KNOW YOUR MEAT CUTS - Part 1

Are you confused about what cuts come from where on a beef?

Did you ever think about buying a cut and didn’t because you didn’t know what to do with it?

Did you decide not to take the plunge and buy that half or quarter beef because you were too intimidated by having to tell the butcher how to cut it for you?

Problems solved!

I want to help you alleviate all that frustration. I’m going to create a series of posts that will take the mystery out of this beefy subject and break it down into edible parts.

I love puns.

Today I’m going to talk about the sections of a beef. I made this handy chart to give you a visual.

Beef Cut Chart Handmade.jpg

When you’re a butcher, this is what you see when you lay eyes on a steer out in the field — yes, lines and all.

Unless you see this:

Dinosaur meat chart.jpg

Then you should run.

Since we’re talking about the whole animal today, let’s learn a little about buying a beef in bulk:

  • Half Beef - this is also called a ‘side’ of beef. If you were looking down on the top of the steer, draw an imaginary line down the middle from head to tail. A half is the entire right or left side.

  • Quarter Beef - this is also called a ‘split half’. Using the above view, a quarter is not the front half or back half of a side. A quarter is a side of beef all mixed together and divided in half. So…you get a mix of cuts from the head to the tail (but only half the cuts from a side of beef). I hope that makes sense.

Why would I want to buy beef in bulk?

There are lots of good reasons!

  • You save money over buying cuts one at a time

  • You can make dinner right out of your freezer — no more last-minute runs to the store

  • It’s comforting to know you have food stored

  • The convenience is fantastic

Calling the butcher can be a scary thing when you’ve never done it before. Our butcher is a gem! He raises dinosau…..buffalo, so he knows grass-fed meat. He will answer all of your questions. Just tell him you’re a newbie, and he’ll give you extra help.

He will take you through each section of the beef and ask you things, such as:

  • steaks or roasts (many cuts can be sliced into steaks or kept as a roast)

  • how many steaks per package (he’ll tell you what’s normal)

  • how thick do you want your steaks (we like to make them 1-1/4 inches thick)

  • how many pounds of ground beef per package

  • bone-in or boneless

  • short ribs or grind (make into hamburger)

  • T-bones or divide into filet mignon and KC strips (yep, the T-bone is really the filet and the KC strip (sometimes called a NY strip) with a bone holding them together)

  • stew meat or grind

  • do you want bones (you should always say ‘yes’ and sign up for my bone broth article on the website — so essential for health, and helps you get your money’s worth, too)

I hope this will help take some of the anxiety out of knowing where all those cuts come from, and buying beef in bulk.

Next time, we’ll talk about what cuts come from which spot on the steer. I will add some arrows to the beefy guy in the picture above and tell you what cuts come from what section (and why you should care).

Speaking of bulk beef, it’s almost time for our fall processing. You can click HERE to send us an email to let us know you’re interested, and we’ll send you the particulars.

Our goal is to eliminate ‘mystery meat’ from our customers’ vocabulary!

BUG OUT? PASTURE NECTAR FARM'S SECRET WEAPON

When you come out to the farm, you walk into the bottling room, then into the room where the cows get milked. Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the dairy building? Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek of something that happens each morning during the summer months.

In case you haven't seen it on Facebook, this is a video of a new secret weapon we're using on our farm to keep our cows happier and your milk safer. I'm betting you didn't even know such a thing existed. I know I didn't. 

When my sister saw it, she said she wished she could have one for the mosquitoes where she lives. She said she’d walk through it all day long.

The cows spend tons of energy swishing flies…you know how you are when you’re outside and the pests are bugging you, right? When the cows are swishing and licking and stomping, they’re using those calories for something other than making milk.

Flies also carry disease and can bite the udders which can cause mastitis. Not fun for the cows or the farmers who have to deal with it.

We don’t want to use chemical means to run these varmints off, so Eric researched a different solution. This one cost a lot of money, but you have to weigh the cost of milk loss from swishing and mastitis.

Plus kids think it’s cool. 

Here’s the video of the new secret weapon!

 

We won’t be using this machine in the winter so if you want to see it in action in real life, click here to send us an email and you can come out to watch it make the flies vanish before they buzz off for the season. 

THE PUFFIEST PUFF PANCAKES EVER

Don’t let the name fool you. These pancakes love being served as dessert as well as at breakfast.

Each recipe makes 1 pie plate full. (Hog alert: we make 4 at a time, and eat almost all of them at one sitting.)

When you double, triple or even quadruple the recipe like we do, it’s a great way to use up eggs.

This is such a fun, easy recipe to make with children. Call your kids to the oven to watch the show when you open the door. It’s impressive!

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o   2 T. butter

o   2 Pasture Nectar Farm eggs

o   ½ c. Pasture Nectar Farm milk

o   ½ c. all-purpose flour

o   2 T. sugar

o   1/8 t. cinnamon (we leave this out)

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the butter in a 9-inch pie plate, and put it in the pre-heated oven for 4 to 5 minutes until melted.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs and milk in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar (and the cinnamon if you’re using it). Whisk in the egg mixture until smooth.

Pour into the pie plate, and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the sides are crispy and golden brown.

Get everyone at the oven when you open it because when the cool air hits them, they’ll start to shrink.

 

You can serve this with a fruit sauce. You could even experiment with cutting back on the sugar and using a fruit spread or honey as the sweetener. I think this would be terrific with ice cream. Enjoy!

 

-        This recipe adapted from the Taste of Home Breakfast Cookbook, 2009.

FIT FOR A KING POT ROAST

Have you ever had that experience where you smell something, and a person or a place pops into your mind? Smells are a really good prompter of memory.  One of my favorite smell memories is walking into my grandma's kitchen when she was cooking a pot roast.

Grandma was a great cook.

Of course, it wasn't just about the good meal I knew was coming but the whole 'I love grandma's house' thing.

I'm willing to bet you've got some good grandma memories, too.

I still love a good pot roast, and we all need everyday recipes that work consistently and aren't fussy so we can spend more time with our families.

I've got one here for you....

This is a pretty simple recipe that uses grass-fed roasts which need to be braised (basically, cooked in liquid). In other words, the less expensive parts of the steer which will save you money.

I've adapted this recipe from Lynne Curry's Pure Beef cookbook (Running Press Publishers, 2012). I decided to add garlic and cooking sherry to change the flavor profile. The sauce I got was delicious! I didn't even have to make gravy; just spooned it over the shredded beef and vegetables at the table.

Now...if only I could have found a way to generate a smell that would make the multiplication tables pop right into my children's heads, I could have made a million bucks.


FIT FOR A KING POT ROAST

  • 1 (3 to 3.5 lb) boneless Pasture Nectar Farm chuck roast

  • Kosher salt, some pepper

  • 3 T. oil (preferably coconut oil or butter)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped or cut into 1/2-inch wedges

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 T. flour (your choice of gluten-free OK)

  • 3 c. beef stock with the fat if you have it (I used poultry and lamb)

  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce or organic shoyu

  • 1 t. salt

  • 1/4 t. black pepper

  • 1/2 t. dried thyme leaves (or 1 t. fresh)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 c. cooking sherry (the alcohol will burn off)

  • 3 large carrots, peeled

  • 2 lbs potatoes (or add other root veggies as you like such as parsnips)

Let the roast come to room temp for a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Pat the roast dry and season both sides with kosher salt and pepper. Melt the oil in a large Dutch oven or oven-ready pot over medium-high heat, and sear the roast on both sides when the oil starts to shimmer. This gives another depth of flavor to your finished meal.

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Give each side about 4 or 5 minutes at least. You want a nice deep brown color but you don't want to cook the meat inside very far.

When seared, remove the roast to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Now add your flour and stir until it's absorbed.

Stir in the stock and Worcestershire or shoyu sauce. Use your spoon to scrape those yummy browned bits off the bottom of your pan for added flavor.

When it comes to a boil, add the salt, pepper, thyme, cooking sherry and bay leaves along with the beef plus the juices from the plate it was on. Don't waste any of that good taste!

Cover the pot with a good-fitting lid and put it in the oven for 2-1/2 hours.

Cut your vegetables as you like (I like to cut the potatoes into 1- or 2-inch pieces, and the carrots into 1 inch pieces, and slice the small ends. I think smaller pieces take up the flavor of the sauce better without giving you that 'pot roast vegetable' taste; you do remember that taste, right?)

Turn the roast over and put the vegetables in the liquid around the meat. Cover again, and bake for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beef shreds easily with a fork, and the vegetables are very tender.

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See that great sauce? You can separate the natural chunks of the roast or shred it. We served it in a bowl, like stew, or you can put the meat and vegetables on a platter, and serve the sauce on the side.

Some reserved sauce over rice makes a great side dish for another meal.

We have plenty of chuck roasts in the farm store right now. Our rump and sirloin tip roasts would work, too.

Feel free to forward this to a friend, and let me know how it turns out for you!

 

Best,

Kathy