Grassfed beef is tender and juicy with a richer flavor than the fatty, bland corn-fed beef found everywhere. But that's not all—it's healthier for you, the cattle and the environment. Grassfed beef is truly a sustainable product in our cool climate as pasture grasses grow well here in the Finger Lakes.
Grassfed Beef at Honeyhill Farm
The Angus cattle on Honeyhill Farm live healthy lives on certified organic and intensively managed pastures where they are rotated twice daily always toward clean and fresh pasture. This practice not only provides our cattle a healthy and clean environment it actually improves the pasture without supplementary inputs! This is similar to what our ancestors found in the west with the bison, a naturally self sustaining system.
Our cattle never receive antibiotics or hormones. We do not feed them grain at all. Instead, they eat grass from April into December and hay in the winter.
The Grassfed Beef Difference
Grassfed beef contains more healthy fats and less total fat than conventionally raised beef. An equal amount of grassfed beef has fewer calories than grain fed meat and looses less weight in cooking. Grassfed beef contains four times more Omega-3 essential fatty acid (the heart-healthy fat) plus it’s the richest source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a fat that is a potent cancer fighter. Finally grassfed beef has more Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene and is not known to be contaminated with the resistant e-coli strains that are frequently found in grained beef.
The combination of quality management, genetics and a lush multi-species pasture make grassfed beef the most flavorful, healthful meat on the planet.
Other Types of Beef
There are several different designations when it comes to beef and meat in general—all natural, pasture raised, grassfed and organic. An informed consumer must read labels carefully and even visit the farm to find out how the food they’re eating is being raised.
Explanation of the official designations:
“All Natural” according to the USDA—All Natural only means that nothing is added to the meat after its slaughtered. All Natural has nothing to do with what the cattle ate or how the cattle were raised.
“Pasture Raised” isn't the same as grassfed—Virtually all cattle are raised on pasture the first few months of their lives and may also be grain fed. Knowing your farmer is the best way to make an informed decision.
“Organic”—Antibiotic and hormone free, but still may be fed grain and offered minimal time on pasture.
Buying Real Beef
We offer beef for sale in two package sizes:
- A Half (1/2 steer); cut the way you want it
- A Variety Pack (1/8 steer); cut to our specs so we can share among eight
Halves contain about 200 pounds of meat. You may have this cut any way you want it or cut it yourself. A Whole is simply two halves and each may be cut differently.
Eighths contain approximately 50 pounds of meat, provides you a great value and includes a full range of cuts from both front and back quarters. They are designed to fit into a standard refrigerators freezer compartment. Our Variety Packs contain about 25% burger and stew meat; the balance is steaks and roasts. This is a great way to start purchasing directly from a farmer.
All of our beef is dry aged for 2 weeks to tenderize and enhance the flavor. It is then cut, vacuum sealed and immediately frozen. At zero degrees this will keep well for way over a year. Commercial meat is no longer dry aged. Commercial meat comes in sealed plastic bags in what the industry calls “wet aging.” This is a myth. Only dry aging enhances the flavor.
As we utilize a USDA butcher we sell net weight (what you take home) thus no confusion on pricing. Please contact us for current prices.
Guidelines to Cooking Great Grassfed Beef
To ensure that you enjoy every bit of the rich flavor and natural goodness of your grassfed beef extra care in the kitchen is warranted.
Here are some general tips and recipes from The Grassfed Gourmet by Shannon Hayes. Her book includes an excellent explanation of all varieties of grassfed meats. This and the companion cookbook The Farmer and the Grill, The Grassfed Gourmet are available at her site. These are tips only, for detailed information on cooking grassfed meats see the book.
Before You Begin to Cook:
- Never use a microwave oven to thaw meat, thaw slowly in the refrigerator—this preserves flavor and texture!
- Sprinkle steaks liberally with salt and pepper (preferably kosher salt) one hour prior to cooking.
- Allow the steaks to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Preheat your oven, grill or pan before you add the meat.
- Grassfed beef takes less time to cook.
- Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
- Use a remote read thermometer as opening the oven door will drop the temperature each time you look causing a longer cooking time.
- Steaks and roasts taste best when cooked no more than medium rare.
- At 5 degrees below the desired temperature, remove from heat, tent with foil and cover and set it aside in a warm place for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute themselves and not run out.
- When roasting grass fed beef, reduce the oven temperature by 50 degrees and check for doneness long before the time recommended in your recipe.
- If you like your beef cooked longer than medium-rare do it at a low temperature and consider cooking it in a sauce.
1. Sprinkle steaks liberally with salt (preferably kosher) and pepper 60 minutes prior to cooking and allow the steaks to come to room temperature.
2. Bring skillet to medium-high heat. When up to temp, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter melts and begins to spatter, add the steaks. Cook 4 minutes per side for medium-rare steaks 1” thick. Rare is 120 degrees, and medium-rare is 125 degrees
3. When the steaks have reached the desired temperature, remove from the skillet, tent with foil, and let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
Fred’s note: Each stove cooks differently
1. Make your patties (6 oz.) about ¾-inch thick on the edges, then press down a little in the middle on one side so it's a bit thinner. This helps the burgers cook evenly instead of puffing up in the middle.
2. Fry over medium-high heat until a bit crusty on each side and juicy inside.
3. Cook uncovered and don't press on the burgers while cooking or you will lose juices.
4. A 6 oz. burger requires 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the first side, and 3 minutes after flipping for a medium burger. Burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Fred’s note: Everyone has their own preferences I prefer mine a bit less done.
Slow Roasted Beef (exception to the dry heat rule)
This turns naturally less tender cuts of meat into beef that is juicy, pink in the center and absolutely delicious. Called "super-slow roasting,” the process locks in moisture as it cooks in its own juices. You can use almost any roast.
- Rub the roast with Garlic-Rosemary Rub (below) and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place the meat in a shallow pan, insert a meat thermometer into the middle and cook for 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven heat as low as you can. 170 degrees is the lowest on most ovens, but 150 or 160 is even better.
- Cook until the meat is 120-125 degrees for medium rare.
- Because these tend to be lean cuts, they're best cooked no more than medium-rare. If you want them cooked more, basting while cooking will help keep them more tender and moist.
- Remove the roast from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.Carve slices against the grain for tenderness.
Fred’s note: I used a large cast iron frying pan and cooked as above at 160 degrees. It took about 2 hours for the-5 pound roast in the below photo. Wow, it was great!
2 tablespoons dried rosemary 1 clove garlic minced
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt (coarse) 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Mix together. Store remaining in an air tight container for later use
This is the first roast I cooked. A 5 pound chuck roast cooked at 250 degrees for 1/2 hour then down to 160 for 1 1/2 hours – succulent, tender and delicious. Note the absence of fat yet the juiciness of the meat!