We ate the first steaks a few days ago. The steaks were labelled ‘rib steaks’ and appeared to be basic rib eye steaks with the bone still attached. Quite honestly, I thought this entry would be a defense of grassfed steaks even though they are tougher and not-quite-as-flavorful as cornfed steaks, something along the lines of, “Yeah, they’re tough but just think of the health benefits! Tough and not-quite-as-flavorful is good, and I helped a local farmer!”.
Thank you, Pollyanna.
Tough and not-quite-as-flavorful has been my experience with the grassfed steaks purchased at my local and beloved organic/local foods grocery store. The steaks we ate the other night – the steaks from our cow – were delicious: tender and every bit as flavorful as comparable cornfed steaks.
I think there are two factors accounting for this pleasant surprise, the first being the thickness of the steaks. I ordered our steaks cut 1″ thick, which is substantially thicker than the grassfed steaks purchased from the store. The thicker cut allowed me to cook the steaks to medium-rare without drying them out.
The second factor was some good cooking advice I got from an old friend on Facebook: bring the steaks to room temperature, brush them with some olive oil and pepper, hold the salt until just before cooking. The weather was nice and I planned to cook on the grill but got home from work later than planned and decided the heck with it, where’s that trusty old castiron skillet?
I pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees, then pre-heated the castiron skillet to medium-high (the 7 setting on my electric range) with just a little olive oil in the skillet, seared one side of the steaks – already basted with some olive oil and pepper, adding the salt just before dropping them in the skillet – in the skillet for about 4 1/2 minutes, flipped the steaks and immediately put the skillet in the hot oven for another 4 1/2 – 5 minutes. I pulled the skillet out of the oven and used an instant-read meat thermometer to confirm that the internal temperature of the steaks was right around 125 degrees, then let the steaks rest on a cutting board for about 7 minutes before slicing and serving.
Next up: smoked brisket on Wednesday, weather permitting. I have the day off from work and will be able to devote the afternoon to tending the coals and feeding the chunks of wood necessary to produce smoke into the grill.