Father’s Day is right around the corner and unless he is vegetarian, gifting him with some delicious grass-finished meat that he can stew, fry or grill in a cinch could well be the ultimate gift.  After all what dad doesn’t like to eat?  However not all dads are Jamie Oliver in the kitchen and they need a little guidance on cooking meat to perfection.


Spencer Nicholls, head butcher at one of the only two grass-fed beef producers in the Western Cape namely Farmer Angus, shares this handy advice for dads.


Choosing your cuts of beef

It all comes down to FAT. If you don’t like fat then buy fillet or thick flank (tip is to get your butcher to cut this for you) or topside. We are fat lovers and so we choose brisket, rib-eye on the bone, oxtail and a special delicacy namely the flap of the rib-eye.


What to cook with the cut you buy?

The meal you want to cook, will be determined by how much time you have and what the occasion is. If you have some time, and its cold outside then nothing beats an oxtail stew can take up to six hours to cook. If you have plenty of time try steak tartare using thick flank, is the way to go.


What’s the deal with fillet?  

Fillet is overrated. It has no flavour, which is why it’s usually served with a sauce. It is however very soft, which is why it’s so popular. What’s important to note is that fillet eaters are only consuming less than 1% of the carcass and hence are missing out on most of what the animal offers. Should you only want to cook fillet, we recommend slicing it finely and frying it in butter and lemon. Otherwise wait until all your teeth have fallen out, because there are much more delicious cuts to choose from.


Meat preparation

Grass-fed beef is generally cooked at a lower temperature than grain-fed beef. The time of cooking depends on how raw you like your meat. We like it medium-rare. Overcooked meat gives no joy. It is ideal to have the meat out of the fridge for half an hour prior to cooking but it’s not that important. What is essential is to never to cook meat directly from frozen.


Seasoning and basting

South Africans have been eating feedlot beef for so long, that the only way to get real flavour and enjoyment from it is by basting or sauces. Beef that cannot be eaten without a sauce does not deserve to be eaten. If you have to use any seasoning, sprinkle some unwashed sea salt you’re your meat. In this way, you get to truly taste the farmer’s pastures and not the feedlots GMO corn.



This is the secret to getting meat to melt in your mouth. The longer the meat has aged (dry ageing is better than wet ageing) the softer it becomes, as the enzymes continue to break it down.


Resting your meat

Resting grilled meat is critical. This process allows the heat to travel throughout the piece of meat and also gives the cells a chance to relax so it can release some of its delicious juices. The cells tense up during cooking.


Ideal cooking methods 

This depends on what you’re cooking. I fry my burger patties, rib-eye on bone, sirloin, rump and sausages in a griddle pan. For the flatiron steak and spider steak, I like to fry them in a pan with ghee or pork lard.


For more on Farmer Angus go to www.farmerangus.co.za

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