Lewis Waite Farm

Pasture raised meat cooks differently than conventionally raised meat from the grocery store. The more you educate yourself about how to cook pastured meats, the more enjoyable your dining experience will be. In general, pasture raised meats have less intramuscular fat, and more muscle integrity than feedlot animals. It doesn't mean it is dry or tough, you just have to adjust how you cook to allow for the differences, and you will end up with juicer and more flavorful meat.
Grass-fed and finished beef is best when rare or medium rare. Lower heat is recommended, which means cooking for a slightly longer time, turning steaks more often. Always use a meat thermometer to determine when it's done! Let the meat rest and the temperature will rise slightly as it continues cooking.

General ROAST notes: If cooking a roast from a standard recipe, reduce the oven temperature by at least 50 degrees for the grass fed leanness. The cooking time will be slightly longer at the lower temperature but the results are well worth it—braised roasts are great, too! Use a meat thermometer instead of a specific time to determine when it is done. Heating the meat more slowly helps to reduce the shrinking of the muscles which causes chewiness. For a nice browned exterior, sear your roast in a pan quickly before it goes into the oven. Shannon Hayes, author of Grass-Fed Gourmet and The Farmer and the Grill, among other books, says that 170 degrees is the best for roasting, please see the recipe below.

General STEAK or CHOP notes: When cooking a steak or chop, sear the meat on both sides very quickly over high heat on each side to seal in the natural juices. Remove the meat from the pan, reduce the heat to low and let the pan cool also (or move to a cooler part of the grill). Finish the cooking process on low and use your thermometer to determine when it is done. You are aiming for indirect heat to finish the meat. Basting can add moisture and flavors. Let meat rest for 5 minutes once off the heat and the temperature rises a bit while resting.

Super-Slow Oven Roasts
Sirloin, Sirloin Tip, Top Round, Bottom Round, Eye of the Round

These roasts can be marinated but may require at least overnight marinating to fully absorb the flavors. Try them simply on their own merit first or use an herb rub! Grass-fed and finished beef has a wonderful rich flavor. To begin cooking, preheat the oven to 250 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees or even as low as 150. As a guide, roast about an hour per pound. It's best to remove your roasts from the heat 10 degrees prior to reaching the desired temperature as the meat temperature rises and it continues to cook while it rests. Remove from the oven when the meat thermometer reads:

  • 115-120 degrees for rare
  • 121-134 degrees for medium
  • 135-140 degrees for well-done
  • Let the roast rest for 5 to 10 minutes under a "tent". Slice thinly at a right angle to the grain of the meat. Delicious!

    The Super Slow Roast method can really be used with any roast, beef or pork. You are cooking the meat without the high temperatures that cause the muscle fibers to contract and force the juices out.

    Here are the Top 5 Steak Mistakes from Shannon Hayes, author of The Grassfed Gourmet:
    1. Wet steak. Thawed steak is going to be moist, so pat it dry. In order to sear it properly, it must be dry before you put it on the grill or in the frying pan. If the steak is not blotted dry with a towel before you apply salt and pepper, it will not sear, it will steam.
    2. Wrong pan size—bigger is better. If you are cooking your steaks indoors, be sure to choose a skillet that allows ample room to sear them. When the steaks are too crowded, even if they have been blotted dry, the excess moisture will cause them to steam rather than brown, leaving them with an unpleasant gray pallor. Make sure your steaks have at least 1 inch of space around them in the skillet to prevent this from happening.
    3. Wrong direct-heat temperature—wait for it to get hot! Often in our hunger for a great steak, we fail to wait for our grills or skillets to heat up properly. If the grill or skillet is not hot enough, the meat will start to roast, but it will not achieve that glorious sear that adds flavor. If grilling, hold your hands about 4 inches above the grate. When you can hold it there for no more than 4 seconds, the grill is hot enough for you to sear your meat. When cooking indoors, place the skillet over a hot flame. When you see steam rising off the skillet, you are ready to grease it with a little fat and begin frying it.
    4. Failure to allow indirect cooking time—sear, cool, finish. High heat is critical only when we begin cooking steaks to achieve the sear. A steak should be exposed to high direct heat for no more than 2 minutes per side. After that, in order to guarantee tender and juicy meat, it should be removed from the flames and allowed to finish in indirect or low heat. If you are cooking the steak on the grill, simply move it off the flames and put it on the side of the grill that is not lit, set the cover in place, and allow it to cook for about 5-7 minutes per pound. If you are cooking it indoors, once the steak has seared, transfer the skillet to a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes per pound (or to a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes per pound). During that indirect time, the internal muscle fibers will come up to temperature slowly without contracting too tightly and toughening. Also, the proteins and sugars will have time to caramelize over the surface of the meat, giving the steak that characteristic glossy look and rich taste.
    5. Wrong doneness temperature—lower than USDA. USDA temperature guidelines suggest that beef should be cooked to a mini-mum temperature of 145 degrees. Yuck. When you are using reliably-sourced grassfed meat, you don't run the same risks of consuming food borne pathogens. Thus, cook the steak to an internal temperature of 120 degrees for rare, 140 degrees for well-done.
    6. Marinating the wrong meat or marinating too long. Did I say there were only 5 commonly-made mistakes? Oops. I just thought of another one. So there are actually six. At my market booth, folks have a tendency to purchase the rib eyes, top loins, porterhouse, t-bones and sirloin steaks when they are planning a steak dinner. Those are terrific if you are planning to season them only with a little salt and pepper. However, if you are planning to marinate your meat, these are the wrong steaks to bring home. These tender cuts of meat have the most delicate flavors, and their beefiness is easily upstaged by most marinades. Furthermore, if marinated too long, the acid in marinades pre-cooks the meat, turning it gray and leaving an otherwise tender steak mushy. If you have a marinade you plan to use, select the lower-priced cuts, such as the sirloin tip or London broil. Those cuts have enough extra flavor and connective tissue to stand up to the marinade. Their more pronounced beefy flavor won't be over-powered by the stronger seasonings, and the acid in the marinade will help break down some of the connective tissue. In my opinion, a marinade should only be applied for a few hours prior to cooking. Excess exposure to the acids in the liquids (such as wine, vinegar or lemon juice) will turn your meat gray, and too much time in the liquid will cause the juices to leak out of the meat.

    We often refer to the works of Shannon Hayes for information and recipe ideas for our pasture raised meats. She focuses on using all the parts of the animals, in the most delicious ways, and is an excellent resource!

    Contact Us:
    farmoffice@csalewiswaitefarm.com or Mon-Fri 9am-5pm at 518-692-3120
    Visit us by appointment at the end of Lewis Hill Lane
    135 Lewis Hill Lane
    Jackson, NY 12834