Food & Health Archive


The Best Meat Temperatures From The Gourmet Butcher

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Have plans to fire up the grill this fourth of July? Take some advice from the gourmet butcher himself – Cole Ward – and make sure your meat is at the right temperature before you serve it to family and friends.

In the following excerpt from The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat (adapted for the Web), Ward lists the proper cooking temperatures for meat ranging from beef, lamb, and veal, to poultry, fish, and pork.

For more information on meat—how to source it ethically, cut it professionally, and prepare it properly—pick up a copy of The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat. It’s on sale now for 35% off until July 15.

By Cole Ward

What’s the Best Cooking Temperature for Meat?

Storing meat is fine, but at some point you’ll probably want to eat it (just a thought). I get lots of questions about cooking temperatures for meat. Kinda matters, ’cause we’ve all suffered through one of those disastrous dinners involving steak cooked to a crisp, or a roast bleeding onto the table. The USDA has developed guidelines for cooking temperatures of the various meats, and I urge you to consult these.

Having said that, let me tell you that I don’t follow USDA guidelines for meat temperatures except for poultry, eggs, and ground meats whose source I don’t know. I feel comfortable with this because I know the provenance of every piece of meat I consume: where it was raised, how it was raised, when and how it was slaughtered, and so on. I’m comfortable cooking it as I like it. This is probably an example of “don’t do as I do.”

Beef, Lamb, & Veal

For beef, lamb, and veal, the USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). I prefer rare at 125 to 130°F (52–55°C). If you prefer medium rare, cook to 130 to 140°F (55–60°C). For medium well, 150 to 160°F (66–71°C). And if you prefer your meat well done, I can’t help you, because I would never order or cook meat well done. My preference is rare, and it can be difficult to convince a restaurant— hampered as they are by health inspection regulations—to serve you a truly rare (“blue”) steak.

If you are cooking burger from ground muscle meat that you are certain comes from a healthy local source, I recommend 140 to 145°F (60–63°C). For any other (unknown) source, 160°F (71°C) is safest and is the temperature recommended by the USDA.

Poultry & Fish

All poultry should be cooked to 165°F (74°C), and fish to at least 145°F (63°C).

Pork

I get a lot of questions about pork. Specifically, the correct internal temperature to cook it to before serving. I’m vigilant about buying only the best meat from a properly raised animal (which is why I like to know about the farmer behind the product), so an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) is what I recommend. This gives a tender, delicious result. However, most people prefer to cook pork to a higher internal temperature of 155°F (68°C) . . . it provides peace of mind. And I agree. If you’re uncertain about the quality of the meat, err on the cautious side.

Fermentation Fun with Sandor Katz

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Here in our home state of Vermont, summer is in full swing – verdant hills of green, blue lakes and ponds, and the sound of folks out and about in the great outdoors hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, and … fermenting?

OK, maybe fermenting is best for folks looking for some indoor activities in between outdoor activities. In that case, we have the perfect itinerary for you.

Vermonters and visitors alike will have multiple chances to see the fermentation revivalist himself – Sandor Ellix Katz – at multiple stops in Vermont throughout the month of July. Come see why Michael Pollan calls Katz “The Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” and why his latest book The Art of Fermentation was a New York Times bestseller and won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference.

Katz kicks off his Vermont tour with a two-week intensive workshop at Sterling College up in Craftsbury. As of this writing, there were two slots remaining in this credited course (four continuing education credits). The course is part of the college’s continuing education program of two- and four-week courses that offer learning opportunities that complement the college’s focus areas.

This class will offer an in-depth overview of the art and science of fermentation. Expect to learn the basics of how to ferment almost anything. Over the two weeks, attendees will make a wide variety of fermented foods and beverages, including: fermenting vegetables in many variations; beverages from seasonal fruits; kombucha, kvass, water kefir, and other lightly fermented tonic beverages; sourdough, porridges, and grain-based beverages; Asian bean ferments including Tempeh, Natto, and Dosa; yogurt, kefir, basic cheesemaking, and kishk (a Middle Eastern ferment of yogurt and bulgar wheat); and others, based upon the interests of participants. Participants will have a unique opportunity to begin fermentation projects as a group and see them through to completion, with the benefit of observing, tasting, and discussing them as they progress over several weeks.

During his two-week stay, however, Katz will venture south to Barre for a public talk at the Aldrich Public Library in Barre at 6 PM on July 16.

After his course ends, Katz will make his way from Craftsbury to Tinmouth where he’ll be the keynote speaker on July 20th at SolarFest, an iconic summer event that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

He then heads back north to Shelburne Farms for an evening talk (open to the public) on July 21 from 7-9 PM, followed by two full days of workshops on July 22 and 23 (pre-registration required).

During the two-day intensive at Shelburne Farms, you’ll learn how to make fermented vegetables (kimchi!), beverages (including a fruit-based wine), dairy products (yogurt, cheese, sour cream, kefir, etc.), grains, legumes, and starch. The two-day program includes lectures, demonstrations, and a hands-on element.

So, catch Katz one, twice, or a few times if you can.

RECIPE: How To Make Blue Cheese

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Attention moldy cheese lovers, this recipe is for you! It’s true, moldy isn’t usually a quality we look for in our food, but when it comes to blue cheese, the mold cultures contribute largely to its unique texture and bold flavor.

Try your hand at making an authentic Rindless Blue Cheese using the ingredients and techniques listed in the excerpt below from cheesemaking expert Gianaclis Caldwell.

If you are interested in making your own artisan cheeses, Caldwell’s book, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, provides an incredible amount of detail around the intricacies of cheesemaking science with instructions for preparing a variety of cheese types.

Caldwell is passionate about cheese and has been an active contributor to the recent debate regarding FDA regulations around using wooden boards in the aging process. Get the full story here.

Her book is a must have for home hobbyists and anyone serious about the commercial artisan cheese business. Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking is on sale for 35% off until July 15.

And now, it’s moldy cheese time! Enjoy

From the Garden to your Gut: Eco-Food Books 35% off

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

One thing we all know is that where our food comes from and how it is grown matters. Having control over our food supply is key to a more resilient and sustainable future.

We’ve got a wonderful crop of books to help you dive in and take that next step toward transitioning to a more local and self-sufficient food system.

A major part of Chelsea Green’s mission is to inspire you with ideas and practical tips. So whether you want to get your hands in the dirt; looking to find the best local cheese; find a new recipe; or preserve those veggies—we have the book for you, and best of all we’ve put some of our keystone food books on sale until July 15th. 

Happy Reading from the Employee Owners at Chelsea Green!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our full list of books on sale: www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/sale


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only). International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email.

 

Eco-Food Books: 35% off until July 15

The Art of Fermentation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
The Permaculture Kitchen
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $32.47
Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $26.00
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
From the Wood-Fired Oven
Retail: $44.95
Sale: $29.22
The Small-Scale Dairy
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $22.72
Keeping a Family Cow
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
Cheese and Culture
Retail: $17.95
Sale: $11.67
The New Cider Maker's Handbook
Retail: $44.95
Sale: $29.22
Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
Wild Fermentation
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
Farm-Fresh and Fast
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
From Asparagus to Zucchini
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
Edible Perennial Gardening
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Cooking Close to Home
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Full Moon Feast
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
Fresh From Maine
Retail: $32.50
Sale: $21.13
Home Baked
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Long Way on a Little
Retail: $32.50
Sale: $22.72
Perennial Vegetables
Retail: $35.00
Sale: $22.75
Fresh Food From Small Places
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Whole Foods Companion
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $26.00

~Coming this Fall: Available for Pre-Order~

The Heal Your Gut Cookbook
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Wild Wisdom of Weeds
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97

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Discount Codes cannot be combined with any other offer and will not apply to sale books.  Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied and for U.S. orders only. International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email. Pricing and sales for online orders only. Please contact a representative for wholesale or retail orders.


RECIPE: Back to Basics Tomato Sauce

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Knowing how to make a few simple and basic recipes is key to staying flexible in the kitchen. You can easily prepare tasty meals with just the seasonal ingredients you have on hand.

This hearty tomato sauce recipe (excerpted below) is perfect for pizza, pastas, soup stocks, and more, whether you use tomatoes from the can, fresh from the farmers’ market, or even your own backyard garden.

For more recipes featuring local, seasonal, foraged, homegrown, fresh, and free-range produce, read The Permaculture Kitchen by author Carl Legge. Legge is a passionate advocate of good food with a low carbon footprint and this book is his first in a series about low impact, local, and seasonal gourmet food.

Bon appetit!

Tomato Sauce from The Permaculture Kitchen

Build a Wood-Fired Oven in Your Backyard

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Ever dreamed of building a wood-fired oven and baking crispy pizzas, flatbreads, pastries, or even braising meats in your own backyard? Dream no longer, as you’re sure to find inspiration in Richard Miscovich’s book, From the Wood-Fired Oven: New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire.

Miscovich, a bread expert and instructor, offers a wide range of useful recipes for home and artisan bakers as well as oven designs, live-fire roasting techniques, and methods that maximize the oven’s complete heat cycle, from the initial firing to its final cooling. In the excerpt below you’ll find a few general masonry design recommendations to get you thinking about how to turn your dream wood-fired oven into a reality.

For an in-depth bread baking tutorial from Miscovich, check out his online class, Handmade Sourdough: From Starter to Baked Loaf, at Craftsy.com.

General Masonry Oven Design Tips by Chelsea Green Publishing

Tap Into Vermont’s Craft Beer Scene

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Vermont brewers are emerging as some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial crafters on the American beer scene, if not the world. Discover what the Green Mountain state has to offer with this recently released guidebook, FarmPlate Vermont Beer: Behind the Scenes with Vermont Craft Brewers, published by FarmPlate and distributed in partnership with Chelsea Green.

Back in the mid-1980s, Vermont microbreweries were just starting out. “Craft beer was a fringe thing—it was a missionary like movement brought to be by a few renegades who had traveled abroad and discovered that beer could be different, very different from what we’d all grown up with. It was a revelation,” writes Phil Markowski, brewmaster for Two Roads Brewing Co., in the book’s introduction.

Since then, microbreweries and craft beers have become increasingly popular and are now considered part of the American mainstream. “Today, Vermont is home to some of the most sought-after craft beers in the country, many of which seem to unknowingly break new ground. So good … if you can get them!” writes Markowski. “A few are deliciously rare and hard to find (literally take the dirt road to the right and then turn left at the tractor), only adding to their mystique.”

With FarmPlate’s guidebook in hand, you won’t miss a single hidden gem. Tour Vermont’s 32 breweries and get to know the creative minds behind the brews via exclusive interviews with these inspired visionaries. Each profile includes a Q&A with either the founder or head brewer of the microbrewery, providing insight into what inspires them as brewmasters and what the future holds for their brewery and craft brewing in general.

Inside you’ll also find:

  • A curated guide to the top 100+ beer-focused restaurants and markets in Vermont.
  • Easy-reference maps charting the featured
 craft breweries, restaurants and markets.
  • A calendar of not-to-be-missed annual beer 
events.
  • A preview of On Tap Soon breweries set to open in 2014.
  • Local sources of homebrewing supplies and hops + grains if you’re inspired to brew your own.

For the full introduction and selected excerpts from FarmPlate Vermont Beer check out this feature in Vermont Magazine.

Cheers!

New Books from our Publishing Partners

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Changing the world is no light undertaking. It takes a village to spread the word about sustainable living, and at Chelsea Green Publishing we partner with like-minded publishers and writers around the world to bring their books to a wider readership in the United States.

One of our strongest partnerships is with Permanent Publications, a forward thinking publisher in the UK that produces the best of permaculture media and publishes the influential Permaculture magazine.

Here’s an update on our latest selection of books available from Permanent Publications:

 

Permaculture Kitchen- This is a cookbook for gardeners who love to eat their own produce, and for people who enjoy a weekly veggies box, or supporting their local farmers’ market. It’s the ultimate introduction to economical, seasonal, and delicious cooking.

Edible Perennial Gardening- If you long for a forest garden but simply don’t have the space for tree crops, or want to grow a low-maintenance edible polyculture, this book will explain everything you need to know to get started on a new gardening adventure that will provide you with beauty and food for your household and save you money.

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture- This completely revised and updated edition is a straight-forward manual of practical permaculture. This book will be most beneficial if you apply it to the space where you live and work. Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas in moving towards greater self-reliance and sustainable living.

Earth Users Guide to Teaching Permaculture- This fully revised and updated edition contains a wealth of technical information for teaching permaculture design and includes new findings in emerging disciplines such as regenerative agriculture. The Earth’s Guide to Teaching Permaculture is of key relevance to teachers and students of architecture, landscape design, ecology, and other disciplines like geography, regenerative agriculture, agro-ecology, and agroforestry, as well as permaculture design. With advice on teaching aids, topics for class discussion, extensive reading lists, and tips on teaching adults, this book is bound to be an invaluable friend to the experienced and novice teacher alike.

And from one of our other long-time partners, Slow Food Editore, check out Slow Wine 2014.

For the third year running, Slow Food International offers an English-language edition of their guide to Italian wines whose qualities extend well beyond the palate. Slow Wine 2014 doesn’t simply select and review Italy’s finest bottles. It describes what’s in the glass, but it also tells you what’s behind it: namely the work, the aims, and the passion of producers; their bond with the land; and their choice of cultivation and cellar techniques—favoring the ones who implement ecologically sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices.

 

Permaculture Special: Last Chance!

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

This is it. Your last chance to reap the savings on all of our permaculture books. But hurry – sale ends June 1st.

By adding a permaculture twist to your garden design you can spend less effort, improve the health of your soil, and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Chelsea Green has been the go-to publisher for key home-scale permaculture books for thirty years. Learn more about this simple but revolutionary system with these groundbreaking books—on sale for a limited time.

Happy reading from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. In case you missed it for the month of May we put our pioneering permaculture authors at your disposal. Take a peek at the last Q&A posts here: Are Swales Right for You; Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix; and Eric Toensmeier on Aggressive Grass and Partial Shade.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)
Permaculture Sale: until June 1st

 

The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $26.00
Edible Perennial Gardening
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Integrated Forest Gardening
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $29.25
Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
Retail: $150.00
Sale: $97.50
Gaia's Garden, 2nd Edition
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Paradise Lot
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
The Permaculture Kitchen
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Grass, Soil, Hope
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
Perennial Vegetables Set
Retail: $35.00
Sale: $22.75
Edible Cities
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Food Not Lawns
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
The Holistic Orchard
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
Top-Bar Beekeeping
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Natural Beekeeping, Revised and Expanded
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $22.72
Permaculture in Pots
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72
Letting in the Wild Edges
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Earth User's Guide to Teaching Permaculture
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Sowing Seeds in the Desert
Retail: $15.95
Sale: $10.37
Outdoor Classrooms
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
The Earth User's Guide to Permaculture
Retail: $37.95
Sale: $24.67
People & Permaculture
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $22.72
The Basics of Permaculture Design
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
Desert or Paradise
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Woodland Way
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol. 1
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol. 2
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
Permaculture
Retail: $30.00
Sale: $19.50
Permaculture Pioneers
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
The Permaculture Way
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Earth Care Manual
Retail: $75.00
Sale: $48.75
The Permaculture Garden
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
The Uses of Wild Plants
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
How to Make a Forest Garden
Retail: $30.00
Sale: $19.50
Permaculture Plants
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Permaculture Design
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Permaculture in a Nutshell
Retail: $12.95
Sale: $8.42
Getting Started in Permaculture
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72
Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $32.47
Holistic Orchard with Michael Phillips
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $32.47
Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

How to Cook the Perfect, Tender, Grass Fed Steak

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Today is Memorial Day, one of America’s first “BBQ Holidays” of the year. It’s finally warm enough to grill outside in most of the country, and almost everyone has the day off to bask in the glory of the coming summer.

Treat your tastebuds to an ethical feast: grill up some grass fed steak this year! You’ll probably pay a little more for your t-bones, but you’ll be supporting small-scale farmers and those who use the most planet-friendly methods of raising livestock possible. In fact, if you support truly well-managed grass fed beef farmers, you don’t need to feel guilty at all. After all, haven’t you heard that cows can save the planet? It’s true…

But in the meantime, you probably need some pointers on how to treat your premium, pasture-raised porterhouse cuts or filet mignons. Grass fed beef is a different animal than your bargain-priced grocery store steak.

Here to help you cook it to perfection is farmer and cookbook author Shannon Hayes. Check out her books Long Way on a Little, and The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook for more amazing recipes.

By Shannon Hayes

The simplest, most commonly heard distinction made between grassfed and factory-farmed meat is that grassfed is leaner. As we’ve just seen, that is not always the case. The real difference lies in the fact that, by virtue of a beef animal’s active and healthy life, there is true muscle integrity in the meat. This is wildly different from the feedlot animals, which get little or no exercise, resulting in more flaccid (and, hence less flavorful) cuts. This does not mean that grassfed steaks are less tender - on the contrary. Cooked more gently, grassfed meat is wonderfully tender. The healthy muscle texture does, however, mean that grassfed steaks will be more variable than grainfed meats. Taste and texture of steaks will vary based on breed, farming practices, pastures, and individual animal characteristics. Thus, the trick to cooking a delicious steak is to work with the variability and take advantage of that beautiful muscle quality.

We should be treating this meat as “tenderly” in the kitchen or on the grill as the farmers treated the animals in the fields. When cooking a grassfed steak, we want to achieve a delicious sear that creates a pleasant light crust on the exterior of the meat, then allow it to finish cooking at a much lower temperature; this allows the naturally-occurring sugars to caramelize on the surface, while protecting those muscle fibers from contracting too quickly. Tough grassfed steaks result from over-exposure to high heat, which causes the muscle fibers to contract tightly and become chewy and overly dry.

Keeping these principles in mind, below are two techniques for cooking a fantastic steak, using the same seasonings. The first technique, taken from The Farmer and the Grill, is for working outdoors with open flames, my preferred method, YEAR ROUND. If you plan on winter grilling, be sure to check out the list of tips for safe winter grilling that appear at the end of this article.

The second technique is taken from my newest cookbook, Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lovers’ Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously. Much to my surprise, not every family on the North American continent has access to an outdoor grill – hard to believe! Thus, in an effort to include you in the thrill that comes from eating the best-tasting steak available, I’ve included an indoor steak recipe that guarantees your grassfed meat will remain tender and juicy. Enjoy!

THE BEST STEAK – OUTDOORS

Recipe adapted from Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat…and for saving the planet, one bite at a time, by Shannon Hayes

(The amount of seasoning you will use will vary based on the size of your steak. If it is close to one pound, use less. If it is closer to 2 pounds, use more.)

  • 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Either 1 sirloin, sirloin tip, tri-tip, top round or London Broil, rib eye, porterhouse, t-bone, top loin (NY Strip) or tenderloin (filet mignon) steak. Steaks should be at least 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inches thick.

Combine the salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into both sides of the steak, then allow the meat to come to room temperature while you prepare the grill.

Start the grill and warm it until it is hot. If you are using a gas grill, turn off all but one of the burners once it has come up to temperature. If you are using charcoal, be sure all the coals have been raked to one side. Use the hand test: the grate will be hot enough when you can hold your palm 3-4 inches above the metal for no more than three seconds.

Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side directly over the flame, with the lid down. Then, move the steaks to the part of grill that is not lit. Set the lid in place and allow the steaks to cook, without flipping them, until they reach 120-135 degrees**, about 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the steak. Remove the steaks to a platter and allow them to rest a few minutes before serving.

THE BEST STEAK – INDOORS

Recipe taken from Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lovers’ Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously, by Shannon Hayes

(The amount of seasoning you will use will vary based on the size of your steak. If it is close to one pound, use less. If it is closer to 2 pounds, use more.)

  • 1-2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, tallow or rendered lamb fat
  • Either 1 sirloin, sirloin tip, tri-tip, top round or London Broil, rib eye, porterhouse, t-bone, top loin (NY Strip) or tenderloin (filet mignon) steak. Steaks should be at least 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inches thick.

Combine the salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Rub the mixture into both sides of the steak then allow the meat to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, then heat a large cast iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet over a high flame. Once the skillet is so hot that you can see a little smoke rising off of it, add the butter or fat. Sear the steak for two minutes on each side. Turn off the flame, and insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the boneless edge of the steak – do not insert it into the top, as there is not enough thickness for the thermometer to take an accurate reading. Leaving the steak in the skillet, place it in the oven and allow it to finish cooking, about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the cut, until the internal temperature reads 120-135 degrees.** Allow the meat to rest five minutes before carving and serving.

**Weren’t aware that grassfed meats have different internal doneness temps than grainfed? Get a handy magnetic grassfed temperature guide, the Don’t Overdo It Magnet, from grassfedcooking.com. They’re inexpensive, and you can feel good about them, because they are made by a small, locally owned factory in my community.

WINTER GRILLING TIPS

Yes, the indoor method described above is terrific. The meat is super-tender and juicy. But I prefer to season with a little smoke and flame. Thus, I’ve become one of those hard-core advocates of year-round grilling. If you are new to the idea, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Choose a safe place for grilling outdoors. The garage may not be your best bet, since it probably contains a few explosives, such as cans of gas, or lawn mowers, chainsaws or other vehicles that contain gasoline. I actually have a screened-in porch with a brick floor that shelters me for winter grilling. That’s a little more deluxe than most folks have – just try to choose a sheltered spot that isn’t too close to your house.
  2. Keep the path to your grill site, and the area around it, free of snow and ice. It would be deeply annoying to ruin a perfectly good dinner because of a last-minute trip to the emergency room.
  3. Dress wisely. I find that my charcoal throws up a lot more sparks in the winter…or perhaps I’ve just noticed them more, because I’ve made the stupid mistake on occasion of wearing drapey and flammable garments, such as winter scarves, out to the coals. Learn from my experience, and don’t make the same stupid mistake.
  4. Limit your grilling repertoire. It’s cold out. Barbecuing is a culinary tradition from the warm south. Unless you have some pretty sophisticated equipment, and are some kind of BBQ Macho-Man (you know who you are), smoking and barbecuing are best relegated to summertime pleasures. Stick to the steaks, burgers and chops. They minimize the trips out to the grill, keeping the cold out of your house and out of your bones.
  5. Allow extra heat-up and cook times. Extreme outdoor temperatures will affect the warm-up and cooking time of your grill. To accommodate for this, always grill with the lid down, and monitor the internal temperature of your meat with an instant-read meat thermometer. If you are considering buying a gas grill and you plan to use it through the winter, buy the highest BTU rating you can afford. The cold truly slows the heat-up process. Also, high BTUs often accompany higher quality grills, which will do a better job holding in the heat during the winter months. If you are on a budget (like me) or just prefer the flavor (like me), a simple little Weber charcoal kettle will work beautifully for outdoor winter grilling (no, I do not work for them).
    Winter grilling is much easier if you are working with the ecologically responsible charwood (available in many hardware or natural food stores) because it is much easier to light, and it quickly gets a lot hotter than composite briquettes. I find that, with the exception of the most extreme weather conditions, I can keep to my normal cook times by simply using a few more coals in the fire. The bonus is that charwood is better for the planet.

    For more tips on ecologically responsible grilling, check out my book,
    The Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat…And for saving the planet, one bite at a time. 

Shannon Hayes is the host of grassfedcooking.com and radicalhomemakers.com. She is the author of Radical Homemakers, Farmer and the Grill, and The Grassfed Gourmet. Hayes works with her family producing grassfed and pastured meats on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Upstate New York.


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