Guide to Cooking Beef

Learning to cook with a new ingredient can feel intimidating — especially when working with meat. You’ll need to learn how to prepare it, what cooking methods are best, or what seasonings are best suited for enhancing its flavors. Suddenly, you’re hesitating about whether or not you want to make the meal at all.

You may experience these reservations when you purchase beef for the first time. Questions like “Is grass-fed beef tougher?” or “How do I tell when it’s done?” are common. But here’s the good news — cooking beef isn’t as complicated or different as many home cooks expect it to be.

Once you’re armed with the right techniques, you’ll be making delectable dishes in no time. Keep scrolling for a quick guide on how to cook beef, as well as all our favorite tips. 


Why Choose Pasture-Raised Beef?

Before we reveal our tips and tricks for cooking grass-fed beef, it’s important to cover the benefits of pasture-raised beef. Many of these benefits also contribute to the meat's flavor and texture, which dictates how it’s best prepared.

Here are the top reasons to eat pasture-raised beef:

1. Higher Nutritional Value

Pasture-raised beef is generally considered more nutritious compared to conventionally raised beef. It tends to have higher levels of beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). For this reason, pasture-raised is considered the best option for nutritional value. 

2. Leaner, Firmer Texture

Pasture-raised beef tends to have more developed muscles due to the natural exercise they get from grazing on grass and roaming freely. This can result in leaner meat with a slightly firmer texture. It also contributes to a more intense, robust flavor. 

3. Free From Harmful Additives

Unlike conventional beef, which is often exposed to various additives and supplements throughout its production, pasture-fed beef is raised in a natural and holistic manner. Cattle graze forage in green pastures, consuming a diet that aligns with their natural biology, without being subjected to growth-promoting hormones, routine antibiotics, or other artificial substances. The absence of these additives ensures pasture-fed beef is a pure and wholesome choice for health-conscious consumers.


Tips for Preparing Beef

The first time you cook beef, chances are it won’t come out perfectly. However, a major part of learning how to cook grass-fed beef properly lies in the preparation. Learning how to make grass-fed beef taste better each time you cook it will take time and practice, but here are a few tips to keep in mind before cooking. Trust us, these will do wonders for enhancing the earthy, nuanced flavors of pasture-raised beef! 

1. Tenderizing

Tenderizing pasture-raised beef is one of the most effective ways to elevate your dining experience. The process breaks down the connective tissues within the meat, resulting in a more tender and easy-to-chew steak or roast. 

Here’s a quick guide on how to tenderize grass-fed steak:

  • Score the outside of the meat with shallow cuts in a crosshatch pattern
  • Use a meat tenderizer or a mallet to pound the steak gently
  • Let the meat rest for 20-30 minutes before cooking

2. Marinating

Marinating is a simple process that dramatically improves the flavor of pasture-raised beef. It involves placing the beef in a resealable bag or shallow dish and pouring the marinade over it, ensuring it's fully coated. Then you seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (or overnight if you really want to amp up those flavors).

Here’s our favorite quick marinade recipe: 

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, minced garlic, and black pepper. Place the steak in a resealable bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over it, ensuring it's evenly coated. Let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

3. Seasoning

Whether you’re learning how to cook grass-fed steak, tenderloin, or any other cut, knowing how to season the meat is absolutely crucial. The three herbs we most recommend are rosemary, thyme, and oregano. 

  • Rosemary adds a robust, pine-like flavor that complements the rich taste of beef 
  • Thyme offers a slightly floral and lemony note, brightening the taste of the dish 
  • Oregano brings a hint of sweetness and a Mediterranean flair 

Spices like black pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika also complement beef dishes, resulting in a pungent, nutty, and warm flavor profile.


How to Cook Beef Like a Pro

Now that we’ve covered the basics of grass-fed beef, how to cook it properly is the final step in our lesson. This is where you’ll gain the skills necessary to perfectly prepare pasture-fed beef each and every time. Let’s go over how to cook a few different cuts of beef. 

How to Cook Ribeye

Ribeye is a highly prized steak cut from the rib section of a cow. It’s known for its rich marbling, buttery texture, and intense flavor. 

The method for how to cook grass-fed ribeye is the same as any boneless ribeye. Start by bringing it to room temperature. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Rub the steak with oil, salt, and pepper, add it to the pan, and sear for a few minutes on each side. Transfer to a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) until desired doneness is reached. Oh, and be sure to let it rest before serving!

How to Cook Ground Beef

Ground beef is a meat product made from finely minced cuts of beef. Multiple parts of the cow are used to create ground beef, including chuck, round, and sirloin. 

To cook gourmet ground beef, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil, then the ground beef. Break it up and cook until browned. Season with salt, pepper, and desired spices. Use in recipes or cook until fully done, ensuring it reaches a safe internal temperature.

Remember, cooking grass-fed ground beef differs from cooking conventional ground beef because there’s less natural fat. Using olive oil helps pasture-fed ground beef maintain moisture and an umami flavor.

How to Cook Brisket

Brisket is a beef cut taken from the lower chest or breast area of the cow. 

To cook a premium brisket, preheat your smoker or oven to 225°F (107°C). Season the brisket with a rub of salt, pepper, and your preferred spices. Place the brisket fat-side up on the smoker or in a roasting pan. Cook low and slow for 10-12 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches about 200°F (93°C). Wrap it in foil and let it rest for an hour before slicing against the grain.

How to Cook Flank Steak

Flank steak is a lean and flavorful cut of beef, sourced from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is characterized by its long, flat shape and distinctive grain. It’s commonly used for grilling, stir-frying, or slicing thin for dishes like fajitas.

To properly cook a premium flank steak, bring the meat to room temperature. Season the steak generously with salt, pepper, and desired herbs or spices. Preheat a grill or skillet over high heat, then cook the steak for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or adjust the time based on desired doneness. Remove the steak from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain. 

How to Cook Beef Shank

Beef shank refers to a cut of meat taken from the lower leg of the cow. It is a tough cut, but don’t let that deter you. Slow cooking methods like braising or stewing can be used to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

For best results when cooking beef shank, start by searing it in a hot skillet or pot to develop a rich crust, then place it in a slow cooker (or a pot) with beef broth and other seasonings. Allow the meat to simmer on low for 6-8 hours until the meat is tender and easily pulls apart with a fork. 

Interested in learning how to cook grass-fed beef cuts that aren’t mentioned above? We encourage you to keep checking our blog. We’re always posting new and fun articles! 


Tips for Cooking Beef

Congrats! You now have the foundational knowledge you need to cook the most common beef cuts. Whether you’re choosing conventional beef or grass-fed beef, cooking tips like ours can take your recipe from acceptable to absolutely mindblowing. 

If you’re interested in learning how to cook grass-fed beef like the pros, jot down these quick tips:

  • Remember to check the internal temperature of your meat. Beef is best enjoyed at medium-rare to medium doneness, with an internal temperature ranging from 130°F (54°C) to 145°F (63°C).
  • Always wait until your oven, pan, or grill is finished pre-heating. It helps achieve a desirable sear and is the only way to ensure even cooking. 
  • Baste while you cook. Prepare a flavorful basting liquid such as a marinade, sauce, or a simple melted butter (our personal favorite), and use a basting brush or a spoon to generously apply the liquid to your meat throughout the cooking process.


Shop High-Quality Beef with Herd77

At Herd77, we’re dedicated to taking care of our customers and our animals. That’s why our products are pasture-raised and grain-finished. What does this mean? Our Herd lives a happy and healthy life out in the open pasture, basking in fresh air and sunshine. 80% of our cows’ diet is pasture-raised, and the last 20% is corn-finished. This practice helps increase flavor, marbling, and tenderness for the consumer, while providing a better life for our cows and promoting sustainable farming practices.  

Are you ready to indulge in the unparalleled flavor and tenderness of our top-shelf, pasture-raised beef? We invite you to try our professionally hand-cut, gourmet quality beef. All our beef is 100% natural, hormone-free, Midwest Angus beef. Shop our selection today