Storage and thawing
Raw meat must be refrigerated at 40° F or below, to curb the growth of bacteria.
Never use a microwave to thaw your grass-fed beef. The USDA recommends thawing steaks overnight in the refrigerator, at 40° F or below.
To quick-thaw frozen steaks, remove meat from package and place on a plate or skillet at room temperature. Flip the steaks every half-hour until thawed (one to two hours).
Or, immerse the unopened packages in cold water until flexible. (This is only recommended when you do not have time for the meat to thaw under refrigeration, as quick-thawing may degrade texture and cause moisture loss.)
Wash your hands well after handling raw beef. Keep raw or undercooked beef and its juices away from ready-to-eat foods (salads, snacks, etc.).
You can't tell whether beef is safely cooked by looking at it. Beef may remain red-to-pink in the center, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.
The USDA advises consumers that beef steaks must reach an internal temperature of 145° F. However, this may result in steaks cooked more thoroughly than desired (i.e., well done instead of medium or medium-rare):
We recommend that you let your beef rest on a plate at room temperature for 7 to 10 minutes after cooking, to help keep it moist and tender.
How does "resting" work? As beef cools, its protein molecules gain capacity to hold moisture, and some of the liquid will be reabsorbed. Rested/cooled meat will lose less juice when you cut into it, which makes it juicier and tenderer.
Grass fed beef has higher protein and lower fat levels, and will usually need 25% to 30% less cooking time, compared with standard, grain-finished beef.
Choose recipes that don't mask the delicate flavor of grass fed beef … and help preserve its succulence.
To best protect moisture and tenderness when dry-cooking our beef (grill, roast, broil, pan fry), use the minimally essential cooking times and temperatures to achieve the desired degree of doneness.
Marinades help retain moisture, and many use a favorite Italian salad dressing. (Marinades also greatly reduce formation of unhealthful compounds created during grilling.) For optimal safety, marinate beef in the refrigerator.
To avoid over-cooking our grass-fed sirloin, reduce a regular tenderloin recipe's recommended temperature by 50 degrees. The cooking time will remain the same or slightly shorter, even at the lower temperature.
Bring your steaks to room temperature before cooking, and always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill.
Use a thermometer to test for doneness. Since grass fed beef cooks more quickly, your beef can go from perfect to over-cooked in less than a minute.
As we said, let cooked beef rest on a plate at room temperature for 7 to 10 minutes after cooking. Rested/cooled meat will lose less juice when you cut into it, which makes for juicier and tenderer meat.
We recommend that you use tongs to turn your beef … although a careful test by Cook's Illustrated proved that precious juices are not lost by using a fork.
Why is this true? Virtually all moisture lost when meat is cooked is the result of muscle fibers contracting in the heat and squeezing out their juices. Piercing does not damage the fibers enough to cause additional juices to leak out.