Even the most avid hunters don’t eat wild game at every meal. A few hunters don’t eat it at all, although we are working to change that here at Timber2Table. Add to that the spouses, children, and friends who might want another meat option, and you have a fairly large population of folks who sometimes look for something other than game meat at dinnertime.
Around here, that something else is often beef. When we aren’t eating the beef that we raise and butcher ourselves, I am pretty picky about where our steaks and burgers come from. How was the beef raised? Did the cattle spend their days roaming freely over pasture, or were they confined to a tiny feed lot? Did they receive hormones or unnecessary medications and antibiotics? Where were they raised? Where and how were they butchered? With the new laws governing country of origin, the beef at many box stores and chain groceries could have been raised or butchered anywhere in the world with no notice at all on the label.
All of this is why I was excited to hear that Realtree had teamed up with the E3 Meat Company. The more I talked to the folks at E3, and read about their approach to raising and producing quality Angus beef, the more excited I became about the partnership. In short, the E3 Meat Co. believes happy cows produce the best beef. And they do everything they can to make sure their cattle are happy throughout their lives.
What makes a happy and healthy cow? For starters, the cattle are raised on open pasture, with plenty of forage to keep them healthy. E3 Cattle are given no hormones or steroids at any point in their life. While the company started out with a “no antibiotics ever” mindset, it became evident that the health of the cattle would suffer under that directive. Now, cattle are given antibiotics on an “as needed” basis for each individual animal. No antibiotics are given within 100 days of processing, the USDA standard for a “natural” label on beef.
In addition to the health aspects of the cattle, E3 takes a holistic approach to ranching in general. Instead of chemical weed control, they use natural methods like controlled burns to keep weeds down and add nutrients back to the soil. They also use pasture and other plantings to prevent runoff into local streams and rivers.
Does all of this make the beef more expensive than supermarket beef? Yes, it does, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing that I am feeding my family and friends a healthy and high-quality product makes the extra cost worth it to me.
So, how does it taste? Pretty danged good. Better than that, even, some of the best beef I have ever eaten. For our introduction to E3 beef, we chose a couple of tomahawk style, bone-in ribeyes. To truly taste the beef, I did a simple rub of salt and pepper and reverse seared the steaks on the Traeger grill.
Reverse searing is a perfect cooking method for thicker steaks and chops. It simply means that the meat starts out at a low temperature to gently and slowly come up to temperature, then rested for a bit before being finished over extremely high temperatures.
Since I wanted a medium-rare finish on the steaks, we cooked them to 125 degrees (check with an instant-read or remote thermometer) before pulling and lightly tenting with foil to rest. While the steaks rested and the temperature stabilized, I turned the Traeger all the way to high and let it come up to temperature. When it was hot (450-degrees plus) the steaks were returned to the grill to sear for an additional four to five minutes per side. If your steaks are less than an inch thick, reduce your sear time to two minutes per side to lessen the chance of overcooking.
I had planned to top the steaks with butter as they rested a second time, but they were so succulent and juicy that I left them as they were and simply sliced across the grain into serving slices. My daughter and I each enjoyed a bone to gnaw on, the best part of a bone-in steak.
If you are looking for high quality, healthy beef, head on over to www.e3meatco.com and give the folks at E3 a look.
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