4 tips for grilling grass fed beef
Grilling is synonymous with summer. Whether you call it a barbeque or a cook out, it’s an essential part of the season. Yes, there are year-round grillers. Those folks that don’t let rain, snow or sleet stand in their way of implementing nature’s primal cooking method. But for a lot of people, the grill comes out when flip-flops are donned and citronella candles appear on porches and picnic tables.
Burgers are the most popular item on backyard grills. For flavor, diet, nutrients or animal welfare many are now buying grass fed beef. And it’s important to know that grilling grass-fed beef is different than grilling grain-fed. Here are a couple things you should know about grilling grass fed beef.
1. Don’t Fear the Fat
When grilling grass-fed burgers, experts recommend a higher fat ratio than grain-fed burgers—75 lean beef to 25 percent fat—to keep the burgers juicy.But the increase in fat isn’t a cause for concern. “Grass-fed beef has what we call good fat,” says Morgan Nida, assistant market manager at Summerfield Farms, a purveyor of grass fed beef.
An example of a good fat is conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, and grass-fed beef has two to three times more CLA than grain-fed beef. CLA protects against heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Plus, grass-fed beef has an Omega 6/Omega 3 profile of wild-caught salmon.
2. Chill Out
Once you shape your beef into patties, pop them in the fridge. A chilled patty is more likely to keep its shape and not fall apart on the grill, spilling its juices in the process. Even the heat from your hands can cause the patties to fall apart, so be sure to give these grass fed beef patties five to ten minutes to cool before you throw them on the grill.”
3. Watch the Clock
It’s important not to over-do it when it comes to cooking grass-fed beef. It’s lower in fat, which means it requires shorter cooking times. For a quarter pound burger (4 oz.) cook time is approximately nine minutes total. Cook the first side about four to five minutes, until you see the juices coming out of the top. Then flip it and cook it for four minutes on the opposite side.
Grass-fed beef burgers should be cooked to medium temperature, approximately 160 degrees internally. Not only is this a safe temperature for consuming ground beef, but anything above this can also cause the burger to toughen because again, it’s lower in fat than most other burgers.
4 .(Don’t) Put a Fork in It
Resist the temptation of putting a fork in your meat to check for doneness. It will release the juices and dry out your burger.Once your burger comes off the grill, let it rest for five to ten minutes, allowing the hot juices in the middle time to settle and finish the cooking process.
Summerfield Farms raises, processes and sells restaurant grade, grass-fed, grass-finished beef through its Market.