By Debbie Apple
Posted: Updated:

This weekend is the time for grilling and we’ve had some requests to provide a few grilling tips for your River Cottage Farm Grass Fed steaks. Cooking over a live flame puts on a good show, and grilling steaks is a cakewalk once you’ve done it more than once. At our house, Brayden is the grill master but I have the scientist’s mind so while he flips and manages the timer I am explaining in exact scientific terms all the wonderful things occurring within the proteins and fats.

When grilling grass fed meats a few basic tips and the right tools will get you where you want to go; a deliciously seared, tender and juicy steak. Always start with a great grass-fed steak, a hot grill of your choice (charcoal with briquettes, hardwood charcoal or gas) and a few essential tools: a timer, tongs for flipping and a platter for the cooked steaks. A digital instant-read thermometer takes the guesswork out of determining the moment your steak is within five degrees of your ideal serving temperature. (The internal temperature will continue to climb after you remove the steak from the grill; this is called carry-over cooking). Stay relaxed and attentive as you monitor those searing steaks and you’ll be a hero of the grill.

Before: While your grill preheats, or about 30 minutes in advance, pull the steaks from the refrigerator to take off some of the chill and bring them to room temperature. This step is so important and while almost always overlooked it is one of the most important steps to a tender grilled steak. Use a paper towel to pat them dry on both sides and season them well with sea salt. Note that most people severely undersalt their meat, so don’t hold back. Pepper is optional. Scrape and oil the grill so that it shines and move your hand about 6 inches above it to find the hottest areas (ideally 450 degrees to 475 degrees). Aim your steaks for those areas and lay them down on the grill. Set your timer for 3 minutes for rare or 3½ minutes if you’re going for medium-rare or beyond.
During: Do nothing but stand by. Moving, prodding and piercing the steaks will prevent the formation of an outside crust and release the juices you want to preserve. Use tongs to flip the steak and reset the timer for 3 to 3½ minutes.
If you have a digital instant-read thermometer (and you should), check the temperature during the last 30 seconds of cooking. If you’re going for rare, remove it at 125 degrees, for medium-rare 130 degrees — give or take a degree. To go beyond medium-rare, use your tongs to slide the steaks over to the coolest part of the grill, close the cover and wait for one to three minutes longer. This way the steaks will stay moist while continuing to cook to medium (pull them off at 135 degrees) or well-done (about 140 degrees before resting). Immediately transfer the steaks to your waiting platter, preferably warmed by the sun or a very low oven.A finger jab is another method that’s pretty easy to learn with a few practice steaks. Start by poking the steak with your index finger when it’s raw, so that you’ll get the feel for the meat. After six to seven minutes of grilling, test it again. If it feels firmer, it’s probably medium-rare — or so close that, if need be, you can put it back on the grill (even if it’s turned off) for another minute to cook it further without any shame. Once it’s overcooked, however, there’s no return.
After: While you pull together the rest of the meal, let the steak rest for just five minutes. This is particularly important for grass fed beef. You need those precious juices to disperse throughout the muscle fibers so that every bite is juicy. To serve, slice tender, fine-grained steaks into 1/2-inch thick slices. For coarser-fiber steaks, slice against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices for the most tender eating experience.


A good friend working at a famous steak joint let the cat out of the bag when he informed me that every steak coming off the grill received a great pat of butter before it hit the plate. I’ve used this many times with plain, salted butter or Maître d’Hôtel Butter which is simply a butter infused with lemon juice and parsley. The execution couldn’t be simpler but the difference in flavor is dramatic.Marinating your steaks for even an hour will infuse considerable flavor and add extra moisture to the finished steak. A very good, simple marinade is olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, and some oregano or rosemary. Take the steaks out to dry on paper towels and whisk in some honey. Use the honey marinade as a mop while the steaks cook on the grill.Here is one of our favorite steak recipes. What I like about this recipes is the fact that the meat is interchangeable so use whatever you have on hand and the result will be the same. I speak here from experience. When called upon by a magazine to showcase our steaks and my favorite recipe for grilling I submitted my Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Blue Cheese Topping. After finding out that I actually had to grill the steaks for the cover I cooked 15 different steaks just to be certain that I had one perfectly grilled steak. With just a few tweaks the recipe became Grilled NY Strip with Blue Cheese Topping! After the photo shoot we all chowed down on lamb chops, NY Strip, Rib Eye and Porterhouse with Blue Cheese Topping.EnjoyBeef Tenderloin Steaks with Blue Cheese Topping

4 (1 1/2-inch thick) filet steaks
(NY Strip, Rib Eye, Lamb Chops, Porterhouse also work)
Olive oil, as needed
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
Sea Salt,

Topping Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese –
(Ludwig Farmstead Vermilion River Blue is best – Maytag works in a pinch)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions: 1. Combine topping ingredients in small bowl. Season steaks with salt and pepper.
2. Sear steaks on a hot grill and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 125 – 130 (See guide below). One to two minutes before steaks are done, top evenly with topping. 3. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

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