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    theholla's Avatar
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    should grass fed beef be tough, or am I cooking it wrong?

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    Since I started eating meat a couple months ago (the first time in my life!), I've only had grass fed, with the exception of a couple very nice steaks I've had in restaurants. I love love love the beef I cook at home, but my husband (a lifelong carnivore) says it is tougher than what he is used to. He also says it is moist, and flavorful, and awesome, so I'm definitely doing something right.

    I would agree that my steaks are definitely tougher than the steaks I've had in restaurants, but those are all much pricier cuts of the cow, like tenderloin, as opposed to the flatiron we make at home. Neither of us really minds, but I also want to make sure I'm cooking it correctly and not ruining good meat.

    My questions are:
    -Is it normal for grass fed beef to be significantly tougher than corn fed beef?
    -Is there anything I should do during cooking to compensate?
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    I am not a meat cooking connoisseur, but if it is tough, it should also be a little dry (not moist). It makes sense that grass fed beef should be cooked less because it is naturally less fatty, so it dries up/leathers up more easily. I just saw the cut you are using, and maybe that is the issue as well?

    I am sure others will weigh in and help you out.

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    I think it has a tendency to be tougher because of less fat marbling it. You can compensate by cooking it lower/shorter (for grill) and lower/longer (for stew/braise) than grain fed.

    And then just use really sharp steak knives. I've noticed my judgment on how tough something is tends to be heavily influenced by the sharpness of the knife I cut it with
    Liz.

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    Because there is less fat/marbling, it should be prepared rare or medium rare or it will dry out. You want to cook it at slightly lower temperatures than with other beef and pull it off of the heat earlier than you would normally. Also, with any beef, make sure it's at room temp before you cook it - that ensures it's evenly cooked.

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    theholla's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm cooking it rare (or even blue), and also letting it come to room temperature. It isn't dry in the least, just takes a bit more chewing!

    I'll definitely try the lower temperatures/longer time thing though. Is there any way to make it...I don't know...fattier maybe? Rub it with ghee? Inject olive oil?
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    slow and low is the way to cook grassfed beef.

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    Yaish's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, the directionality of the cut also makes a difference. Muscle fibers have a bias to them, that is they run in one direction through a cut of meat and not the other. If you cut along the grain, you get chewier, tougher feeling cuts of meat. If you cut across the grain, the muscle fibers tend to fall apart more easily when you chew, into small pieces that are easier to swallow.

    Think of a muscle like a collection of garden hoses all laid out together and bundled up. If you cut along the direction they run, you'll get a narrow strip of long hoses that need to be chewed to breakdown small enough to swallow. If you cut across the hose, you get a collection of short hose pieces that fall apart pretty easily. Same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theholla View Post
    Since I started eating meat a couple months ago (the first time in my life!), I've only had grass fed, with the exception of a couple very nice steaks I've had in restaurants. I love love love the beef I cook at home, but my husband (a lifelong carnivore) says it is tougher than what he is used to. He also says it is moist, and flavorful, and awesome, so I'm definitely doing something right.

    I would agree that my steaks are definitely tougher than the steaks I've had in restaurants, but those are all much pricier cuts of the cow, like tenderloin, as opposed to the flatiron we make at home. Neither of us really minds, but I also want to make sure I'm cooking it correctly and not ruining good meat.

    My questions are:
    -Is it normal for grass fed beef to be significantly tougher than corn fed beef?
    -Is there anything I should do during cooking to compensate?
    Meat can also be tough due to a lack of aging, which means virtually all shop bought meat.
    You need to let the enzymes do a little work by breaking down the proteins.
    You can try 'dry aging' the meat a little by leaving the cut on a drying rack in at the bottom of your fridge for a week or so, this method also develops more flavor.
    Alternatively, some people prefer to 'wet age' by sealing the meat in cryovac bags and letting it sit for even longer.

    The best steak restaurants allways serve aged beef. So if it's good enough for them..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_o View Post
    Meat can also be tough due to a lack of aging, which means virtually all shop bought meat.
    You need to let the enzymes do a little work by breaking down the proteins.
    You can try 'dry aging' the meat a little by leaving the cut on a drying rack in at the bottom of your fridge for a week or so, this method also develops more flavor.
    Alternatively, some people prefer to 'wet age' by sealing the meat in cryovac bags and letting it sit for even longer.

    The best steak restaurants allways serve aged beef. So if it's good enough for them..
    Has anybody tried the dry aged beef at Whole Foods? It's pricey, I think upwards of $20/lb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaish View Post
    Oddly enough, the directionality of the cut also makes a difference. Muscle fibers have a bias to them, that is they run in one direction through a cut of meat and not the other. If you cut along the grain, you get chewier, tougher feeling cuts of meat. If you cut across the grain, the muscle fibers tend to fall apart more easily when you chew, into small pieces that are easier to swallow.

    Think of a muscle like a collection of garden hoses all laid out together and bundled up. If you cut along the direction they run, you'll get a narrow strip of long hoses that need to be chewed to breakdown small enough to swallow. If you cut across the hose, you get a collection of short hose pieces that fall apart pretty easily. Same thing.
    or you could compare it to celery. You can have long and stringy or short and easy to eat
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