's not that complicated either. It just requires a method.
When choosing cuts of beef you have to realize that there will be some variation. Not every single steak will be the same texture and flavour because some animals may favour certain grasses, or genetics, drought years, or wet springs. No matter the slight variations between steaks, you can cook them the same way. And that way is called The Reverse Sear.
The reverse sear is essentially cooking a steak slowly and evenly in the oven to the perfect finished temperature you're looking for (125 degrees for rare, 140 degrees for medium, 160 for well done). Then you take your steak out of the oven, rest it a few minutes and then quickly sear it in a HOT pan to get that beautiful crispy fat, and then it's time for supper. It is really a failsafe method, and avoids underdone or overdone parts. I would recommend reading more on this topic from my favourite chef-guru: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt here.
While the process doesn't take much time, it does require some planning because you need to be in or near the kitchen for the 30 to 45 minutes that your steak is in the oven in order to temp check it and see when it is ready to pull. You can (and SHOULD) also do this for pork chops, and pork and beef roasts. Most recently we reverse seared a sirloin cap roast (picanha) and it was amazing. I mean really fabulous. Mouthwatering, crispy fat, juicy meat. All the things you want from a piece of beef. And one of the best things about this method is you can get your meat to your ideal doneness Every Time. Whether you're in the kitchen for an ultra rare porterhouse, or a medium rare sirloin, or a well done chuck steak. This is how you nail it.
If you follow us on instagram you will periodically see photos of our own reverse-seared wonders. A worthy way to cook grass fed beef for the finest-dining experience, or for Tuesday night that just needs a little pick-me-up.
All you need is an oven, some good beef, and a meat thermometer.