Our favorite lean cuts and how to cook them

Our favorite lean cuts and how to cook them

What are Leaner Meats?

Leaner meats come from one of two sources:

  1. Come from leaner animals
  2. Originate from leaner parts of the animal

Let’s talk about each of those categories:

 

Leaner Beef From Animals with More Muscles and Less Fat due to Physical Exercise and Diet

The more exercise an animal gets, the leaner its overall body composition (we know this from our own bodies, right??). 

Because free-range pastured animals in general will get more movement all over, typically you will find lower fat everywhere in free range animals.

Belcampo’s beef tests – depending on the cut – have shown that our beef has anywhere from 30-50% less fat per gram than our competitors who keep the animals confined in lots. When animals are in a feedlot, in addition to eating grain, which is high nutrient density and causes them to gain weight quickly, they also do not get much exercise.

Belcampo’s chicken consistently has 30-40% less fat than conventional. 

Belcampo Pork is the exception to the lean meat trend from regenerative and pastured operations – heritage pork breeds, which are adaptive to regenerative farms because they are resistant to weather and can thrive on various types of terrain – were historically selected to have very high fat levels. They were called “the olive tree with 4 legs” in Mediterranean countries and in the less-poetic USA, simply “lard pigs”. So, these pigs have a genetic predisposition to high fat ratios and typically have 2-3X the fat of conventional pigs. The genetic predisposition to a very high proportion of fat outweighs the impact of a healthier diet and more movement and exercise for pastured, regenerative pigs. For the record, this fat is relatively higher in monounsaturated fats, and the lean meat is higher in protein and more moist and flavorful than conventional pork. But if you are looking for lean pork, certain cuts from Belcampo will meet your needs: Sirloin Chop and Tenderloin.

 

Leaner Cuts Originate in Parts of the Animal That Get A LOT of Movement and Work

In general, the leaner cuts are the ones from the parts of the animal that are more exercised and/or are loadbearing - from parts of the animal like the legs that are getting a lot of movement.

 Here are the cuts among Belcampo's selection that are leanest: 

  • Beef

    • Strip Steak
    • Shasta Steak (London Broil)
    • Sirloin
    • Top Sirloin
    • Tenderloin
    • Picanha
    • Tritip

    Lamb

    • Leg
    • Loin

    Chicken

    • All parts

    Pork

    • Sirloin chop
    • Tenderloin

Cooking Lean Cuts of Beef & Lamb

To cook lean cuts of beef and lamb to perfection, three golden rules:

  1. Cook medium rare or medium (to an internal temperature of 120º-130º)
  2. Let rest 10 mins after cooking
  3. Slice thin against the grain for any whole muscle cuts (roasts, picanha, tritip)

Any cuts more than 1.5 lbs will be easiest to cook in the oven:

  • Preheat to 425º
  • Roast at 425º for 10 mins and reduce to 350º
  • Cook until the desired internal temperature is reached, that will take 15 minutes a lb in total

 Any cuts less than 1.5 lbs will be easiest to cook on the stove top:

  • Heat a small amount of high heat fat (suet or avocado oil) until smoking
  • Pat steak dry sprinkle with salt and sear in the fat on both sides, hold with your tongs to sear the edges as well
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook 2-6 mintues each side depending on thickness – until an internal temperature of 120-125 is reached