There are probably countless reasons you could site for buying grass-fed (a.k.a. “naturally raised”) meat, but consider just this one: “Cattle that were fed grain had 106-fold more acid-resistant E. coli than cattle fed hay” (Grain Feeding and the Dissemination of Acid-Resistant Escherichia coli from Cattle Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, et al. Science 281, 1666 (1998); DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5383.1666).
Just in case you missed that, 106-fold = 1 milliontimes the acid-resistant E. coli than cattle fed grass.
I’ve been playing around with the idea of sous-vide cooking for some time, but had never tried it.
Sous-vide, (French for under-vacuum) is simply cooking without air — usually at low cooking temperatures, a vacuum sealed bag of food is placed under water and allowed to cook at the desired internal done temperature. Cooking like this prevents any over-cooking throughout the food (think of the steak that’s pink in the middle and well-done everywhere else) and it retains all of the foods natural juices and flavours. The biggest problem for the average foodie is that you need a device called a thermal immersion circulator that costs in the neighbourhood of $1300. The reason you need such a fancy device is because when you’re cooking meat sous-vide, you need to keep your meat at the right temperature to prevent both over-cooking and under-cooking (food poisoning). Because of the fairly narrow temperature window you need something that has the capability to maintain a low stable temperature. But I digest…er, digress…
Eggs are great for sous-vide because they’re already in their own little hard white vacuum packages and the cooking temperatures aren’t critical.
My set-up was simple, an egg in a bowel of water, in my toaster oven, with a temperature probe in the water. Being able to set the oven temperature and monitor the water temperature proved critical. I found that in order to maintain a 150° F water temperature, I had to set the oven to about 210°F. If you have a gas stove, I’m sure you could manage to get the right temperature with a low flame in a regular pot of water, but I’ve got a ceramic cook-top (much to my chagrin!), so stove-top cooking wasn’t really an option. Electric stoves just aren’t stable enough — your temperatures would be all over the place.
When I last wrote on the topic, my meat drying was approximately 50% complete. The next afternoon the elk and a few honey-dates were nice and dry and ready for pulverizing!
Because of the underwhelming power and quality of my food processor, I decided that it would be prudent to cut up the larger strip into smaller pieces. This worked, but overall my food processor just didn’t cut it. 😉 It worked out in the end, but the texture ended up a little too coarse for my liking…although still very tasty. Continue reading “Pemmican – Part 2”