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"When it comes to cooking grass-fed meats the secret to success is Low and Slow and to not overcook -- especially the steaks."
Do you know that grass-fed meats are far better nutritionally for optimizing your health than grain-fed meats? The science is over 30 years old. For more info here are three links worth visiting:
Cooking "Real Food" is Not the Same
as Cooking Concocted Food
These cooking instructions are for 100% grass-fed meats. Not all so-called grass-fed meats are actually 100% grass-fed. Many livestock producers don't even know that feeding grain to cattle on pasture makes them ineligible for the grass-fed label. Many researchers know even less about how cattle are raised, so what they think they are testing is not what they believe it is. So the bottom line question always remains, just EXACTLY what have the critters eaten? Our 100% grass-fed meats are just that. And that makes a real big difference.
For those of you who are not familiar with the major nutritional benefits of grass-fed meats, we urge you to spend a few minutes reviewing our Web site. Yes, many "professionals" claim we are not quite all here. But it is they who are still mired in the thinking of the 1950s.
Grass-fed meats are meats you can eat three times a day, every day, for optimizing your health. That's because every chronic disease known to man can be tied to grain, grain-based foods, products from grain-fed livestock, and high glycemic foods. For more about the peer-reviewed nutritional science backing that claim go to Artemis P. Simopoulos. For much, much more on why grain is man's first concocted food and why that makes it the most dangerous thing you can eat please check out the Omega-3 Essays section of my Web site.
The Fundamentals of Cooking Steaks and Roasts
First and of Utmost Importance
When I speak of low and slow cooking, what I am trying to do is warm up the inside of a steak or roast without overcooking the outside. This can only be done with low heat and a longer cooking period. Grass-fed meats are best when raw (steak tartar from a washed steak or boneless roast) and rare or medium rare when cooked. Many people have the idea that meat must be cooked until it turns brown on the inside. That is absolute nonsense. Please do not approach grass-fed meats that way.
Also, if the meat is still juicy after you have cooked it, you cooked it correctly. Cooking meat until "no blood runs" is another one of those idiotic things people do to ruin a good meal. Meat is 70% water and, yes, the water will have some blood cells in it. But it is not anything like blood from a major vein. So don't get the willies when the juice is a little red. When the water is gone (no juice) you have jerky. I hope you understand what that means.
As I said, all meats are 70% water. When steaks and boneless roasting roasts are cooked beyond medium rare they are being dried out excessively. Once again, this is how you make jerky. Jerky is merely dehydrated meat. Jerky is tough and, without spices, not very palatable. So we highly recommend against overcooking grass-fed meats.
Rare or Medium Rare cannot be determined by the "redness" of the meat. Rare and Medium Rare are internal temperatures of the meat. A Medium Rare steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 150 degrees and is limber when removed from the grill. Rare is 140 degrees and quite limber. Sometimes it takes us 25 minutes to warm a steak up to rare. This is low and slow cooking at its best. Always keep in mind that grass-fed steaks can still be red inside when well done. A well done steak is dry and extremely tough. It makes good shoe leather.
When I fire up my gas grill I immediately set the knobs on their lowest settings. At the same time I put the steaks on the cold grill. I call that "cooking." The grill warms up slowly, but "slowly" depends on the ambient temperature. My first turn may be in 7 minutes. The "hot" side of the steak will still look just like it did when I put it on the grill. My next turn may be in another 6 minutes. This time the steak looks like it is starting to "cook." If the temperature inside my grill is pushing much above 200 degrees F, I shut down the burners. I want a 200 degree grill -- no more. Depending on various factors (steak thickness, winter or summer grilling, the wind, fresh gas tank or nearly empty gas tank) it may take another 7 to 12 minutes or more to finish warming up the steaks. (Do not use my timing methods unless you KNOW your grill is not very hot. Most grills will "toast" a steak in 15 minutes.) After the second turn I turn the steaks more frequently for two reasons. First I do not want the side facing the fire to get too hot. Better yet, I turn the burner off that's directly below the meat. Secondly, by turning the steaks over I can check them for limberness. A limber steak is a tender palatable steak. A stiff steak has been "killed."
General Cooking Instructions for Specific Cuts
Porterhouse Steaks are super-sized T-bones with extra tenderloin! The New York strip is on one side of the bone and the tenderloin is on the other. This is a premium grilling steak that should be cooked low and slow to a doneness of no more than medium rare. Steaks like this should NEVER be cooked in a crock pot.
Boneless Ribeye Steaks are premium, high flavor, relatively tender cuts of meat that are perfect for grilling. They should be grilled low and slow to a doneness of no more than medium rare. Steaks like this should NEVER be cooked in a crock pot.
T-Bone Steaks are super steaks. The New York strip is on one side of the bone and the tenderloin is on the other. T-Bones are premium grilling steaks that should be cooked low and slow to a doneness of no more than medium rare. Steaks like this should NEVER be cooked in a crock pot.
Sirloin Steaks are a great, relatively lean boneless steak. They can be carved up in one-inch cubes for the finest Kabob meat on Earth or grilled as a nice large steak low and slow to a doneness of no more than medium rare. Steaks like this should NEVER be cooked in a crock pot.
Chuck Eye Steaks are a great, boneless steaks that are kissing cousins of the Boneless Ribeye steak -- although not quite as tender. They are a true Hunter Gatherer's steak with a nice balance of lean to fat. They should be grilled low and slow to a doneness of no more than medium rare.
Beef Cube (Minute) Steaks come four to a one-pound pack. They've been through a mechanical tenderizer twice. They make great breakfast steaks (steak and grass-fed eggs!) and are perfect for quick meal preparations. They can be fried at relatively low temperature in a pan with a little bear grease. (If you do not have bear grease, any of the fats from grass-fed critters will work just fine.) Cook to no more than medium doneness. Overcooking makes these steaks tough too. They cook up in a minute or so.
Beef Tenderized Round Steak is great for chicken fried steak (no breading please) and super for stir fry. In stir fry we cut the meat in strips. Once again, please do not overcook.
Chuck Steaks are cut 1/2-inch thick and are good for grilling. We like them for their great flavor. Chuck steaks consist of three primary muscles. Two of the muscles are on the tough side; the muscle in the middle of the steak is very tender. We grill low and slow to no more than medium rare. The less tender parts are sliced thin as we eat them. The tender muscle in the middle is a treat and is the same muscle that makes the Flat Iron Steak.
Generally for all higher quality roasts use a meat thermometer and a 350 degree oven. Bake until the internal temperature of the roast gets to 135 degrees. Pull the roast out of the oven and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice it thin and, except for the exterior slices, each slice should be rare and very juicy inside. We do not recommend cooing a roast beyond an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Every degree above that dries out the meat and makes it tougher.
Eye of Round, Rump, Sirloin-Tip, Pike's Peak, or Top Round Roasts are nice-sized boneless roasts for roasting in the oven. These roasts should be prepared with a meat thermometer and cooked to no more than the medium rare point (internal temperature of 140 degrees) for optimum eating enjoyment. They should be thin sliced for serving and the slices should be red and juicy in the middle. When cooked in a crock pot these roasts can turn out to be like dehydrated presto logs. But some people like them that way. A good roasting temperature is 170 degrees. Expect this method to take a few hours or more to get the internal temperature up to the 150 degrees.
Here's a secret for successful crock pot cooking. Make sure the lid has a good seal. I'm not referring to an absolute seal like with a pressure cooker. But a seal that doesn't readily allow the steam to escape. A roast cooking in a dry crock pot will turn out tougher than a boot.
Chuck Roast is an easy to prepare flat-lying pot roast. Put it in the crock pot (or covered pot in the oven) at a maximum temperature of 180 degrees. A little lower is better! Keep covered and cook for ten hours or more. Always make sure during the entire cooking period that there is amble juice in the bottom of the pot. The roast can be turned over at the halfway mark. About two to three hours before the roast is finished add in a touch of garlic and maybe a little onion. Incredible flavor! (Sometimes folks cut little slits in the roasts before they cook them and put garlic slices in the cuts. Wow!)
Arm Roast is a flat-lying roast very much like a Chuck Roast. It too is easy to prepare. Put it in the crock pot (or covered pot in the oven) at no more than 180 degrees. A little lower is better! Keep covered and cook for ten hours or more. Always make sure during the entire cooking period that there is amble juice in the bottom of the pot. The roast can be turned over at the halfway mark. About two to three hours before the roast is finished add in a touch of garlic and maybe a little onion. Near the end, pull out the round marrow bone, scoop out the marrow and stir the marrow into the juice in the bottom of the pan. Throw the bone to the dog. Ladle the juice over the meat when serving. Incredible flavor! Incredibly good for you.
Ground Beef is a staple in my house and grass-fed ground beef is tops. It is great for meat loafs, ground beef steak, tacos (no shells please), meat balls, and the list goes on and on. Also, it's great for a breakfast meat. That's right, for proper nutrition one should eat meat three times a day.
Ground Beef Patties are simple and quick. Once again do not overcook. All one needs is a maximum internal temperature of 160 degrees F (medium) to kill every pathogen known. At that temperature a patty is pink and moist in the middle. Cooking beyond that degrades the juiciness, tenderness, and flavor.
Ground Bison/Buffalo has all the same great attributes of Ground Beef, but with a slightly different flavor.
BARBECUE and/or CROCK POT
Short Ribs are powerful flavored and perfect for barbecuing low and slow. You may have your own barbecue sauce, but if not order a bottle of Slanker's Barbecue Sauce to go with your short ribs. Often we cook these cuts in a covered pan in the oven or a crock pot at about 180 degrees for six hours or so. They can also be used for making Beef Soup or Beef Stew!
Briskets have long been a Barbecue favorite. They can be marinated over night and then cooked low and slow the next day. Once again 180 degrees works wonders. When served the meat should be thin sliced across the grain at an angle. Briskets are also the cut of choice for making "Corned Beef." Simply put this means the Brisket is soaked in a Salt Water brine for up to a week. Some folks add bay leaves, cloves, mace, peppercorns, garlic, allspice, and honey to the brine. After soaking, wash the meat thoroughly to remove the surface brine. Then cook low and slow for at least five hours in a crock pot with a little fresh water, cabbage, onions, and herbs. Serve hot or cold.
SOUPS, CHILI, AND STEWS
Stew Meat makes for a wonderful, nutritious stew that is good for both winter and summer. Imagine the carrots, onions, and other really good omega-3 vegetables in the pot stewing along with the great aroma of grass-fed beef. For a list of which vegetables are best check out my food nutrition data page.
Meaty Soup Bones make for a wonderful, nutritious beef stew that is good for both winter and summer. Imagine the carrots, onions, garlic, and other vegetables and seasonings in the pot stewing along with the great aroma of grass-fed beef.
Marrow Bones (grass-fed only) are making a comeback in modern cuisine because they are good fats. Also, marrow is supposed to be slightly higher in CLA than the rest of the animal. Marrow bones can be cooked alone for preparing gravies and sauces, or they can be put in stews and soups. Once the marrow is soft it can be dug out of the bones and stirred into stews and soups for boosting the already incredibly great flavor of grass-fed meat dishes.
Beef Bone-In Short Ribs are a very versatile meat product. They are not only excellent in a crock pot on their own, but they are exceptional for adding meat and flavor to both stews and soups.
Beef Chili Meat is a very course ground meat product. It is not to be cooked liked ground beef. One should not brown it first before putting it in the chili pot. It goes in with the beans and needs to cook slowly for hours -- just like the beans -- for optimal eating enjoyment. In other words, chili meat is intended to be cooked in water.
KABOBS and STIR FRY
Sirloin Kabobs are one of the "fun" barbecue meals. Place beef in bowl. Mix your favorite marinade; pour over beef, cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, at least one hour. Thread beef cubes and vegetables on skewers; brush with marinade. Either broil in a grill or an oven. In an oven broil kabobs with tops about eight inches from heat; turn and brush with marinade. Broil until done no more than medium rare. Brush with marinade again before serving. On a grill use the same approach as with a Sirloin Steak brushing now and then with your marinade.
Pastured Chicken Fryer is smaller than a roaster and is cooked like conventional chicken. It can be cut up and fried, rotisseried on a grill, baked in an oven like a turkey, or cooked in a pot.
Pastured Chicken Roaster is an older, larger, tougher chicken. It can be cooked like a conventional roaster chicken by baking in an oven like a pastured turkey. For turkey cooking instructions see below. Best of all roaster chickens are super for chicken soups and similar dishes.
Pastured Heritage Turkeys are the same breeds of birds that were popular between 1850 and 1950. They are descendants of old original and traditional breeds that used to be universally used for the traditional holiday feast. They are the same birds you'll will find in the American Book of Standards. It wasn't until the development of the large breasted supermarket bird of today that the Heritage turkeys declined in popularity. With that loss also went the pasture raising methods that were responsible for the delicious subtle flavor that all pastured birds provide.
You'll find the Heritage bird has longer legs, more flavorful dark meat, and just the right amount of white meat that is also flavorful. Naturally, when using pasture raising methods it takes longer to raise a bird and the fat profiles of these birds are more delicate. (They are higher in the Omega-3 fatty acid.) Consequently pastured turkeys must be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.
This means the flavor is already in pastured birds so our job is to bring that flavor out, not hide it or destroy it. The trick is slow cooking at 325 degrees and keeping the bird well covered until the last thirty minutes. You know it's done when the meat separates from the bone and juices run clear. Remember to use your thermometer. Insert it into the center of the inner thigh muscle, not touching the bone, and cook to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees. Pastured turkeys have longer growing periods and their meat textures are well developed. So season lightly and cook it slow and covered. That's part of the great taste.
Goat Meat must be cooked very carefully since it is like venison; not in flavor, but in leanness. It is extremely lean. So the steaks should be "warmed up" low and slow (which means low heat and longer time) to no more than medium rare (internal temperature of 150 degrees). Some goats can be a little tough. Some are very tender. They can vary from critter to critter. So we prefer to have them rare (internal temperature of 140 degrees) than cooked any more than that. For sure they should be limber when served. You can use any heat source. We use a grill, but never let the temperature inside the grill exceed 200 degrees. Goat has a great flavor. But the small meat cuts are easy to over cook.
Our grass-fed pork products are the only ones that I always cook to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Many of our porkers are wild, been running in the wild, have stood nose to nose with wild pigs, etc. In the wild they'll eat anything a caveman would eat for sure. Since they are literally unmanageable I would not eat them raw. For sure, our grass-fed pork fat is the finest cooking fat known on the planet. Bacon grease (when we get bacon) is worth more than the bacon. Never, ever throw away the grease from cooking a grass-fed pig.
Copyright 2000-2014 © Ted E. Slanker, Jr., All rights reserved.