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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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The Way of Broth

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Beef bone broth made from nutrient-rich grass fed beef

Beef bone broth made from nutrient-rich grass fed beef.

Once a week, I awake early in the morning. I will need the extra time. I am going to perform a task that will nourish my body with an almost magical concoction full of natural minerals, gelatin, marrow, and other nutrients, using what may be one of the oldest cooking methods. I have been doing this for over ten years, and my technique has evolved over time, becoming simpler and easier. Today I make bone broth.

 

The Tradition

Bone broth is one of the oldest human foods, and one of the simplest. Basically, bones and meat scraps are placed in a large pot with plenty of water, and simmered slowly until the bones and meat have released their priceless nutrients into the broth. Vegetables are usually added, as is salt. As the water comes to a boil, the scum that rises to the top is skimmed off and discarded. The broth is served hot, and slowly sipped, or used as the base for all kinds of traditional soups.

 

Why I Make It

Traditional bone broth, simmered slowly for at least twelve hours, is much richer in minerals, gelatin, and other nutrients than any broth you can buy at a market. It is now possible to purchase traditionally made broth, usually by Internet order, but this broth is so expensive that it makes much more sense to make my own.

 

The Ingredients

I have found that all kinds of meat, poultry, and bones will make great broth. At this point, I usually use leftovers, often with some raw scraps and bones left over from trimming various cuts of meat, and find that the broth is every bit as good as when I used only fresh ingredients.

I use only the bones and meat of grassfed/pastured animals or poultry. Our ancestors did not use feedlot animals, or meat containing artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other chemicals, and neither do I.

I use only organic or the equivalent vegetables. I do not want pesticide residue to be released into my broth.

I use only filtered water. My filter uses the reverse osmosis process, which is the only way I know to get rid of the fluoride. Fluoride, chlorine, and aluminum are usually added to tap water, along with other chemicals. I do not want them in my broth. Our ancestors did not have these chemicals in their broth.

Using reverse osmosis water is controversial, because the conventional belief is that you could suffer a mineral deficiency, because minerals are also removed by the filtering process. Since the mineral content of water differs greatly from location to location, I do not find this to be a good enough reason to have human-made chemicals in my broth. What I do know is that a great deal of minerals are released into the broth during the long simmering process, far more than any tap water would contain. I also add a fair amount of unrefined sea salt. This salt comes with all the natural minerals that are stripped out of factory salt, and these minerals also become part of the broth.

My bones and teeth are very strong, dense, and hard, so I know I have no mineral deficiency. On the contrary, I credit my daily mug of broth with helping to maintain my strong bones and teeth.

Many people add vinegar to bone broth, the idea being that the acid will cause more of the minerals to dissolve. I used to use vinegar for this purpose, but I have not used it for years. I like the taste much better without the vinegar.

 

The Cooking

This is so simple. You place a large amount of bones, sinew, meat scraps, etc. in a large stockpot (which is not aluminum). You bring it to a simmer, skim the scum off the top, add the vegetables of your choice, cover, and let simmer for at least twelve hours. Why twelve hours? An old French cookbook explained that scientists had tested the mineral content of broth, and found that twelve hours of simmering was needed to release a significant amount of minerals and nutrients from the bones into the broth. I usually simmer my broth for a bit more than 12 hours, but there are people who simmer it much longer. Their broth is probably more nutrient-dense, but I am happy with mine. After the broth is ready, it is strained and placed in containers. There are several ways to store and preserve it.

 

The Benefits

We each drink a big mug of hot broth every day, sipping it slowly, usually just before dinner. It is so refreshing and renewing, and helps prepare our bodies for digestion. The high gelatin content soothes the stomach, and aids digestion. We are also taking what I consider the best mineral supplement on earth, as natural as it could possibly be, in the way of our ancestors. The proof of these benefits is in our strong, dense teeth and bones, and the complete absence of any problems with our joints and bones. Many people have used such broths to fight off sickness and help the body recover from illness. In fact, there are too many benefits to list them all. These benefits may be why I get a happy feeling as I make broth.

And it makes the absolute best gravies and sauces.

Any way you look at it, traditional homemade broth is the best!

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Kind Treatment Results in Better Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Happy cows grazing.

Happy cows grazing.

Nearly all people have a strong, instinctive desire to eat meat. Despite all the attempts to demonize all meat during the last fifty years, world meat consumption is steadily rising.

After reviewing the unbiased scientific evidence, and studying the food traditions of most of the world, and knowing what my body needs to eat, I am convinced that the grassfed meat of our ancestors is a vital and necessary food.

Many people are disturbed by the fact that we cannot have meat without killing animals. Yet, the traditional way of raising meat animals gives them a happy life, and a quick, merciful death.

This is done not necessarily to be kind, but because meat raised in the traditional manner will not be good unless the animals are happy, well fed, and content in their lives, and killed so quickly that they have no time to suffer. This is one time where kindness is actually good business.

 

The Problem

We need meat to thrive and be healthy. We instinctively want to eat it. Yet we cannot get real meat without killing an animal. And modern agriculture treats many meat animals with cruelty, feeding them unnatural foods, drugging them, confining them in unnatural conditions, such as CAFOs and feedlots.

Many people, including me, are revolted by cruelty to animals, which is despicable. Yet, I need meat to thrive and be healthy.

 

The Grassfed Solution

I was looking at a beautiful grassfed roast. A beautiful color, with nice marbling. It made me hungry just to look at it. The butcher came over and said, “Happy cow.” He told me that the happiest cows gave the best meat.

The butcher had grown up on a cattle ranch in Mexico, and knew cattle. The cattle on his ranch only ate pasture, and the ranchers did everything they could to give their cattle a calm, peaceful life, plenty of water, lots of company from the herd, and the best possible pasture. A cow would not put on weight if it was stressed or unhappy, so it was necessary to give them a good life to get a good yield of meat. When it came time to kill a steer for meat, it was done by surprise, quickly, so quickly that the animal had no time to even get scared, let alone suffer.

The ranchers knew that if a cow, or any meat animal, gets scared or stressed, chemicals are released which ruin the taste and composition of the meat. Every grassfed rancher I have talked to also knows this, and all of them try to give their herds peaceful, happy lives, and to avoid stressing the animals.

CAFOs and feedlots are another story, and a disgusting one. The emphasis there is to raise the animals to slaughter weight as quickly and cheaply as possible, using drugs, hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, and processed feed. These methods enable even a miserable cow to put on weight, and kindness is obviously not a priority, or even a concern. Even these factory cows are killed quickly, to prevent the stress hormones from ruining the meat.

A review of the unbiased evidence, and my own personal experience, has convinced me that the grassfed meat of our ancestors is much better, in taste and nutrition, than factory meat.

So, to me, the solution is simple. Stop using hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and feedlots to fatten meat animals. Make all meat from grazing animals grassfed, raised on the pasture in the traditional way. Our food will be much better. Ranchers will treat the animals well because it will increase their profits. And the lives of these animals will be much better.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday blog carnival.

 

Why I Do Not Fear Grassfed Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grass-fed picanha (sirloin tip)

A delicious grassfed roast.

An endless array of studies claim that eating meat, or too much meat, will cause all kinds of harm. I am not sure that there is a disease or chronic condition that has not been blamed on eating meat.

But I find that all these studies share certain flaws. Fatal flaws. As an attorney, I have decades of experience in analyzing evidence and evaluating arguments. And I find the case against meat to be based on flimsy evidence, at best, and the arguments are either based on this poor evidence, or on ideology, not fact.

And every one of these fear-all-meat-studies share the same fatal flaw—they never distinguish between the pure, grassfed meats developed by nature, and the factory meat that has been developed for profit.

The two meats are very different in their composition and content. A study that fails to distinguish between them is worthless, in my opinion, when it comes to grassfed meat.

And I believe that the most comprehensive, unbiased, and hands-on study of all exonerates the grassfed meat of nature.

 

The Fatal Flaws

There are many common problems with the anti-meat studies, such as asking the participants to remember everything they ate over a period of years, when most people cannot remember what they ate over the last week. I do not have the space to describe all the problems, but three stand out.

First Flaw: Most of the meat eaten in the modern world is factory meat. This is meat that has been raised with the use of chemicals, such as growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other substances that were never part of the raising of meat animals until the twentieth century. These animals were also fed a diet that is not natural to their species, consisting in part of GMO plants that were grown with the aid of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, or non-GMO plants also grown with chemicals. Part of the diet could also consist of a huge variety of human-created feed such as restaurant plate waste, expired bakery items, or even plastic balls. None of these are the foods of nature. If this meat is harmful, and I am not saying that it is, we have no way of knowing as to whether the harm is caused by the meat, or the chemicals it contains, or the combination of both.

Second Flaw: The studies focus on meat as the only causative factor, but many other factors are just as important, such as the other foods the people in the study ate. This usually includes a huge variety of modern foods that are raised, or prepared, or preserved in completely unnatural ways, utilizing a huge variety of human-made chemicals. Many of the people in these studies are inactive, or suffer great stress from their jobs or other factors, or smoke, or drink too much alcohol, or take illegal drugs, and most of them take one or many prescription drugs, and over the counter drugs.

All of these factors are known to have drastic effects on human health, and we have no way of knowing whether it is the meat, or the combination of these factors, or some of these factors, or the interaction with one or more of these factors with the meat, that causes the harm.

The third fatal flaw is that these studies never distinguish between the effects of eating factory meat, or the grassfed meat of nature, which has nourished humanity from the beginning. In fact, these studies treat all meat as being the same, which it is not.

 

Dr. Weston A. Price Established that Eating the Meat of Nature Does Not Cause Disease

Dr. Weston A. Price did the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever done, traveling around the world for ten years to visit, in person, the healthy peoples eating their traditional diet. Dr. Price, a very spiritual man, expected to find that the healthy peoples were eating a plant-based diet. What he found instead, and had the integrity to report, was that all of the healthy peoples he found ate plenty of animal foods, including meat. None of these peoples had any of the diseases of the modern world, and all were free of illness, as long as they ate the diet of their ancestors.

While the diets of the various healthy peoples differed in many ways, some of them ate only animal foods, and one of the groups he spent the most time with ate only meat and fat, for most of the year.

The natives of northern Canada lived in a climate so cold that fish could not live in the rivers, and there were no edible plants for most of the year. These people survived entirely on the meat, organs, and fat of the animals they hunted, especially moose. They were free of all disease, and had perfect teeth. This could not happen if natural meat was harmful.

For these reasons, I feel perfectly safe in eating all the grassfed meat my body wants, and my health has improved greatly since I have done so.

Our government says that factory meat is safe. I choose not to eat it because I dislike the way it tastes and how I personally feel after eating it. But I always feel good after eating grassfed meat.

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

The Power of a Good Grassfed Steak, Pastured Butter, and Pastured Sour Cream

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Grassfed Butter Steak, Tender Grassfed Barbecue, page 76

Sometimes life presents us with difficult challenges. Not that we want them, but sometimes they are there, and must be dealt with. I am in the middle of dealing with a very difficult challenge right now. Not to worry, it is not a matter of life and death. And I am doing well with it, considering. And a good end is in sight, more likely than not.

Yet it takes a huge amount of energy and time to deal with, and often leaves me feeling worn out and discouraged. And I admit, I really hate to deal with it. But there it is.

However, I have found help in the wisdom of our ancestors. Their solution for so many problems was to eat the right food. For me, yesterday, it was a thick grassfed beefsteak, cooked rare, juicy, tender and delicious, served with pastured butter and sour cream.

 

Modern Solutions

The modern way to deal with mental stress is to take a drug, often a prescription drug, hoping it will somehow relieve or fix the problem. But, my body has fought every drug I have ever taken, over the counter or by prescription, and it always felt bad. While I have never taken anti depressants or any kind of psychiatric medication, I know they are not for me. I have not taken any kind of drug for over ten years, and I am much the better for it. Obviously, our ancestors never had these kinds of medications.

Some people will eat a lot of sweets and factory desserts, which may give them temporary relief but creates a craving for the product, and other problems. Not a solution for me either, as I have felt much better since I gave up eating that kind of thing.

 

Traditional Solutions

Our ancestors had two major solutions for relieving mental stress, one good, and one bad, in my opinion.

The bad option was to get drunk. I got drunk exactly once in my life, and I hated the experience so much that it never happened again, and never will.

The good option was to eat the right food, which was always real. So many cultures would serve food at times of stress, such as wakes. And the food would usually have a good amount of pastured animal fat, of one kind or another. The belief was that the food would help the stressed person feel better. Research has shown that butter and other animal fats provide important nutrients to the brain, which is probably why our ancestors served such foods at stressful times. My belief is that the food provided nutrients that helped the brain cope with the stress, which resulted in feeling better. I also believe that we require more nutrients at times of stress, so I decided to eat more of what would help nourish my brain.

 

My Solution

I made a really thick, grassfed steak, served with plenty of butter and sour cream. I was almost too tired to cook it, but I made it with one of the easy recipes in my cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat.

After a couple of bites of the delicious tender meat, combined with pastured butter and sour cream, I started to feel better. My exhaustion began to fade, and I just felt better. At the end of the meal, I felt fine. I had energy! I felt confident that the resolution of the challenge would go well, and I felt ready for it. So I will continue to follow the way of our ancestors and nourish my brain with plenty of pastured animal fat and grassfed meat.

A truly delicious solution!

Disclaimer: Information found on the Tender Grassfed Meat site, including this article, is meant for educational and informational purposes only. Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or anything else have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of the content on the Tender Grassfed Meat site should be relied upon for any purpose, and nothing here is a substitute for a medical diagnosis or medical treatment.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

No Soy Korean Short Rib Stew

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Tender, delicious Korean-style short ribs. With no soy!

Tender, delicious Korean-style short ribs. With no soy!

Some of the more affordable cuts of meat are also the most flavorful. They can be very tender if properly cooked. Beef short ribs are such a cut, with a deep beefy flavor, and a wonderful unique texture. Grassfed short ribs are particularly flavorful. Short ribs are highly valued in Korea, where they are often thinly cut, marinated, and grilled.

The marinades always include some soy sauce, which is a problem for those avoiding soy. This short rib stew uses some traditional Korean flavorings, and my favorite substitute for soy sauce, Red Boat fish sauce. I actually prefer to use Red Boat fish sauce to any soy sauce, as it gives a better flavor to the dish. The apples may seem unusual, but they give a wonderful flavor to the dish. It makes its own gravy as it cooks, and is so easy. Yet it is one of the most delicious recipes for beef short ribs I have ever eaten.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless grassfed short ribs

1 (2-inch) piece organic ginger, finely chopped

3 cloves organic garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce

2 tablespoons organic toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 tablespoon raw organic honey

1 teaspoon freshly ground organic black pepper

1 large organic onion, chopped

2 organic apples, preferably Fuji, peeled and chopped into small cubes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Trim the fat on the ribs to no more than one quarter inch thick. Cut the boneless ribs into one inch squares.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place all ingredients in a sturdy casserole, preferably cast iron or enameled cast iron. Mix very well. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
  3. Cook for 3 hours at 250 degrees. This wonderful dish will be ready in 3 hours. Yes, it really is that easy.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

 

A Great Simple Grassfed Steak

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

U.S. Wellness Meats Delmonico steak. (Used with permission of U.S. Wellness Meats.)

U.S. Wellness Meats Delmonico steak. (Used with permission of U.S. Wellness Meats.)

Sometimes the very best food is simple, and easy to prepare. Complex, difficult recipes with dozens of ingredients, and difficult methods may be impressive, but the results are often disappointing, and hardly anyone will actually make them. When you have great meat, simple is best.

This old truth was brought home to me this Valentine’s Day, when two magnificent Delmonico steaks from U.S. Wellness Meats gave us an incredible meal, so good that no fancy recipe could even come close, in my opinion.

 

Good, Real Meat comes with Its Own Great Taste

There is an old saying, going back all the way to the Middle Ages:

“God gives us great meat, the devil gives us cooks.”

This saying referred to the fact that truly great meat has a wonderful flavor, texture and tenderness of its own, which is often ruined or diminished when cooks do too much to it. A few simple ingredients and the right technique, combined in a way that brings out, rather than overwhelms the natural flavor of great grassfed meat, is ideal. And it can be very simple and quick to cook.

 

The Meat

The meat is the most important part of cooking a great steak. There are many cuts of meat that used to be popular in the United States that are almost unknown today, which is a shame. You never see a pin bone sirloin steak anymore, but they used to be very popular. A bone in New York steak, sometimes called Delmonico, after the first fancy restaurant to become famous in the United States, is also very hard to find. Fortunately, U.S. Wellness Meats, which sells great grassfed meat online, carries a grassfed version of this cut, with the wonderful, flavor-giving bone. The meat is grassfed, just like meat was fed in the nineteenth century, when Delmonico steak was created. I chose this for our Valentine’s meal.

Why did I choose a bone in steak? The bone in this cut gives incredible flavor, as substances from the bone are released into the meat during the cooking. No spice, condiment, or oil can provide flavor like this.

 

The Method

The steaks looked so good when they arrived, even frozen, that I decided to prepare them using the simplest of three recipes for Delmonico steak contained in my first cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat, on page 85. (This recipe can be made with a bone in or boneless steak.) The recipe contains only four ingredients, besides the steak. I knew these ingredients and this method would bring out the natural flavor of the steaks, not overwhelm it.

I thawed the steaks, and let them marinate for a few hours in a single, traditional ingredient. I added the other simple ingredients, melted some butter in a pan, and cooked them.

Cooking time was exactly eight minutes. That was all.

We were rewarded with a steak so good, so flavorful, so tender, that I would not trade it for the most expensive Kobe beef on the planet, cooked at the world’s top steakhouse.

The bone and the fat in the nicely marbled meat created so much beefy flavor, it was so tender, and the simple traditional ingredients brought out the magnificent real taste of the grassfed meat, a taste all the spices and condiments in the world could never create, could never equal.

That simple, easily cooked steak, was one of the best I ever had.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

When It Comes to Real Food, Simple and Traditional Tastes Best

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

A traditional stew of grass fed meat and organic vegetables tastes wonderful and is perfec for a winter day.

A traditional winter stew of grassfed meat and organic vegetables tastes wonderful.

Many people believe that good cooking is a mystery, one that can only be solved by celebrity chefs using arcane ingredients and complex methods. These TV chefs often use new methods and combinations that have been invented by the chefs, who gets praised for their innovation. High-tech modern products like meat glue are often used by such chefs.

I believe that simple recipes, using real food such as grassfed meat and organic traditional vegetables, using traditional food combinations, and traditional methods, prepared by ordinary people, taste the best.

I believe that cooking should be easy, not complex and difficult.

I am inspired by the quality and benefits of grassfed meat and real food, with their wonderful natural flavors. I am inspired by the ingenious simplicity of traditional cooking, which often uses just a few ingredients, simply combined and prepared, to produce outstanding, healthy food. These flavor combinations became traditional because they are really good. Many of these traditions are being lost, and I am honored to help preserve some of them in my cookbooks.

I contend that the best grassfed meat and real food is simple, using traditional methods, traditional ingredients, and easy recipes. When you have great ingredients, their wonderful natural taste should come out.

 

With Real Food — Simple Is Better

When I wrote my two cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, I had several goals. One of the most important was to make them simple, and easy to use. Another goal was to provide recipes that were absolutely delicious. A third goal was to create recipes that people would actually make.

These three goals are not contradictory, if you are using grassfed meat and real food. The quality of these foods from nature is so high that the food itself provides most of the flavor. In fact, I contend that grassfed meat and real food are the best when prepared simply with traditional methods and ingredients. You can have a wonderful dish with just a few ingredients, if they are of the highest quality, and carefully combined. When you use only a few ingredients, all are important and changing even one of them can have a dramatic effect on the taste of the dish.

Real food ingredients have so much natural flavor and goodness that they are at their best when made simply, so that their wonderful natural flavor can come out.

Then, there is the simple fact that complex recipes, with dozens of ingredients, and difficult, complex techniques, are much harder and take much more effort and time to make. Often complex recipes fail, for any of a number of reasons. Usually, complex recipes are read, admired, and never made.

I want my cooking to be easy and simple, and delicious. I wrote these books for the ordinary person, because I wanted them to have ways to cook tender grassfed meat that were not only delicious, but easy. I wanted my recipes to be used, and enjoyed.

I did not write these books for critical acclaim, but to help people make delicious grassfed meat, the easy way.

In fact, I admit it, I prefer to make easy meals! It is not only easier, it is more fun!

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

A Magnificent Christmas Roast

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

A magnificent grassfed prime rib with a great fat cap and marbling.

A magnificent grassfed prime rib with a great fat cap and marbling.

Our favorite holiday roast is a grassfed prime rib, with a nice thick fat cap, plenty of nice marbling in the meat, resting solidly on its own bones. It is not easy to find such a roast, but we hit the jackpot this year.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the above picture says it all.

This prime rib is one the best I have ever seen.

Perfectly balanced on a strong rack of bones. Covered with a thick layer of its own flavor-giving fat.

Nicely marbled with small flecks of grassfed fat.

A beautiful color.

And there are even more reasons that I know this roast will be something special. Late last week, we had a grassfed shoulder roast picked up from a local market. The meat was beautiful, full of perfect marbling. It was incredibly tender and flavorful. I knew that the butcher had happened upon a truly remarkable steer.

The next day, I called the butcher up and asked if he could sell me a prime rib from the same animal. Turns out that he could. I showed up at the market, and politely called out my preferences as he cut the roast. He left all the fat on, which was my biggest concern. Due to the demonization of fat, most butchers will trim all the fat off a roast without even thinking of it. A very bad decision, because the fat contains most of the flavor, and all of the fat soluble vitamins and nutrients. And the fat itself, crisp and brown when the roast is done, is absolutely delicious and warming.

Not to worry, this butcher knew his stuff and happily complied with my request.

This is the old way of buying a special roast, where you know and trust the seller, know where the meat comes from, and carefully select the roast, even specifying the animal it comes from, and the way it is cut and trimmed. This is the way most humans have done it for most of time. Not at all like picking up a foam package in the supermarket.

Now that we have our roast, the planning for our Christmas dinner is complete. Here is the menu:

Roast Prime Rib of Beef: Lightly seasoned with herbs, pepper, garlic, and just a little salt, added at the last minute.

Roast Potatoes and Carrots: These will be roasted in the same pan as the roast. There will be no rack, as the bones make a perfect rack, and this allows us to place these vegetables in the pan, where they will become brown, crusty, sweet, flavored with the unique flavor of prime rib fat.

Sautéed Mushrooms: Cooked with plenty of butter and a bit of truffle oil, until browned and caramelized, with amazing flavor.

Yorkshire Pudding: Baked in the old style, made with pan drippings, the same magnificent beef fat

European Cabbage: From page 206 of Tender Grassfed Meat, onion, cabbage, and apple slices, cooked to perfection with bacon, in bacon fat.

Dessert? I doubt anyone will have room.

I want to wish all a very happy holiday season.

And, if you celebrate it, a very Merry Christmas!

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Eating the Whole Animal — Grassfed Beef Cheeks

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Beef Cheek Stew—melt in your mouth goodness.

Beef Cheek Stew—melt in your mouth goodness.

Every known hunting people, and most of our ancestors, would eat the entire animal, including all the organs, with the only exception being the parts that had other, more important uses. Like using sinew to make bows and bowstrings. This provided a huge variety of foodstuffs from a single animal, with the various parts containing different nutrients, textures, tastes, and great variety.

In modern times, we are told to eat only lean meat, from a limited selection of cuts. Most of the cuts served in restaurants and homes consist of lean meat, with all the visible fat trimmed off. For some people, the only meat they eat is boneless, skinless, factory chicken breasts, the most boring of meats—because it is “nutritionally correct.”

Our ancestors would have been surprised by this, as lean meat was their least valued cut, with some peoples actually reserving it for dog food. Cuts with lots of fat, and gelatin, such as organ meats and other areas of the animal, were preferred. These cuts had a much denser nutrient profile, full of the benefits of grassfed fat. And the gelatin contained in some cuts was highly prized, as it was known to help digestion and make strong bones.

This brings us to one of the traditional beef cuts, once highly prized, but now so neglected that most people have never tasted it—beef cheeks. Yes, they are cut from the facial area of the animal. And they look unusual, and fatty. And they are full of fat and gelatin. When properly cooked, they are tender, soft, easy to chew, and utterly delicious. They can literally melt in your mouth.

In the old days, when wise doctors used food to heal, beef cheek stews were prescribed to help with digestive problems. Some even recommended beef cheeks for those who were having problems with their face, such as recovering from an injury, or a skin problem. That is consistent with the line of traditional medicine that recommended eating the part of the animal that corresponded to the afflicted part of the human body, such as those doctors who prescribed beef heart for those suffering from heart problems.

But I must confess that the best part of beef cheeks are they wonderful texture and rich taste, when properly braised.

Cooking beef cheeks is easy. They can be slowly braised in a huge number of ways, with all kinds of flavorings and vegetables. Slowly cooked until easily pierced with a fork, they are wonderful. And the flavorful sauce you get is good beyond words. And cooking them can be as easy as placing ingredients in single pot and setting it to braise in a slow oven.

I am currently experiencing the joy of creating new beef cheek recipes, based on traditional food combinations. I love my work!

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

I Confess—I Am a Grassfed Beefophile

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Great grass fed hamburger  like the one shown here can be like a fine wine to a grass fed beefophile like me.

Great grassfed hamburger can be like a fine wine to a grassfed beefophile like me.

I think it is time to admit to something. My name is Stanley, and I am a grassfed beefophile.

Many people are familiar with oenophiles, who are people who deeply appreciate wines and have great knowledge and appreciation of them.

With respect, I could care less about wine. But grassfed beef is something else entirely. I love it, in many of its endless variations. I love the endless variety of flavors, caused by the different configurations of meadow plants from pastures all over the world. I love the way it makes me feel—renewed and strong after eating it. I love the wonderful aromas that delight my nose as it cooks. There is no use denying it. I am a grassfed beefophile.

 

How I Discovered my Obsession

I came to realize this yesterday, after I picked up a package of grassfed ground beef from Uruguay. I noted the deep red color, rich with promise. Even the way the meat was ground caught my attention. I was excited about knowing that this beef had come from cattle who ate grass all year round, as there is no winter there. I wondered what wonderful taste would come from the rich grass eaten by these cattle, on some of the most nutrient-dense soil on earth. I could not wait to get home and cook it!

Seriously, folks. Who gets excited about hamburger?

All the way home, I kept thinking about how I would cook it. I know dozens of ways of making hamburger, and I am not exaggerating. I was torn between my desire to add some spices to enhance the flavor, and my fear of masking the wonderful natural taste. Should the burger be thick, thin, or in between? Should I fry it, or barbecue it, or broil it?

Should I cook it until grey, as the government advises for safety, or should I make it less done, to make it more nutritious and enjoy more of the natural flavor?

So many decisions, so many thoughts. So hard to decide.

Again, I ask you—who torments themselves over the best way to cook a hamburger?

I finally decided to use some flavors from the region, trusting that the traditional flavors would not ruin the meat, or mask the flavors. I added a touch of oregano, a mere hint of garlic, a dollop of olive oil. I sautéed it gently in a pan rubbed with a small amount of olive oil. I cooked it rare, at my own risk, trusting that good grassfed beef would be alright, and knowing that I personally have never had a problem after eating it.

O my gosh, it was WONDERFUL! The meat had a unique, beefy, slightly sweet flavor. There were hints of something I did not recognize, but it was pleasant. It made me feel better with every bite. I enjoyed the lovely aroma, the very mouth feel of the burger, and the sensation of strength and renewal as I swallowed it. I was torn by the desire to wolf it down and the desire to appreciate the eating experience, to savor it, to pay careful attention to it, which could only be done by chewing slowly, and pausing from time to time.

It was a struggle, but the art of tasting won out over ravenous hunger, and I savored this wonderful meat.

Seriously, who gets this kind of deep experience and joy from eating a hamburger?

A grassfed beefophile, that is who.

 

The Benefits of Being a Grassfed Beefophile

Now that I have admitted to what I am, I must discuss the benefits. Unlike factory meat, which tastes about the same, bland, blah, and boring, has horrible mouth feel, mushy texture, and never makes me feel good—grassfed beef has endless variations in taste.

Most of these variations are good, and many great, if the meat is properly cooked. I always get a different taste by eating grassfed meat from different ranches. Even grassfed meat from the same ranch will taste different at various times of the year, because the forage changes with the seasons. I enjoy grassfed meat in the form of hamburgers, steaks, roasts, stir-fries, pot roasts, pan roasts, stews, and soups. My cookbook Tender Grassfed Meat has many delicious variations of all these forms of grassfed beef, bison, and lamb. I fry it, broil it, barbecue it, stew it, sauté it, simmer it, and often combine these techniques. I use traditional flavor combinations from all over the world, and create my own. My newest cookbook Tender Grassfed Barbecue also has many different flavor combinations for grassfed ground meat.

I eat almost every variety of cut, from nearly every part of the animal. The variety is endless, the taste wonderful, and the nutrition fantastic.

Grassfed beef is far more nutritious than factory beef. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

If I were to make an analogy to a wine connoisseur, my personal opinion is that factory beef is like the cheap, sweet wine favored by people who just want to get drunk, while grassfed beef is like a variety of fine wines, that are drunk to be savored and enjoyed.

There is some grassfed beef I would not recommend, just as there are some fancy wines a true oenophile would not recommend. But properly cooked grassfed beef, from a good ranch, is a true joy. And since the beef from each ranch is different, I never get tired of it.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

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