Grassfed and pastured meats are very sensitive to over cooking.   To help make your grassfed experience more successful, we suggest you keep in mind the following recommendations.

May we suggest first that you look into purchasing “Long Way On A Little”, a wonderful cookbook by sustainable farmer, Shannon Hayes.  We sell it on our farm website at a discounted price, and for us personally, we think it is a priceless resource.

Often you will hear people who are not really familiar with grassfed meats, tell you that is, “leaner, and therefore it is chewier”.  Please understand that “grassfed is variable, it is not always leaner.  Some grassfed meats can be devoid of marbling, and some meats can be very highly marbled.  So what we are saying is that grassfed meats can fall into any of the three meat categories, select, choice and prime.  And these factors will be determined by the natural variability of the seasons, the forages, management practices, genetics and dry aging.

Factor Farmed (CAFO) meat is consistent. Consistency and homogeneity are values of the industrial food system.  Standardization is not a goal of the grass-fed rancher.  We hope you will embrace the variability in flavor and texture in our grassfed meats, and understand raising animals the way God intended, has a great deal to do with nature.

When cooking grassfed and pastured meats and poultry, your new best friend is an insertable meat thermometer.  Consider investing in a good one, and guard it well. The following table provides the ideal internal temperatures at which to remove the meat and chicken from the oven.

Meat requires a resting time for 5 – 10 minutes for steaks and small roasts and up to 30 minutes for larger cuts. During this time, the internal temperature of the meat will rise 10 – 15 degrees. A good rule of thumb is to remove grassfed meats from the oven at an internal temperature of 15 degrees below USDA recommendations.

Grass-fed Angus Beef
(not recommended past medium rare)

120-130 degrees for rare/med. rare,

150–165 degrees for medium well

 Pastured Berkshire Pork
(must be kept pink in the middle for optimum enjoyment)

145 to 160 degrees for roasts, grilled chops and steaks: to medium rare for maximum culinary pleasure

 Forage Fed Katahdin Lamb
(must be pink in the middle for optimum enjoyment)

120–145 degrees, chops and steaks – to medium rare for the best dining experience

 Free Range Chicken and turkey:
(We personally do our chickens to 164 degrees)

165 degrees

Most of us unknowingly evaluate meat palatability by juiciness, flavor, and tenderness, so let’s take a quick look at the three.

1) Juiciness: “The juciness of a piece of meat is completely in control of the cook; the farmer and the butcher have no control over whether your chops and roasts are dry.” Prolonged exposure to higher heat causes the muscsle fibers to contract and squeeze the juice out of meat.

To retain moisture, please lower the temperature when cooking your meat cuts. Also, be aware that once meat crosses 145 degrees as an internal temperature, the muscle fibers are going to contract at an accelerated rate, drying the meat out super fast.

“The juciness of a piece of meat is completely in control of the cook; the farmer and the butcher have no control over whether your chops and roasts are dry.”

2) Flavor: While each of us have different flavor buds, according to Shannon Hayes, “flavor sensitivity has by and large been obliterated from the American palate, mostly because of being accoustomed to eating so many processed foods, discerning little more than sweet, sour or salty”. “Hence most Americans seem more fixated on the texture and tenderness of a cut of meat, rather than the overall taste.”
Grassfed beef flavors vary and are more assertive. The beefiness comes as a result of dry aging, the forages, and again the genetics.

“…flavor sensitivity has by and large been obliterated from the American palate…”

3) Tenderness: “Tenderness is probably the most single most important factor in determining palatabliltiy among most Americans.”

If the cut comes from a muscle that works hard such as the shoulder, neck or shanks, it contains more connective tissue and typically requires liquid in order to break down. Moist heat cooking methods include: braising, barbecuing (which is different from grilling), smoking, slow-cooking and stewing.

By contrast, the muscles that do the least amount of work produce the meat that is the most tender. So steaks, chops, most roasts from the loin or legs, require dry-heat methods such as grilling, pan-frying or roasting.

“There are three rules to remember in regards to tenderness:
1. use lower flames
2. monitor internal temperatures and
3. understand which cuts require which cooking methods.”

May we also suggest that you minimize the use of intense seasonings and heavy sauces. For the new grassfed meat eater try simplier recipes so you first can experience the taste.

As you move on to more sophisticated recipes you will be able to pair seasonings that enhance, rather than obscure the wonderful flavor.
We hope you enjoy our grassfed and pastured meats.