I think it only right that I give you some context before I embark whole-heartedly on this post, because it’s about steak, and steak and I had a pretty rocky start to our relationship. I didn’t start out as an expert on Grain-fed v. Grass-fed Steak. I didn’t start out as an expert on any kind of steak, actually.
I grew up in England where no one has the slightest idea how to cook a steak. Either that, or the cows in England are just much better at producing fantastic dairy produce than they are large slabs of delicious, juicy, tender meat. Well, that’s how it was when I lived there – things may have changed in the steak department since I left over 12 years ago. Once I’d absconded to this side of the pond, however, I quickly noticed that the cows here produced amazing chunks of meat, but terrible dairy products. Maybe it’s just how cows are wired; you can have one or the other – great meat or great dairy – but not both.
I never ate steak in England. Ever. I think I must have done so once and the experience was so horrible I never repeated it. Mysteriously, and shortly after I moved stateside, I decided – for reasons completely unknown to me – to order a steak at a team dinner in Kirkland. I remember that first mouthful of meat as if it was yesterday. It was incredible. I never knew beef could taste like that. I never knew steak could have the consistency of soft butter. I never knew meat could melt in your mouth. I never knew that a simple piece of cow could taste so divine. I instantly became a steak lover. Now I eat steak at any given opportunity. Well, great steak that is – I’ve become pretty picky about my steaks.
So a few weeks back when those lovely folks over at Marx Foods in Seattle dropped me a note asking me if they could give me some of their New Zealand grass-fed steak to see what I thought of it, I was all, “Me! Me! Pick me!!” They did.
Being given two fabulous grass-fed steaks forced me to figure out how to cook steak perfectly without a grill. Hey, I’m a single girl. I ain’t going to wheel that hulking great grill out of the garage, hook up the propane, and fire it up for 4 minutes just to cook one steak. So I now know how to cook a perfect steak indoors without all that grilling drama. You’re welcome.
The deal was I had to do a side-by-side comparison of Marx Food’s New Zealand Grass-fed Steak against a regular steak from my local grocery store. I decided to compare it – not with a really regular steak – but with a steak that has a reputation around these parts as being the cat’s meow. That meant all-natural meat raised with no hormones, and fed a 100% vegetarian diet. But it still wasn’t grass-fed. There’s a difference, lovely people, there really is.
To make it as fair as possible, I cooked the New York Strips in exactly the same way. In fact, I cooked them alongside each other in the same pan at the same time. I even bought the other steak to match as closely as possible in size and thickness, so any discrepancies were absolutely minimal. You know me – I’m an all-or-nothing kinda gal. This was going to be a proper test, or not at all.
Just looking at them raw you could see a difference – the grass-fed was brighter, redder, and softer. Once cooked the grass-fed steak was springier to the touch, and juicier – it took a lot longer for the juices to start oozing out after they had finished cooking. On eating, the grass-fed meat itself was more tender, and juicier; the opposing steak being tougher and drier. Understand that the other steak was not at all dry – it was still very tender and juicy, just not as much as the grass-fed piece – and by a noticeable amount. The grain-fed was steak was chewier, where the grass-fed steak yielded easily to my hungry gnashers. The flavor was also different – the grass-fed having a deeper, more complex, almost gamey taste, while the grain-fed did not have the same depth of flavor at all; the grain-fed was definitely steak, but not one that made me want to eat another one immediately. I could have eaten that grass-fed scrumptiousness all night long.
So, Grain-fed v. Grass-fed Steak? Grass-fed for the win!
Apart from the differences in texture and flavor I found between these two steaks, there’s a whole bunch of other reasons that Danny Vega and I will always choose grass-fed over grain-fed beef whenever we can. There’s a lot going on inside that cow that you can’t see or taste. I could type for days about cows raised on hormone-laced corn and standing knee-deep in their own waste for months on end, but I am just going to stick to the health benefits of grass-fed. I like focusing on the positive.
Grass-fed cows chomp on rich green grass packed with those fabulous Omega-3s all day long. All that Omega-3 goodness gets passed right along to us when we eat it, providing an Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio of 3:1, which is significantly better than the 20:1 found in the average American diet. This 3:1 ratio has been shown to help prevent high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, triglycerides, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases
Grass-fed beef also contains 300-500 times more CLA than grain-fed beef. CLA is the powerful polyunsaturated fat called Conjugated Linoleic Acid. CLA has been proven to fight cancer in many studies, and is also sold as a fat burner. The best forms of CLA are found in grass-fed beef, wild game, and lamb.
Finally, not that we’re counting, but 4oz of grass-fed beef has 100 fewer calories than it’s grain-fed counterpart, and is also higher in B-vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. If you can, I thoroughly recommend buying grass-fed beef whenever you can. Not only will your taste buds thank you, but so will your body.
And without further ado, here’s how to cook a perfect steak indoors without a grill.
Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!
Steak (Without A Grill)
Author: Carrie Brown | Prep time: 1 mins | Cook time: 7 mins | Total time: 8 mins
What You Need
- Coconut or avocado oil
- Steak (1 – 1.5 inches is optimal, especially if you like it rarer)
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to season
What You Do
- Pre-heat oven to 400F.
- Place coconut or avocado oil in a skillet (make sure it has an ovenproof handle) and heat on high until very hot.
- When the oil starts to steam, season the steak on each side generously with sea salt and ground black pepper and carefully lower steak into pan and cook for 1 minute on each side. See notes for more info on timing the application of the salt.
- Place the skillet in the oven and close the door.
- Cook for 3 to 7 more minutes depending how you like your steak.
- Rare: 3 minutes
- Medium rare: 5 minutes
- Medium: 7 minutes
- Carefully remove pan from oven using oven mitts – remember the handle is now 400F!!
- Let the steak rest for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on thickness) before serving.
Top Recipe Tips
- Once you have salted your steaks you either need to cook it immediately – within 2 minutes – or you need to leave it for at least 45 minutes before cooking. This will ensure maximum juiciness. If this sounds weird, you can listen to the full explanation on the podcast, links below!
- If you are cooking steaks for two get one bigger, thicker steak and cut it in half rather than getting two smaller, thinner steaks.
- Check out the Ingredients Guide for information on ingredients.
- Where Are The Macros and Nutritional Info?
Helpful Cooking and Recipe Links
- Come laugh and learn with us over at The Kitchen Podcast
- Come hang out in The Keto Kitchen Facebook Group
- For lots more great recipes check out our scrumptious cookbooks!
PS. If it was not already clear in this post – Marx Foods provided me two steaks free of charge in order to conduct this comparison. The other steak I purchased myself. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and not in any way biased towards Marx Foods. I don’t lie in order to get free steak.