Tips for Grilling Grass-Fed Beef

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This week on Good Food Laura Avery talks to Amelia Saltsman, author of the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook about how to grill grass fed beef. Novy Ranch is a new grass-fed beef purveyor that will be at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market. Because it is often leaner than corn fed or finished beef Amelia recommends cooking it over medium heat. Keep reading for her list of tips….

Amelia’s Tips for Grilling Grass-Fed Meats

I’ve learned a lot about grilling from my son-in-law who is from Argentina where grass-fed beef is king. The most important—and most counter-intuitive—trick is to grill over medium, not high, heat and then brown the meat over high heat at the end of the cooking time. Because even well-marbled grass-fed beef is leaner and firmer than its grain-fed counterpart, the meat can toughen up more quickly during cooking. Grilling over medium heat gives you better control.

  • Create direct (hotter) and indirect (cooler) areas of heat in your gas or charcoal grill.
  • Grill quick-cooking cuts such as steaks and burgers over direct medium heat. Brown at the end on high.
  • Grill larger cuts such as tri-tips over indirect heat and move the meat to hotter, direct heat at the end to brown or crisp the surface.
  • Surface of the meat should be as dry as possible for good browning. If possible, air-dry the beef for an hour (or at least 10 minutes) before cooking.
  • Five to 10 minutes before cooking, season the meat with a generous rub of kosher or other coarse-grained salt. This helps further dry the surface and will deepen flavors and help develop a crust. You’ll be surprised at the tasty difference such a simple technique produces, especially with grass-fed beef.
  • Test the meat for doneness with your fingertip. Press on the steak. If it is blood-rare, it will feel squashy; if is medium-rare, it will be springier and have some give; and if it is medium-well, it will be heading toward firm. Pull the meat off the heat before it reaches the feel you want. It will continue to cook from its own residual heat, as the heat from the hot exterior moves toward the cooler center.
  • Let the meat stand 2 to 3 minutes before slicing to take care of the step above and to let the juices settle.

You can find more about grilling in The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook and The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook Summer Entertaining by Amelia Saltsman.