This was delicious. But first, let’s talk a little about grass fed beef, and how it differs from conventional beef.
Conventionally fed cows are born and live on/in fields until they are weaned and old enough to be moved to a feedlot, where they generally live in pretty deplorable conditions and are fed a grain mixture designed to help the steers put on weight fast. And they do. Feedlot beef are generally slaughtered between 12-18 months of age. And they have to be. The grain mixture that feedlot beef are fed is not what their digestive tract has evolved to handle, and the grains begin fermenting in their gut, and acidify things far more than they’re capable of handling. The grains actually slowly poison cows by making it so the lining of their digestive tract allows bacteria through into the rest of their system, and they get blood infections. As a result, feedlots generally feed prophylactic antibiotics to keep the cows from dying of sepsis prior to being slaughtered. So the steer are generally far less healthy overall. Add in to that the type of fat that they put on while eating a high grain diet is Omega 6 fats, which are not great for you, and feedlot beef is overall a really pretty awful option.
Grass fed cows are born and live on/in fields until they are ready to be slaughtered. Since they’re not being fed a mixture of grains designed to fatten them up(strange how cows have a tendency to get fat when they eat lots of grains, just like humans), it takes them much longer to get up to the desired weight. As a result, they live 2-4 years, and generally end up tougher, you know, because they are able to move around and use their muscles. The grass-based diet allows the cows to gain weight slowly, and the fat ratio (O6:O3) is much healthier, both for the cow and for the people who eat it. Anyway, how this affects the end product is fairly simple… the meat is tougher, leaner, a little gamier (think a combo of conventional beef and lamb) and the fat that it does have tends to be healthier.
When cooking a grassfed steak to medium-rare, it can be difficult to get a truly tender end-result. Grassfed beef is great for long, low and slow cooking, but a quick and rare preparation will give you a tough shoe leather-esque meal, not good eats. An effective way to still get a tender result with a perfect medium rare is to cook it in a water bath, sous vide. You can hold it at 135 degrees for 6 hours, during which time, enzymes in the meat begin to break it down and it tenderizes, giving you a result quite similar to a conventionally raised steak, without any of the terrible feedlot baggage.
Sous Vide Grassfed Sirloin Steak w/ Loaded Baked Sweet Potato (serves 4)
1-1.5lbs grassfed steak
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 strips bacon, chopped and cooked until level of desired crispiness is achieved.
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1 green onion, green part, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
*Liberally season steak with pepper (not salt) and vacuum seal (you could also add thyme, rosemary, etc to this if you wanted to get fancy.
*About 6 hours before you want to eat, place in a water bath set to 135 degrees, and let it hang.
*About an hour before you want to eat, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, scrub your sweet potatoes, half, and place cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet (I used some avocado oil)
*Bake your sweet potatoes until tender, this took mine 45 minutes.
*Prep your toppings and enjoy a glass of wine or an apertif in the mean time.
*When the sweet potatoes are tender, turn over and cut a line down the middle of them. Split as much as possible and sprinkle inside with your crumbled bleu cheese. Return to oven until cheese has begun melting.
*Preheat a pan you don’t mind getting very hot over high heat. I like using cast iron, but a stainless or carbon steel pan would probably work like a champ as well.
*Remove your bag from the water bath, remove the steaks, and dry off using paper towels. Do not salt.
*Sear the steaks by placing in the (literally) smoking hot cast iron pan without any oil. Leave be for 30 seconds or so. When the steaks are seared enough, they should release from the pan and be easy to pick up. When this has happened, flip, and allow to sear on the second side. Remove to your cutting board. No need to let them rest, the juice is already distributed where it should be. Slice and salt liberally(remember, your beef hasn’t seen a bit of salt yet).
*To plate, place your potato half on a plate, top with remaining ingredients. Place your portion of steak on your plate, salt again (this is a great time to use finishing salt), add a bit of horseradish, and enjoy!