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!

 

Fire!: The Benefits of Controlled Burning

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There is a surprising enemy of the native grass pastures and that is: Trees! More specifically the Red Cedar, Osage Orange (Hedge Apple), and Locust trees.  Among these, others are lurking such as weeds and parasites. The Tall Grass Prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems and the only way to keep this ecosystem healthy is by using prescribed burns.

At Grant Creek Ranch our goal is to preserve, restore, and enhance this important ecosystem found at our farm. A prescribed burn will kill any new seedlings that try to come up which will aid in keeping the pasture tree-free for the following year. It reduces the need to spray for weeds and may reduce internal parasites which live in the pastures over the winter. Finally, it will enhance grazing by the cattle which we know contributes to all that delicious grass-fed goodness.

So how does it work? Areas that burn the best contain the most grass fuel. These just happen to be the least grazed areas from the past grazing year.  Vice versa, areas that will burn the least are the heavily grazed areas from the past grazing year since there is not as much grass fuel.  After a burn, new grass will quickly grow and the cattle will want to eat the new grass over having to pick through last year’s dead grass to get to the new growth. So the areas that burn the best, the under grazed areas from the year before, will be grazed during the new grazing year while the overgrazed area from the year before will not burn as well and the cattle will not graze this area as heavily because there is not as much new grass.  This effectively rotates the cattle to new areas of the pasture and forces them to graze more efficiently.

Read more about the benefits of burning!

Why Grass-Fed Beef?

What makes Grant Creek Ranch Beef better than what you can get in the grocery store? There are many differences and we will discuss a few of the them in this post. Grant Creek Ranch Beef is from Angus cross cattle.  These cattle have been specifically bred to produce great taste from grass-fed animals.  This cross breed also produces cuts of meat that are restaurant quality; cuts of meat that you would be proud to serve to your dinner guests.  These animals are raised in a sustainable fashion: born in a pasture and allowed to roam freely until weaning time.  They are weaned at our preconditioning facility in Carney, Oklahoma.  Here they can be observed on a daily basis to make sure they are not under any undue stress.  Once weaned they are turned out onto our pastures in Oklahoma where they eat a mix of native and Bermuda grass.  During the winter they are supplemented with native or Bermuda grass hay and protein cubes, as they continue to forage in a pasture unconfined, through to the finishing process.

At Grant Creek Ranch our cow herd is a closed herd.  We are not bringing in new cows unless we are sure they are disease-free.  Because our herd is closed, the animal health is excellent and disease is held to a minimum. As a result we are only handling the cattle a couple of times a year (spring and summer) and the rest of the time they are busy grazing away on our pastures.

We are not interested in rapid weight gain or incredible size, therefore neither growth hormones nor steroids are ever used. This is because our customers want and expect naturally-raised, high-quality beef worth every penny.

To sum this up in one simple word: Flavor. Our grass-fed process results in some of the most tender and flavorful meat on the market. Why would you want anything else?

We are currently delivering sides of beef for no charge in the Tulsa area.  It is also for sale in the Wichita, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville, and Stillwater Areas (Delivery available for a small fee). Please check out our For Sale page for more information.

Once your try our meat you will never want to buy store-bought beef again!

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