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MEAT HANDLING & COOKING TIPS

MEAT HANDLING & COOKING TIPS

BEEF

GROUND BEEF 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Sautéd, pan-fried, grilled patties, baked
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 140°
  • Defrosting: Defrost ground beef in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting
  • Suggested uses: Bolognese, burgers, beef sausage, meatballs, meatloaf, Stroganoff 

STEAKS 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Grilled, seared in cast-iron pan, broiled
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: 128°-132° for 100% grass-fed and 132°-135° for grain-finished beef
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting

BEEF ROASTS

  • Best Cooking Methods - Chuck/Brisket: Braised (traditional or crock-pot), slow-roasted, smoked || Tri-tip, Round, Rump: Oven roasted, grilled, smoked.
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: 128°-132° for 100% grass-fed and 132°-135° for grain-finished beef.
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 3-4 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

CHEF TIPS FOR BEEF 

  • Allow your beef to come to room temperature before cooking. Pat beef completely dry, wipe with olive oil, and then season liberally with salt just prior to cooking. 

  • 100% Grass-fed beef should be treated like an entirely different animal than conventionally-raised or grain-finished beef. Grass-fed beef is far leaner with much less intramuscular fat than grain-finished beef and cooks more like bison, elk or venison than grain-finished beef.  Because 100% grass-fed beef is far leaner than finished beef, it cooks up to 30% faster and requires more delicate handling. Basically, there’s less room for error with grass-fed beef because there’s less fat to insulate the tissue and keep the meat “moist.”

  • When cooking 100% Grass-fed Beef, sear or mark the meat on high heat and then move it to a low heat section of the grill or a lower temperature oven (255°) to bring the internal temperature up as slowly as possible. Not only will this allow you to more accurately control the rate at which the meat cooks, but Grass-fed beef benefits from this slower / lower-temp cooking because it transfers the heat more slowly through the lean tissue, yielding a more evenly cooked piece of meat.

  • Remember “carry-over cooking”. This means that if you take your steak off the grill at exactly 132°, it will continue to cook as much as 10° more. Err on the side of an internal temperature more on the “rare” side of doneness. You can always put your meat back on the heat. Ideally, you would not exceed 132°, by the time the beef has rested and is ready to serve. Remove beef from the heat source when the internal temperature is around 125°-128° and it will carry into the 132°-135° range. Try to rest your beef as long as you can, especially with 100% grass-fed beef. This will allow the temperature of the meat to cool just enough to help retain some of the fat and moisture. Think about the difference between trying to cut warm jello and cold jello, as it cools it retains it’s structural integrity better. This is very similar to how meat responds when it is cut immediately after it is removed from the heat. 

 

CHICKEN

WHOLE CHICKEN 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Roasted whole or spatchcocked and grilled
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 146° at the thickest part of the breast and a minimum of 156° at the thickest part of the thigh. 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 2-3 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

CHICKEN BREAST

  • Best Cooking Methods: Sautéd, breaded and fried, marinated and grilled, poached
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 146° at the thickest part of the breast. 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

CHICKEN THIGH 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Grilled, confit, braised, baked, fried
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 156° at the thickest part of the thigh. 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

CHEF TIPS FOR CHICKEN 

  • Always pat the surface of your chicken (whole or parts) completely dry before cooking. This will ensure that there is no moisture to interfere with proper caramelization of your meat. 

  • For extra crispy skin use the Larder Meat Co. All-purpose Dry Brine seasoning and our recipe for roasted chicken. 

  • Brine your chicken overnight for maximum flavor using The Larder Meat Co. All-purpose Dry Brine. Our Dry Brine is also an excellent seasoning to use with our Chicken Confit Recipe. 

  • Brine chicken in buttermilk for maximum tenderness! The enzymes in buttermilk will help tenderize your pasture-raised chicken and will make for a slightly softer texture after cooking. If you use buttermilk in conjunction with our Dry Brine, you will season and tenderize your chicken at the same time. This is an excellent way to prep fried or BBQ’d chicken the night before you cook it.  

  • Save all your bones for broth and reserve any leftover meat for chicken salad.It is common for pasture-raised chickens to be smaller and leaner with darker meat than conventionally-raised chickens. This means that they will cook slightly faster than a conventionally-raised chicken and because they tend to have darker thigh meat than a conventionally-raised chicken, do not be alarmed if you notice more red tissue deep in the thigh after cooking.

 

PORK

GROUND PORK 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Sautéd, pan-fried, grilled patties, baked 
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 150°-155°. 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.
  • Suggested uses: Breakfast sausage, pork bolognese, pork burgers, or combine with our ground beef for meatballs & meatloaf

PORK CHOPS 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Grilled, pan-fried, baked 
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: A digital thermometer should read a minimum of 136°-146°. 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 1-2 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

PORK ROAST 

  • Best Cooking Methods: Braised (traditional or crock-pot), slow-roasted, smoked
  • Ideal internal temperature when finished: N/A 
  • Defrosting: Defrost in your fridge 3-4 days before cooking and make sure to use 1-4 days after defrosting.

CHEF TIPS FOR PORK 

  • Pork loves salt. Pork chops love to be wet-brined overnight (see our recipe here), roasts love to be dry-brined in salt and then slow-cooked in fat for carnitas and bacon just wouldn’t be the same without spending a week hibernating in  salt and sugar.

  • Fat is flavor! Pasture-raised heritage pork is fattier than conventionally-raised pork, especially from our Mangalitsa pigs. This is by design, not a flaw. We purposefully leave more fat on our pork chops and choose the fattiest breed for our bacon. Save your bacon fat for sautéing vegetables and potatoes or for cooking chicken confit and carnitas. Trust us on this one, that beautiful white fat is gold in an LMC kitchen, so don’t be scared!

  • Pasture-raised pork is a darker meat and cooks more like beef than conventional pork. We prefer to cook our pork chops similar to how we would a nice steak, just past medium rare, in order to retain as much moisture as possible in the dark-red meat.  

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