It’s time to celebrate the staple of our tailgating diet – beef. Sure, chicken and pork do their part but let’s face it, beef is king. Grass-Fed Beef is one of the leanest choices. It has a unique flavor and can be substituted in any of your regular beef recipes.
The grass-fed cattle diet is the major difference in taste from the beef most of us consume. Most cattle are raised on grass but placed in feedlots and fed a power-diet of corn and grain to fatten them up. Grass-fed cattle eat a (surprise!) grass-only diet that turns into energy and protein.
As a result, the beef is leaner, and the fat that is present is healthier and richer in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease and prevent and slow the growth of many types of cancer. Grass-fed beef has three times more Vitamin E, three times more conjugated linoleic acid and 10 times more beta-carotene, all of which have significant health benefits. All those factors, plus the fact that the cattle are raised in an extremely low stress environment, makes for more tender meat.
Obviously, grass-fed beef is healthier, but because it is leaner it cooks 30 percent faster than regular grain-fed beef, and you can take it off the grill rarer, because there’s little risk of any kind of pathological problems.
Just the Facts
- Cows have no upper teeth, yet they graze up to eight hours a day.
- Many people say that cows have four stomachs. Technically they have one stomach and it’s divided into four digestive compartments.
- The hamburger made its debut in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
- May 8, 2010, in Toronto, Canada, Chef Ted Reader and a crew of 10, made what is said to be the world’s largest hamburger weighing in at 590 pounds.
- All Kobe beef is from Kobe, Japan. It is probably the most expensive beef in the world.
- The country with the most cattle is India. There, cattle are sacred and revered.
- The hide of one cow can make 144 baseballs, 20 footballs or 12 basketballs.
- More beef is eaten on Memorial Day than any other day of the year.
- Cars are the biggest contributors of hydrocarbon emissions, one of the major causes for the hole in the ozone. Cows are the second biggest culprits.
- It has been said that the gas from 10 cows, if captured, could heat a small house for one year.
- Good news: cows release hydrocarbons primarily by burping.
Cooking, Handling and Safety Tips
Here’s some tips to keep in mind when you cook with beef:
- Allow meat to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Always use tongs, not a fork, to turn meat to reduce lost juices.
- After removing from heat, let meat rest to redistribute juices.
- When substituting grass-fed beef in your favorite recipes, reduce cooking temperature by 25°F. Cooking time will stay about the same.
- When cooking grass-fed beef on the grill, let flames burn down more than you would for other meat.
- When transporting meat, place in individual plastic bags so juices won’t leak and cross-contaminate other foods.
- If you’ll be driving more than 30 minutes to the game, pack meats and other perishables in a cooler with ice packs.
- Wash hands before and after handling raw meat. Consider taking disposable gloves and hand sanitizer if you won’t have access to a sink.
- When preparing, keep raw meat separate from all other foods, surfaces and utensils.
- Never leave food out for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F.