In which I answer a leftover question from last week’s Free Range chat:
My family owns a small herd of grass-fed cattle, and we love having our own source of excellent-quality beef. I love roasts but have had little success in producing a tender, juicy, flavorful roast with our lean meat. I need suggestions.
Grass-fed beef is tricky. Because it’s so lean, it requires special handling. It cooks faster than grain-fed beef and can go from done to overdone in a flash.
So, begin by following a few basic rules for roasting:
● Always start with the meat at room temperature. Leave it out for an hour or two before cooking.
● If you’re following a recipe meant for regular beef, reduce the oven temp by 50 degrees and plan on cutting the roasting time by about a third.
● Insert a meat thermometer and check it frequently. A remote-read model is best, so you don’t have to keep opening the oven door.
● Aim for rare or, at the very most, medium-rare. If you go beyond that, the result could be dry, tough and dull.
● Let the roasted meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.
Those are general guidelines, but now let me suggest something specific. In “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook,” author Shannon Hayes has a recipe that she confidently describes elsewhere as “no-fail” and that’s frequently hailed by home cooks as the gold standard. It’s called Super-Slow-Roasted Beef and involves roasting at your oven’s lowest temperature, which for most of us is 170 degrees. “No matter how lean your roast may be, this technique ensures a beautiful cut of beef that is juicy, pink in the center, and absolutely delicious,” Hayes writes in the headnote. “And the best part is that overcooking the beef is just about impossible.”
For those of us who don’t own the book, Cool Springs Ranch in Canada has thoughtfully included the recipe on its website. And if you want to know more about how Hayes arrived at her roasting epiphany, she explains here on her website.
Have culinary questions of your own? Then tune in for today’s chat, which (as always) starts at noon and lasts for one glorious hour. This week’s special guests: Cook’s Illustrated founder Christopher Kimball, who spoke with Becky Krystal this week about his just-launched Milk Street Magazine, and Bring It! columnist Cathy Barrow, who writes this week about homemade crackers. Other topics ripe for discussion: Richmond’s booming restaurant scene, as explored this week by Tom Sietsema; and its equally booming craft-brewery scene, sampled by Fritz Hahn.