Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grass-Fed Roast Beef

Disclaimer: Beef is very unphotogenic, I've decided. So please, forgive the picture but don't forgo the recipe!

I wasn't going to post for the Simple and Nourishing Carnival. In fact, I wasn't even going to cook the roast that I had defrosted, and when I did decide to, I had low expectations. Despite my enthusiasm for grass-fed beef, I haven't done a very good job cooking it. I was beginning to wonder if I even wanted to buy another cow next year. (We bought a slaughtered grass-finished cow from a farmer in Vermont.) Grass-fed beef definitely cooks differently, and in this case, just what "different" means is elusive. But I figured the health benefits outweighed the hassle of learning to cook it properly, so I persisted.

Literally, this meal was an afterthought. Our roasts take a few days to thaw in the fridge, so I took it out on the assumption I'd be geared up and ready to cook it at the end of the week. Four days later, I knew I better do something with that bloody hunk of meat before Mark called PETA. So, I poked some holes in it, and threw together a quick marinade of

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c soy sauce
3 mashed and sliced garlic cloves
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 T salt

I put the meat in a corningware pan with a fitted lid, poured over the marinade, and added enough water so that it covered the meat. It was a brine/marinade hybrid. I read about it somewhere...

Fast forward 24 hours. I was tired today, and I had to go BACK to work for an Open House at 6pm. The last thing I wanted to do was cook a roast, especially one that seemed doomed from the day it left the freezer. I think I was avoiding the whole thing because roasts have been high maintenance lately since I'm always trying a new way of cooking them, which requires hours of ::pointless:: research. So today, I used the same method as last time, but decided to cook it longer. (Mark didn't appreciate the tartar we had last time.)
  • Preheat oven to 500 F.
  • Place roast in cast iron skillet and place in oven.
  • Cook about 3-5 minutes per side, flipping gently as each side browns. I use my hands. Is that bad?
  • Once roast is browned (about 20 minutes), lower heat to 300 F.
  • Using an electric oven thermometer, monitor the temperature of the beef. (If you don't own one of these, you need to buy one ASAP. They are so handy for bread baking, yogurt making, and meat cooking!)
  • Once the internal temperature reaches 150 F, take the roast out. It took mine about 45 minutes. If it starts to brown even further, feel free to tent it or turn the heat down another 50 degrees. The last thing you want is a dried out hunk of beef with a tough exterior.
  • If you haven't already, tent the meat with tinfoil. Let it cool for about 20 minutes before you cut it so the juices can redistribute. I had to jet to work tonight directly after the meat came out of the oven, so it just chilled on the counter for a few hours. It was still lovely.
  • When the internal temperature is around 145 degrees, or you've waited at least 20 minutes, slice THINLY! I can't stress this enough. The thinner it is, the better. I wish I had an electric knife, though the cat doesn't. He enjoys the hunks of leftover meat butts. Just kidding.
  • If you're ambitious, reheat the cast iron skillet that should have lots of good fatty juices, and add as much chicken stock as you'd like. (Start with just a half cup.) Bring to a boil and simmer til slightly thick. I pour this right over the beef in the container it will be stored in to keep it nice and moist.
Mark will be eating these slices for lunch, in a roast beef sandwich. I munch on them for a snack, or dinner with sourdough bread, a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup (thousand island-ish), and lots of sauerkraut. The enzymes in the sauerkraut help with digestibility of the meat. Adding raw cheese, and grilling the sandwich in some butter is to-die-for if you can do dairy. I'm definitely missing that!

So, there we have it. Simple AND nourishing! For more simple and nourishing ideas, visit The Nourishing Gourmet's Simple and Nourishing Carnival.


  1. Yeah thanks for this one. I posted something for us dairy free girls so where's my beef free post? In the marinade I guess??!! Ohh well...sighh... looks delicious. I can taste the tender thin slices melting in my mouth...Loved your story. would you belive I DO NOT have an instant read thermo?? Yeah , really- they cost like over 50$- and uhh I flip stuff with my hands all the time- just never never never flip oooeeey goooey grill cheese with yur bare hands, trust me:)xoxoVF (did you see we are side by side on Kimi's carnival. Yes you beat me there)

  2. Love it! Thanks for sharing and being part of the carnival. :-)

  3. That sounds like a fabulous roast beef recipe. I'm curious about the cattle you bought - do you know the breed, finishing diet (which grasses) and how/how long it was aged?

    Also, you're right. Besides being really simple to cook (tho' intimidating for a first timer), the other great thing about roasts is the leftovers. It can be fun to experiment with different recipes and uses.