FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We, at Rafter W Ranch, know buying your beef online can be challenging for some. This is why we diligently strive to provide our customers you with the most up-to-date information about our ranch, our philosophy, our methods, and (of course) our family.
We are a real Colorado family, with an amazing ranch in Simla, Colorado. We want you to be well-educated when it comes to purchasing our products; it’s one of the reasons our website is constantly updated. We hope we will become your “go-to ranch” so you can be confident that the food placed on your dinner table (or picnic table) is a blessing to your health and the health of the land. “We know you care about what your family eats … well, so do we!”
What you should know about grass-finished beef, how it differs from grass-fed beef, and why you this should be important to you?
- Grass-finished beef refers to beef animals that primarily feed on native and other natural grasses. Most store-bought beef is fed a significant amount of corn, grain, supplements and other additives, such as steroids and vaccinations in large feed lots to artificially ‘fatten’ up the beef. This not what nature intended. The result is that you are paying for fat and a less-healthy cut of meat. Our meat has none of those artificial additives. “We know you care about what your family eats … well, so do we!”
Why is grass-finished fed beef a healthier option?
- For a multitude of reasons, grass-fed beef is a healthier option versus store-bought beef. Grass-finished beef has about 30-40% less total fat, more antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), less cholesterol and is rich in Omega-3s. Our beef is 100% all-natural and raised with no corn, no soy, no hormones, no GMOs, no antibiotics and no artificial additives. It’s healthier for you, and your family.
Do I need to cook grass-finished beef differently?
- Yes. Since grass-finished fed beef is a leaner meat, you will have the best results by reducing the cooking temperature to medium setting and reducing the cooking time by about 30% when grilling or pan frying. Grass-finished beef is best enjoyed at a medium temperature, medium rare or rare. Grass-fed beef is like fine seafood; do not overcook! We recommend using a meat thermometer for best results cooking grass-finished beef.
MORE NOTES ON HOW TO COOK GRASS-FED PROPERLY
Stove top cooking gives you more control than grilling. We recommend cooking beef with butter (grass-finished of course!) and garlic. Remember, grass-finished beef needs to be cooked only about two-thirds as long as corn-fed beef. Remove from stove early as the meat continues to cook inside after being removed.
Using a meat tenderizer and a bit of seasoning is a good way to make grass-finished meats more tender and tastier. Try piercing the steak with a fork to help get seasoning and meat tenderizer into the meat and help break down the connective tissue.
Marinades are a great idea to increase tenderness. Be careful not to cover up the great taste of your grass-finished beef; make sure the seasoning is not too strong. Your goal is to increase the moisture content needed due to the absence of unhealthy fat.
Defrosting: We do not recommend using the microwave. Let meat achieve room temperature before cooking it, and avoid cooking it while still cold from the fridge.
After cooking, cover and set aside for about 5 minutes before serving, which allows the juices to permeate and redistribute.
For grilled burgers, try marinating first with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Sear the beef after about 20 seconds to lock in the juices and marinate as it cooks. Again, don’t overcook!
Roasting: Sear first to lock in juices; preheat the oven; use a 50-degree lower temperature.
So, what does "dry-aged" mean?
- We dry-age our beef for 28-30 days because aging refrigerated meat significantly increases the flavor by allowing the meat’s natural enzymes to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and more intense flavor. When we dry-age our grass-finished beef, the entire carcass is hung fresh in refrigerated conditions so that dehydration will further concentrate the meat’s flavor. To achieve more intense flavor for our customers, this process of refrigerated hanging for up to 30 days is more costly than most beef purchased in markets not only because the meat loses weight from dehydration the longer it is aged, but ultimately results in a more tender, flavorful product. And, let’s be honest … when you buy 30-day dry-aged beef, you’re not paying for excess moisture, which you would be if you bought beef that wasn’t dry-aged for that length of time.
What breed(s) are the cows?
- Dexter and Angus, some are a “Colorado Breed”, specifically bred for our climate and grasses.
Amazing, you have Dexter. Would it be possible to specify that I would like half Dexter?
- Yes, you may request Dexter and if we have any available we will gladly set one aside.
FROM AN INTERESTED BUYER: What supplements you guys use? What is the water source? What is used to deworm? Does your ranch vaccinate?
- All amazing questions, and thanks for asking them. For supplements, our ranch uses kelp, real salt, and a mineral approved by the AGA. Our water source is well water. We use Shaklee’s Basic H to deworm and we NEVER vaccinate … EVER!
Where is Rafter W Ranch's meat processed?
- Westcliffe Meats, in Westcliffe, Colorado.
How is Rafter W Ranch beef, chicken, or lamb delivered, picked up, or shipped?
- Our meats are delivered, picked up, and shipped FROZEN. For home delivery, we strongly recommend you leave an insulated box near your front door with cold packs to ensure your meat stays frozen.
- For those customers who wish to pick up their meat at a pick-up location near you, please check the most-appropriate location from our website at the time of ordering.
I am concerned about freezer space on my larger orders. Any idea on how much freezer space will I need?
- About 1 cubic foot per 30 pounds (lbs) of meat and room for bones. For reference, should you wish to purchase a larger quantity, each 1/4 beef is roughly 100 to 150lbs of meat. That’s a lot of incredibly delicious meals prepared with Rafter beef or lamb for you and your family to enjoy.
- When it comes to freezing chicken, prepare to need double the space. It also will depend on the size of the bird(s) you are freezing. Chicken takes up more space than beef or lamb.
How much meat will I be taking home?
- At Rafter W Ranch we have a “basic formula”:
Our “yield” cut is about 60-70% of the hang weight after 30 days of dry aging. A lot goes into this formula, as some animals have longer bones (for example, an Angus over a Dexter). We encourage customers to take advantage of including the bones and offal (organs) in their submitted cut sheet(s) to add to the percentage.
How long will the beef last?
- You can continue to freeze for at least one year. It is best consumed prior to the one year anniversary date of when it was frozen.
- For additional information on “Freezing and Food Safety” please visit this webpage, provided by the USDA (United States of Agriculture)
Does your ranch have a guarantee?
- Our goal is that every customer will be completely satisfied with their purchase of Beef, Lamb, Broilers or Eggs from our Ranch. That said, if you are not totally pleased with your purchase, please contact us and we will make it right.
- PLEASE NOTE: Our ranch guarantee DOES NOT include bulk beef orders.
I still have a question. Who should I contact on the ranch to discuss further?
- Our goal is that every customer or potential customer feel comfortable contacting us with any questions he/she should have. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us at 719.541.1002 or you can email us too … email@example.com.