Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cooking a Grass-Fed Beef Chuck Roast - advice, please!


Smithy
 Share

Recommended Posts

My sister is cooking her way through her freezer contents, and has unearthed a very well-wrapped beef chuck roast. (I specify well-wrapped because if the short ribs she recently cooked are an indication, the beef won't have any freezer burn.) She asked me for advice about how to cook it. I had to admit that I've never cooked a roast from a grass-fed cow. I understand that it may be leaner and may need special handling.

 

She doesn't have a low-temperature circulator, or a pressure cooker, or an Instant Pot, or even a Crock Pot. She does have enameled cast iron. So it's stovetop or oven cooking for her. Should she cook it as a whole, or treat it as stew meat? In the oven or atop it? Dry heat or moist?

 

Especially important: how will the grass-fed aspect of the beef play out? What special precautions should she take to ensure its tenderness and to take advantage of its flavor differences? I'll tell you right up front that she doesn't like onions and detests Lipton's Onion Soup mix, that magical addition. But she's open to carrots, celery, and most not-hot herbs and spices.

 

I can ask her questions about size, shape and bones if someone asks.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with long slow red wine BUT how many is she feeding and do they like the more beefy chewy aspect? I would veer to thin sliced super quick flavorful stir fries . Counter intuitive but you could split it up and do part low/slow and part hot/quick/high flavor. No special equipment required. 

Edited by heidih (log)
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure stir-frying is in her repertoire, but she might be tempted to learn. As far as I know she'll be feeding herself for many, many days. My penchant for buying food with high plans of dinner parties, or ambitious cooking projects, is not a one-off in our family. :) 

 

Thanks for the responses so far, folks (and for the link to an earlier topic, JoNorvelleWalker). Keep the ideas coming, please!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I buy grass fed beef tenderloin a lot because it goes on sale for cheaper then choice angus sirloin. I have not noticed any difference in cooking grass fed tenderloin vs choice tenderloin. I feel a lot of people over think this kinda stuff.

Edited by FeChef (log)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, heidih said:

I think we have morphed the word/term "stir -fry" into what it generally is not. Perhaps high heat saute is more accurate.

 

It's very possible I misunderstood you, then. I did envision a wok and finely cut vegetables as additions, but I suppose the same could be accomplished with any skillet light enough for her to toss materials in. Thanks for the clarification.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't found a huge difference in braising treatment of grass-fed versus regular commercial beef (as opposed to steaks, where the difference seems very serious). 

 

It's possible that i"m not sensitive enough; also, I usually cook pretty small roasts, so maybe I'm already in the habit of checking for doneness early.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the above posters that there's not a lot of difference in cooking grass-fed chuck and any other chuck. Mine goes like this: I saute a sliced onion until it's limp and starting to caramelize. Add several glugs of red wine. When the "raw" wine smell is gone, I put the chuck roast on top. I surround it with potatoes, carrots and another peeled and quartered onion. Sprinkle everythign with Lawry's seasoned salt and lay a few sprigs of rosemary around. Add about a cup of water. Put a cover on it and stick it in the oven at 300 for however many hours is convenient; often, it'll go in before I start getting ready for church about 8:30, and we'll eat noonish.  It's meltingly tender and flavorful, which is the big diff in grass-fed and any other beef.

 

As for as eating for days, chuck roast is about as forgiving as a roast chicken. Day 2 is often shredded roast beef and gravy over mashed potatoes. Day 3 may be beef pot pie, using any leftover roasted veggies. Day 4 is a big pot of vegetable beef soup with whatever's left. Extras from THAT go in plastic in the freezer.

 

I love a chuck roast. About three years ago, my beef supplier (I buy a quarter-steer, locally raised, every year) went out of business. He grain-finished his cattle. My new supplier is all grass fed. The big difference I can tell in cooking is that steaks need to SV longer before being seared. And the flavor of the grass-fed is, I think, better.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

It's very possible I misunderstood you, then. I did envision a wok and finely cut vegetables as additions, but I suppose the same could be accomplished with any skillet light enough for her to toss materials in. Thanks for the clarification.

I can't put my finger on it, but there is something about using a wok vs a pan that you just can't get the same results, and it has nothing to do with the heat level. I believe its the way the wok flips the vegetables/meat when you stir them due to the woks shape. Then when you move the vegetables/meat up the sides not only does it prevent burning, it also alows the liquids to drain down to the bottom where it evaporates faster preventing your vegetables/meat from boiling in its own liquids.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heidi is correct in not overcomplicating things, but thanks for the thoughts on wok vs. skillet. I summarized the responses to my sister in an email, and included a link to the discussion. (As a non-member, she can look at her leisure.) Here's what she said at the time:

 

Quote
Possibilities. Thanks!  I'll check out the conversations later.  Cutting it in half and doing both is a grand idea.

 

At the risk of derailing this conversation (I hope it doesn't) I'll add that she went on say:

Quote
I saw the most revolting-sounding product in the grocery store today. Peanut butter flavored whiskey. 

O.o

 

Discussion about THAT idea should go elsewhere, but I thought I'd share it. Thanks for the responses so far, folks. Keep the ideas coming! I'll relay her questions or comments as appropriate, and I hope I'll be able to report what she did and how it worked out.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think GFB  vs Grain finished cooks in a very similar fashion.

 

GFB tends to new much leaner , and smaller / muscle group.

 

how large is the hunk of meat ?

 

Id braise in a covered pot in the oven 

 

in some sort of flavorful liquid , Chef's choice.

 

w 1/2 of the meat above the liquid , in a not so hot oven.

 

it will take longer , but you might get some nice color on the 1/2 above the liquid.

 

@ an estimated 50 % of the cooking time , rotate the meat so the under-liquid is above the

 

liquid .   cook until fork tender.

 

300 F ?     several hours.   the fork test tells you when  its done.

 

some resistance to the fork , give you meat w a little more resistance than

 

fall apart meat.    done ness this way is up too the chef.

Edited by rotuts (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend of mine braised chuck in a way that I have tried and it is quite good: 1 packet of powdered Ranch dressing, 1 packet of powdered Italian dressing and 1 packet of brown gravy sprinkled over the top, add 1/2 cup water and any vegetables you want or hold off on the vegetables until later if you don't want them cooked as long. Cover and braise for until tender.  We went to my nephew's for Super Bowl and he had that whisky. I took a sip. It wasn't bad. Check liquid level and add more if it starts to dry out, but it probably won't. 

 

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, kayb said:

I like peanut butter. I like whiskey. The thought of one flavored with the other makes me break out in hives.

 

Combination sounds pretty good to me actually.  Rye and peanuts are not unknown here.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, kayb said:

I like peanut butter. I like whiskey. The thought of one flavored with the other makes me break out in hives.

It's not a combination that really speaks to me, but I can certainly see mixologists having fun with cocktails that riff on the PBJ or Reese's.

 

 

  • Like 1

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the roast: my sister reports that it's 2.5 pounds. She describes the dimensions this way:

Quote

The roast is 2.5 pounds.  The side with the fat and its opposite are 4X6 inch rectangles.  The other surfaces are roughly triangular. 6 inches on the long sides and 5 inches along the short side.

 

  • Like 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds about perfect, @Smithy.  Not big enough to create agony if it comes out poorly; but just dense enough to cook slowly.

 

On the peanut-butter-whiskey . . . I confess that I am ok with it.  I mean, think of how it might play in a hard sauce . . . .  I wouldn't drink it neat, but I'm sure I could figure something out.  

 

But my real question is for @kayb -- do you eat the full quarter each year?  I realize I don't know anything about your household size.  I've been splitting quarters with a friend, but the jealousy is beginning to get the best of me.  I'm trying to figure out if I can handle a whole quarter at a time.  [And I recognize -- this is not exactly a question that can be answered by one's Internet Friends . . . ].

Edited by SLB (log)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I generally get close; what's left is usually ground beef, and I hand that off to the kids when it's time for the next one. Last year, though, I guess I didn't cook as much, and had enough left I skipped a year. I'll be ready this fall for another one.

 

There are two of us, but my daughter often does not eat at home, so say 1.5. I often have other kids here on the weekends and cook then, too.

 

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...