Cooking Grass-fed Beef and Pasture-Raised Poultry
Cooking Tips for Grass-fed 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, and to make the most enjoyable, delicious meal, there is some prep work and cooking alterations that should be made when cooking our grass-fed and pastured products.
Preparing White Oak Pastures Meats
Below, we provide some general tips you can use in your kitchen when cooking grass-fed and pastured meats. If you’d like more resources, please check out our recipe blog for some of our favorite recipes!
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 them 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 grass-fed steaks. Ground Beef, Pork and Poultry do not need to be aged!
For the best results, thaw the meat in the refrigerator in a single layer in a bowl to catch condensation or any leaking. Always leave the meat in the original packaging while thawing. Do not thaw meat 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 Grass-fed Beef
We are dedicated to producing grass-fed 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 from that point for the beef to get to your plate.
For all of us, cooking grass-fed beef is much different than cooking commodity feed-lot beef. To help, we’ve put together a detailed guide that breaks down how to cook different grass-fed beef cuts by category:
As an overview, here are a few general tips and hints to ensure the tastiest outcome for your enjoyment.
Before Cooking Grass-fed Beef
Allow your grass-fed beef to thaw gently and completely in the lower portion of the refrigerator, as described above. Bring all White Oak Pastures grass-fed 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 grass-fed beef to get good caramelization.
We recommend aging your grass-fed meat, like Sirloin, Ribeyes and New York Strip steaks (read more here). Ground beef does not need to be aged.
Grass-fed Beef Cooking Tips
Typically, grass-fed beef requires 30% less cooking time, because this 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 grass-fed beef, cut the cooking time by a third and check the meat frequently. If you're using an oven, lower the oven temperature by about 50°F.
However you may choose to prepare your meat, use a lower temp and cook more slowly to get a juicy and tender final product. Our steaks are best when eaten rare to medium-rare.
Before cooking grass-fed 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 grass-fed steaks here:
- How to Cook a Grass-fed Beef Steak in a Cast Iron Pan
- Reverse Sear Method: How to cook your grass-fed steak the easy way
Let the meat rest once it is done cooking so that the juices can be re-distributed within the resting meat. For tender grass-fed beef, remove it from the heat, cover it loosely, and let it rest before slicing. We recommend cutting against the grain of the meat in thin strips to enhance the overall tenderness of the final product.
Step-by-step instructions for our favorite techniques and a list of our favorite recipes can be found in our Master-Guide on How to Perfectly Cook Grass-fed 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 the heat to a simmer. Cook until all the water has evaporated.
- Add a small amount of tallow or lard to the pan, or brush sausages with fat 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, and bake at 350°F until brown. Add tallow or lard 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 pasture-raised 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 them for roughly 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
- Blog: How to Cook a Pasture-Raised Turkey
- 5-Part Video Series: How to Cook a Pasture-Raised Turkey
Preparing White Oak Pastures Grass-fed Lamb
Grass-fed 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.
Grass-fed Lamb Cooking Tips
In many ways, preparing grass-fed lamb is similar to preparing grass-fed beef. Here are some common preparation methods for common cuts:
- Rib and loin chops are the lamb equivalent to a grass-fed beef 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: