What is Different about Cooking Grassfed Meat?
By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Grassfed meat has less fat, a lot less water, a denser texture, and much more flavor. Since grassfed meat is a totally different product, you cannot cook it the same as factory meat, and expect to have a great meal. I learned this the hard way, when I ruined every piece of grassfed meat I cooked. I researched the methods that were used to cook meat when grassfed meat was the only meat available. I learned that the methods our ancestors used were very different than modern methods.
Let’s take roasting for an example. Modern cookbooks usually advise roasting meat at an even temperature. Our ancestors did not have ovens that they could set to a particular temperature. They built a fire, either in a wood-burning oven, or in a wood-burning stove, or outside, and roasted the meat in front of the fire. The meat started out in front of a hot fire, which cooled as the roasting progressed. The initial heat seared the meat and gave it a tasty crust, while the falling temperature resulted in a tender, delicious roast. We can recreate this cooking effect in a modern oven by starting out with a relatively high heat and finishing with a much lower heat. When the heat is lowered in the oven, the temperature gradually decreases, which reproduces the effect of a cooling fire. Meat roasted this way has great flavor.
Modern cookbooks usually advise salting the meat before cooking, and often use elaborate marinades that overwhelm the flavor of the meat. This is fine for factory meat, since it is full of water and has very little flavor of its own. This is terrible for grassfed meat. Grassfed meat has much less water, and pre-salting it will draw out too much moisture and toughen the meat. Grassfed meat has a wonderful flavor that should not be overwhelmed by powerful marinades. Our ancestors used just enough seasoning, usually some kind of fat and/or crushed vegetables to remove any gaminess while enhancing the wonderful, natural flavor of the meat. Salt was added just before the meat went in front of the fire.
The following recipe, taken from my cookbook Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat, shows how traditional roasting methods can be easily adapted to the modern kitchen with tender and delicious results.
Strip Loin Roast with Double Herb Crust
Cooking roasts in an herb crust is traditional in Europe. The herbs go really well with this roast, enhancing and deepening its flavor. Traditional recipes use either dried or fresh herbs, never both. We use both fresh and dried herbs in this recipe, which is why we call it “double.” Using both together more than doubles the flavor.
1 (2 pound) strip loin roast, with fat cap
For the Marinade
2 tablespoons unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh organic rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon organic dried rosemary leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt, crushed
1 organic onion, cut into three circles of equal thickness
1. The night before you plan to cook the roast, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Rub the marinade all over the roast. Place it in a covered glass bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.
2. An hour before you plan to cook the roast, take it out of the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature.
3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the roast with the salt. Place the onions close together in a roasting pan, then place the roast on the onion circles. Cook for 15 minutes.
4. Baste the roast with the pan drippings. Turn the oven down to 250 degrees, and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how you like it.
The picture shows the roast just before we ate the roast. It had great flavor from the herb crust to the juicy interior and was very tender.
Stan Fishman is the author of Tender Grassfed Meat. His book describes in detail how to cook grassfed beef, grassfed bison, and grassfed lamb. The book follows the nutritional principles of Dr. Weston A. Price, and uses only the best natural ingredients. The book can be purchased through the following links: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation and U.S. Wellness Meats. The meat in the picture was purchased at U.S. Wellness Meats.
Since Stanley went digging in the past to discover the secrets of tender grass fed meat, I entered this post in the Food Roots blog carnival on Nourishing Days blog.
To find grassfed meat, see the Hartke is Online.com Resources page.