Organic Grass-Fed Beef
American Wagyu tenderloin, 6 oz |
Tenderloin — also known as filet mignon — is a supreme cut of our top quality beef. Rich and tender, these juicy fillets are perfect for grilling and elegant entertaining.
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- Certified organic
- 100% grass-fed*
- No animal byproducts
- No antibiotics or hormones
- Certified humane treatment
- Individually frozen and vacuum-packed
- Product of Washington State, USA
*No grain diet: cattle graze on pasture rich in grasses, legumes, and herbs.
Every cut of our organic grass-fed beef offers unsurpassed flavor and nutrition.
Tenderloin — also known as filet mignon — is the supreme cut of our top quality beef.
Rich and tender, these juicy grass-fed fillets are perfect for grilling and elegant entertaining.
About our organic grass-fed beef
We source our beef from Skagit River Ranch, located just 30 miles from Vital Choice in this famously fertile river valley.
As Chef Maria Hines, 2000 James Beard Award winner of The Best Chef Northwest raved, “The buttery, meaty texture will blow your mind!”
Our ranchers — the husband/wife team of George and Eiko Vojkovich — humanely raise a small herd of about 500 cattle on their certified-organic, century-old ranch.
The cattle spend their entire lives on pure pastureland, benefiting from rotational grazing on fresh, nutritious grasses, legumes, herbs. And to help keep them optimally healthy, they also receive a mineral-rich mix of sea salt and kelp.
Each animal is humanely harvested on the farm in a USDA-certified mobile unit … the first such facility in the U.S. operated by farmers.
To further enhance its tenderness and flavor, the meat is dry-aged for minimum of two weeks before being cut, vacuum-sealed, and quick-frozen to preserve its incredible quality.
A breed made in beef heaven
Our premium quality beef is a unique cross between two distinct breeds:
- Angus – An heirloom, grass-adapted strain of the Scottish breed
- American Wagyu – certified 100% purebred Wagyu from Japanese stock
Accordingly, Vital Choice Organic, Grass-Fed Beef combines the tenderness of Wagyu with the rich flavor of Angus.
George and Eiko breed their American Wagyu bulls with Angus cows from an heirloom strain that retains the breed’s original adaptation to fattening on pasture.
That advantage helps explain why their Angus triumphed “hands down” in EatWild.com’s grass-fed-beef taste test, while “… judges across the board described it as tender and succulent with excellent flavor.”
Why grass-fed beef?
Beef is an inherently healthful food, rich in protein, iron, and minerals.
And our exclusively grass-fed, Organic Beef offers a healthier – and far more eco-friendly – alternative to conventional, grain-fed beef.
Compared with grain-fed beef, our pasture-fed beef is richer in at least three key nutrients:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. It provides almost six times more than grain-fed beef, and offers an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. See “Basic facts about omega-3s and beef”, below.
- Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) – an antioxidant that gives its fat a yellow-orange cast.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – an unsaturated fat that appears to promote healthy weight and metabolism.
What about the saturated fat in beef?
The evidence long cited to link certain saturated animal fats with increased risk of heart disease was surprisingly weak ... and in recent years it’s been repeatedly, convincingly refuted.
This cogent quote comes from a 2012 interview with Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and Tufts University:
“Three groups of researchers have recently weighed data from all available large long-term studies that have tracked saturated-fat intake and heart attacks or strokes. All three found no association between saturated fat and heart attacks or strokes. People who consumed the highest levels of saturated fat had about the same rates of heart disease as people who consumed the least.”
Learn more from relevant articles in our newsletter archive: “What is 'Heart Disease,' Exactly?”, “Cholesterol Fiasco Undermines Accepted Theory” “Egg Study Puts Cracks in Anti-Cholesterol Claims”, and “Beef Scare Overblown?”.
Basic facts about omega-3s and beef
Consumers are often misinformed or misled about this topic. These are the facts:
Grass-based cattle diets yield significantly higher levels of omega-3s in beef, while omega-6 levels in grass-fed beef roughly equal those in grain-fed beef.
This results in a lower, healthier omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio in grass-fed beef.
The average omega-6/omega-3 ratio in grass fed beef is 1.5 to 1, but rises as high as 7.65 to 1 in grain-fed beef (Ponnampalam EN et al. 2006; Leheska JM et al. 2008; Daley CA et al. 2010).
- Most of the very modest amounts of omega-3s in grass-fed beef consist of the short-chain omega-3 known as ALA, which the body uses to make the long-chain omega-3s (DHA and EPA) humans actually require to thrive and survive.
- The human body converts one to 10 percent of omega-3 ALA into the essential long-chain omega-3s (DHA and EPA) found in human cells and seafood. It’s far more effective to consume DHA and EPA directly, from seafood and/or supplements.
- Grass-fed beef provides far less omega-3 EPA and DHA than an equivalent amount of seafood … especially fatty fish.
- Fish and shellfish acquire large amounts of DHA from their diets of aquatic plants and animals, while livestock get small amounts of ALA from grasses and other pasture plants.
For more information on omega-3s, see our Omega-3 Facts & Sources page.
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Calcium 0% • Iron 14%
Pan-Seared Steaks with Red Wine-Mushroom Pan Sauce
The key to pan-seared steak is to start the steaks in a cool oven and then to sear them. By searing the steaks quickly, you keep the meat directly under the crust from turning gray.
Cooked this way, the steaks develop a beautiful brown crust in less than four minutes, while the rest of the meat stays pink, juicy, and tender.
2 tenderloin steaks
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F. Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Place steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; transfer baking sheet to oven.
- Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of steak registers 90 to 95 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes, or 100 to 105 degrees for medium, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat (do not allow it to smoke). Place steaks in skillet and sear steaks until well-browned and crusty, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, lifting once halfway through to redistribute fat underneath each steak. (Reduce heat if food begins to burn.)
- Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer all steaks to wire cooling rack and reduce heat under pan to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 steaks on their sides. Holding steaks together, return to skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
- Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes while preparing pan sauce. Arrange steaks on individual plates and spoon sauce over steaks; serve immediately.
Red Wine-Mushroom Pan Sauce
Makes about I cup
Prepare all ingredients for the pan sauce while the steaks are in the oven.
1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil or macadamia nut oil
8 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon organic balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
- Pour off any fat from skillet in which steaks were cooked. Heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking.
- Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add red wine and broth, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits.
- Simmer rapidly until liquid and mushrooms are reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, mustard, and any juices from resting steaks; cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
- Off heat, whisk in butter and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon sauce over steaks and serve immediately.
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 tenderloin, 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.
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For more information, see our Shipping page.