Naturally pasture-raised meats are expectedly different than factory-farmed products in taste, texture, appearance, and preparation.We believe that you should NEVER have to compromise flavor and texture just to eat healthily.
Cooking natural meats is very easy. However, do take care not to overcook your pasture-raised meat. There is a phenomenon that Jerica refers to as the Point of No Return, and it applies to cuts that could be cooked quickly, such as sirloin, round, pork chops, strip steak, etc. When you cook a cut like a steak, that is, quickly and without heating the interior of the cut too much, it leaves the muscle fibers tender and juicy. These cuts should be allowed to rest after cooking for a period of at least 5 minutes, preferably 10. Cover them with foil or a lid to give them time to reabsorb juices.
If you overcook cuts like this, though, even after resting, you may sit down to a very chewy meal. This is the Point of No Return. The meat fibers have seized up and won’t tenderize until they are broken down by long, slow cooking. The inconvenience, of course, is that if you were cooking something like a steak, you were expecting to eat it soon. If this happens to you, you’ll know next time not to cook it quite so long. But if you can afford more cooking time, the best way to salvage a tough steak or chop is to braise it until it is tender again. It WILL tenderize!
This is how slow-cooking roasts should be handled. Searing is a great way to create the Maillard reaction, which produces a rich, caramel sort of flavor with browned meat. So sear that roast, then throw it in the oven for a few hours on low-ish (300) heat until it falls apart in your mouth! If your roast is still tough, you haven’t cooked it long enough!
In the following sections you will find basic cooking info as well as recipes and tips for making the most of your grass-fed gourmet experience.
Fast and hot. Let rest under foil for 10 minutes. Eat them as rare as you like. We prefer medium rare. Season with sea salt, butter, and a little horseradish!
Searing optional, but slow-cooking is a must. Crock pot on low at least 8 hours, or high at least 6 hours. Oven at least 2 hours at 350, but you’ll get better results at 300 for 4 hours.
Keep ‘em pink inside! We love our burgers nice and moist, but overcooking any grass-fed burger will tend to toughen it up. Our beef is NOT lean, but it still benefits from gentle grilling.
Pork Chops and Pork Steaks
Grill them fast and hot. We like to keep them pink inside. Let rest under foil for 10 minutes. Alternately, you can sear and braise these cuts in the oven, but they will not get tender until they are baked for about an hour. If they are still tough after baking, keep cooking!
Cooking Pork Shoulder Roast is very different than Tenderloin or Pork Loin Roast. Shoulder is a more well-used muscle in the pig, so needs time for the connective tissue to break down. At least 6 hours on low in the crockpot or 2-3 hours in the oven at 325. But it will be amazingly tender!
Tenderloin should be marinated and quickly cooked. It is a very lean, but very tender cut. Don’t overcook it, or it will dry out!
Pork Loin Roast is NOT the same as tenderloin. It is where pork chops come from, and has a lovely layer of fat across the top. It will be tastiest roasted like a chicken, cooked until the internal temperature is about 165. This is one of our favorites!
You will find that cooking our poultry is very similar to what you might already be used to doing, except that our chicken actually tastes like something! You don’t need to use fancy seasonings or sauces (but you can!) to make our chicken taste good. Just cook it! Here are our 3 favorite methods:
Crank up a nice hot oven (at least 400F), and put your chicken in there for at least 15 minutes, basting it with butter every 5 minutes or so for the first 15-20 minutes. You can baste it the whole way through cooking to get a very crispy, brown bird (yum, yum!), but you don’t have to. Reduce oven to 350F and continue cooking until the thigh registers 175F. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.
Oh yes we did. But we only recommend frying in lard or tallow from pasture-raised animals. These fats are heat-stable and nutritious. Fry chicken pieces basted in flour, salt, pepper, and a little sugar (optional) at about 350 until internal temperature reaches 175F.
We prefer the texture of pre-roasted chicken for soups, but you can cook a raw chicken in the crockpot or on the stove in water. The skin will be a bit mushy and rubbery, but you will have a lovely yellow broth-based soup or stew with tender meat and veggies in it.
We’d love to hear your recipes!
What do you do with your pasture-raised meat? We encourage our customers to try using homemade or home-grown basic products, such as cooking fats, butter, cheese, herbs, breads, fresh milled flour, etc. When you are using the best meats in East Texas and Shreveport, it is worth it to go all out and use all-real ingredients, too! Try cream or homemade broth in place of canned soups. Use individual herbs to make your own rubs and seasonings instead of packaged mixes that may contain additives such as MSG. Use sea salt instead of table salt. Use real butter instead of margarine!
Tell us how you prepare Shady Grove Ranch meats, and we’ll share your ideas with the world!