Wild Foraged Pineywoods Beef - Choosing, Cooking, and Seasoning
There are a lot of different cuts of Heritage Pineywoods Beef and there are several personal factors that can effect your decision on which to choose.
In this post we share how to choose the cuts, the best way to cook them and seasonings to use to bring out the best flavor of wild foraged and dry-aged Pineywoods Beef from Ozark Akerz Regenerative Farm.
What is Wild Foraged Heritage Pineywoods Beef?
Before we get into the various cuts, we should explain what makes our Pineywoods Beef taste so good.
Our Pineywoods Cattle herd don’t get any grains. The forages that grow naturally in the forests and pastures on the farm and organic hay in winter are all they need for excellent quality, flavor, and marbling.
Recently, a butcher with 30 years of experience saw the marbling in one of our Pineywoods rib eye steaks and asked us how much grain we fed them. He was surprised when we said none. He then asked what kind of fancy grass we had them on. He was even more surprised when we told him that they eat everything from kudzu to brambles and honey locust to fescue grass. Because of our Pineywoods herds appetite for bio-diverse forages, calling it grass fed beef is a bit inaccurate, we call it wild foraged beef.
In addition to this, we adopt other regenerative farming practices to ensure the beef is as pure and clean as possible. There are no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers used on the farm. Pineywoods have retained strong disease and parasite resistance and as such we do not adopt a vaccination schedule. However, we never deny an animal medical treatment. As of writing this, we have only used antibiotics to treat two cows to since 2015. They had contracted pinkeye which can cause blindness in cattle if left untreated.
What Pineywoods Beef Cuts Are Best For You?
Your choice in cuts can depend on a number of factors:
You can’t really go wrong with ground beef,. We make a variety of dishes with it including tacos, hamburgers, spaghetti sauce, moussaka, stuffed green peppers, meatballs, lasagna etc. We season it with our homemade seasoning and put it on pizza or use it to make hamburger gravy. A few pounds of ground beef goes a long way and is relatively inexpensive.
Ground Beef Price
If you’re interested in trying a steak, our Heritage Pineywoods Beef is some of the tastiest around! Most of our customers cook them rare to medium, the steak is more tender that way. They will still taste good if well done, but might not be as tender.
Tenderloin is the most tender and forgiving cut, but it is also the most expensive. If you haven't tried Pineywoods Beef before, we would recommend sampling a rib eye, a sirloin and a New York strip if your budget allows. This will give you a good variety to try out. Rib eyes average around 1 pound, sirloin and New York Strip average about 2/3 of pound, though there may be some variation of weight depending on which processor we use.
Whatever steak you decide on, we recommend heating your grill to 500F (260C) before adding the steaks. Sear the steak on both sides, then turn until cooked the way you like them. Cooking the steaks high and fast will give you the best result. This will maintain tenderness if you're cooking rare to medium and will give you excellent searing and browning, key to bringing out the best beefy flavor of your steaks. We also recommend cooking with lump-charcoal (not to be confused with briquettes!) on your grill if you can. We think everything tastes better cooked over coals!
Seasoning is as important to your grilling experience as everything else. There is a whole industry built up on seasoning and marinading steaks, but with wild foraged Pineywoods beef, we firmly believe salt and pepper is all you need. This will also make sure that you don't mask the beautiful flavor of the meat.
Roasts for Sunday, Sandwiches and Jerky
Roasts are very versatile as well. We cook ours slowly in a Dutch oven (you can use a slow-cooker) and have enough left over for sandwich meat. We slice any leftovers thinly and freeze in packets that have enough for the two of us for about 3 lunches. Roasts weigh 2.5-4 lbs, most of them on the higher side. For roast beef sandwich meats, we would recommend a bottom round, it is fairly lean. If you're a beef jerky fanatic and tired of the added flavors that have taken the place of true beef flavor, bottom round is also a great choice to make savory Pineywoods Beef Jerky.
Our favorite cut for a Sunday or Holiday roast is a bone-in Chuck Roast or Brisket. One of our favorite roasts recipes is made with beer and tomato juice.
Liver, a Chef Favorite!
Liver is something that many people are afraid of, but it can be very tasty and has many health benefits. The liver cleans toxins from the body so it is even more important to know how the animal is raised before you buy. Liver and onions was a regular staple at the dinner table when Mike was growing up, it was his dad, Kai's, favorite meal. Danish liver pate was also a homemade favorite for Mike, but was only served on special occasions. For some inspiration for your kitchen, check out Sue's Savory Pineywoods Beef Liver Pate recipe. The bacon, rosemary and thyme make it a Chef de Cuisine favorite!
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