Salmon Creek Ranch
Sonoma County, California
Grass-Fed Beef Cooking Tips & Recipes

Cows with LesleyPrinciples
Barbequeing, Grilling & Broiling (Steaks)
Dry Roasting
Moist Roasting (Pot Roasts, Braising etc)
Prices & Availability

Grass-Fed Beef Cooking Principles:

Grass-fed beef is much leaner than the conventional feedlot product, and this affects the way you should cook it for optimum results.

The large amount of fat in corn-fed beef acts as an insulator during cooking, and tends to slow down the rate at which the meat heats up. It requires very  high temperatures to brown the outsides, and  its high water content resuts in major shrinkage during cooking. Conversely, the leaner grass fed product heats up faster and is easy to overcook.  It browns easily on medium heat and exhibits very little shrinkage during cooking. The best approach is slower cooking at lower temperatures.

For example, when roasting, use temperatures in the 200's F rather than 300's. Some authors suggest no higher than 225 degrees F with cooking times increased by 50% compared to conventional recipes. When broiling or grilling, keep the meat further away from the heat and cook slower.

If these simple guidelines are followed, your health-
giving Grass-Fed Beef will turn out just as tender (especially when dry aged for three weeks prior to butchering as our beef is) and far more tasty than corn-finished beef. It is also denser and more filling so you can use smaller portions.

Specific advice on the main methods of cooking appears below, followed by some simple recipes.

Barbequing, Grilling and Broiling (Steaks)

When barbequing, grilling or broiling grass-fed beef steaks, the basic principle is to use less heat to avoid burning the outside while the inside heats up. It is good to sear the outside initially to seal the juices in, but from then on lower the temperature (eg move the meat further away from the heat source) and cook for longer. When turning over the meat, don't stick a knife or fork in -- use tongs so the surface is not broken and the juice won't escape. If the steak is over 1.5 inches thick, and you want it medium or well done, use plenty of barbeque source or other liquid garnishings to prevent burning and help keep the juice in. You can of course cut into the meat to see if it is done, but this lets juices out, so it is better to use a meat thermometer. If using a thermometer, try cooking it to 5 degrees less than conventional meat for the same degree of doneness. (Grass-fed beef tends to be done a bit sooner, and in any case cannot support the E-coli bacteria that is a major reason for using higher temperatures when cooking corn fed beef).

Dry Roasting

A roast is just a larger piece of meat. If the cut is from the areas of the animal that produce finely grained, homogeneous meat without gristle and connective tissue, it is ideal for dry roasting in the oven. The classic examples include Rib Eye and Tenderloin, but a lot of others that are sometimes considered pot roasts can also be used for this method, such as Bottom Round, Cross Rib, Eye of Round, Mock Tender, Rib Eye, Sirloin Tip, and Top Round.

Simple Roast Recipe
Sprinkle pepper (or lemon pepper, or your favorite seasoning) and sea salt (or regular salt) on the meat, and rub it in with olive oil.  If you have plenty of time, pour some wine over the meat and let it marinade (optional).  A couple of hours before meal time, preheat the oven to 225 or 250 F, put some olive oil in a frying pan, put it on the stove and lightly brown the meat on both sides to seal in the juices. Optionally pour the wine back over it, cover the pan with tin foil and stick it in the oven.  Cook for about  50 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature -- stop cooking when about 5 degrees below the thermometer's marking for the desired state of doneness. (Try about 145 for medium rare and 155 for medium). Let it sit for 10-20 minutes before serving. (The meat keeps cooking for a good many minutes after removing itfrom the heat),

Pot Roast

Roasting using moisture -- ie pot roasting, braising or using a crock pot etc is ideal for the cuts you get from the chuck, brisket and rump areas of the beef carcass, which start off not as tender and tend to have some gristle running through them. This does not mean they are inferior -- in fact they tend to be even more tasty than the so-called premium cuts. Here again the rule is to use a low temperature and a long cooking time (eg 225 or 250 degrees for several hours).

Simple Pot Roast Recipe
Brown the roast on all sides in oil in a Dutch oven or skillet. Sprinkle with salt. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover with lid and reduce heat to low for 3-4 hours. What could be simpler?

Prices and Availability:
See the Beef Price List page for detailed pricing of individual cuts.

Our USDA-inspected grass fed beef is available year-round. Call us at (707)876-1808 or email to have an order shipped or delivered anywhere in Nroth America, or to schedule a visit to the ranch and pick up meat from our on-farm store. We also patronize local Farmers Markets.