There are lots of benefits to eating grass-fed meat. Natural grazing keeps the animals happy and healthy, and it also produces meat that is packed with heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene and Vitamin B. There’s a lot to love about grass-fed meat, and when cooked to perfection it’s a game changer for your grill. So here’s what you need to know about cooking grass-fed meat!
Healthy cattle equal lean meat.
Most people describe grass-fed meat as lean. This is true but doesn’t tell the entire story. Grass-fed meat simply has true muscle integrity because the animals get to do what they were designed to do – roam free and graze on fields of grass. Because of this, it’s absolutely essential not to overcook grass-fed meat.
Don’t overcook it.
It’s worth repeating. Grass-fed meat is best enjoyed rare to medium rare. Because there is less fat in the meat, it requires 30% less cooking time and you will want to remove from the heat source 10 degrees before it reaches your desired temperature.
The heat source matters.
The best way to cook grass-fed meat is to sear it. This allows for more control than over a grill. If you do use a grill, you will want the temperature extremely hot to seal in the flavor quickly. If cooking in the oven or a crock pot, lower the temperature by 50 degrees (275 degrees for roasting or the lowest setting on a crock pot).
Don’t lose the juice!
One of the best tips for grass-fed meat is to quickly sear the outside over high heat. This creates a light crust by caramelizing the naturally occurring sugars on the surface, which seals in the precious juices so you can finish cooking at a lower temperature. Another trick is to always use tongs to turn and never a fork, which allows juice to escape through the puncture points.
A little help from oil.
Less fat content means less oil, so you’ll want to supplement this when cooking in a pan. Use oil for browning, like extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil. For ground beef, you can also bring out added moisture by incorporating chopped veggies (like onions or sundried tomatoes) or cheese.
Marinate for a job well done.
Some of us enjoy our meat well done – it’s true. So if this is you, then you will want to marinade grass-fed meat before cooking. Ideally this would be done 4-6 hours before cooking. Our favorite marinades are simple and include lemon, vinegar, wine, beer or bourbon. If you don’t have 4 hours to spare before cooking, you can also cover the meat in a rub and gently pound to tenderize.