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  • Grass-fed beef tougher?

    I cooked a couple of grass-fed tenderloins tonight. 4 minutes per side in a medium-high heated cast iron skillet with butter, took them off at rare (by touch) and let them sit for 10 minutes. When we cut into them they were perfectly done- on the rare side of medium rare. But it was like chewing rawhide. I'm a pretty good cook and can usually nail tenderloins, but I've always used regular, non-organic supermarket cuts. Fluke, or do I need to adjust my cooking?

  • #2
    I don't think it is the fact of the meat being grass fed. I only eat grass fed meat (easy here in the UK) and I think that the crucial part is how long the meat has been hung. I had some fillet last week which was as tender as butter. Find a good butcher is my advice! I avoid super market meat as I have been disappointed with that, but very rarely have I bought a poor steak or joint from a butcher.

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    • #3
      Here are a couple of points to consider. Grass fed may make the dining experience less pleasant, but really provide for better health.

      1) The cattle industry's practice of feeding feedlot cattle massive omega-6 PUFA ladened grains will push the PUFA from the grain into muscle tissue. It is the unspent, accumulation of PUFA that provides the tenderness you feel in the texture. That will be absent in grass fed beef. The toughness of grass fed tells you, you aren't ingesting the high omega-6 PUFAs that are higher than nature intended.

      2) The cattle industry also insures that feedlot cattle don't move around much so that the collagen content of the meat deteriorates. Collagen adds toughness. But, collagen provides amino acids that are important to our health, glycine and proline. It may not be pleasant to eat, but the tougher the meat is, the more collagen is present. This is what you expect in an animal that is moving around as nature intended.

      Cooking methods can offset the toughness you've experienced by converting the collagen to gelatin while preserving the health benefits. Slower, longer cooking times will help break down the collagen. Adding water into the cooking method will help the most. Marinating and pre-braising of cuts intended for the grill will help break down the collagen as well. I did have to abandon rare meat when I went grass fed but you still can enjoy tender, medium rare to medium cuts from the grill by marinating or pre-braising.

      Don't forget crock potting. Cheaper cuts that are naturally tough are the most healthy cuts in terms of amino acid profiles. Some amazing meals can be derived from them.
      Last edited by John Caton; 10-08-2016, 04:00 AM.
      Stop by to visit at http://primalways.net
      Old Paths ... New Journeys

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      • #4
        And then there's ageing beef by leaving it (well wrapped or possibly vacuum-sealed) in a back corner of your fridge for a couple weeks.;-) It is the enzymatic action breaking down connective tissue that results in tenderness. Crock pots are not as good a remedy for tough steak, but will work. I don't think the steaks will be as tasty, though. I used crock pots extensively in times past, but my current love is an Insta-pot, which keeps dinner more within a schedule.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Paysan View Post
          And then there's ageing beef by leaving it (well wrapped or possibly vacuum-sealed) in a back corner of your fridge for a couple weeks.
          Won't the meat become moldy or rotten because beef-water?

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          • #6
            So a filet tender enough to cut with a fork is probably not gonna happen with grass-fed?

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            • #7
              I have had good luck, with filet mignon anyway, from U.S. Wellness meats. I am lucky enough to have a paleo neighbor and she orders all her meat from U.S. Wellness regularly and lets me tag along. We started ordering the filets because they are actually a reasonable portion size (unlike the gargantuan filets at Costco!) and each one is individually vacuum packed. We spend a lot of time on our boat or in an RV on the road, so I can grab these from the freezer, pop them in the fridge, and in a couple of days they are thawed and ready to cook.
              I don't think pastured meat is as butter tender as the grain-fed, artificially marbled crap, but we would not at all call these we've had tough. It makes a big difference where your meat comes from, for sure. I've had other pastured meat, and paid a fortune, and it was also tough.

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              • #8
                Yeow, $24 for a 9 oz filet...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by skootx View Post
                  So a filet tender enough to cut with a fork is probably not gonna happen with grass-fed?
                  Yes, if it has been hung long enough.

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                  • #10
                    grassfed meat drawbacks

                    Originally posted by coolrain View Post
                    Won't the meat become moldy or rotten because beef-water?
                    The possibility exists, especially where butchers get in the habit of selling water at beef prices. However, since grassfed implies a certain standard of care, it shouldn't be waterlogged. Vacuum packed likely will eliminate all such concerns. One great-aunt from England used to hang chickens till they developed maggots - only then was the meat tender enough and strong-flavoured enough to resemble the gamier meats of the aristocracy. Not saying to let your beef get fly-blown, but it's safe enough in the fridge.;-)
                    Fresh isn't always better to the perverted tastes of humans the world over. ;-)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skootx View Post
                      I cooked a couple of grass-fed tenderloins tonight. 4 minutes per side in a medium-high heated cast iron skillet with butter, took them off at rare (by touch) and let them sit for 10 minutes. When we cut into them they were perfectly done- on the rare side of medium rare. But it was like chewing rawhide. I'm a pretty good cook and can usually nail tenderloins, but I've always used regular, non-organic supermarket cuts. Fluke, or do I need to adjust my cooking?
                      slankers has some things to say on the subject, he advocates low and slow and given his business he should know what he's talking about.
                      https://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/co...grass-fed-meat
                      https://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/co...oking-articles

                      Personally, I stick to the ground beef or cheaper cuts of grassfed beef (flank/skirt being our household favorites) then rely on marinades, cutting against the grain and slow cooking for roasts. For the once in a while big juicy steak I don't bother with the grassfed and just eat it like a treat.

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