What's Real, What's Not
These days perception is sold more often than reality. That puts those of us committed to doing the right thing at a disadvantage. So if you are eating for your health rather than for appearances, you need to read Phony Grass-Fed and Battling the Establishment. Then you'll better understand where we're coming from and why all of our meats are so special.
All Slanker Grass-Fed and Omega-3 Meats are Beyond Organic. The meats are natural, no sugar, no added hormones, not fed antibiotics, non-GMO, gluten free, high Omega-3, free range, cage free, and humanely raised. What actually makes our meats the healthiest meats in the world and sets them apart from all others is that they are zero glycemic, nutrient dense and diverse, with Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids balances of less than 2:1. These last three points impact health and disease way more than all of the other labels combined. It's why we say "Beyond Organic" because it's the actual chemistry of our meats that makes them so healthy. Read our eBook, The Real Diet of Man for a fuller understanding of food chemistry and the chemicals that cause chronic disease.
Cattle On Pastures
Raising grass-fed cattle on pastures is the most environmentally friendly form of food production. For hundreds of millions of years animals have had a symbiotic relationship with the green leaf. It is exactly the same today. Pastures are literally seas of green leaves that are carbon sinks. They are in harmony and balance with the livestock. No other form of food production can match that harmony and all others require far more resources and inputs to produce what is, in most cases, inferior food.
When cattle are on pastures eating grass their whole lives that makes them grass-fed and grass-finished. During “emergency situations” (deep snow, inclement weather, droughts, etc.) they may be fed grass hay, alfalfa hay, alfalfa cubes, or clover hay (all natural green leafy plant material). Inappropriate feeds such as “starch-free” plant proteins, grains, cottonseed meal, and what-have-you are not permitted. In addition to the cattle from our own ranch we source cattle from our alliance members located throughout the region. Our herd is too small to supply our Meat Store. This works out well because most cattlemen do not want to market meat direct to consumers. Most of them have small ranches and other full-time occupations. The really large ranches are too focused on their primary enterprise to want to start another business that is outside their field. Although, alliance members are enthused about participating in the grass-fed beef revolution which is why they raise grass-fed cattle for us. Most folks do not know this, but there are 729,000 beef cow operations in the United States and the average-sized cow herd is just 40 head.
Grass-Fed Beef is Humanely Raised
Grass-Fed Beef from Slanker will not have been implanted with hormone implants nor will they have been fed subtherapeutic antibiotics. Those practices are usually for feedlot cattle. Our grass-fed cattle are raised humanely which is the way all professional cattlemen raise cattle. It's not just the folks who raise grass-fed cattle that treat cattle properly. It's the norm for the industry as a whole in spite of what scaremongers say. As a side note, the hormone implants (which we do not use) make steers (castrated bulls) replicate bulls in hormone levels. Also, cattle are very similar to deer or buffalo in that they like being in the wild outdoors. Beef cattle are not “housed” in the winter. Additionally, professional cattlemen are very focused on herd health and we expect only the best practices from them in that aspect of beef cattle management.
Grass-Fed Beef vs Grain-Fed Beef
All meats, whether grain-fed or grass-fed, are zero glycemic. This aspect of food is often misunderstood by many yet it is critically important. Today too many of our traditional foods are high glycemic. Beyond that similarity the differences between grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef widen considerably in nutrient loads and essential fat balances. Grain-fed cattle, just like grain-fed people, are anemic. Grain, the seed of an annual grass plant, cannot provide the nutrient spectrum of a green leaf. Therefore, grass-fed beef always has much higher levels of vitamins and many other nutrients than grain-fed beef. Of course, the really big plus is the balance, not quantities, but balances of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. All grass-fed beef cuts have healthy balances of around 1:1 while grain-fed beef balances range from 15:1 to 20:1. Grass-fed beef is leaner, meaning it usually has very little intramuscular fat. Although, at times grass-fed beef will have considerable exterior fat and it always has interior fat. The fat from grass-fed beef is very nutritious and should never be wasted. The bones are great for making broth. Grass-fed beef has a stronger flavor than grain-fed beef and for some consumers this takes a few tries to acclimate to. Because grass-fed beef has less intramuscular fat, cattle are older when finished, and muscles are firmer from more exercise, the cooking of grass-fed beef steaks is far more challenging than cooking grain-fed beef steaks.
Grass-Fed Beef Cuts
Most of our grass-fed beef cuts are vacuum packed, frozen, and freezer ready for long-term storage. It's always possible that some packs may arrive with a small tear or hole in the wrapping. If the wrapping stays tight around the product the potential for freezer burn is limited to what’s exposed directly under the hole. To prevent that, a small hole in a tight vacuum pack can be simply taped shut. But if the wrap is loose and the meat slides around inside the pack, it's best to rewrap the meat in a vacuum sealed bag for longer term storage. If the meat will be consumed within a few weeks, just wrap with cling wrap. There are no safety issues involved with small rips in the frozen meat packs.
There are good suggestions in our General Store for handy Ziploc Vacuum Seal Bags. They are very useful for storing all kinds of leftovers.
When defrosting meat packs always make sure to place them in a pan or deep dish to collect the juices. Our meat packs do not have soaker pads in them. Therefore when they are defrosting some meat juice may leak from the packaging.
We dry age our meats usually at most nine days. More on aging here. Aging is managed in a 30-degree cooler. Immediately upon processing into various cuts the meat is quick frozen. This assures that maximum freshness is maintained until the time the consumer defrosts the meat to be consumed. Compare that to meats sold "fresh" in a grocery store. When it comes to fresh meats one rarely knows how many days it was between processing and the day it is cooked and consumed.
Grass-Fed Beef Prices
The price of grass-fed beef will change with the price of cattle. In addition, prices may be adjusted in response to seasonal changes (for instance swings in demand between roasts and steaks) in order to keep inventories flat. Consequently, all prices are subject to change -- usually without prior notice.
Cooking Grass-Fed Beef
Please check out our Cooking page for detailed information about preparing grass-fed meat cuts. Cooking grass-fed steaks is a challenge because they have less intramuscular fat, the animals are older than feedlot cattle, and they exercise more. That's why the steaks are usually tougher than grain-fed steaks and cooking beyond rare usually results in a tougher, dryer steak. Rare cannot be judged by the color of the cooked meat. Rare is a temperature. For steaks and roasts rare is 120 degrees internal temperature. We cannot control the way steaks are cooked nor can we guarantee a tender steak.
For more information about grass-fed beef please go to Grass-Fed Meat Explained.