A common mistake we see new customers make is not knowing how to cook grass-fed steaks the right way.
We cannot stress enough that authentic grass-fed steaks will cook significantly quicker and if this is not factored into the cooking, the results are sure to be mediocre at best.
This is easily remedied once the customer adapts to the difference between cooking 100% grass-fed (grass-finished) steak over a standard grain-fed cut of steak. We find that this simply comes down to cooking time since grass-fed beef cooks at a significantly faster rate and requires a lower temperature than other varieties.
Time and temperature are the key factors that produce a juicy and flavorful grass-fed steak and a steak is only as good as how it is cooked. Thus, knowing the exact measurements and internal temperature necessary when making grass-finished steaks is essential.
After reading this article and putting our tips into practice, we are sure you will be whipping up grass-fed steaks consistently and with perfect results.
Why Cook Grass-Fed Steaks Differently?
Authentic grass-fed steaks will cook 30% faster than conventional steaks, which is a big difference to what most folks will be used to and underlines the importance of knowing how to cook grass-fed steaks the right way.
Grass-fed steaks will cook so much quicker due to the fact that grass-fed or grass-finished steaks are leaner, meaning there is less fat to protect the meat fibers during cooking.
Leaner meat will dry out when overcooked as it will lose moisture at a significantly faster than fattier grain-fed steaks.
Genuine grass-fed beef is leaner for one key reason: the cattle feed on a 100% grass and forage-based diet for the entirety of their lives and are outdoors, moving freely every day of their lives.
Compare this to grain fed cattle which fed grains to fatten the animals several months before harvest and purposely held in the cramped and confined conditions of a feedlot to prevent exercise .
The lack of grain in the grass-fed animal’s diet plus daily exercise of a naturally raised 100% grass-fed animal provides a cleaner and leaner cut of meat.
Therefore, it is imperative to factor this into your cooking. If you don’t, you are GUARANTEED to have a less than optimal eating experience.
The difference between an amazingly juicy grass-fed steak and a dry, gray-colored tough steak can be as little as an extra 60 seconds on the pan or grill. Luckily, we will review what you can do to ensure you never have to eat the latter again.
7 Common Mistakes Cooking Grass-Fed Steaks
We know that cooking grass-fed steaks is not always easy. Below are the 7 most common mistakes that we see being made with grass-fed steaks and our tips on how to overcome these obstacles so you can learn how to cook grass-fed steaks with ease and consistency.
1. Blaming the butcher or the steak itself!
If you overcook a grass-fed steak, you will lose its precious moisture and moisture = juiciness. All beef muscle cuts are made up of about 72% water when raw (aka what gives any steak its juiciness). Thus, cooking time and temperature must be adjusted when preparing leaner grass-fed steaks to retain the precious moisture. A Juicy Steak is a steak with plenty of moisture after cooking. How you cook that steak will determine this factor.
2. Blaming the reduced Fat content.
Genuine 100% Grass-fed steak is much leaner than conventional steak especially cuts like Picanha without doubt however, fat does not give steak its juiciness, this is entirely down to how much moisture ( water) is retained in the steak during the cooking process.
3. Cooking for far too long on a pan or grill.
Authentic grass-fed or grass-finished steaks cook way faster than grain-fed steaks ie about 30% faster. Thus, it is essential to be mindful of this when preparing these types of steaks.
4. Being too afraid of undercooking the steak.
We know that nobody wants to eat undercooked or raw steak. However, this fear can cause you to leave your grass-fed steaks cooking for too long. It is far easier to undercook a steak and simply toss it back into the pan for a minute rather than overcooking it.
Plus, remember that your steak continues to cook during the rest period, which will aid any issues of doneness. For example if you pull a steak off the pan when it hits an internal temperature of 135F , it will be a perfect medium at 140F after 5 minutes resting.
Cooking a nice grass-fed steak to medium rare or medium will retain the benefits of grass-fed steak in terms of nutrient content and flavor!
5. Using a Super high-temperature pan or grill.
If you are new to cooking and eating authentic grass-fed steaks, It is best to use a medium heat setting when cooking genuine 100% grass-fed steaks to avoid overcooking them. Using too much heat may actually cause your grass-fed steaks to lose more moisture, ultimately diminishing their flavor and juicines.
6. Cooking your steaks at set times.
We see many people make this mistake. They have cooked steak to x number of minutes per side their whole lives and therefore assume this applies to authentic grass-fed steaks.
This is a big mistake! A one size fits all approach does not work on grass-fed steaks or, frankly, any steak with a different size or thickness than what you are used to.
7. Not cooking steaks to an Internal temperature.
Leading on from the previous point of just cooking to a set time per side and hoping for the best which is just too much of a lottery. It is always advisable to cook steaks to doneness and not a set time.Different steaks e.g Picanha vs. Ribeye have very different qualities and will not cook at exactly the same time per side.
If you invest in a meat thermometer to measure your steak internal temperature , you take all the guesswork out of how to cook grass-fed steaks by pulling your steak off the heat to a set internal temperature which will give super consistent results each and every time.
How to Cook Grass-Fed Steaks: The Science of Juiciness (Thermodynamics)
All raw beef, no matter how it was raised, is naturally composed of approximately 72% to 75% water according to the USDA.
The remaining percentages feature lean protein (often around 20%) and a combination of fat, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients.
Whether you are cooking organic grass-fed steak, grain-fed, feedlot, or even fatty wagyu steaks, they will have the same amount of water content in the cattle’s muscle cuts ( where steaks come from) when raw before you cook it. This is so important to remember.
Because a steak’s juiciness is defined by the amount of moisture inside it, all steaks, irrespective of their upbringing, start out with the same “Juiciness Potential ” when raw. How you cook it will determine how much moisture is retained in the steak ( where you want it) and how much is left on the pan after cooking ( where you don't want it)
When heat is applied to any raw steak during the cooking process, moisture i.e.water, leaks out of the meat and into the pan or grill.
Your goal is to keep as much moisture in as possible in the steak to ensure you have a nice, juicy steak to serve. Overcook any steak, and you lose that precious moisture aka “juiciness”.
Genuine grass-fed steaks will cook 30% quicker and, therefore, will lose moisture at a faster rate. So, consumers must be aware of this, altering their cooking time and temperatures to achieve the best results.
Water Content of Meat & Poultry
|Product Name||Percentage Water Raw||Percentage Water Cooked|
|Chicken fryer, whole||66%||60%|
|White meat chicken, with skin||69%||61%|
|Dark meat chicken, with skin||66%||59%|
|Ground beef, 85% lean||64%||60%|
|Ground beef, 73% lean||56%||55%|
|Beef, eye of round||73%||65%|
|Beef, whole brisket||71%||56%|
How to Cook Grass-Fed Steaks: 8 Easy Tips
Now that you have invested in your health by choosing 100% Grass-Fed and Finished Steaks, it is time to learn how to cook grass-fed steaks the right way to enjoy them at peak juiciness and perfection. Once you follow these 7 steps, you are guaranteed to have fantastic juicy results with your grass-fed steaks.
Awareness.The first tip is to be fully aware your grass-fed steak will cook quicker. These steaks must be cooked 25 to 30% quicker and at a lower temperature than conventionally raised steaks. Otherwise, the results are guaranteed to be overdone (and dry like sawdust, which is not very tasty).
Cook to doneness, not to a set time.Be sure to check the steak’s internal temperature rather than cooking to a set time per side since not all cuts are alike. Cooking target temperature/doneness will give 100% consistent results every time.
Make sure the center is pink!Grass-Fed Steaks are best when prepared for Medium Rare or Medium Doneness.
Utilize a cooking thermometer.Invest in a digital meat thermometer to ensure perfectly consistent and tasty results.
Aim for an internal temperature of 128F for Medium Rare Doneness.Once the meat thermometer shows 128F, take it off the heat and let it rest for 5 mins.
Aim for an internal temperature of 135F for Medium Doneness.Once the meat thermometer shows 135F, take it off the heat and let it rest for 5 mins.
Let your steak rest before serving.
It is crucial to allow the cooked steak to rest for at least 5 mins. This one is nearly always overlooked as it is viewed as an old wives tale. Letting steak rest gives time for the moisture and fat molecules within the steak fibers to slowly reset and hold within the steak - exactly where you want it.
When in doubt, take it out!
When advising folks on how to cook grass-fed steaks, this is the single best piece of old school advice we can give anyone when cooking steaks! Wether you are cooking your Ribeye steak on a pan or reverse sear, it is always easier to pull a steak off the pan or grill early then give it another minute if it is to rare.
How to Reheat Grass-Fed Steaks
Learning how to reheat steak especially grass-fed steak will ensure your leftovers are both juicy and packed full of flavor. We recommend reheating grass-fed steak on the pan, in gentle heat with plenty of butter. The gentle heat and extra butter will ensure plenty of moisture is retained.
Summary - How to Cook Grass-Fed Steaks
- It is vital to know grass-fed steaks cook alot quicker than conventional beef steaks and learn how to cook grass-fed steaks the right way.
- We recognize that steaks like Filet Mignon, Ribeye or Tenderloin are not cheap so it is even more important to get the cooking right.
- Real Grass-fed steaks, especially Organic Grass-Fed Beef Steaks will cook 30% quicker. It is very important to make the adjustment to your normal cooking for this reason.
- Grass-Fed steaks cook quicker because they are significantly leaner. Fatty steaks can retain moisture for longer.
- How a cattle is raised eg feedlot, grain-fed versus 100% grass-fed determines the fat content in a steak however all steaks have the same moisture content when raw is 72 to 75% water.
- A Juicy Steak is a steak with plenty of moisture after cooking. How you cook that steak will determine this factor.
- Always better to cook steaks to a target internal temperature rather than cooking to a set amount of minutes per side.
- When in doubt, take it out!
- A great steak is a well seasoned steak that is cooked but leaving as much moisture as possible in the steak.