About two months ago I received an email from La Cense Beef telling me about their grass-fed beef and asking if I'd be interested in writing about it for my site. I replied and asked for some "review steaks" (a la Michael Pollan) so I could try the product before writing about it. To my amazement, they said yes and sent me two steak burger patties, a ribeye, and a New York strip steak. And over the past six weeks, we've eaten it all and I am here to report: yum! First, a bit about the beef, which comes from Montana and is raised without added hormones or antibiotics:
La Cense Beef is natural and fed only grass. Unlike some other “grass-fed” brands, La Cense cattle are never fed grain to “finish” and produce rapid weight gain. The introduction of any amount of grain to the diet of cattle can diminish the quality of the beef, reducing both health benefits and the real beef flavor that makes this a truly epicurean ingredient for your finest meals.
La Cense Beef is produced exclusively from cattle born and raised on the La Cense ranch. La Cense Beef is not produced from cattle raised by a consortium of other ranchers. In this manner, La Cense is able to oversee quality production and adherence to its standards for humane care, as well as ensure that La Cense cattle never come into contact with other herds, which might lead to contamination or transmission of disease.
We started with the burgers, which I overcooked a bit but had a very nice heft and flavor to them. Next we ate the New York strip and I was very impressed with it. Some grass-fed beef I've had has been pretty lean, so even if it's undercooked a bit, it still may lack some moistness that makes a steak so good. But not this strip. It had a nice strip of fat along one side and it stayed juicy throughout cooking. It also had a great chewiness and tang, and what I can only describe as a real beef flavor. We ate the ribeye last and enjoyed that as well. And we had to cook all of them indoors on our cast-iron "grill." I can only imagine how good they would have tasted had they been done outdoors over fire!
We don't eat that much beef. When we do, I like it to be grass-fed and humanely raised but I also want it to taste delicious. La Cense beef makes that possible. Jason had a great steak frites at Bouchon last weekend. With the help of the Bouchon cookbook, we're going to attempt re-create it here at home with a flat iron steak I just ordered from La Cense.