Back in December, when Bill and I picked up our first order of meat and vegetables from the West Michigan Co-op, we discovered that we could buy excess products from vendors from whom we hadn’t ordered. One of these vendors was Crane Dance Farm, run by two women who raise grassfed animals on their farm in Middleville, Michigan. (An interesting twist to the story is that they took the herd of cows from Providence Farms, our previous supplier, which has ceased operations.) So it was a natural connection for us to meet with Mary and Jill, who will be soon setting up a booth at the Holland Farmers’ Market. We’re excited to have them in Holland!
We bought a couple of ribeye steaks to try. But December in Michigan doesn’t offer many chances to grill unless you keep your grill in the garage, which we don’t. We had to wait until the snowmelt, which amazingly occurred this week.
The main thing I want to share is how grassfed meat is different from what you’d buy in the grocery store. Therefore, you need to cook it differently, too. This took some adjustment for me at first, but we’ve been eating only grassfed meat for the last two or three years now so we’ve got the process down.
If you haven’t switched over from feedlot meat, it is so worth it. For one thing, the meat is more nutritious and less fatty. And, I’ve read, animals that are less stressed–let’s say, happy cows–offer better meat. (See Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, Eating Animals, for more information.)
In the U.S., we’ve been conditioned over the years to look for “marbled” meat, thanks to the marketeers of the beef industry. But grassfed meat should not be marbled. And that’s why it’s leaner, and better for you.
I found a great recipe from Epicurious.com that ensures you won’t overcook your grassfed ribeye steak. It’s called Grilled Grass-Fed Rib-Eye Steaks with Balsamic-Caper Vinaigrette. Although I’ve made the recipe before, tonight we opted to just do the paprika rub, and not the vinaigrette. And the steaks were delicious.
The rub, preceded by a garlic and olive oil rub, seems to be the key to keeping the meat’s moisture in.
Of course, the grillmaster is key, too. Bill has the best technique: Sear each side for one minute on our Weber Q 300 grill. Then grill for two more minutes per side.
And, it’s important that the meat rests when it comes off the grill….usually for about two minutes under foil.