We have been eating and cooking beef all our lives. But do you know that the beef we get from the grocery store comes from grain-fed animals that is way different than the beef from grass finished beef. We generally do not see beef from grass-fed animals which is why it is important to know the different aspects of cooking both types of beef.
In general, grass fed grass finished beef is more tender and leaner than grain-fed beef. Although the taste of both types of meat is said to be similar, but some people find the taste of grass finished beef richer and beefier in flavor.
If you are cooking with grass-fed beef for the first time, there are several things that you need to know to cook a perfectly cooked and great tasting meat. Our cooking and preserving guide here will hopefully help you achieve your goal in cooking 100% grass fed beef.
What is Grass Finished Beef?
Grass-fed or grass finished beef is the type of meat that is obtained from animals that are raised on a diet that is totally based on grass. The meat of grass-fed beef is leaner than the grain-fed beef which is readily available in the local grocery stores and you are accustomed to buying.
While grass-fed beef cooks very similar to grain-fed beef, some people claim that the grass-fed meat has an even better flavor. If you are cooking with grass-fed beef for the first time, you are bound to experience various different things including the taste and the texture of the meat.
It is important that you try to maintain the moisture of the meat, as grass-fed beef is leaner, it tends to become dry very quickly while cooking. We will be sharing some tips below to help you cook your meat perfectly and also share some preservation methods that slightly differ from that of regular store-bought beef.
What is Grain Fed Beef?
Grain-fed beef is a type of meat which comes from animals that are solely fed on grains. Generally, this is the type of meat that we buy from grocery stores. Grain-fed beef is commonly available and is conventionally made using different methods and techniques.
Grass-Fed VS Grain-Fed Beef
The life of 100% grass fed beef animal is a complete contrast from the life of grain-fed animals. The meat from the grass-fed beef is much leaner than that obtained from grain-fed beef. Besides this, the marbling of beef dictates how the tenderness of the product is perceived. Higher marbled beef will be more tender than less marbled beef.
Both types of beef definitely have some difference in taste but as we are more accustomed to eating grain-fed beef, we are going to find grass-fed beef tasting weird for the first few tries. However, there is not a competition between the two types of beef and we can enjoy any type of dish or steaks from the meat of both grass and grain fed animals.
Cooking Tips to Follow While Cooking 100% Grass Fed Beef
There are a few key differences that you need to be aware of when it comes to thawing and cooking grass fed beef to ensure that you preserve its tenderness and flavors.
If you follow these tips for cooking steaks and roasts, your grass-fed meat will have all the tenderness and flavor (or more!) that you have come to expect from your favorite beef recipes.
- How to Freeze / Thaw
Grass-fed beef gives you a strong flavor profile, which can easily be lost through improper freezing methods. Air exposure is the most common cause of freezer burn in meat. It is important to always wrap the meat tightly and vacuum if possible. It is better to put it in a zip lock bag, remove the air and freeze.
When it comes to thawing the meat, always defrost meat in the refrigerator, never in the microwave. Heating in the microwave will result in uneven thawing. Also, microwaves tend to change the taste of the food item. To preserve the taste and texture of the meat, let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before preparing. Grass finished beef cooks better at room temperature than cold.
- Season Carefully
One of the great things about grass-fed beef is that it tastes so good even with little seasoning. So, when it comes to seasoning, you should start small. A little salt and pepper may be all you need to serve a delicious grass-fed steak.
Marinade is fine as long as it doesn’t spoil the flavor and texture of the meat. And since grass-fed beef tends to be leaner than grain-fed animals, adding moisture works best for the taste of the dish.
- Limited Fat Content
Grass-fed beef is much leaner and it is important to add good quality fat when cooking. Searing the outside of the meat in good quality olive oil browns the skin and enhances the flavor.
- Cooking Time and Temperature
When cooking grass finished beef, it is important to pay attention to cooking times and temperatures. It may take a few rounds to figure out how to cook grass-fed meat. But in most cases, you’ll save about 1/3 of the cooking time over grain-fed beef. Remember that meat will also continue to cook for several minutes after you remove it from the stove or grill.
- Give the Meat Rest
It is important to let the grass-fed beef sit for at least 10 minutes after removing from heat. This rest period allows the meat to finish cooking. It also keeps the gravy trapped in the meat.
There are many great ways to tenderize meat and any of them work well with grass-fed beef. Apply a marinade containing a meat tenderizer. This helps break up the tissue before cooking. You can also place the meat in a plastic bag and pound it with a mallet to tenderize it.
- Cooking Grass Fed Grass Finished Beef the Correct Way
There is a right way and a wrong way to cook grass finished beef. The most important thing to remember is to not overdo it. Due to its low-fat content, it tends to dry out and harden.
The Three Rs To Follow While Cooking Grass Fed Beef
- Reduce heat (for best results with Grass finished beef, reduce the temperature range)
- Reduce cooking time (this type of meat continues cooking even after removing it from the grill. So, reduce the cooking time)
- Reduce drying out (grass fed beef is leaner and tends to dry out. Marinade the beef beforehand or reduce cooking time to keep the beef from drying out)
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