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Cooking Grass-fed Beef — 5 Ways to Nirvana

I remember when I decided to “go grass-fed,” I enthusiastically brought home packages of grass-fed beef from the farmer’s market, only to be disappointed.

Why?

Because I was still cooking that marvelous meat as if it were the same as conventional meat.


If you want to know the five secrets to grass-fed beef cooking bliss, go read my post at Kelly The Kitchen Kop. Kelly is a co-blogger with me over at the Real Food Media Blog Network, and she’s been blogging about

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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14 Responses to Cooking Grass-fed Beef — 5 Ways to Nirvana
  1. Theresa
    February 27, 2009 | 9:10 am

    Thank you for these tips! I had never thought about this before with beef. My hubby commented just last week that he doesn’t like grass fed beef so now I know how to cook it so I can keep him happy and justify the extra expense. Question: Do you know if these principles work with organic free range chicken? I had bought some from a local farmer and when I baked it I could hardly chew it. I know it is much better for us, but we really didn’t enjoy eating it so I haven’t purchased any more. Thanks!

  2. KristenM
    February 27, 2009 | 9:15 am

    Hi Theresa — You’re welcome. I’ll have to research the question about the chicken. I’ve never noticed any discernable difference when cooking pastured chickens verses conventional chickens, but that may just be because I never bake it. So, let me check into that and see if I turn up anything special. If I do, I’ll write a post about it. :)

  3. Spinner
    February 27, 2009 | 12:02 pm

    Luckily, this is how I was cooking feed lot meat, so my transition to grass-fed was painless. The thing I noticed the most was when browning ground beef. With feed lot beef, I would have to add salt, pepper and maybe some garlic powder to get it to smell good. Otherwise it just smelled dull, or flat. When I browned up some grass-fed beef, it smelled so good just on its own. My husband even commented on it and asked what I’d added. Which was awesome, because he takes a lot of convincing regarding the nourishing foods. At least on this one point, he can’t say he hasn’t noticed a difference :)

    Spinner

  4. Lisa
    February 27, 2009 | 12:44 pm

    Theresa, I’ve consistently had the same results with pastured chicken and still haven’t found a good preparation method that makes it as tender as conventionally raised chicken. Some pastured breeds are not quite as tough as others, but it seems to me and my family that they are all tougher than what we grew up eating! That’s not going to make us go back to conventionally raised chickens, though. We figure we just have to adjust our tastes and expectations some. The flavor is always excellent, just the texture that’s not what we expect.

    Lisa

  5. Beth
    February 27, 2009 | 8:36 pm

    I just started buying grass fed beef and so I have some in my freezer I’ve yet to tackle. It didn’t occur to me that it would have to be cooked differently, i’m so grateful for this post. I don’t want to waste food anymore hence it needs to be cooked right so it won’t go to waste. Awesome!
    -beth

  6. Jana
    February 28, 2009 | 12:35 am

    Hello I was reading your blog and I thought that you might like to visit mine. http://sweetbytesblog.blogspot.com We are having a contest sponsored by the North Carolina Sweet Potato commission. Any blogger that posts an original Sweet Potato recipe on their blog and submits it to us can win $1000, 5 runners up get $100 each. Full details and rules are at my blog. Tell your friends,too. We are trying to get the word out.

  7. KristenM
    February 28, 2009 | 5:20 pm

    Lisa & Theresa — I don’t usually bake chicken, but when I do it’s with some sort of acidic marinade (like pineapple juice or tomato sauce). It always comes out tender. Have you tried marinating your chicken first before baking it?

    Beth — Glad to be of service. :)

    Jana — Thanks for the heads up. I entered my favorite sweet potato recipe into the contest. Guess we’ll see how I do. :)

  8. KristenM
    February 28, 2009 | 5:23 pm

    And why hasn’t anyone commented to tell me how adorable that cow is? Don’t you just love that nose?

    Perhaps it’s cruel to look at a cute cow and think about steak at the same time. What do you guys think? Should I have just posted a pic of a grilled steak?

  9. KAthy
    February 28, 2009 | 10:32 pm

    I have been using grass fed for about a year now and didn’t know about the times and temperatures for cooking the meats. I used your advice with the fresh venison rump roast and it turned out perfect and very tender. (although the venison was wild) I haven’t heard that it is bad for you. I will be using your advice also with my grass fed organic local meats.

  10. KristenM
    February 28, 2009 | 10:37 pm

    Kathy — I grew up eating venison. My dad was a hunter, so venison was pretty much 80% of our meat supply for the year. In my mind, wild meat is probably best with grass-fed & finished (w/o hormones or antibiotics) coming in a close second. So, kudos to you and a perfect roast!

  11. Chris Kerston
    March 1, 2009 | 9:13 pm

    As a rancher who works on a ranch growing grassfed beef I want clear up a few things and give my point of view on this. Getting used to grassfed beef’s flavor or how to cook it to mask the flavor are things I hear about frequently. I think there may exist other options for folks.

    I agree that many cuts require different cooking techniques that many modern families have forgetten about. However, grassfed meats are a lot like wines. Each locale and each farm

  12. KristenM
    March 1, 2009 | 9:21 pm

    Chris — Those are all excellent questions to remember. I’m very pleased with my own local cattle rancher and the meat we get from him for a lot of the reasons you stated above. Our beef is harvested in early summer (which is May here in Texas), grown on rangeland and dry-aged.

  13. Salt Lake City Catering
    September 3, 2009 | 7:43 pm

    Haha, its probably because cows arent very cute to begin with! Maybe if it was a baby more people would have commented on it, but then people couldn’t visualize a nice tasty steak coming from it.
    -Jack

  14. virginia tech football
    November 6, 2010 | 3:26 am

    Theresa, I’ve consistently had the same results with pastured chicken and still haven’t found a good preparation method that makes it as tender as conventionally raised chicken. Some pastured breeds are not quite as tough as others, but it seems to me and my family that they are all tougher than what we grew up eating! That’s not going to make us go back to conventionally raised chickens, though. We figure we just have to adjust our tastes and expectations some. The flavor is always excellent, just the texture that’s not what we expect.

    Lisa

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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