These charts will help you understand that “its not all meat.” They show the amount of meat to be processed, the weight that you can expect to receive and the percentage of loss through boning, fat removal and trimmings. These authoritative charts are the results of many cutting tests made by meat experts.
Of course, it must be realized that the size of the animal, the amount of fat, the grade of meat, and the amount of trimmings and bonding that is done by us will affect the percentage of meat that you will receive. These charts can be considered as a guide to the amount of meat received.
- Do not overcook
Because grass-fed beef is leaner than grain-fed, it doesn’t have a lot of spare fat to keep it moist when cooked too long or at temperatures that are too high. Beef with lots of fat is more forgiving of sloppy cooking, but grass-fed cuts need a little extra attention and care.
So, rule number one: don’t overcook. Grass-fed beef needs about 30 percent less cooking time than most common beef and is best if cooked medium-rare to medium, or it will be too tough. Keep an eye on the internal temperature. Just stick a meat thermometer where the steak is thickest. (You can find a thermometer in most kitchen supply stores for a few dollars.) If the thermometer registers around 135°F, it means the meat is still rare. You want a temperature between 145°F and 155°F for medium-rare to medium. Anything above that is too much, and your steak will lose its moisture and tenderness.
- If you don’t have a thermometer and don’t particularly care about a picture-perfect piece of meat, you can always cut a slit in a bottom corner of your steak and check for doneness.
- And if you just can’t bring yourself to eat medium-rare meat and like your steak well-done, when using grass-fed beef you may want to opt for a cooking method that utilizes a lot of moisture to keep the meat tender (see Cooking Methods below).
- Do not microwave
Do not cook when frozen or partially frozen
Thaw the meat in the refrigerator or under cold running water, but don’t de-frost it in a microwave oven.
- Let rest after cooking
As a rule, always let any type of meat rest for 8 to 10 minutes after taking it out of the heat. This will help redistribute the juices inside the meat before serving. In particular, when you’re planning to serve the meat in pieces, don’t cut into it right away because the juices will immediately spill out, resulting in a drier texture. For the same reason, always turn your meat with tongs rather than a fork when cooking it. Deliciously precious juices will be lost if you poke the meat.
Tip: if you’re preparing hamburgers with grass-fed beef, add caramelized onions or other moisturizing ingredients to compensate for the leaner meat. (Grass-fed hamburgers are generally 80% to 90% lean.)
There are two major ways of aging beef, wet aging being the industry standard. This is a process done in almost all meat producers. This is the meat you’re going to find at the grocery store. This process happens when you cut the side of beef into primals, which are the major chunks of meat you get before you cut as steaks or roasts. These primals are then bagged and wet aged for 7-14 days. The product is cost efficient for large producers but does nothing for the flavor of the beef. Typically, this process produces a mild taste and leaky texture.
The second and less common way is called dry aged. This occurs when you hang a side in a refrigerated cooler for 7-21 days. This length varies entirely on how the beef was raised and how much fat cover if any, justifies the aging period. With dry aged beef there is going to be a 5% to 10% loss due to moisture and shrink. This process concentrates the flavor and is preferred by the finest restaurants world-wide. This process produces a tender, buttery texture.