Warning to vegetarians – you may want to look away now!
I had the pleasure of going along to an Organic Meat Masterclass last week held at my local Whole Foods store. All week in preparation for my 10k race I had adopted a sober, plant-based diet as that’s when I feel at my healthiest. However, I just couldn’t resist the invitation to sample some of the finest organic meats from Eversfield Farm, as well as a glass (or three) of organic prosecco 😉
The amount of meat that I consume has scaled down quite significantly in the past two years. I will still eat meat 80% of the time when I eat out, however I just don’t tend to bother cooking it at home that often anymore. I’ve found some delicious vegetarian recipes that are much cheaper, and I generally don’t crave it as much as I used to.
That being said, I really do appreciate a good steak. So I was very pleased to learn from Mike, one of the Whole Foods chefs, who taught us how to cook beef properly on the grill. I mean, that’s a serious life skill right?! Here are some of his tips:
1. Prepping the meat
Mike suggested that if you want to marinate your beef, then you should do this the day before and leave to refrigerate for 24 hours, taking it out of the fridge roughly 40 minutes to an hour before you cook it. This makes it easier to cook on the grill. He also recommended rubbing the meat with rapeseed oil and salt either three minutes before you cook it or 40 minutes after. Why so specific? It’s all to do with osmosis, my friend. These are the optimum times for the salt to absorb into the flavour of the steak. If you put it on any earlier before cooking, you end up losing the moisture. Tres scientific.
2. Cooking the meat
Do you want to know the magic number of minutes you should cook a steak? Four. And during those four minutes you need to RESIST the urge to check the underside of your steak before flipping over and cooking for another four minutes. You should then baste it with a little bit of butter until it’s done.
3. Eating the meat
Don’t go straight for the plates as soon as it’s off the grill! According to Mike you should let the meat rest to allow the juices to soak back inwards after cooking. Cover it with foil for 10-15 minutes before serving – preferably with a decent Malbec (now you’re talking!)
We were treated to a feast of meats as you can probably tell by my overuse of the word ‘meat’. Meat. MEAT. OK sorry I’ll stop now.
In addition to fillet, flat iron and rib eye steaks we also tried out some deliciously smoky pulled pork which had been slow cooked for no less than 10 hours (!!!) as well as some seriously tasty koftes made with minced lamb shoulder, onion, parsley, chopped mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli and smoked paprika. These are actually meant to be cooked from chilled as the cold binds the koftes together – fun fact for you!
I left feeling stuffed – hey, it’s not that often you get so many good quality meats on one table! My friend Fab and I chatted about how a sizeable chunk of the health bloggers in our community (if not the majority) follow vegetarian or vegan plant-based diets, and would they see meat as a healthy choice? The whole point of the Masterclass was to share the message for a #BetterBBQ this summer, encouraging people to make the switch to organic meat as it’s so much more beneficial to the environment and our health.
I think at the end of the day, you shouldn’t feel ashamed for keeping something in your diet that other people may deem “unhealthy”. Meat may not be as good for you as kale, but it still gives your body valuable nutrition and tastes bloody great too. I’ve been making the choice for the past few months to eat higher quality meat and fish when I can, so I’m glad I went along as I now feel more confident to experiment with the grill this summer!