You just don’t know what you like until you try something. Education is everything when it comes to meat. We work hard to offer different types of animals from a variety of farmers out there doing the right thing. We want our customers to experience them all. That’s why we offer grass-fed beef. Some people love the taste of grass-fed beef. If you haven’t tried it yet, do.
THE GRASS-FED DIFFERENCE
Grass-fed beef is not easy to describe, which is why it’s important to give it a try. When you talk to grass-fed beef fans, they all explain it in their own distinct ways. One thing that’s universal is that grass-fed muscle has a unique mouth feel. It has a particular bite or a chew to it. This has to do with the genetics of grass-fed animals and the way their muscles are used. Grass-fed flavor and texture depend so much on methods the farmer is using, too. We’re always focused on flavor, but we also want to be shepherds of the land. We work with various farmers to assess the impact of their operations on the earth, but also to discover together what’s marketable and delicious.
One of our grass-fed farmers, for example, has genetics from Australia. Those animals come from a line of beef cattle that was only ever raised on grass — forever. The best grass on the planet is out of Australia, and they have breeds that do better than others on grass. Now these genetics are being acclimated to the northeast of America, which is so different than Australia. It’s really great stuff.
HOW TO COOK GRASS-FED BEEF
As recently as a decade ago, grass-fed beef got a bad reputation as a health food that cooked up tough. We’ve never been here to sell vitamins, as much as we want to support healthy sustainable farms and encourage our farmers to care for their land as well as their animals. The good news is that thanks to farmers’ genius work with both their land and their animals’ genetics, grass-fed is no longer a tough fat free health food. Some of what we sell is so marbled, the only way you know it’s grass-fed is by reading the label.
Generally speaking, grass-fed beef has very little fat. It’s lean. It needs to be cooked in a specific way. Don’t salt it before cooking. It can really draw out its moisture. You can add salt (and pepper) for taste after, not before. Also, when you’re cooking grass-fed beef, lower the temperature by 50 degrees and always give it time. You don’t want to cook it quickly over high heat — in a pan or on a grill. Heat also draws out moisture. It goes from medium to well done in seconds. The less fat in a muscle, the faster it goes between temperatures. Fat is a buffer. It has a different melting point than muscle. When there’s no fat, there’s no buffer.
Keeping Some Color
We know this can be tricky for people who like their beef rare with some pink, or if you like a “dead cold center” like Josh Applestone. Trying to get a quick crust over high-heat on a grass-fed steak’s exterior and keeping the center rare takes a deft hand. Cook it too fast and the moisture—this is the color, the blood—bleeds out very fast.
We’re going to be honest and say that people who like their beef medium-well to well done might not wind up converted grass-fed beef fans. Cooked past medium, grass-fed beef can be pretty chewy. But we’re not here to yuck your yum. We all have our food preferences. Josh Applestone loves stale popcorn, which is arguably not for everyone. If you like tough steak, then you will enjoy your grass-fed beef past medium. Try a steak low and slow in at 250 F oven for about 30 minutes, basting it with olive oil. Slow cooking at a low heat will allow grass-fed beef to retain cellular structure without beating it up.