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Animal Health Notebook

Here are my tips for preparing top grass-fed beef meals

Grass-fed beef and all flavorful fat is one secret to tasty meals and a healthy lifestyle.

The dairy industry tickles me. They have been losing fluid milk business for 40 years and yet they have failed to truly investigate the drop of fluid milk consumption.

I know the answer. The reason fluid milk consumption has dropped by almost 50% in the past 40 years is due to quality.

Fat is, or at least should be, the most important nutrient in milk. The dairy industry has worked hard to remove butterfat and reduce butterfat quality, denature butterfat and change butterfat nutrition. The result has been a big loss of market and of good nutrition. The American market is wide-open for a quality line of local, all-grass milk products that have generous percentages of grass-derived butterfat.

Ditto the same process and bad decisions from the beef cattle business.

Previously I covered several defining points of grass-fed beef and its nutritional assets. Enjoyable eating experience and health maintenance and healing are points No. 1 and No. 2. High quality fat is point No. 1 concerning health. Most every major physiological function that our bodies have requires and responds to quality fat in the right ratios. Grass beef harvested toward the end of the growing season trumps all other protein based sources that I am aware of.

In this blog I am focusing more on meat preparation and cooking.
• Start with calm, early maturing, small-frame-score grass-fed beef cattle that have been gaining weight since birth and are at least 18 months of age (28 to 36 is generally better). Kill the animals calmly.
• Dry age the carcasses at 40-45 degrees, Fahrenheit, depending on the fat cover. Six to 7 days of aging is good and yields 90% of the positive results of 12 to 14 days of aging. The less the fat cover, the shorter the aging time and the longer the carcass needs to cool before going in the cooler. Dry aging more than 12 days is overrated and can induce moldy flavors. High non protein nitrogen (NPN) in short spring and early summer grass is another major source of bad flavors.
• Flash freeze the meat.
• If possible, thaw meat in the refrigerator for up to eight days to finish aging. Leave the meat wrapped. This is wet aging.
• Dry rub steaks, roast, or whatever cut you are cooking with a mixture containing a little salt, sugar, peppers and herbs. Then cover at room temperature for one to six hours.
• Scrape off any excess rub and pat the meat dry before cooking.
• Brown all surfaces of steaks or roasts in a hot black iron skillet with some beef tallow or butter. Never wash an iron skillet with soap. Just clean it with a mixture of grease and coarse salt and wipe it out with a paper towel. Browning (searing) increases the flavor due to the heat reaction with proteins, sugars, terpenes, minerals, and other compounds in the meat.
• For grass-fed beef steaks, press the meat with your thumb or finger and observe for moisture beads, indicating medium rare.
• Remove or lower the heat and cover. Do not overcook. Let it rest 3-10 minutes before serving. The thicker the steak, the longer it needs to rest.
• Serve with a little salt and horseradish. Horseradish is a curative for many seasonal respiratory allergies.
• For grass-fed beef roasts, after browning I oven bake them at 180 degrees or lower in a tightly foil-covered pan, with the roast on top of two-inch rocks above a slightly steaming saltwater solution. They should be cut two and a half to three inches thick.

It is hard to screw up a good piece of quality beef if you do not cook it to death at high temperature. I seldom use high temperatures for more than one to four minutes.

The tenderness test we use is that when we are ready to swallow a bite, it can be easily swallowed. If you have trouble swallowing or get choked it is too tough and some more study and work is needed.

Flavor should be delightful throughout the eating experience. If the flavor fades or expires prematurely, something is lacking in the animal age or out in the pasture.

While still on pasture, apple cider vinegar fed at two to 10 ounces per 1,000 pounds of body weight daily increases forage digestion, decreases effects of NPN, neutralizes most off flavors and increases tenderness.

I highly recommend getting healthier by enjoying grass-fed beef daily. I hope this has been helpful.

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