Now that you have decided to purchase grass-fed meats and that they are a better choice here are a few cooking tips to help you prepare them. Grass-fed meats cannot always be prepared the same way as conventional feedlot meat; grass-fed meat is lower in fat and has more flavour. If grass-fed meats are cooked improperly they can be tough and lose their great flavour. Here are the few basic cooking principles:
1. Put away your timer and get a good meat thermometer
- grass-fed meats are lower in fat than the conventional meat you are likely to find in the grocery, fat acts as an insulator, therefore changing the way your meat cooks.
- lean grass-fed meat will cook faster than roasts higher in fat.
2. Turn down the heat
- since grass-fed meat is likely to have less fat, having the meat at a higher temperature means the moisture and fat will exit the cut of meat faster making the protein tough.
- setting the grill or oven to a lower temperature than is customary is a good idea.
3. Learn when to use dry heat cooking methods and moist heat cooking methods
- Dry heat methods; this is where fat and water are pulled from the meat until it reaches the desired doneness (this includes pan-frying, broiling, roasting, BBQ, grilling, stir-frying and sautéing). Dry heat methods are appropriate for the more tender cuts of meat, those that come from the animal muscles that do the least amount of work.
- Moist heat methods are used for tougher cuts of meat (this includes crock pot cooking, stewing, braising and boiling). This method is for the cuts that are from the animal that do a lot of work, when an animal uses a muscle a lot it develops collagen, your job is to break down the collagen, making the meat tender.
4. Ease up on the seasonings and sauces
- over the years with the conventional type of beef we have become accustomed to the bland flavourless meat and have spiced and sauced it up for it to have some flavour.
- animals raised on pasture have a distinct flavour and for the most part are able to stand on their own with just a few spices to add or bring out their flavour.
- when starting try simple herb rubs or just sea salt and pepper to experience the true flavour of the meat.
For a more in-depth look at cooking grass-fed meat please go to Shannon Hayes website, www.grassfedcooking.com where you can order her cookbooks which go into great depth, with recipes and rubs for not only beef but all grass-fed meat.