Cooking tip- grass fed beef

So I've been slowly making the transition from chain grocery store bought beef (probably from CAFOs) to locally-raised grass fed beef from the farmer's market. I could go into the why's (better for your health, better for the environment, better for the local economy, etc), but I think the decision of what you put in your mouth is yours to make, and I don't want to get preachy about it. But to be honest, when I had my first taste of grass fed locally-raised beef last week, I was disappointed. We started with stew meat (used in stir fry, which generally comes out a bit tough anyway), and then had a meal of top sirloin (marinated in chimichuri sauce). In both instances, the meat was dryer than I had hoped for. I *hate* dry meat, of any kind. I have a prejudice against turkey and pork, because most of my experience with it has been negative due to the dry nature of the meat. So here I was, happy to be making a positive difference, but not satisfied with the consistency of the meat.

Now here's the facepalm moment.

I was at the farmer's market yesterday, buying meat from a different vendor (because, hey, I figured maybe the first vendor just had subpar beef). I like this guy, who also sells potatoes of a hundred varieties, because he educates his customers. So as I'm buying some top sirloin and back ribs, he lets me know to add olive oil. Wha...?

Turns out, grass fed beef is a LOT leaner than grainfed commercial beef. Cows that are allowed to graze naturally and walk around and whatnot produce leaner meat all around. Because of this lack of fat (which we'd consider unhealthy fats, the kind that clog arteries and whatnot), the meat isn't as tender. His solution is to brush the meat, just before it's done, with 2 Tblsp of olive oil or grapeseed oil (which are in the 'healthy for you in moderation' category). This creates a more juicy and tender texture to the meat. Yay! Also, alternately, you can marinate the meat in an oil-based marinade for 6-24 hours before grilling (no more than 24 hours, though).

So there ya go- a tip for anyone trying grass fed beef who likes more juicy/tender meat. :)

Labels: , ,