How to Grill the Perfect Grass-Fed Steak
Summer is the perfect time for grilling - make sure your grass-fed steak turns out tender and delicious with the tips and recipe below!
Grass-fed beef: Tougher than Grain-fed?
I’ve heard it said that grass-fed beef is tougher than grain-fed. Why has it gotten this reputation?
The main difference (as it relates to cooking) between the meat of grass-fed versus conventional beef grown in a feedlot is the muscle integrity of the meat.
Since animals in a feedlot receive little exercise, their muscles are more flaccid than grass-fed animals. In contrast, grass-fed animals typically have a healthier life with more exercise.
This makes grass-fed beef more variable, but with just a few adjustments in cooking techniques you can cook wonderfully tender and flavorful grass-fed beef.
Overexposure to high heat is the most common cause of tougher grass-fed beef, which results from muscle fibers contracting too quickly.
Instead, we want to achieve a flavorful sear on the outside of the beef (in this case, a steak :) and then allow it to finish cooking at a lower temperature.
To do this, we use a method called indirect grilling. With indirect grilling, the fire is kept on only one side of the grill.
With a gas grill, this means only one side would be lit. With a charcoal grill, all the hot coals would be raked to one side.
The idea is to sear the steak over the open flame and then move it to the other side of the grill to finish cooking gently.
OK, on to the recipe! :)
Recipe adapted from Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat...and for saving the planet, one bite at a time by Shannon Hayes
(The amount of seasoning you will use will vary based on the size of your steak. If it is close to one pound, use less. If it is closer to 2 pounds, use more.)
1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Either 1 sirloin, rib eye, porterhouse, t-bone, NY Strip or tenderloin (filet mignon) steak. Steaks should be at least 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inches thick.
Combine the salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl.
Rub the mixture into both sides of the steak, then allow the meat to come to room temperature while you prepare the grill.
Start the grill and warm it until it is hot. If you are using a gas grill, turn off all but one of the burners once it has come up to temperature. If you are using charcoal, be sure all the coals have been raked to one side.
(Tip - use the hand test: the grate will be hot enough when you can hold your palm 3-4 inches above the metal for no more than three seconds.
Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side directly over the flame, with the lid down.
Then, move the steaks to the part of grill that is not lit.
Set the lid in place and allow the steaks to cook, without flipping them, until they reach 120-135 degrees, about 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the steak.
Remove the steaks to a platter and allow them to rest a few minutes before serving.