Tag Archives: grilling

The Culture of Meat…

In addition to discussing food/meat in the written word, National Geographic is also doing a television series entitled “Eat: The Story of Food”. The second episode of the series centered on meat — most especially the culture of meat, the role that it played in evolution, and what the future of meat might hold.

I took several biological anthropology classes at Dartmouth College. Professor Korey and his lectures on the subject of biological evolution fascinated me. The how, the when, and the why all peaked my curiosity – and I poured over the material with avid interest. My specific draw toward anthropology centered on biological change, however, the element of culture seemed to always be intrinsically tied to the discussion.

A Samburu Elder with his child...The Samburu continue to be a semi-nomadic people based on a hunter-gatherer culture.

A Samburu Elder with his child…The Samburu continue to be a semi-nomadic people in 2014.  Their “agriculture” is different from mine…

Perhaps it is because I am a nerd at heart, perhaps it is because meat (growing it, cooking it, and eating it) plays a central role in my life, perhaps it is because the philosophical foodie discussion hits close to home — Whatever the reason, I found the first 2/3’s of the  National Geographic production incredibly interesting.

  • I became intrigued when the tool of cooking was linked to biological changes to the human body.
  • I followed interestedly as the discussion turned to the domestication of food animals more than 15,000 years ago as many peoples transitioned away from hunter-gather tribes to agrarian societies, and then eventually even away from farms to city life in the second half of the 1900’s.
  • I smiled when food was linked to community, family, and one’s cultural roots.
  • I nodded when cooking meat was labeled a “sacred ritual”.
  • I chuckled when someone stated that meat was an expression of manliness – thereby, a possible explanation for modern day man’s fascination with grilling. mattsteaks

All of these things resonated with me and I enjoyed the way that the information was disseminated to the viewer.  Unfortunately, at this point in the show, a shift occurred away from the historical and anthropological and toward the one-sided political abyss where modern food production is demonized. The historical balanced became the politically unbalanced, and I was sadly disappointed with the end of the program.

In the final 12 minutes Michael Pollan gave his usual rhetoric, “Feedlots are the biggest point sources of pollution in the United States…Meat agriculture will have to change. The way we are doing it now is unsustainable.” Upon hearing this, I immediately wondered how Mr. Pollan could accurately draw this conclusion about my farm since he has never once visited it? He offered no basis for his conclusions – apparently the American people are just supposed to believe his omniscient pontifications.

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Cattle on my farm which I call a feed yard and Mr. Pollan calls a feedlot…

The segment ended with suggestions for the change called for by Mr. Pollan.  The various contributors to the show offered two ideas as the future of meat was subsequently discussed.  They left me a bit perplexed…

  1. Eat more insects.
  2. Grow hamburgers (at the current cost of $325,000.00 per burger) in a petri dish.

Really?

I am the first to admit that continuous improvement is imperative for sustainability, and I believe that there are ways that I can continue to do a better job producing beef on my farm. I work hard every day to attain constant improvement remaining committed to growing high quality beef with the smallest environmental footprint.

I am most certainly not the same as my hunter-gatherer ancestors.  My farm runs differently now than it did 20 years ago and it will continue to evolve and change on into the future.  I choose to serve my family the pasture raised, grain finished beef that I grow with pride.

Pasture raised cattle that are now at my feed yard in preparation for slaughter...

Pasture raised cattle that are now wintering at my feed yard in preparation for becoming beef…

I don’t know about you, but I prefer that to a diet of insects or petri dish meat…

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Filed under A Farmer's View on Foodie Thoughts..., General

Football, Beef Brisket, and a Happy New Year…

My favorite farmer got a Traeger Grill for Christmas.  I am a huge fan of grilling as it makes for fewer dishes and messes in the kitchen.  However, charcoal grilling creates very late dinners after long days on the farm.

The big Christmas gift!

The big Christmas gift!

Matt and I are hoping that the new wood pellet grill will provide a practical and efficient way to get a diverse variety of dinners on the table at a decent hour.  Our girls are dreaming of fewer kitchen clean up chores!

My favorite farmer, just a few years ago...

My favorite farmer, a few years ago…

As a retired college football player, Matt tries to devote some quality time to bowl games during the holiday season.  He cooked his first beef brisket today in addition to cheering the Nebraska Cornhuskers to victory in the Gator Bowl.

Beef, It's What's For Dinner at our house tonight!

Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner at our house tonight!

Smoked beef brisket is one of my favorites.  It is a cut of meat that needs to be cooked with patience to ensure tenderness.  Every brisket is unique, but choosing a brisket with a cap of fat at lease 1/4″ thick and then cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 190-195 degrees will grant you the ultimate eating experience.

Ingredients: Beef Brisket (approximately 6#’s), Beef rub spices or your favorite barbecue rub, 2 cups beer (or beef broth), 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and your favorite barbecue sauce.

  • Season the brisket on both sides with the beef rub.
  • Make the mop sauce:  in a clean spray bottle or container combine the beer (or beef broth) with the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4-5 minutes).  Arrange the brisket fat-side up on the grill grate and smoke for 3-4 hours with the lid closed.  Spray or spread the mop sauce over the meat every hour.
  • After smoking, set the grill temperature to 225 degrees F and continue to cook the brisket–basting with the mop sauce periodically–until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 190-195 degrees.  This will likely take 4-6 hours, so be patient!
  • Wrap the cooked meat in foil and let it rest for 30 minutes (preferably in an insulated container so that the meat stays hot).
  • Slice the meat with a sharp knife across the grain into pencil-width slices.
  • Serve with your choice of barbecue sauce, or eat it plain like I do!

    Delicious!

    Delicious!

I served our brisket with home made macaroni and cheese and green peas.  The girls topped off the meal with their beautifully decorated Christmas cookies.

Making Christmas cookies is a fun family tradition...

An entertaining tradition with a house full of budding engineers at the helm…

It was a great way to celebrate the New Year!

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Filed under General, Recipes and Beef Cooking Tips...

The Grillin’ Girl…

For those of you that have missed Megan’s Meatful Mondays, she’s back and she’s learning to grill!

Marinated Sirloin Steaks cooked by Cowgirl Chef Megan on a charcoal grill...

Marinated Sirloin Steaks cooked by Cowgirl Chef Megan on a charcoal grill…

No spring would be sustainable without cooking lessons and quality time with the grill!  Today, my favorite Cowgirl Chef partners with her daddy to make delicious sirloin steaks!

Needs:  Sirloin Steaks (1″ to 1 1/2″ thick), bottle balsamic vinaigrette, charcoal, and grill.

Marinate the steaks in balsamic vinaigrette dressing for several hours.IMG_3192

Build a charcoal fire on the grill.IMG_3186

Place steaks on the fire when it is ready for cooking.IMG_3201

Cook until blood begins to pool at the top of the steak, and then turn the steak and cook a few minutes longer (more time means a more “well done” steak, less time is rarer.IMG_3202As one of the 29 cuts of lean beef, Sirloin steaks make a great summer time meal.  Megan loves them for the taste, but I love them because they provide her growing body with: Iron, Vitamins B6 and B12, Zinc, Choline, Phosphorus, Protein, Niacin, Selenium and Riboflavin.

Beef's Big 10 empower her to jump far...

Beef’s Big 10 empower her to jump far…

And still ride off into the sunset!

And still be able to ride off into the sunset!

Click here for some great grilling tips!

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Filed under General, Recipes and Beef Cooking Tips...

Choosing beef…

One of Feed Yard Foodie’s most dedicated readers, Bill, asked last week if I could send out free samples of my beef with my final post of Calf #718…

While I would love to share my beef directly with all of you, logistically it is impossible…So, I figure that the next best thing to sharing my beef, is to share ideas of how to purchase great beef to enjoy!

The meat counter at the grocery store can be incredibly confusing—to add to the confusion is the fact that different regions of the country call different cuts of beef different names!

When you see this logo, you know that the information comes from beef farmers like me!

The Beef Checkoff (which is a national program that all beef farmers like me participate in to promote research and education regarding beef) has developed a virtual meat case to help consumers navigate the meat case at the grocery store.

For my first “Foodie Fun” post, I would like to share the link to the virtual meat case with you all and urge you to go explore it!  I think that it will be incredibly useful to you as you try to figure out the cuts of beef.  There are also recipes and cooking tips specific to the different cuts…

http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/meatcase.aspx

Happy Learning…Take the opportunity this weekend to try out a new cut of beef!

If you like to grill, this T bone steak is ensured to make your mouth water! Thanks to the Nebraska Beef Council for the picture...

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Filed under Beef Life Cycle--Calf #718, Recipes and Beef Cooking Tips...