a day with the texas beef council.
Yesterday I attended a media event hosted by the TX Beef Council.
The tour didn’t start until 10am and was leaving from Sugarland (a suburb of Houston). I had been eyeing a acai bowl place in Sugarland, so I was happy I got to try it out. I was going to link to the acai bowl place…but they had a giant “start your cleanse” button on their site and I don’t link to that crap. So. Anyways.
I got their acai bowl topped with walnuts, coconut, cranberries, chocolate hazelnut butter & bananas. I liked the toppings. I wasn’t crazy about the thinness of the acai smoothie though. But just look at that chocolatey nut butter!
Then I headed over for the media tour.
The ranch we went to is a ranch where they breed cattle to sell to other farms to help other ranchers diversify their stock. We got to meet this pretty brahman show bull. Is showing livestock a “thing” where you live? Sometimes I think I’m too much in my Texas bubble where livestock shows are a typical thing. If you are ever in Houston during rodeo time…you should totally go! It’s a fun experience.
Unlike dogs and other cows, brahman CAN sweat! Which I found interesting because I always think it’s a bummer that Maggie can’t sweat. I thought his ears looked like giant mouse ears. The brahman breed do really well in heat…which is why they are raised in Texas where it’s 80 degrees in November :)
We learned about steps the ranchers are taking to decrease the stress the animals feel. They talked about the experimental weaning program they recently did which separated cows and calves in the least stressful way possible. Instead of just taking the calf away from the mother and having the baby lose milk and companionship, they do fence line weaning where the cow and calf get to see each other but are separated by a fence. They also do a quiet wean where there is a clip on the nose of the calf that pushed away the mom’s teat when he/she tries to nurse. I found it interesting.
I also learned that the average size of a beef cattle herd in Texas is just 36 head, which surprised me. I expected the average to be much larger. I like the idea of smaller herds.
The rancher also touched on taking care of the environment + the cattle. I liked when he said, “if it’s good for the environment, it’s good for cattle. If it’s good for the cattle, it’s good for the consumer.”
Later we headed to lunch.
For lunch, they had a grill master teach us how to grill. I feel like I’d never been taught how to grill, so I loved this tutorial and will be grilling on my own more.
First we were taught to lay the charcoal in a flat layer (not a pyramid like I had been taught) to prevent hot/cold spots.
After the charcoals turned gray, we used a wadded up ball of foil to scrap anything off the grate. Then we used a sliced in half onion to get off any remaining bits. I had never heard of using an onion to “clean” the grill. I’ll definitely be using that tip again.
Then we seasoned our steaks with olive oil + spices and put ’em on the grill.
You know they’re ready to flip when you see moisture coming up out of your steak. Only flip once and take your steak off the grill when you reach an internal temperature of 140ºF (it’ll keep cooking after you take it off).
For sides they had a big strawberry & pecan salad + grilled veggies.
For dessert the ranchers wife made us a cobbler + vanilla ice cream and banana pudding. I had a bit of both. They were excellent!
I always like getting to meet with ranchers and hear how they take care of their animals. There is a lot of fear mongering out there about the beef industry and the care of animals…so I like getting to meet with ranchers who are the ones actually doing the work. A good rancher would be just as upset by poor agricultural practices as a consumer. It’s always nice to see the level of respect ranchers have for their herds.
I know some of you are vegetarians/vegans or just choose not to eat meat, I personally choose to eat beef and appreciate opportunities to learn more about where my food comes from.