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Ask a Foodie: Cooking a Roast of Grass-Fed Beef

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You can't cook grass-fed beef like grain-fed beef.

Q. My sister is planning to purchase a rib roast for Christmas dinner, and wants to get grass-fed beef. Do you cook grass-fed beef, say a strip or standing rib roast, differently than conventionally raised beef?     J.W.

A. Dear J.W.  Grass-fed beef is not as heavily marbled with fat as is beef that has been fattened on corn or other grains. So, because there is not as much fat to baste the meat internally as it cooks, you want to be careful to not overcook grass-fed beef. It will be too dry. Here are tips from grassfedandhealthy.com and what’scookingamerica.net.

  • Reduce the temperature of your grain-fed beef recipes by 50 degrees — for example, set the temperature at 275 degrees for roasting or at the lowest heat setting in a crock pot. The cooking time will still be the same or slightly shorter even at the lower temperature.  Watch your meat thermometer so you don’t overcook the meat. Use moisture from sauces to add to the tenderness when cooking your roast.
  • Never use a microwave to thaw your grass-fed beef. Thaw your beef in the refrigerator.
  • Bring your grass-fed meat to room temperature before cooking. Do not cook it cold straight from a refrigerator.
  • Always preheat your oven, pan or grill before cooking grass-fed beef.
  • When roasting, sear the beef first to lock in the juices. You can do this in a large braising pan on top of the stove, in oil, turning the beef roast with tongs to brown it on all sides. Then, place in a preheated oven.  You can season it with salt or pepper, or whatever you wish, before you sear it.
  • Grass-fed beef will cook more quickly than conventional beef, so again, keep the thermometer handy. Also, you will want to roast to rare or medium rare, and let the roast sit for 10-15  minutes when you take it out of the oven so the juices redistribute themselves.
  • Also, remember that the roast will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven and let it rest. Keep this in mind. For rare, you want to have the roast at between 120-125 degrees internal temperature. For medium rare, the temperature is 130-135.
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