Tips for Cooking Grass-fed Beef

I am happy to be able to offer heritage grass-fed beef raised by my friend, Robert Lynch of Mallorytown, Ontario. His lovely beef is part of my CSA. And when available, is also offered as a 30 lb beef box to my customers.

The most commonly heard distinction between grass-fed and feedlot beef is that grass-fed is leaner. However, the real difference lies in the fact that, by virtue of a an active and healthy life with consumption of different plants and grasses, there is true muscle integrity in the meat.

The healthy muscle texture does, however, mean that grass-fed steaks will be more variable than grain-fed meats.

Cuts of beef that are cooked with moisture or at relatively low temperatures (such as pot roasts) are basically cooked in the same way whether the cattle were grass-fed or grain-fed. But steaks, which are usually cooked at high temperatures in order to get a sear on the outside, can be trickier.

When cooking a grass-fed steak, sear it at high temperature and then allow it to finish cooking at a much lower temperature. This protects the muscle fibres from contracting too quickly. Tough grass-fed steaks result from over-exposure to high heat.

Note that Robert Lynch’s steaks are usually about three-quarters inch thick. I find that 2 minutes per side provides a nice tender medium rare steak.

Start steaks and roasts at room temperature. This is a good rule for all meats, but especially for grass-fed beef. By starting your meat at room temperature, it will take less time to reach the ideal internal temperature while cooking. This gentler cooking method will help your meat stay juicy and delicious.

Prime Rib roast – premium oven roast. Cook uncovered in 325 degree oven to desired doneness. (lower fat meat should not be cooked past medium). Remove roast to cutting board when cooked to desired doneness and tent with foil for 10 minutes.

Sirloin tip roast – Place in roasting pan and add ½ cup of water to pan. Cook uncovered at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees until thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove to cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Carve across the grain into thin slices.

Rump roast – a tougher cut, it tastes best when roasted slowly until tender.

Blade Roast – is a pot roast. It should be cooked using low heat in a covered stockpot, slow cooker or Dutch oven. Season the roast first then brown it in a bit of oil. Add 1-2 cups of liquid (red wine, broth, canned tomatoes for example). Simmer covered on the stove top or cook in a 325 degree oven for at least 3 hours. Add chunks of vegetables in the last ½ hour if desired.

Short Rib roast – Similar to blade roast.

Cross Rib – cook as blade roast.

Common Mistakes – Overcooking

  1. Lower the cooking temperature.

  2.  Invest in a meat thermometer.

The desired internal temperatures for grass-fed beef are:

Rare — 120F
Medium Rare — 125F
Medium — 130F
Medium Well — 135F
Well — 140F

  1. Give your meat a rest. When you’re done cooking your meat, let it rest for at least 10 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise by about 10 degrees.