To retain the natural tenderness of GrassRoots meat it needs to be cooked differently from grain-finished meat. When meat is very lean the heat is conducted more quickly through the meat and can toughen the protein. Slow cooking can help keep the meat tender.
When cooking meat that is well done, such as roasts, I like to sear them at a high temperature (450 degrees) for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to a very low temperature (200 to 250 degrees) and cook them slowly until the desired internal temperature is reached. A meat thermometer is essential.
Slow cooking our Chuck Roasts, Rump Roasts, Sirloin Tip Roasts, Top Round Roasts, or Briskets in a crock pot, on the stove top, on the grill, or in an oven will yield an incredibly delicious entree with almost no effort or mess. Rump Roasts, Sirloin Tip Roasts, and Top Round Roasts cooked to a medium rare will offer a dining experience not soon to be forgotten. To ensure the perfect internal temperature, remove the roast from the oven at a temperature 10 to 15 degrees less than the desired doneness and let the roast “rest” for 10 to 15 minutes. The roast will continue to cook and will reach the desired temperature without getting overcooked.
When cutting your roast slice across the grain for maximum tenderness. The grain often changes throughout a roast, so be sure to check it all the way through, turning the roast as you cut. One way to check if you have it right is to pull a slice of meat apart with your fingers – it should easily pull apart and not be “stringy.”
When cooking a Chuck Roast it is important to cook it until the meat is fork tender and literally falls apart. This can take as long as 8 hours, slow roasted in the oven or a crock pot. If cooking in the oven, set temperature to about 225 degrees. If cooking in a crock pot, place on low. No water needs to be added to these roasts as they generate their own juices. I often take a frozen roast, cut the string wrap off, season it, and put it into the crock pot for up to 8 hours, and it is ready to eat and just delicious at the end of a long day.
If I am Broiling or Grilling grass-finished meat I like to cook it hot and fast, to a medium rare, turning the meat frequently and being careful not to overcook it. Even the tenderest cut will become dry and tough if you cook it for too long. Let the meat ”rest” for 5 to 10 minutes before serving, allowing the juices to incorporate back into the meat.
Ground Beef can be one of the easiest cuts to start with because you can savor the flavor of the meat without worrying about how to cook it. A pound of raw meat yields very nearly a pound of cooked meat – your burgers won’t shrink on the grill. Not overcooking the meat is of primary importance in retaining the natural rich flavor and tenderness. No need to worry about cooking till well done – our meat can be eaten raw if you like!
Our Top Round Steak is wonderful for stir fry or fajitas. The Bottom Round Steak is mechanically tenderized and is perfect for stove top cooking. It is especially well suited for chicken fried steak, a favorite in our family.
Skirt Steak, a specialty item in many Mexican food restaurants, is wonderful cooked very quickly on the grill. Flank Steaks and Flat Iron Steaks are quite unique and many chefs are discovering the delicate flavor of these little known pieces of meat. While perhaps not quite as tender as the more popular cuts of steaks, they make up whatever they have lost in that area with flavor and value. They also need to be grilled quickly, and are sometimes used in fajitas.
The Ribs are best if either stewed on top of the stove or in a crock pot with a bit of water, or slow roasted in the oven on low, until tender. This usually takes a few hours. I then like to place them on the grill with some barbeque sauce to get that final, yummy-grilled flavor.
Lamb Chops of all kinds are best cooked at a hot temperature on the grill, quickly and to a medium rare. The Leg of Lamb Steaks are a tremendous value. A lean cut of meat, it lends itself to grilling and is a real treat. If you have never tried them be sure to add this to your next order. I really like to use lemon pepper when seasoning lamb for the grill, as it seems to bring out the best in the meat.
Leg of Lamb Roasts should be slow cooked in the oven, in a crock pot, or on the grill, until medium rare. Again, a thermometer is essential to insure that you do not overcook this delicacy. Set your oven to 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, then lower to about 225 degrees until the roast reaches the desired temperature.
Leg shanks can be cooked on the stove top with added water or slow roasted in the oven. I especially like to add some roasted green chilis when stewing them for an amazing southwestern flavor.
Our Ground Lamb makes delicious burgers and is always a favorite. Again, don’t cook them to well done unless that is your preference. Overcooking may dry them out and diminish the flavor.
Keep in mind when cooking our Free Range Chickens that they are also quite lean and overcooking can dry them out very easily. As with all poultry be sure to cook this meat thoroughly. Chicken should always be cooked until well done. Please use a meat thermometer if not certain about cooking times.
GrassRoots beef, lamb, and chicken do not require the use of marinades to tenderize or flavor the meat. Herbs and spices can be used to accent the delicious flavor of the meat itself, but are not necessary.
When grilling grass-fed lamb or beef, my favorite spices are lemon pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic and onion. Rosemary is an especially nice herb to use with lamb. Roasted lamb is delicious using apricot nectar as a basting liquid. You might also choose a mint jelly, apricot preserves, or jalapeno jelly, or just experiment with your favorite gourmet sauce as a baste or final glaze for your lamb roasts or chops. Raspberry chipolte or a zippy fruit ambrosia makes a wonderful dipping sauce for lamb steaks and chops. If you like southwestern cuisine, try using green chilis in your lamb or beef stews, chilis and meat loaf.
Don’t be afraid to use lots of garlic with the Free Range Chicken. I like to stuff my whole chickens with seasoned stuffing to which I add chunks of fresh garlic, sauteed. A few dried cranberries added to the stuffing makes for a real treat. And be sure to use the carcus later for chicken soup. Add some onion, celery,garlic, and salt to taste, for an amazing chicken broth.
Once you have cooked with our delicious GrassRoots meat you will see that the rich flavor and the tenderness of the meat lends itself to whatever spices you choose. We welcome your favorite recipes and suggestions and would love to post them to our website.
Lois Higgins ~ Bon appetit!