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Here’s How to Cook Grass-Fed (aka Pasture-raised) Steak

Grass Fed is a Different Animal.

The number one rule to cooking grass-fed steak is be gentle.

A lot of people looking for ways to add more healthy, ideal protein into their diet to accelerate weight loss, can get turned off by their first taste of grass-fed steak. That’s because its so easy to overcook, which gives it a gamey flavor.

how to cook grass fed steak

But worse, heat destroys nutrients and can even cause reactions between otherwise healthy components of food, fusing them together and generating carcinogens. This is one reason we say chefs are the original nutritionists because typically they also say that cooking a steak past medium ruins its flavor. It also ruins the nutrients.

Grass versus Grain

Why would you need different instructions for steaks from animals fed grain and grass? Because grain fed animals gain weight so fast that some of the fat ends up within the muscle tissue. This produces the nice marbling effect and makes the meat easier to cook because the fat acts as an insulator and keeps moisture in so you can cook it longer without drying it out. If you’ve only cooked grain fed in the past, you need to adjust your technique to avoid over cooking your pasture-raised meat.

Finishing Touch: Grass FINISHED versus Grass FED

Grass finished is better all around (for you and for the animals) than grass-fed.

Why? Grass-fed just means the calf got grass at some point but was probably ‘finished’ on grain for between 90 and 180 days. With every day spent off grass and on grain instead, the omega-3 levels drop, as do many other valuable nutrients. If what you’ve got is grass fed rather than grass finished, find out how long it was on grain. More than 90 days and you may have to cook a little longer to account for the additional intramuscular fat. (See ribeye series, below and note increased whiteness from fat, aka “marbling” within the muscle.) Just as with grain fed, since fat is an insulator, the extra intramuscular makes the timing less critical but increases the need for heat.

Okay, here’s how to cook grass-fed steak:

Marinate the steak for at least a couple hours in worcestershire sauce. Let it warm up on the counter a half hour or so before grilling. Then, while the grill is heating up, season (salt, pepper) and brush with bacon fat. Or use peanut, avocado or olive oil. Steam-clean the heated grill by swiping with a big ball of soaking-wet paper towels. Sear the steak for a minute on each side, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for another three to five minutes on each side to the point that, when you touch the steak with a finger, it’s noticeably firmer than when raw. Then plate it and let it rest—don’t cut it open!—for a five full minutes so that it can reabsorb the juices. Then you can slice open the edge to check for the just-right reddish pink color. Serve with demiglace and a sprig of flat (or curly) parsley.

*Marinate steak for two hours

*Don’t cook steak straight from the fridge (the marinade prevents/slows bacterial growth)

*Season steak and brush with bacon fat or suitable oil

*Use a clean grill

*Sear with a hot flame on both sides, then turn the heat down

*Learn to judge doneness by touch

*Let the steak rest!

*Serve with demiglace and a sprig of parsley

If you have grass-finished steak available (and can afford it) it makes sense to learn how to protect these wonderful cuts of meat so that you may “honor the ingredients.”

Happy grilling!

Clockwise from top left: 100% grass fed, 90-day grain finished, 180-day grain finished, standard torture meat from costco
Clockwise from top left: 100% grass fed, 90-day grain finished, 180-day grain finished, standard torture meat from costco

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Dr Cate, I am reading your fabulous book ‘Deep Nutrition’ and discovered an inconsequential error…but still an error. On page 112, you mention one FrancIs Farmer and HIS?? cookery book.
    The problem is: Fanny Merritt Farmer (her given name was Fanny , NOT Frances )was as I have tried to indicate a woman.
    While this error is of no import to the munificence of your singular achievement, I thought subsequent editions may eliminate this.

    1. Thank you but we are well aware Fanny Farmer was a woman and there is no phrase “Francis Farmer and his cookery book” so I’m not sure what you are referring to.

  2. Here’s a link to a website I have just discovered for obtaining organic grass feed meat. For folks, like me, who live in areas where it is not otherwise available this could be useful. I haven’t ordered from them yet, but their prices seem quite reasonable. They even have joints and organ meats! http//
    Murray Crow

  3. Cooking grass-fed beef is similar to cooking bison meat. It is generally leaner than grain fed cattle and must not be over cooked. If you prefer medium well or well-done, you will kill the meat and it will be tough and leathery. You should only cook until medium.

  4. Simple is good. We just like demiglace! Plus, you get all those joint-building glycosaminoglycans from real (based on bone broth) demiglace sauce.

  5. Your process seems like double-giant overkill to me. When I cook a grass-fed steak (there is a whole grass-fed/finished steer in our freezer), I let it get to room temperature (in the summer, 4 hours in the garage is about right), sprinkle some seasoning on both sides, then sear the meat for about one minute on each side.

    Then it’s ready to eat!

    BTW, my wife liked your “When Martians Attack” post so much that she featured it on her blog. Which is how I found you. You appear to be a kindred spirit, so I’ll be following you and possibly adding you to my blogroll on GuestDietBlog.

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