If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how important grass-fed meat is to me. I think it’s fantastic for both human health AND the environment.
I’ve presented here and wrote more here about the health benefits of red meat and why it’s not as environmentally destructive as people think. In fact, herbivores are actually great for soil carbon sequestration. I’ve argued against a vegan journalist, claiming that paleo dieters should be “clubbed”, and that rebuttal will be published in the April print edition of Outside Magazine. I even wrote a book about sustainable vegetable and meat production and cooking.
Fortunately, it’s getting easier to source great meat. I’m a big fan of buying directly through a farm, or a company that delivers to you from trusted sources.
At Clark Farm (where I live) we have some grass-fed lamb and pastured pork shares available now. We raise heritage breed animals, treat them very well, and process them at a humane slaughterhouse. The bacon from the pork is naturally cured and incredibly delicious. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how healthy Clark Farm’s animals look. We’re also taking vegetable share sign ups for the 2016 season.
If you can’t make it out to the farm but live in the greater Boston area, I highly recommend Walden Local Meat. Clark Farm is one of Walden’s suppliers. They have very high standards and offer monthly boxes of assorted meats. If you sign up and mention my you heard about them through me (Diana Rodgers), they’ll give you $10 off your first order.
Don’t live near Boston? A new company called Butcher Box is delivering grass-fed beef, organic, free-range chicken and humanely-raised pork across the country. They’re offering a free package of bacon to all new subscribers through this link.
I’ve interviewed several women meat producers for my podcast:
Want to try something new? Beef isn’t the only sustainable meat. I’m actually a huge fan of Bison meat. Honest Bison works with pasture-based producers to sell this iron rich, high omega-3 meat that has a fantastic, rich flavor. I highly recommend checking them out. When you order via the above link and enter Sustainabledish at checkout, they’ll include a free pound of ground bison with your order.
How to Thaw Frozen Meat:
Each week, I take a bunch of meat from our freezer and place it in a bowl inside our refrigerator. When it’s time to cook dinner, I look to see what meat is thawed and ready to go. As someone who is certified in safe food handling, I can tell you that this slow refrigerator method is the safest way to thaw meat since most refrigerators are below 40°F (4°C) and bacteria grows most quickly between 41°F and 135°F (5°C and 60°C). The meat also has more time to reabsorb the ice crystals that formed between the fibers, which gives it a better texture.
Sometimes, however, I am stuck with no thawed meat and need some fast. To quickly thaw meat, place the wrapped meat in a large bowl in the sink. Place it under cool running water for 15 to 20 minutes. This process works great for 1-pound packages of ground meat or steaks, but it isn’t great for a whole chicken or a big hunk of ham—I highly recommend that you use the slow-thaw refrigerator method for larger cuts of meat.
I prefer to get our meat sealed in plastic rather than wrapped in butcher paper. Butcher paper allows water to leak in when the meat is quick-thawed, resulting in soggy meat. Also, with the see-through plastic, I can see if there is any freezer burn before unwrapping it.
Do you have a pasture-based meat producer? Share their website in the comments.