We had both a gas grill and a charcoal grill. I actually really like gas grills because I think they are a bit less wasteful but in reality charcoal is best when you are grilling things like BBQ chicken or something slower. For those who read my blog a lot you might come to realize that I am not one to fuss over food. I like to start out with good ingredients and make it simple. My philosophy on grilling is the same.
Now that summer is in full swing and with the holiday weekend upon us, grilling meat, and most likely steak, is on our minds. For those of us that are lucky enough to have our own grass-fed steaks, or know a farmer we buy them from grilling steaks takes on a whole other level. For all the talk about how different grass-fed beef is to cook, it really just takes a bit of confidence and some ground rules. And my best advice is that you treat it gently. No need to be intimidated!
Grass-fed beef as a rule will have more flavor and is, for lack of a better word, beefier. The meat will have an herbaceous flavor because the grasses in a cow’s diet lend their flavors to it. Much like wine, pastured meats will take on the flavor of their terroir, the French word for place. The sun, grasses, breed and farmer’s methods create a unique flavor profile specific to the region and farm. Many have said that upstate New York’s grasses create excellent beef, which I have to agree with.
My father prefers to taste his beef and likes simple seasonings to celebrate the flavors of our beef. He doesn’t even use salt, although I do. If I have a lot of guests, I will sometimes cook a homemade sauce to accompany the beef. Bearnaise with fresh tarragon is always a hit! A lot of beef purists do not serve sauces with their steaks but I like sauces because they extend portions and this is helpful because grass-fed meats can be pricier.
To rub or not to rub? That is the question. I am also a big fan of homemade spice rubs. And if you have a freezer full of beef I think they do come in handy. They are great on sirloins and think they are best on the steaks that have more fat. Also, grass-fed beef has a lot of flavor so bold flavors go well them too. But again, there is a lot of room for debate on this issue and this is where you can be creative!
TIPS ON HOW TO GRILL THE PERFECT GRASS-FED STEAK
- Treat it gently; you will want to cook it at a lower heat, for a shorter time, to a rarer doneness.
- If the steaks are frozen you will need to defrost them. I like to put them in a bowl in the fridge one day before I grill them. You can also defrost them by placing them in a plastic bag in a large bowl of cold water for about an hour. I do not recommend defrosting steaks in the microwave.
- Season with salt and pepper and drizzle some olive oil over the steak.
- You will want to bring the steak up to room temperature. So let them rest for about ½ hour before you put them on the grill.
- Remember, grass-fed steak is best when it is medium-rare to rare. You will have to be more vigilant on the grill for this reason.
- Preheat the grill. Do not use forks to flip your meat. Juices are precious, use tongs instead. Flip the steak at least once.
- The best way to measure doneness is by pressing gently down on the steak to see how firm it feels. This takes some finesse but is easily learned. You want the steak to be beautifully browned, and it will become firmer as it cooks.
- Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes under foil after you have cooked it. Please note that the meat will continue to cook; do not slice the meat until you have let it rest.
- With these simple rules you will be grilling your local beef to perfection this summer!