Recipe of the Month: Chicken Fried Steak

The amazing thing about purchasing a whole/half/quarter cow is the order is so customizable! You get to choose, within reason of course, what cuts you get, how much fat is trimmed, how thick you want your steaks, if you’d rather have more ground beef, etc. It can be overwhelming at first, which is why we want to help as much as we can. We are always available for ideas, tips, and suggestions. If you’re anything like me before I got into this, you have probably had to google what kind of meat to use for a recipe. What’s the difference between certain cuts? Is a Porterhouse and T-Bone steak the same thing?

Did you know you can get your grass-fed round roasts cut into tenderized fillets instead of individual roasts? This opens up many recipe options like the all-time favorite Chicken Fried Steak! Others include philly cheese steaks, pepper steak and rice, fajitas, and grilled round steak. These tenderized fillets are ideal because they require no additional tenderization from the cook (think pounding with a meat mallet – although a great stress release after a bad day). These fillets have been cross-cut tenderized at the butcher and then packaged in groups of two or four steaks. They have great flavor by themselves and are very lean.

Preparation of the Chicken Fried Steaks is easy! Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tenderized round roast fillets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 Cups of seasoned flour (I season with salt, mild paprika or a little cayenne pepper, and lots of pepper)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Canola Oil

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To Prepare:

  • Beat the two eggs in a shallow, wide bowl (you are going to dredge the steaks in these bowls so they should be large enough to fit the steak in them) with milk until very well mixed.
  • In a second shallow, wide bowl add the seasoned flour (Instead I used a ziplock baggie to use the good ol’ shake and bake method. This is not recommended, however, as the steaks are thin and flexible and fold in on themselves. I ended up having to work with it a bit)
  • Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and then season generously with salt and pepper (What’s your preference? More pepper or more salt?)
  • Take the seasoned steak and dredge it in the flour bowl, forcing flour into the meat with your fingers.
  • Remove the steak from the flour bowl and then soak it in the egg mixture.
  • Repeat the flour coating one more time. This is important to get that good thick breading we all like.
  • Put the steak on a rack and repeat this process for all the steaks.
  • Pre-heat a cast iron skillet with approximately 1/2 inch of oil covering the bottom of the skillet.

The Cooking:

  • Once the oil is hot, add a steak or steaks to the frying pan. Be careful not to crowd the steaks, there should be space between each steak in the skillet.
  • Fry over high heat for approximately 2 to 5 minutes per side until the coating is golden brown – be careful not to burn the coating by leaving the steak too long. Flip the steak and cook for half the amount of time on the second side or until golden brown.
  • Remove the steaks to a plate and place in a warmer until ready to eat.
  • These chicken fried steaks should be medium rare to medium. If you want them more well-done then you can place them back in the skillet, and then put the skillet in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 to 30 minutes.

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Grass-Fed Chicken Fried Steak is a great way to serve round steak and it is very fast to prepare once you have mastered the recipe. These steaks are great served alone with mashed potatoes and a salad, This time I went completely southern with it and paired the steak with mashed potatoes/gravy and fried okra and squash. They make great steak sandwiches. We like to have ours on a large hamburger bun, with mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce. Yum!

Let us know what you think below! Also, share your recipes using round roast fillets.

Two Places at Once: Our Locations Explained

You might be wondering, or even confused, about our process and how we do things at the ranch, especially since you might have noticed I throw out Kansas and Oklahoma a lot. Why multiple locations? Let me explain.

As I have mentioned before in Ranch Day!!, our main ranch (Grant Creek) is in Cedar vale, KS. It is about 1,400 acres of beautiful pastures and creek. We also own some farm land in Carney, OK. Technically, these are all owned by Riverview Property Co., LLC. Riverview is an affiliate company of Marjo Operating Co., Inc., a small oil and gas company out of Tulsa, OK. This is where the blog magic happens. Mark and Brian run ranch operations with the help of a few guys both in Kansas and Oklahoma while I pass on all the information I hope you all enjoy reading. Then there are the other office duties like Accounting that go on at our Tulsa office as well.

All of our cows and bulls live at Grant Creek Ranch and all of the calves start out there. When calves are born, they stay with their mothers for about 6 months. During this time they roam free and are only caught once when they are tagged with ear tags. After this period, the cows are separated into two groups: Those that will be raised for meat and those that will be sold as calves.

Raised for meat

The calves that are kept to raise will go to the ranch in Carney, OK after they have reached 6 months old. The pastures they will graze are mostly Bermuda grass fertilized with nitrogen. This is safe for the cows and the meat and causes the grass to grow extremely fast, giving the calves plenty to eat. Of course there is a weaning period first. The calves are kept in a smaller area only for about a week. They are fed hay and supplemented with protein, similar to what we have to do in the winter. This is an important step because unfortunately this can be a stressful transition for calves and it can make them susceptible to certain health conditions. We want to make sure they are watched closely and kept calm. As you know we treat our cows well so we have never had any issues with their health or well-being. After this transition time, they are released into the pastures to continue grazing and grow.

Our current calves were born in February/March and will go to Carney in September. They will remain until they are about 1 1/2 years old, gaining approximately 3 pounds per day.

Calves to sell

All of our calves go through this similar process. The ones that are selected to sell will be weaned and then taken to Oklahoma City to be sold. It is better to sell them after the weaning process to ensure they do not develop any issues. This means they can be sold for a higher price and at less risk for the buyer. What happens to these calves next is up to the buyer. Some are sent to feed lots, others are probably sent to other pastures. Who knows, some might even be used for therapy. Yes, this is a thing. Read about it.

Delivery and Processing

Because we have farms locally in these locations, we focus on processing and delivery in these areas only. Someday we hope to grow to be able to branch out our business and offer our meat to a larger demographic. The cost of keeping the meat cold during shipping makes this at a challenge at the moment.

We do offer free delivery in Tulsa and can even make arrangements to have the meat processed at a closer location to you to make ordering easier and more convenient, depending on where you are.

Spread the word so we can start reaching more people and make the delivery process easier and more available for everyone!

Cow Appreciation: Treat ’em right!

HAPPY COW APPRECIATION DAY!!!

We definitely appreciate our cows at Grant Creek Ranch. Beef is arguably the best meat out there…at least it’s my favorite.

Cows sacrifice a lot for us and in return we treat ours with the best care.

  • We do not inject our cows with hormones. Again, our main goal is not to produce giant animals. Our goal is to produce healthy, flavorful meat.
  • Our cows roam freely.  Feedlots are usually a stressful environment for an animal. If a cow is stressed it will produce adrenaline and other hormones that will affect the meat. Remember, we don’t want extra hormones.
  • We are a closed herd. We are not bringing cows in from just anywhere. We are careful in our selections. Doing this drastically reduces diseases and illness that can develop and be easily spread in a herd raised with less discretion.
  • We do not use unnecessary antibiotics. Feedlots are usually crowded, which leads to more sickness and disease, which leads to the need for antibiotics, which affects the meat. If we do not use these methods, it would make sense that we do not need unnecessary antibiotics, and frankly why would we waste the money on them just to be proactive? Now, just like if you are sick, sometimes it is a necessity to ensure the health of our cows, but we try to keep this to minimum.
  • We are never cruel. If a cow is in a stressful environment, it’d be natural to associate humans with that emotion meaning they are not as receptive to humans. Our cows are only handled a few times a year. What exposure they do have to us is always pleasant, therefore they are not scared and are very tame. Connect this to the points above and you can come to the conclusion that they will produce much more tender meat.

If you noticed, all of these points lead to another. Not all beef is the same and every aspect of their care absolutely has an impact on the product you are buying.

Plain and simple, it just makes sense this way.

 

Recipe of the Month: Smoked Whiskey Bacon Burgers

Happy July! The month of patriotism, fireworks, and summer. Naturally, for this month we’re sticking to a 4th of July classic: Burgers. Perfect for your family gathering before you blow stuff up. This recipe combines good ol’ grass-fed beef with whiskey and bacon…’Merica!

I had actually come across a video from the BBQ Pit Boys a few times and decided to try my own take of their whiskey burger. This was just used as inspiration. I left out and added quite a bit, strayed from their method, and as much as I would’ve liked to be doing this in the woods with the perfect smoker like they do, I stayed on my front porch with my average, tiny smoker (Can you guess what’ll be on my Christmas list this year?). But you know what? There’s nothing whiskey, bacon, and cheese can’t make better.

Ingredients:

  • Seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
    • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
    • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (love the smell of this!)
    • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Pounds Grant Creek Ranch grass-fed beef (Makes 4 burgers)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • Crispy onion strings (Store-bought or make your own!)
  • 1/2 Cup Whiskey
  • 8 Slices Bacon
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese

*Disclaimer – These measurements are an estimate. I eye-balled most of it. There’s lots of freedom (pun totally intended) with this recipe.

Make It!

  • First, mix all the seasoning ingredients together. This recipe actually makes quite a bit and you can use as much or as little as you like. I had a lot left over to use for future recipes.
  • Mix some of the seasoning mixture into each 1/2 pound of beef along with a 1/4 of Worcestershire sauce each, and then form your patties. Because grass-fed is leaner, it sometimes helps to add that extra moisture you get from the Worcestershire, even if you can’t pronounce it.
  • If you have rings you can form the patties in, that’s great. If not, you can make one out of aluminum foil, although this step isn’t completely necessary. It just helps to hold everything together, especially when you pour the whiskey on top.
  • Poke holes in your patties and put a layer of brown sugar on top. You can also use more of the seasoning mixture above. I personally would use more brown sugar than I did next time.

Prepped Patties(Please ignore the poor quality of my photos. We’re in a remodeling process and my lighting is not the best)

  • Drizzle a tablespoon of BBQ sauce over each patty. (I forgot this step)
  • Pour a tablespoon of whiskey over each patty.
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • This is the time I used to get my charcoal going for the smoker, fry up some bacon, and make my crispy onion strings.
  • When your smoker is ready to go, put the patties on, close the lid, and wait. Then, go ahead and sneak that shot of whiskey and slice of bacon. No judgement here.
  • I smoked my burgers for about an hour. When I got them out they looked smoky, glazed and beautiful.

Smoked Patties

  • Next, build your burger however you like and pair with your favorite BBQ sides (which I was lacking at the moment).

Smoked Whiskey Bacon Burger

Overall, I thought this burger was pretty delicious and had a very deep smoky flavor. Very moist and cooked perfectly, I will definitely be making this again!

Let me know if you gave it a try in the comments below!

Recipe of the Month: BBQ Brisket

Happy June! We have another mouth-watering recipe for you to try.

I was talking to my boss about what recipe I should post and he suggested I look up Aaron Franklin’s Brisket. Oh. My. Gosh. What I saw was the most beautiful charred brisket I’ve ever seen in my life. I am a carnivore to the core and couldn’t wait to try this at home.

I stand behind these recipes. There’s no way I could in good conscience just post something random and let you fend for yourself. They are tested and eaten by yours truly. I will admit, the grill has not been my friend lately, and it’s something I am desperately trying to master, but I figured surely this time would be a success. Guess what…it was! I geared up and bought a coal chimney and everything.

Here is the Aaron Franklin video and description of the cooking method I used. I just used this as a guideline since I am still finding my way, but I’d say it worked.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large or 2 Small brisket
  • 1/2 Cup salt
  • 1/2 Cup pepper
  • Water/Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

Make It!

I do have an electric smoker, which I was told would be easier, but I just had to do it the tried and true way. I went to the store and bought a charcoal chimney. I also stepped away from the Match Light easy light stuff and bought basic charcoal briquettes.

  • I heated up the charcoal in the chimney for about 15 – 20 minutes and then dumped them in the smoker box, setting a couple hickory wood chunks on top.
  • This process was repeated about 3 times throughout the smoking.

Honestly, I did not measure my salt and pepper. As a salt lover I just covered every inch of the brisket and then some. And since I’m only cooking for two I used a small brisket, but threw on a whole chicken as well so I wouldn’t waste the space.

  • Put the brisket in your smoker, fat side up, and leave it.
  • You can place a metal bowl filled with water next to the meat to help with moisture. Or spritz the meat with apple cider vinegar every now and then, which is what I chose to do.

If you’re anything like me, this is the hard part: Just let your meat cook and leave it alone. I put it on the grill around 10:15am and let it cook for about 6 hours.

I tend to stress about the temperature and how long it is taking, but I simply researched how to manage the temp — something you must experiment with to get just right — and put my faith in that metal box.

While I think I probably should’ve left it in even longer, and mine didn’t look quite as charred and delicious as Aaron Franklin’s, I was happy with how it turned out. Now get your favorite BBQ sauce and look forward to those fatty bites with some of the salty edge…Yum!

(Unfortunately I forgot about it a little too well and didn’t get any pictures of the process)

Comment below with any tips or let us know how you did!

Ranch Day!!

Last Friday, we took a company outing to the Ranch in Cedar Vale, Kansas! What we thought was going to be a miserably hot day turned out to be quite nice and tons of fun.

To give you a bit more background, we actually are primarily a small oil & gas company out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we also own Riverview property Co., LLC, which has some rental houses in Midtown Tulsa and farms near Tonkawa, OK and another cow-calf operating in Carney, OK. As part of these ventures the owners’ dream of owning a ranch finally came true, bringing you Grant Creek Ranch: 1,420 acres of beautiful land in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

 

Unfortunately, Ranch Day happened to fall on the hottest day we’ve had so far this year. Being in Oklahoma, the crazy weather never comes as much of a surprise. With a forecast of 95°, a heat index of 110°, and 70% humidity we honestly were expecting the worst. We packed up the cars with our lawn chairs, sunscreen, and bug spray and made the hour and a half long drive to Grant Creek.

What did come as a surprise was how nice the day actually ended up being. The huge tree in front of the ranch house provided the perfect amount of shade for our group accompanied by a nice cool breeze. We picked up BBQ from Buck’s BBQ in Sedan for a lunch of brisket, pulled pork, red potato salad, pies, and other goodness. This place is HIGHLY recommended if you’re ever in the area. Delicious food, cold beer, and great friends: what else could you ask for?

 

Next, we took a tour of the ranch to see the many pastures, shady creek, and of course…our cows. There are so many kinds of birds and flowers to admire, old structures left on the property made our imaginations soar, and the views are spectacular with nothing but land and sky for miles and miles.

 

Most of our employees are not directly involved with the ranch so it was great for them to be able to finally see what it’s all about and all the work that is put into it. I was particularly excited to see everything as I am involved in more of the background work, this blog included. To finally be able to physically experience it made my already amazing job that much better. Heck, I even learned how to drive the tractor! They’ll be putting me to real work in no time.

 

At the end of the day, we were all thankful for the road trip and can’t wait to do it again soon.

 

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May is Beef Month!

Happy Beef Month, everybody!

We are excited to be really focusing on getting the word out about our grass-fed beef this year. We stand behind our practices 100% and believe we sell a great product. In doing some reading this morning I came across Don’t Forget You Are Eating An Animal a great article that perfectly sums up a lot of our thoughts.

Certain diets have been mentioned on our website a few times recently, especially in our post about Bone up on Health: Grass-fed Beef and the Diets of Today. Grant Creek Ranch actually has no stance on any particular way of eating, however we are definitely behind the overall benefits of consuming wholesome, unprocessed grass-fed beef.

We’ve talked extensively about why you should make the switch to grass-fed.

  • Health: Not just the nutritional aspects, but the animal itself. The way we raise our cows results in less disease, stress, and other unpleasantness that can sometimes come from cows raised in feed-lots.
  • Treatment: Like the article mentions, humane treatment of our animals is one of our responsibilities as a calf-cow operation and we believe it truly makes a difference in the quality of meat you’re getting. Honestly, it’s even simpler than that. Where is the sense in mistreating our cows? What does it get us?
  • Cost: We’ve talked about why cost is a huge factor. It can get complicated, but in reality you’re saving so much by buying in bulk up front, having that meat ready to go at any given time rather than eating out, and not wasting money on questionable quality.

So, in celebration of Beef Month go grill up a beautiful, medium-rare steak slathered in garlic butter and thank a local farmer. Don’t forget to also start making plans for our beef sales later this year! Contact us if interested!

Recipe of the Month: Not your Caveman’s Chili!

Happy May 1st! Boy, are you in for a treat. From now on we will be sharing one new recipe a month to really give you some ideas on what to use your grass-fed beef for.

We are so excited for the warmer weather we’re getting and all the other wonderful things Spring brings (try saying that 3 times fast). So at start of grilling season why am I reverting back to Winter with a chili recipe!?

Bear with me y’all. This is the best chili, and my personal favorite. In fact, I literally have all the ingredients sitting on my counter at this moment so I can get a pot going once I get home. I don’t know who came up with the rule that chili and soups are Winter foods only but after you try this you’ll ignore that just like I do. Plus this recipe mostly uses a slow cooker, reducing time at the stove and ultimately the added heat of cooking, which of course we don’t want in these temps. Just put it all together and forget about it for a couple hours!

We love all carnivorous ways of eating and plan on incorporating all sorts of recipes for any type of diet involving meat. This particular recipe happens to be keto-friendly. For those unfamiliar with the term it translates to “low-carb deliciousness.” OK, not really, but it might as well. That’s right, this recipe is low-carb which means it doesn’t contain beans and other high-carb foods. That may seem crazy for a chili but I promise you won’t even notice. Besides, it is something you can easily modify!

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. This is not my own recipe. I’ve borrowed it from http://www.ruled.me

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds stew meat (or 1 pound stew and 1 pound ground)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • *Optional: 1 cup coffee for more watery chili

A few notes:

  • You do want stew AND ground beef, however you can either buy a pound of ground beef or make your own using a food processor or meat grinder.
  • I have personally never used the fish sauce. I have read that Red Boat is the best brand and I cannot find that in my local stores, but I still thought the chili had great flavor.
  • I have also never tried the coffee trick. I like my chili thick!
  • This chili does have a little kick to it but is not extremely spicy. You can definitely cut back on the chili powder or cayenne for a milder flavor.

LET’S MAKE IT!

  • Grind half your stew meat (if doing this on your own), prep the veggies, and get your spices gathered and ready.
  • To make the sauce combine the beef broth, tomato paste, soy sauce, chili powder, cumin, fish sauce (optional), minced garlic, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, worcestershire sauce, and coffee (optional). Set aside for later use.
  • In a pan bring 2 Tbsp. olive oil to its smoking point then add the stew meat to the pan. As it cooks you can pour the excess juice into your slow cooker. Cook until browned and transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Next, add the ground beef to the pan and season with the salt and pepper. When this is finished you’ll add it to the slow cooker as well.
  • In the same pan, cook your chopped green pepper and onion until translucent then add to the slow cooker.
  • Remember that sauce you made in the beginning? Guess where you’re adding it…Stir everything together in the slow cooker and let simmer on high for 2 1/2 hours.
  • When the time is up, take the lid off and let the sauce reduce for 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve! You can add your favorite garnishes such as cheese, onions.

Makes about 4 servings, each serving coming out to about 398 Calories, 17.8g Fat, 5.3g Net Carbs (total carbs minus the fiber), and 51.8g Protein.

MODIFICATIONS;

The ground beef in this recipe is meant to provide a bean-like texture, however if you do not have any dietary restrictions you can definitely add any sort of beans or veggies you may want!

Let us know in the comments if you tried this chili and what you thought! Also, share with us your own recipe ideas. You may even see it featured as a Recipe of the Month someday!

 

 

Cost: Is Grass-Fed Beef Worth it?

The first concern most have when they think of grass-fed beef is…you guessed it: Price. You’ve heard it’s better for you and love the thought of feeding your family the best, but does it really make THAT much of a difference? Is it really worth taking that leap?

The short answer: Absolutely.

For this article I’m going to step away from behind the scenes. My name is Jess and I am admittedly new to this whole thing.  It has been so fun working with Grant Creek Ranch because I have learned a great deal about cows in general and how they do things on the farm, which has caused me to further my own personal research and make decisions affecting my food purchases. I, like probably many of you reading this, am in that part of life where I’m doing responsible things like buying/remodeling a house, planning for my future, and trying to improve my overall health. Budget is always on my mind. I always strive to find that balance between the best products and not breaking the bank. I can honestly say that I do believe grass-fed is worth it.  It’s what makes it so easy to talk about and share.

To be completely honest, it all comes down to priorities. Being realistic, this will not apply to every person out there. If you eat as cheap as humanly possible, eating almost no red meat least of all steaks or roasts, and do not care at all where your food comes from then this probably isn’t going to change your mind. However, if you are teetering with the idea of eating better food and weighing the pros and cons of grass-fed beef while maintaining a modest budget then please read on. There are many things to consider when purchasing grass-fed beef, whether from the ranch or the grocery store, and I am going to explain them all right now.

The Cost Breakdown

First, I’m going to get to the point of what you want to know. Straight up, grass-fed is going to cost you a little more, but how much? Keep in mind that it is near impossible to come up with an example that fits perfectly due to varying factors that come into play such as cut choices, but here is a general example:

A ½ cow, which can feed a family of 4 for approximately a year, weighs about 400lbs. This is the hanging weight (HW), the carcass after removal of all the unnecessary parts. We charge $3.99/lb (HW) which equals $1,596. You add to that the processing fee of about $0.76/lb ($304) and you end up paying $1,900 (Multiply or divide by 2 to get the price of whole and ¼). Now, you are ending up with about 250lbs of cut weight (CW), what you are taking home in the form of roasts, steaks, etc. If we take $1,900 / 250, you are basically paying $7.60 per pound. Compare this to the grocery store. It might be on the high end for ground beef, although not by much for grass-fed, but only a third of your order is ground. The rest will be steaks and roast. $7.60/lb for steak is a great price when you consider you would be paying upwards of $10-12/lb at the store, and that’s not even for the good grass-fed stuff. Using US averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of “normal” store-bought beef I came up with a total of $1,418. I tried to add up an approximate ½ cow order from a local grocery chain (Reasors) and came up with a cost of $1,666, among several other total prices.

Pros and Cons

Did that number seem shocking to you? It’s going to at first. How often do you go to the store and buy 250 pounds of beef to last you an entire year? Chances are, not often, but I guarantee you’d be surprised too if you added up what you spend on meat in a year going to the grocery store and out to eat. One of the few cons to buying in bulk is the cost is paid upfront.  The only other downside I can think of is meat isn’t always readily available. Currently we are not ready to sell. This is one of the many reasons commercial beef can be cheaper. Due to their resources, they are able to raise and put out beef at a much quicker rate. Most of the grass-fed market is still coming from small local farms. However, as long as you get a deep freezer and buy the right amount for you and your family it’ll last you until it’s time to buy a new cow!

1) Humane Treatment

So, diving more into why grass-fed is worth the extra cost let’s go back to the beginning. How were the cows raised? If you have taken the time to explore our site you know that our calves are raised in a pasture with their happy cow-moms, living happy, free lives. We feed our cows native and Bermuda grass, only supplementing with protein cubes in the winter when the grass is unable to provide all the appropriate nutrients they need. Some people wonder why all this matters. They’re just being bred to provide food anyway, right? Well, let’s think about that. Unfortunately, sometimes cows are mistreated, especially if finishing their lives in a feed-lot where they’re fattened up more quickly. The calves are raised being scared of humans and the treatment they associate with them. They know what being shoved in that pen means. Using people as an example, when you are stressed it affects you not only emotionally but physically as well. You are tired, achy, and possibly even malnourished. It makes sense that if cows are raised in a harsh stressful environment it will affect their bodies as they produce adrenaline and other hormones, ultimately affecting the quality of our meat. And remember, we are what we eat.

2) The Dry-Aged Difference

Next, how the meat is processed. We’ve quickly mentioned the difference between dry and wet-aged processing. So how does this affect you, the consumer? To refresh, dry-aging involves hanging the meat for a period of time in a refrigerator. During this time, the meat begins to breakdown. Some liquids leave the meat while some absorb into it. This is how the meat tenderizes. It does cause a lot of weight loss, around 20% actually, but results in beautiful flavorful meat. We like that.

In wet-aging, the meat is placed in vacuum-sealed bags which also allows the meat to breakdown but in a shorter time, allowing for faster transfer from butcher to plate. Cha-ching for the big guys. What this affects, and what this all boils down to really, is flavor. Dry-aged beef will have a robust flavor while wet-aged is going to have a more metallic taste. Honestly, if you are used to store-bought meat then this is probably what you are more familiar with and making the switch might be strange at first.

I conducted my own taste test when I was first introduced to the world of grass-fed and while it was unable to be a blind test on my part, my husband was completely clueless. I purchased the normal cheap ground beef I would usually buy from the store. The first thing I noticed was the rich red color of the grass-fed beef compared to the dull pink I was used to seeing. I cooked both for the same amount of time with no seasoning. During the cooking process I noticed that the store-bought did lose more moisture, rendered more fat and shrunk in size while the grass-fed did very little. We both agreed that while not a super noticeable difference and I can’t really explain exactly what, there was something we both liked slightly more about the dry-aged taste. It was just better.

3) Meat Quality

So what is so bad about store-bought? Nothing! You can absolutely get excellent cuts and flavors either way. Some stores even have a section of dry-aged beef on display along with grass-fed and other options, but again, I’m going to bring in that little word we all know too well: Cost. Say you go to the store and find the cheapest ground beef possible. This beef will be fattier and likely have had moisture added back to it during the grounding process. This is replacing weight of meat, and weight is what you are being charged for. It also isn’t as good of quality as you could be getting.

If you haven’t yet, go read my previous post Bone up on Health. It references some benefits found in switching to grass-fed beef that affect our bodies. This is personally my number one, and almost only, reason for making the switch. Another aspect of the health reason is the actual obvious condition of the meat. When you purchase meat from the grocery store it consists of several cows, increasing the odds that you are getting some questionable content or infections. Higher quantity of cows means it ups the chances that one of them had an infection and now it’s mixed in with all your meat. But when you are purchasing one cow from one place you know its condition and you know that nothing else (aka other cow meat) can compromise that. You get what you see.

I just love the idea of knowing exactly where my cow grew up, what it ate, and that I am getting that cow solely instead of a mixing pot of whatever is out there.

Still Need Convincing?

Here are other things to consider and ask yourself:

  • You will be getting all sorts of cuts that you probably steer clear of at the store due to higher prices.
  • How often are you going to go out to eat when you have 250lbs of meat in your freezer ready to be cooked? This alone would save most families probably thousands of dollars over the year.
  • You know what you are getting is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. No sneaky labels.
  • You’re getting lean high-quality meat as opposed to what you may have to compromise for at the store.
  • A big reason why commercial meat is cheaper in some aspects is they have the giant farms, equipment, employees. They have all these resources that go through the process much faster. They have cows all year long. With grass-fed you’re dealing with things on a much smaller scale: Small farms and ranches, and limited resources and time. You are supporting a local business.

I cannot stress enough that we do not believe this is the only tried and true way to raise/eat/buy beef. Feedlots are not inherently bad. Grocery store beef is not always low quality. Commercial beef companies are not all evil! With everything, there will be those few bad eggs that ruin it for everyone. We just prefer knowing exactly what is going on with our food and deal with less of the “unknown.” Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons, consider your priorities and decide what you think is the best decision for you and your family, but I for one cannot wait for the next order time.

Next time you go shopping, take a look at prices, do your own math, break out the research and you’ll see that it pays to feed you and your family the best. Now go invest in that deep freezer!

For another good read, check out Why Grass-Fed Beef?

Bone up on Health: Grass-fed Beef and the Diets of Today.

How grass-fed fits into your lifestyle

Millennials tend to get a lot of heat these days for the changing times. Arguments between the new and old generations can go on for days, but one change I think everyone can get on board with is the desire to eat better and maintain a healthier lifestyle. People want to know where their food comes from, how the animals are treated, what it consists of. We are breaking away from the quick convenience of processed foods and going back to the diets of our ancestors.

What does this really have to do with grass fed beef? Everything! Many popular diets that have garnered more attention in the past years focus on whole foods, healthy fats, grains, the list goes on. You may have heard of some of these or even tried one:

  • Ketogenic (Keto)
  • Paleoliothic (Paleo)
  • Whole30
  • Mediterranean Diet

The Benefits

Natural grass-fed meat is a preferred staple of any diet consisting of “real” foods. I cannot claim that health is the number one motivation behind our practices as a company and we are definitely not in the health food business, however I, as the author of this blog, can say that it is a huge reason for me personally to be involved and why it is so easy for me to talk about. We found an interesting article in The Furrow that referenced a study done by Stone Barns Center regarding the health benefits of grass-fed beef

According to the study grass-fed beef has been shown to have an increased concentration of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA’s) which is basically a group of important Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that can only be found in certain natural foods.  This can supposedly contribute to reduced risks of diseases such as high cholesterol, cancer, heart disease and may also contain high levels of antioxidants which are very beneficial.

There’s even more

I think that’s a start for a pretty strong case for grass-fed beef, but what about everything left over? Well, another diet that has recently surfaced in popularity and has caused me to do even more research is the bone-broth diet. It consists of drinking bone broth made from the bones of nutritious grass-fed animals. A big reason for this is the collagen that can only be found in bones. It helps with healthy skin and joints, among other benefits that we agree sound amazing.

Diets aside, people have been making their own broth probably since the beginning of time, so saving the bones once these cows have been butchered is nothing new. People have the option to keep the bones from their cow purchase but many opt out. Instead of them going to waste we want to start keeping these so they can be available to our customers, especially when it’s not time for a new cow. Whether for diet or dog toy purposes we’ll throw you a bone 😉

Drop us a line to request some bones or to let us know what you like to use them for!