The last time I went to our local grocery to get some grass-fed steaks the guy behind the counter wanted to make sure I had cooked them before. Now that people know how much more omega-3s are in grass-fed meat, how much fewer scary bacteria are in there, and how much better it is for the planet, people are buying more of it.
I smiled and told him that when I was done pounding with the toothy end of a meat tenderizer they would marinate in a soy sauce based marinade overnight.
He was relieved and shared his tales of woe from angry customers who were confused by the toughness of the steaks. They are healthier but they are also tougher.
This is the issue of grass fed beef, It is less fatty and tougher than grain fed beef because the cows are older, they have to actually graze which means they walk a lot more, and they basically ate nothing but health food.
Which is where the soy sauce comes in.
Grass-fed beef needs to be tenderized. Most commercial meat tenderizers contain either papain or MSG. Papain is an enzyme that breaks down proteins. The problem with using it as a meat tenderizer is that it works extremely well and if you leave the steak in it long enough it will start to dissolve. Yuk.
MSG makes you hungrier (the “Chinese-food effect”), makes you gain more weight from the same number of calories and can give people headaches. I can gain weight without any help at all. I can gain weight from black coffee. I don’t need any MSG.
Soy sauce (tamari as most commercial soy sauces contain wheat) tenderizes and flavors the meat without dissolving it or making me want thirds. That said if you cannot eat soy anything with salt and acid will do such as salty balsamic vinegar or wine.
So if you want to truly enjoy your grass fed steaks (which at $22 a pound you probably do) here are my tips.
1) Tenderize the meat with a mallet. Pound away. Use the toothy side.
2) Create a marinade and put the pounded steaks in a ziploc bag with the marinade. Make sure the meat is surrounded by marinade.
3) Marinate the steaks overnight and until dinner time the next day.
4) Grill or pan fry the steaks (I pan fry in bacon fat, but any high heat oil will work). Do this a bit longer than for corn fed beef. For some reason they take longer.
5) Allow the steaks to rest under foil for 15 minutes
6) Slice and serve
Interestingly there is increasing evidence that marinades reduce the amount of carcinogens (heterocylic amines) in meat so all meat that is going to be grilled should be marinated anyway. We are just doing it for a longer time with the grass fed meats.
Once you properly prepare a grass fed steak there is no going back. They are a little more work, but they are fantastic.
So here is my recipe for marinade. I try to get the steaks into the marinade the night before I plan to eat them
Like every other recipe on this site this one is gluten-free and dairy-free
1/2 cup tamari (without MSG)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Just put the ingredients in a zippered plastic bag along with 2 1/2 lbs steak and let it marinate for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator. Then cook however you prefer.