On Saturday, Mike and I took a class at Whole Foods on grilling beef. Highly recommend it. A few things I learned:

  • E. coli is the most commonly-found bacteria in beef, but it only grows in the cow’s intestinal tract. When beef is processed industrially (read: 400 cows an hour for 16 hours a day), the chances of puncturing the intestines are pretty high. When processed on smaller farms at a slower rate, the chances are almost negligible, making it far safer to eat rare beef.
  • Assuming you’re eating beef that’s been handled well, much more raresteakflavor is retained when it’s served rare. Next time you cook beef, try eating it one notch rarer than you normally do. Close your eyes if you have to, but it will be much tastier.
  • Beef should be thawed and brought to room temperature before cooking. This allows the meat to cook evenly, keeping you from having a raw center and charred outside. Do not skip this step. It’s that important.
  • I kind of thought the draw of “free range” beef and poultry was just the touchy-feely aspect of happier chickens and cows. Not so. Free-range animals, as the name suggests, move around a lot more than industrially-raised animals in pens, which means they use their muscles, which develops flavor in the final product. It also means they’re leaner since they don’t stand in once place all day.