There are two questions I often get about cooking grassfed meat.
The first question is “How do you cook grassfed meat in a microwave?”
The answer to that one is very simple, I don’t.
The second question is “How do you cook grassfed meat in a slow cooker?”
The answer is the same, but for very different reasons.
Why do I not use these two modern cooking methods? The main reason is that our ancestors never used them. They used heating methods that created heat similar to that created by modern grills, and gas and electric stoves. Since my cooking is completely based on ancestral methods, you cannot get the same results with microwaves or slow cookers. But there are also other, important reasons.
The Problem with Microwaves
Microwave ovens are a relatively modern invention, never used before the twentieth century. Their main advantage is that they are easy to use, and give quick results. Many people find them very convenient and a huge timesaver. Senior housing and apartments often have no conventional ovens, just microwaves. But that convenience comes at a price. A price I am not willing to pay.
Microwave ovens cook by heating from the inside out, unlike every other method of cooking food known to humanity. The heat starts at the center and moves outward, and has the effect of damaging and changing the cells that are heated. That process creates compounds never before seen in nature, known as radiolytic compounds. The process actually breaks and damages the cells while creating the compounds. Which means that our bodies have to deal with substances that are new to nature and humanity.
There is much controversy over the safety and effects of microwaved food. The Soviet Union banned microwaved food and microwaves in 1976, for safety reasons. The American government, the food industry, and the manufacturers of microwaves insist that microwaved foods are safe. But the government states that microwaves should not be used for heating baby formula. As always, when you have this kind of controversy, it is very difficult to know what is true, and we all have to make our own decisions. But this area was carefully researched by a Swiss scientist named Hans Hertel.
Hertel conducted a carefully controlled study which found that the blood of people eating microwaved food was changed in a negative way, one that could lead to illness. A Swiss industry organization went to court, and got a gag order which prevented Hertel from disclosing or stating some of the results of his research, so certain business interests would not be harmed.
I do not know for sure which side of the controversy is right. But the very fact that this controversy exists is enough to convince me that I do not want to take the chance. Another factor is that the microwave effect of cooking food from the inside out is totally new to humanity, and I cannot believe it would work well with traditional food.
The Problem with Slow Cookers
Slow cookers were originally marketed with the idea that they would be an easy way to replace the iron pot that used to simmer for many hours on your Grandmother’s stove, producing all kinds of wonderful, flavorful meals. In addition, slow cookers could be turned on when you left for work, and you would come home to a wonderful dinner, ready in the slow cooker. Again, very convenient.
However, no slow cooker is the equivalent of the legendary iron pot that simmered for many hours on the stove. If you want to recreate the effect of that famous pot, you can put a cast iron or enameled cast iron pot in a very low oven for many hours, and you will get a very similar effect.
Slow cookers are never made of cast iron, and they have a ceramic or aluminum inner pot, in which the food is cooked. Cast iron retains heat and becomes hotter as the cooking continues which causes the liquid in the pot to slowly reduce, concentrating flavors and developing them. The materials used in slow cookers do not do this, which often leads to watery sauces and a pronounced lack of flavor. While many slow cooker users have found ways to make delicious meals in slow cookers, it is not a traditional way of cooking and never was. I get wonderful results using cast iron pots, as shown in Tender Grassfed Meat.
But there is another good reason why I never use slow cookers, and that is the controversy over their safety. Many slow cookers release lead or cadmium into the food. Both of these substances are harmful to humans. However, the manufacturers maintain that the amount of these substances released into the food is safe, because it is within the amounts allowed by the FDA, I have a conceptual problem with accepting that any amount of poison is safe, especially heavy metals like lead which can build up in the body. But the FDA says it is safe. Others have claimed that the lead or cadmium is sealed within the material of the pot, and never leaches into the food. Some slow cookers use an aluminum liner, but I do not want to eat anything that could have leached aluminum in it. Independent tests have claimed that lead and cadmium have leached into the food cooked in various slow cookers. Once again, it is very hard to know what is true, or who to believe. Given the controversy, I do not want to take the chance, especially when the real thing, cast iron pots, produces food that is traditional and tastes much better.
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