Tips for Cooking Grassfed and Pastured Meats
Whether you are new at the natural meats cooking game or not, there’s one thing you need to know: supermarket conventional meats do not cook the same as grassfed and finished, pastured meats.
Sure, you can mostly use the same recipes. But, there’s a few nuances that need to be kept in mind.
First, grassfed beef is generally lower in fat than conventional. This is because the cattle are actually eating herbaceous forage, and not corn, which their stomach is not designed for - thus, excess fat (toxins) is stored in the body. But, it is higher in protein. Pastured animals use their muscles often, which means a more fibrous muscle. Grassfinished cows also take longer to finish, which may mean the meat could be tougher. A general rule of thumb is to cook grassfed meats 30% less time than conventional. With grassfed beef and other dark meats, overcooking if your biggest enemy.
Next, also consider using a meat tenderizer or marinating your beef before cooking. This will also help prevent drying and overcooking.
Before cooking, thaw meat completely on the counter. Always cook it at room temperature, and never use a microwave to thaw it. Preheat your stove or oven before adding the meat. If grilling or cooking on stove top, which is the preferred method of cooking grassfed meats, searing is a great start.
With lower fat content, you may also add more butter or oil, especially at the end of cooking.
To test if the meat is done, use a thermometer. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature 5-8 minutes after cooking to let all the good juices marinate.
Just like beef, the same can be true for other pastured meats, such as chicken. When cooking a chicken, also cut down on the cooking time, though check with a thermometer. Cooking an entire chicken in broth, with breasts down (in the broth) will make for a juicier chicken.