Beef cooking basics
The process of raising flavorful and tender beef doesn't stop when the cattle leave the pasture. Cooking strategy matters. A lot.
There are two rules:
If the temperature of your beef changes too rapidly during the cooking process, it can cause the meat fibers to contract, which will make your meat tough.
A rapid temperature change will also cause moisture to be escape from the beef through condensation. Moisture is a key component of beef tenderness.
When thawing beef, always remove the original wrapping paper, cellophane, or butcher paper to prevent the tastes and smells of the packaging from leaching into the meat.
It is also a good idea to rinse your frozen beef immediately after removing it from the packaging to remove any ice that may have absorbed the flavors and smells of the packaging.
Remove your steaks from the refrigerator an hour before cooking so your steaks can warm up to room temperature before they are thrown on the grill.
Photos: Limousin beef is less marbled than say Angus, but held in very high esteem in Europe.
For best results when grilling, begin by searing the outside of your steaks to create a crust to lock in moisture. Then turn the grill to low to finish the cooking process on low (slow) heat to prevent excessive moisture losses and protein fiber contraction.
High quality lean beef requires slightly lower cooking temperatures and slightly shorter cooking times than marbled beef. Marbling is a poor indication of quality.
Continental beef such as Limousin and Belgian Blue, and grass-finished beef are less marbled. Wagyu is extremely marbled.
As long as they are properly finished, microscopic fat and fat cap should be present.
A lot of grass-fed beef grows too slowly and is butchered too young (baby beef). It is hard to give good advice on how to cook an inferior product.
For the consumer, it is hard to know the degree of finish before buying a beef, which can only be estimated from a combination of frame size and carcass weight. Most medium size beeves finish around 700-850 lb carcass weight. Males from large breeds such as Charolais, Wagyu or BBB should exceed this range. Females from small breeds such as Galloway or Highland cattle can be butchered at slightly lower weights.