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Pasture-raised meat cooking tips
  • Enjabain October 2010

    We've been noticing that pasture-raised meats and poultry cook differently than their conventional, store-bought (industrial) counterparts—perhaps because pasture-raised animals are leaner? We've been cooking (grilling, mainly) the pasture-raised meats the same way we do the conventional meats, and we're finding that the end result is drier, tougher, or simply overcooked in general. Can anyone offer ways to compensate for the difference in meat quality (cooking time, cooking method, temperature, etc)? We really want to do justice to pasture-raised meat and poultry. Many thanks!

  • OHL October 2010

    As you've noticed, there is less fat on Meat from pasture raised animals. This means that it is healthier, but also that it is easier to dry out when cooking it. Low heat and slow cooking are your friends, and moisture while cooking helps a lot! Try using a crock pot or wrap in tin foil on the grill with your favorite seasonings. Cuts like chops and steaks are best cooked to medium instead of well done.

    Although you may need to tailor the way you cook pasture raised meat, the health benefits and taste are well worth the effort in my opinion!

    Happy cooking!

    Sara Davis
    Oak Hollow Livestock
    www.oakhollowlivestock.com

  • JaneM October 2010

    I recently cooked a pork butt in the crockpot with onions, some chicken broth, and spices. It cooked all day. I shredded the meat for pulled pork and it was moist and delicious (and lasted for 3 days for many meals). Can someone weigh in on what the difference is between pork and fresh ham? I saw a ham butt on the list this month, but didn't know whether or not it was the same.

  • kerrie1 October 2010

    We recommend "The Complete Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelley. This cookbook goes into great detail about grass-fed (healthier fats and leaner, more natural meats) beef and pastured pork. The cooking methods can be slightly different than older recipes. We have never had a bad meal from this cookbook! Worth a read.

  • kerrie1 October 2010

    Pulled pork is delicious. We cook it all day with coffee and then add our own, homemade barbeque sauce. Very simple for those days when everyone is running in different directions.

    To answer the ham question: the ham is cut from the hind leg and can be cut as a large ham (for roasting) or a ham steak. Typically these are cured and smoked which gives the typically easter ham flavor. Fresh ham is the same desireable cut of pork that is not cured, brined or smoked so has more of the pork flavor instead of the "ham" flavor. The end result is more of a pork roast, but since it is cut from the hind leg, it is still called a ham -- just not cured.

    Pork Butt is from the shoulder of the animal and is perfect for slow cooking (ham is not). It is a fattier cut and very flavorful and perfect for pulled pork. It is NOT typically cured/smoked unless stated in the description.

  • JaneM October 2010

    Ah, thanks Kerrie, that's very helpful.

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