Picanha Beef Skewers Recipe
We are going to share a fun recipe with you today using a cut of beef that’s gaining popularity in the United States. The cut is called Picanha and it is the top of the rump roast. It gets its name from a Portuguese word Picana, a type of cane used in Portugal and Spain to herd cattle. In Brazil, the Picanha is the most popular cut of meat, and today we will share our take on how to prepare Picanha.
The cut of beef comes from the top of the sirloin. Most US butchers cut this part into sections called rump, loin, and round. In the Brazilian style, the cut is kept intact and the fat is left on.
Preparation is easy â just slice, season, skewer.
In Brazil, the Picanha is grilled over an open flame. Our twist to this style is to smoke the horseshoe-shaped cuts, then give them a nice sear on a cast iron griddle.
- Picanha beef roast â try requesting this cut from your local butcher if it isn’t available on the shelf. In the US, it’s often called the sirloin cap.
Grass Fed Vs Grain Fed
We get a lot of questions about the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. What we have found is that people want to buy the highest quality beef that is also ethically raised and free of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty things. We have also learned there is a ton of confusion about whether grass-fed beef is a better buy than grain-fed beef.
Today, we are going to discuss the real differences that matter to buyers. We’re going to share some tips for making good purchase decisions at your local butcher or grocery store, and then we want to share another favorite recipe with you.
Does Grass Fed Or Grain Fed Beef Taste Better
Of course, this is the most important question. Everyone knows that grass fed beef costs more, but does it taste better? There are differences in the texture and flavor of each type, but the biggest determiner to flavor is the quality of the beef and the type of cut.
On our YouTube channel, we have a video showing how we break down two similar beef carcasses, one which was grass-fed and the other was grain-fed. Both cattle were raised nearby, and we have a great amount of knowledge about the environment these cattle grew up in. For instance, we know they are free of growth hormones, antibiotics, and they have been raised on a high-quality diet.
It’s important to point out that neither animal was rated by the USDA, which is a voluntary grading system for US cattle that establishes high-quality. Even though ours aren’t graded, that doesn’t mean they are inferior. Many conventionally raised animals are fed grain diets that include growth hormones. In most cases, if it doesn’t have a label saying it’s free of these additives, assume they are there.
Read Also: Pee Dee Steak House On 125 Menu
So Which Should You Choose
Keep in mind that BOTH options are delicious, healthy, and highly nutritious choices. Each of them just has a slight edge on the other in different aspects of their flavour & nutrition profiles.
So choosing between grass-fed and grain-finished beef comes down to which is more important to you if you want the most tender and sweet beef, choose grain finished. And if you want the absolute maximum in natural health and nutrition, choose grass-fed beef.
If you cant decide between them, we recommend that you start out with grain-finished beef. Its the way weve been producing beef to rave reviews for over three generations at Whispering Meadows.
So Where Does Beef At The Grocery Store Come From
It can come from a few places. In 2020, for every pound of US beef this country exported, we imported 1.5 pounds. And thats just the meat itself we were tracking. The number of imported cattle is even higher and the beef is coming from Canada, Australia and much of Mexico and Latin America.
Once the meat passes inspection here in the United States, it gets a product of the USA label even if it wasnt raised here. At the time of this articles creation, the USDA was looking at possibly changing this loophole.
US raised beef is largely produced on farms just like mine all over the country then those cattle are sold and shipped out West to a feedlot facility where they are grain fed a scientifically balanced diet for a specific time before going to one of the big 4 meat processors in the United States. These 4 companies process, control and ship 85% of all beef in the United States.
And thats the meat you find in your grocery store. Processed and packed in black plastic containers in long strings you never can seem to break up when it cooks. You dont know where it came from and next to nothing about its life.
Thats your grain fed supermarket meat.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Track My Omaha Steaks Order
Should You Cook Grass
Being leaner with less marbling means grass-fed beef will require a little more care on the grill. Steaks like rib eye, Porterhouse, T-bone, and NY strip are among the most tender cuts of beef and so are well-suited to the grill.
The secret is to sear at high heat only very briefly, then, using a 2-zone set-up on your grill, switch the meat to indirect heat to finish cooking. This will prevent the more muscular structure of the meat from tightening up and becoming tough. I always recommend using a thermometer, especially when grilling over indirect heat, so you can be sure the meat reaches safe internal temperatures.
Another option you have is slow-cooking larger cuts over low heat. Slow-cooking over indirect heat on the grill helps break down connective tissue and turns tough collagen into melt-in-the-mouth goodness.
With a significantly higher fat content and the delicate white marbling so prized by steak lovers everywhere, grain-fed beef is a surefire winner. Easy to grill, you can pretty much count on a juicier steak every time.
Grass Fed Vs Grain Fed Difference #: Health Benefits
Both grass fed beef and grain fed beef are concentrated sources of important nutrients.
Loaded with bioavailable B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium, and protein, both types of beef contain almost every nutrient you need to survive and thrive. Theyre also rich in rarely-acknowledged nutrients, like carnosine, which promote muscular strength and health. And it should go without saying that beef is a vital part of any low-carb or carnivore diet.
If grain fed beef is good for you, then grass fed beef is simply great. The health differences between the two can be placed into four major categories:
- Better fatty acid profile
- Higher in micronutrients
- Lower in contaminants
We already covered the first of these major differences, so lets now take a look at the remaining three.
Recommended Reading: Did Mcdonald’s Discontinue Egg White Delight
The Challenge Of Finding Truly Grass
Knowing the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is not enough to ensure you buy the healthiest meat, because the term grass-fed has been unregulated by the USDA since 2016. What this means is that theres no guarantee your grass-fed beef was never fed grains just because its label says grass-fed.
The key is to find beef described as grass-fed and grass-finished this essentially means the beef in question is the embodiment of grass-fed beef. Its a way for top-quality producers to differentiate their beef from those marketed as natural or pasture-raised, which gives no indication as to whether theyre grass- or grain-fed, but sounds good to consumers.
Regardless, your best bet, if you want 100-percent grass-fed beef is to find a local farmer and learn how their meat was raised.
Its worth noting that although farmers raising grass-fed/grass-finished beef dont typically abuse growth hormones and antibiotics, there is no real regulation around their use. This is all the more reason to get to know your local farmers as well as to look for the words USDA organic if you want your meat antibiotic- and hormone-free.
Is Grass Fed Beef Worth It The Bottom Line
Lets recap the basics: Though grass-fed beef has a generally healthier nutrient profile, conventionally raised, grain fed beef is still a great source of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids.
Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, can be prohibitively expensive in some areas. If the mere thought of affording it is stressful, you might be wise to stick with conventional beef. Differences in taste and texture mean you might prefer grain fed beef anyways.
Ultimately, the choice to go grass fed or grain fed depends on a combination of your preferences, ideals, location, and means.
Choose whatever option is best for your holistic health or just try both and see which you like better.
Recommended Reading: Country Fried Steak Sam’s Club
The Battle Over Taste: Grass
As meat-eaters, all we want is that perfect, juicy steak.
But, when it comes to taste, we cant say that one type of steak is better than another since it depends on preference something that varies between us. However, understanding the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef can take us one step closer to finding that steak which tastes best for us!
As you may already know, most of the flavour from any kind of meat comes from the fat. This is important to note because:
- different animal diets lead to different nutrients found within their fat
- this means that animal diet affects the flavour of the meat
Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in beef fat, but its presence is dependent on the cows diet. Luckily, its something we can SEE. The fat in grass-fed beef contains high levels of beta-carotene, giving off a yellow colour. However, cows fed on barley or corn have low beta-carotene content within the fat, giving it a whiter/paler yellow colour.
Beta-carotene is only one of the several nutrients that are more present in grass-fed beef. From previous blog posts, you may remember that grass-fed beef is also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids. When we consider all of these nutrients that are missing from grain-fed beef, does it really surprise us that it tastes different?
Notice how it says different, and not better because again, taste is a subjective thing.
Does grain-fed beef bring anything to our taste buds that grass-fed doesnt?
Whats The Beef The Pros And Cons Of Grass Fed Vs Grain Fed
It is no secret that Canadians love their beef. Whether eating steaks fresh from the barbecue, enjoying a spicy chilli, or digging into a classic burger, Canadians each consumed on average more than twenty-five kilograms of beef in 2018 alone, and this number is projected to remain stable in 2019. Food trends may be changing across the country, but one thing is clear: for many individuals and families, beef is a dietary staple.
There are a variety of cultural reasons for this. Canada, a country home to peoples from all over the world, has a rich and varied cuisine but the availability and quality of Canadian beef is ideally suited to dishes as different as Korean bulgogi, Argentinian milanesa, Hungarian goulash, Ukrainian borscht, Turkish kebabs, and Indonesian satay as well as Western European classics like steak frites, meatballs, and steak and kidney pies. For millions of Canadians, the taste of beef is the taste of the homeland.
But there are other reasons why beef is such a big hit in this country. Between the rolling hills of the southern Ontario and the great cattle ranges of Albertas prairies, Canada has a long tradition of producing some of the best cattle in the world. And with truLOCAL, the only meat delivery services across the country that has specialized from the beginning in providing the very best local and sustainable beef straight to customers doors, getting hold of the best Canadian beef is easy.
Don’t Miss: Frozen Steaks Delivered
Can’t Decide Whether To Pick Up Grass Fed Vs Corn Fed Beef Here’s What We Know
It used to be that a steak was a steak was a steak. Today, its not that simple. A quick glance at the butchers counter will reveal all kinds of cuts you never knew about along with fancy breeds like Angus, Wagyu and Kobe. Then, just when you thought you came to a decision, youre faced with grass fed vs corn fed beef. Is there actually a difference between these two types of meat, other than the obvious price difference?
Where To Buy Grass
So you want to pony up the money for grass-fed? Where should you go?
Because of the spike in interest, there is now a wide variety of places to buy grass-fed ruminant products.
Your local grocery store should have grass-fed beef, but you can also go to online retailers such as US Wellness Meats, Slankers and White Oak Pastures.
A great brand of grass-fed butter is Kerry Gold.
Additionally, you can use the site eatwild.com to source meat directly from a local farmer.
Grain Finished Or 100% Grass Fed
In an acidic environment, the healthy bacteria are replaced by a fermentation bacteria that impedes the healthy by-products and increases the levels of omega -6. The cattle become sick as their liver cannot cope. The result farmers have to battle with a range of diseases in their animals and may rely on preventative and reactive drug use.
Most ancestral health and functional health followers are buying grass fed meat because they believe that it will be rich in omega 3 and CLA.
In the UK it is very unusual to find animals that are not grain fed especially towards their slaughter, the vast majority of Farmers finish their animals on cereals in order to get them to the desired weight and conformation required by the buyers, butchers and supermarkets. Sometimes animals are grass finished alongside grain feeding, this still has an undesirable result on the quality of nutrients in the meat.
The Next Time You Buy Some Meat Or Talk To A Farmer Directly Ask These Questions To Build A Picture Of Where They Are On The Spectrum Of Sustainable And Healthy Meat Production:
- Does the livestock you produce get fed ANY grains or cereals? If so how many KG per animal per day.
- Are your animals finished outdoors on pasture? If they are indoors in winter what do they eat?
- Are your animals given any routine medications, wormers and what is your policy on antibiotic use?
- If you are feeding grains, are you using UK based companies and do they use UK sourced organic grains? If the grains are not UK grown then ask:
- Do the grains you feed contain GMO?
We need to build pressure and awareness around these hidden practices its YOUR job as consumers to care enough about this issue to ask and it is OUR job as retailers and farmers to know this information provide you with honest answers.
Read Also: Larry’s Steaks Menu Rising Sun
Is The Nutritional Difference Much Ado About Nothing
Champions of grass-fed beef are quick to point out its health benefits, especially concerning good fats and vitamin content.
Critics say the differences are negligible, pointing out that five times the vitamin E can be had from a handful of almonds than from a burger . Note too that flaxseed and fatty fish are significantly richer in omega 3 fats and, for your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, a handful of fruits and vegetables fills the bill better than beef does.
The bottom line? There clearly is a nutritional difference between grass-fed and grain-fed. And at some level, it just plain makes sense that its healthier for us to consume an animal that eats what its born to eat instead of something it needs assistance from drugs to digest. Butand its a big butthe nutritional differences are small.
What is significant is the lower fat and calorie content of grass-fed over grain-fed beef. And for those who enjoy a tasty steak and a trimmer waistline, grass-fed makes an excellent choice.
In the end, it may just feel good to you to eat beef that you know has been raised and fed naturally and traditionally, is hormone and antibiotic-free, lower in fat, and has slightly higher levels of vitamins and healthful fats.
Then again, you may preferas many restaurants and steakhouses preferto choose a grain-fed beef that will be juicier and arguably more flavorful because of its higher fat content.
You Might Also be Interested in
What Is In The Grain
The grain fed to cows in feedlots is typically an energy-dense mix of corn, soy, sometimes oats, barley, and other grains. It also contains antibiotics to prevent the animals from getting sick from this diet, which is unnatural.
Growth hormones are often also added to speed up their weight gain so that farmers can get them to market sooner, which is more cost-effective for the farmer.
You May Like: Pee Dee Steak House On 125
Defining Grass Fed Cattle
Grass-fed cows, on the other handle, are generally treated better. Most grass-fed farming operations allow their cattle to move about relatively freely and eat fresh grass for at least part of the day. But the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed isnt quite as clear-cut as it may first appear.
Thats because theres no official standard for what defines the term grass-fed. Theres no governing body that guarantees that your grass-fed beef has been pasture-raised, allowed to freely graze outdoors. In some cases the grass-fed is a label applied simply to cows in feedlots that have been finished with grass.
That being said, grass-fed cows primarily eat a natural diet of grass, while grain-fed cows primarily eat an unnatural diet of corn and soy. But since the USDA doesnt enforce terms like grass-fed, the only way to know for certain how your meat was raised is to get to know the farmers you source from or buy online from a known grassfed farm.