Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sirloin Tips... my favorite natural grass fed beef recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes for "lean" grass fed beef because it circumvents two potential problems:

1. Lean grass fed beef leaves very little margin for overcooking. Cook it past "medium" and you've probably dried it out. Grass fed beef, younger than 18 to 24 months, is very tender but generally very lean and it possesses very little intramuscular fat (IMF). The IMF found in grain fed beef and older grass fed animals releases moisture into the meat during the cooking process, thereby leaving a margin of error for over cooking. But without this safety-cushion, one has to be very careful not to dry out lean beef.

2. When you buy directly from a farm, you generally agree to buy a 1/2 or a 1/4 of an entire animal. Receiving a freezer full of direct-from-the-farm natural beef is pure bliss. Dive into the freezer and come out with any cut of meat you could ever want! But if you dive into the freezer every evening, and pull out only premium cuts of steak, you'll soon find you have no steaks left! Hamburger will hold you over into the grilling season, until at some point you find only roasts in the freezer. We've all been there.

This is where the "tip roast" comes into play. Using this recipe, you can transmute "roast" into "steak" and keep the grill going long after the burgers and steaks have disappeared from your freezer. It will also impart an extra degree of moisture to the meat that will let you finish the meat to "medium well" for your guests that refuse to eat natural beef as it should be enjoyed (medium rare!).

I'm no chef, but I've watched my wife fix this dish, so last week I tried it myself... with her guidance of course. Here's how we do it:

Step 1.
Thaw the cut labeled "tip roast" or "sirloin tip roast." Don't even think about using the microwave unless you really want to ruin the meat. The last processor we used wrapped our cuts with three layers of wax paper, so I remove all all but the last layer and leave the roast in the fridge for a day on a dish that will catch the juices. (BTW, as the roast thaws, it will cool your food in the fridge, saving you an infinitesimal amount of electric on your next bill!) If your packager seals these cuts in plastic, you could soak the whole package in water for even quicker thawing.

Step 2.
Cut the roast into cubes about 1.5" on a side. If the roast is 90% thawed but still a wee bit frozen, it will actually be easier to cut. As the tips soak in the marinade, they'll have time to thaw completely.

Step 3.
Make a marinade. You can be creative, but the essential ingredient is vinegar. I suggest wine vinegar or some other natural vinegar, but not common white vinegar. Wouldn't it defeat the purpose of buying natural beef to smother it in a petroleum extract? If you're short on time or not feeling particularly adventuresome, use your favorite Italian salad dressing. Otherwise, mix the natural vinegar with olive oil, and add mustard seeds (these are really good), garlic (dried or fresh), minced onions, peppers (sweet or not-too-hot), black pepper, and celery seeds. Last week, just for kicks, I added some dried Chanterelle mushrooms, and was pleasantly surprised with the flavor they contributed.

Step 4.
Mix the "steak tips" in the marinade and let sit in your fridge for at least another day. If you make up twice as many tips as you need, you can have another meal a few days later after the marinated has permeated the tips even more. No one at our house has ever complained about eating this dish twice in one week!

Step 5.
After at least 24 hours of soak time, Grill! Over wood or charcoal is obviously the best. But if you're under the gun, or weather doesn't permit firing up the grill, try the broiler on your oven - that's how I cooked these. I suggest cooking these only to medium rare, but my wife prefers medium, and some guests prefer medium well. Just remember, as small as they are, they'll cook even faster than steaks, and as with all meat, it will still be cooking inside in the minutes after being removed from the heat source.

Please let me know if you try this dish or have a different variation for us to try. In the middle ages, they tried to turn Lead into Gold, with no good results as far as I know, but the process here is guaranteed to turn "tip roast" into "steak." Although I've never tried it with supermarket "tip roast," I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work for that too!


Alison said...

It may sound crazy but I have never seen raw meat that looks so beautiful. The color and marbling are wonderful. I can only imagine how great this dish tasted. Hell, I'd almost eat it raw. Ha

And major props for the medium-rare. Dead on. (Pun intended)

Raphael said...

how come no updates? how's the wagyu coming along? and the rotational grazing?

Norma said...

I think the sirloin tips with grass fed beef looks delicious. Then again I think anytime you healthy grass fed premium steak the chances are you'll have a great dish. The recipe really looks tasty. I think that the most important part to making a good meal is finding the right Steak Recipes and the right steak. LaCense Beef is a great resource for both of these. Though I do work for them, they honestly offer a lot of amazing recipes to try, as well as high quality, grass fed beef that you can order. I definitely recommend them.

Anonymous said...

I want to start a Wagyu herd and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction.

Janice said...

Being rather new to grass fed beef, I have been searching for some new and different grass fed roast recipes. I like what you say about grass fed sirloin tip roast, and your recipe looks great.

Janice said...

Being rather new to grass fed beef, I have been searching for some new and different grass fed roast recipes. I like what you say about grass fed sirloin tip roast, and your recipe looks great.