To date, my favorite opportunity that I have been given through this blog was meeting the owner of Philly Cow Share. We had a small, intimate dinner at her house with a few other bloggers as a part of #grassfedmoms. We talked at length with Jessica Moore about her business that she began just 3 years ago with one goal in mind: to connect responsible local farmers and butchers with urban communities that have the desire to eat well. Philly Cow Share supports the local food movement and the right of their consumers to know where their food comes from. You can read a bit more about our dinner here.
Another goal of this dinner was to share cooking techniques for grass-fed beef from master chef Linda Geren. She made us a delicious meal that night consisting of Roasted Marrow Bone with Bitter Greens, Pan Seared Flat Iron Steak, Roasted Asparagus and Plum Tomatoes, and Braised Flanken Beef Short Ribs with Mixed Grain Pilaf. It was AMAZING!
Cooking grass fed-beef is different from other types of meat for a few reasons. It consists of less fat overall than cattle that are fed grains and other feeds. Because there is less fat, it is cooked for a different length of time, at a different temperature, and your marinade is even more important.
Here are some tips Linda (and Jessica) taught us (some of which I learned for the first time at this dinner):
- Let the meat sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Don’t overcook your meat. Grass-fed beef is meant to be cooked rare to medium rare so if you like it done more than this, try cooking slowly.
- Marinating your meat is a great way to help tenderize it.
- Add some olive oil, truffle oil, etc. to the pan before cooking to add back in a bit of fat to prevent sticking.
- Think about where on the animal the meat comes from when you determine how you will cook it. Leaner, more muscular pieces of meat are better cooked long and slow to tenderize them a bit more, where meats from the parts of the animal that aren’t used as much are more tender off the bat and can be more easily seared.
As I left with my cooking challenge in hand (literally, I brought a raw, grass-fed skirt steak home that night), my mind was racing with excitement over the idea of researching this cut of beef being as it was one that I had never cooked before. I came home and read all about it.
The skirt steak is a cut of meat that is basically a part of the steer’s diaphragm (a muscle). Skirt steak is a super thin, long piece of meat and the cut of meat used most traditionally for fajitas.
I was SO excited to get cooking on this one. I didn’t want to make fajitas per say, so I came up with a fajita-inspired meal using this meat. Let me just say, it was oh so good…especially as a summer meal!
Fajita Inspired Skirt Steak
1 skirt steak (size doesn’t matter so much)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 lime, juiced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 chipotle smoked jalapenos, reconstituted and chopped (try your local farmer’s market, I got mine at Eckerton Hill Farm)
1 Tbsp honey
dash of salt
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Mix all ingredients (except skirt steak) together to make the marinade.
2. Place skirt steak in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Place in refrigerator for 4 hours -ish (overnight would be awesome!).
3. Take skirt steak out of refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooling and let sit at room temperature.
4. Heat up your grill. Keep at a higher temperature (>400 degrees).
5. Place skirt steak on grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
*The skirt steak is thin and not meant to be cooked well done. Again,one of the beauties of grass fed, local beef is knowing where it came from, how fresh it is, and the ability to cook a little less than you would a store-bought cut of meat.
6. Remove from grill and slice the skirt steak against the grain and at an angle (fajita style) to serve.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
1 whole onion
3 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Mix all ingredients together and chill until ready serve.
Fried Avocado Slices with Garlicky Lime Cilantro Sauce
You can pick up my recipe for these here.
This meal really was the perfect summer entrée. I am so glad that I explored the world of skirt steak. And, I have to say, it was really nice knowing where my meat came from…literally knowing where it came from, down to the farm and the cow. One of the best parts of the meal was leftovers for sure. I did make these leftovers into traditional fajitas and they were more than delicious!
**Disclosure: I was given meat from Philly Cow Share with which to create this post. No compensation was received. All thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own.
Because I love connecting with others, this post is linked to Tasty Traditions!