Red meat provides good-quality protein to our bodies and is rich in nutrients that give us energy, like iron, zinc and B12. In moderation, beef is a healthy and delicious addition to most diets and can add a rich depth of flavor to a meal.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when cooking with beef.
There are endless ways to prepare beef
There are as many ways to prepare beef as there are cuts of meat available.
Grilling is an all-American form of cooking and is an excellent way to burn off excess fat while keeping flavors and juices locked in. When grilling beef—whether it’s steak, burgers or beef tips—always let your meat come to room temperature before adding to the grill. This will help the meat brown consistently and will also keep it from getting too tough.
A stir fry is a quick and easy way to get a lot out of a little bit of meat (or the cheaper cuts of meat, for that matter). Simply dice up your favorite vegetables, such as onions, peppers and mushrooms and toss together with sliced beef and a few herbs and spices for a flavorful meal any night of the week.
Our favorite way to cook a steak is on a skillet and, if you try our method, it’ll be clear why. Again, let the meat sit at room temperature before cooking and add copious amounts of fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme, to truly bring the flavor out of your favorite cut.
Braise or Slow Cook
Braising or slow cooking is the perfect way to pass a calm, cold day in the winter. The best way to start? Use a paper towel to dry the meat before adding to the heat. The drier the cuts are, the better they will caramelize and brown.
Handle Beef Safely
It’s important to purchase beef that is fresh and high-quality. When purchasing beef, look for:
- Beef with a bright cherry-red color
- Beef that is firm to the touch
- Packaging that is cold with no holes or tears
- Packaging that doesn’t contain excessive liquid
- Beef that is being sold on or before the sell-by date
When unpackaging, storing or cooking with beef, it’s important to avoid cross-contamination and prevent foodborne illnesses. To do this, wash your hands well in hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meat or other fresh foods. Also, keep the juices away from other foods both in the refrigerator and during preparation. Wash all utensils, cutting surfaces and counters with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat.
Finally, to maximize the quality and flavors of your meat when cooking, consider these tips:
- Don’t overmix ground beef. Overmixing will result in burgers, meatballs or meatloaves that are firm and compact.
- High heat can overcook or char the outside of beef cuts while the interior remains undercooked
- Never pierce a steak while cooking, as this will result in the loss of flavorful juices. Instead, use a spatula or tongs to move or flip.
For the best quality meat, consider choosing a local source. At Spring Grove Ranch, our cattle are grass-fed and grain-finished, which means our beef is healthy, nutrient-rich, tender and well-marbled.