Cooking Grassfed Beef and Pasture Raised Poultry

Cooking Tips for Grassfed and Pasture-Raised Meats

We work as ranchers and butchers, and we take pride in the livestock we raise on our farm. While not all of us are chefs, we know that the work that goes into these animals is only as good as the last step of their journey—from our pastures to your plates.

Our farm is committed to zero waste practices, and part of that includes helping our customers make the most out of every cut of meat they buy from us. We are also committed to the welfare of our animals, who were born to roam and graze. Because our animals are natural athletes, to make the most enjoyable, delicious meal, there is some prep work and cooking alterations that should be made when cooking our grassfed and pastured products.

Preparing White Oak Pastures Meats

Below, we provide some general tips you can use in your kitchen when cooking grassfed and pastured meats. If you’d like more resources, please check out our recipe blog for some of our favorite recipes!

Storage

All White Oak Pastures products are vacuum sealed and immediately frozen, and we ship with dry ice for products to remain frozen in transit.

When your items arrive, transfer to the freezer, unless:

  • Planning to cook beef within the next 7 days? Thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Planning to cook poultry within the next 3 days? Thaw in the refrigerator.

We recommend aging your grassfed steaks. Ground Beef, Pork and Poultry do not need to be aged!

Thawing

For best results, thaw your meat in the refrigerator in a single layer in a dish or on a tray to catch condensation or any leaking. Always leave in the original packaging while thawing. Do not thaw at room temperature, and do not use a microwave.

Some approximate guidelines for thawing in a refrigerator (36 to 40° F)

  • 1 inch Steak - 12 to 14 hours
  • Small Roast - 3 to 5 hours per pound
  • Large Roast - 4 to 7 hours per pound
  • Whole Bird - 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds
  • Poultry Parts - 24 hours per 1 to 2 pounds

Preparing White Oak Pastures Grassfed Beef

We are dedicated to producing grassfed beef in a manner that is humane for our cattle, environmentally sustainable for our land, and delicious for you, the folks who eat our product. From the day that one of our bulls first meets one of our heifers, it takes almost three years for the beef to get to your plate.

For many folks, cooking grassfed beef feels much different than commodity feedlot beef. To help, we’ve put together a detailed guide that breaks down how to cook different grassfed beef cuts by category:

As an overview, here are a few general tips and hints to ensure the tastiest results for your enjoyment.

Before Cooking Grassfed Beef

Allow your grassfed beef to thaw gently and completely in the lower portion of the refrigerator, as described above. Bring all White Oak Pastures grassfed beef to room temperature prior to cooking or grilling. If you are going to sear your meat, always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill before cooking our grassfed beef to get good caramelization.

We recommend aging your grassfed steaks, like Sirloin, Ribeyes and Strips (read more here). Ground beef does not need to be aged.

Grassfed Beef Cooking Tips

Typically, grassfed beef requires 30% less cooking time, because grassfed beef has a lower fat content and higher protein level than conventional corn-fed, commodity beef. So if you are using a recipe not specifically calling for grassfed beef, cut the cook time by a third and check the meat frequently. If using an oven, lower the oven temperature by about 50°F.

However you choose to prepare your meat, use a lower temp and cook slower to get a juicy and tender finished product. Our steaks are best when eaten rare to medium-rare.

Before cooking grassfed beef cuts (excluding ground beef), we recommend using a tenderization method, like wet aging your beef (details in our steak guide) or using an alternative tenderizing method. We give step-by-step instructions for perfectly cooking grassfed steaks here:


Let meat rest once it is done cooking, so that the precious juices can be redistributed within the resting meat. For tender and delicious grassfed beef, remove from heat, cover loosely, and let rest before cutting. Cut against the “grain” of the meat for a tender finished product.

Step-by-step instructions for our favorite techniques and a list of our favorite recipes can be found on our Master Guide on How to Perfectly Cook Grassfed Beef.

Preparing White Oak Pastures Sausage

There is a significant difference between commodity sausage and pastured sausage. Our farm offers a range of sausages from six different species. Our sausages are slightly leaner, better seasoned, and made from higher-quality cuts than the average sausage you find in the grocery store.

For how to cook our pastured sausage for maximum flavor, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide for cooking on the grill or in the kitchen.

Pastured Sausage Cooking Tips

  • In order to have delicious, moist sausages, we recommend cooking in a frying pan in water that comes 1/3 of the way up the sausage. 
  • Prick sausages with a fork or knife. Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until all the water has evaporated. 
  • Add a small amount of oil to the pan, or brush sausages with oil and add to a grill, until sausages are lightly browned on all sides.
  • Alternative oven method: put the sausages and water in a baking dish, prick the sausages, bake at 350°F until brown. Add oil if necessary. Rotate the sausages occasionally. The internal temperature of the sausages should reach 165°F.

Preparing White Oak Pastures Chicken and Duck

Pasture-raised poultry are active outdoors, using their muscles to peck and forage in our fields. In general, when cooking our pastured poultry, we recommend looking for recipes that use traditional and rustic techniques, such as slow roasting or braising. For example, many classic Italian, Vietnamese, and French recipes, work great with our poultry because just like the fowl used in those countries, our birds have an active life. 

Pasture-Raised Chicken and Duck Cooking Tips

  • For the best results cooking our free-range poultry, marinate your meat overnight with a slightly acidic marinade. Something with some lemon, lime, vinegar, wine, beer, etc. is suggested to help "loosen things up a bit" and enhance the flavor. 
  • If you can’t marinate your bird the day before, we recommend simply searing your bird to help build flavor, then finish by roasting it in the oven somewhere between 325°-350°F, covered and with some moisture in the pan.
  • For duck and goose, roast about 10-12 minutes per pound.

Preparing White Oak Pastures Turkeys

Many of our customers make ordering a White Oak Pastures turkey a holiday tradition. We’ve put together lots of detailed resources for preparing the perfect moist, tender, show-stopping holiday turkey:

Pasture-Raised Turkey Cooking Tips

Preparing White Oak Pastures Grassfed Lamb

Grassfed lamb has a great, balanced fat content, which allows it to be cooked in a variety of ways while remaining tender and moist. Because of the active lifestyle of our grassfed lamb, the meat has a sweet, earthy, and mild flavor. Lamb meat has a distinctive flavor that goes well with robust spices and herbs.

Grassfed Lamb Cooking Tips

In many ways, preparing grassfed lamb is similar to preparing grassfed beef. Here are some common preparation methods for common cuts:

  • Rib and loin chops are the lamb equivalent to a grassfed steak, and you can grill, pan fry, or bake to medium rare (145°F) for best results.
  • Large cuts like center cut leg roast or lamb shoulder should be slow cooked or braised.
  • Ground lamb and lamb stew meat cook almost the same as ground beef, so substituting lamb for beef in many common recipes is an easy switch. Changing out beef for the sweet, mild flavor of lamb is an easy way to mix up classic recipes, like burgers, meatballs, stews, or meatloaf.

We’ve collected our favorite recipes and cooking tips in our master guide: