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The Holiday season is approaching, and each host wants to impress their friends and family the most with tasty fare. We all want our guest’s mouths to start watering when we bring out our delectable dishes. The key to making all this happen is to ensure that these dishes are prepared in the finest way possible.

Preparing a tender, juicy and flavorful Ontario beef dish can be quick and easy, or a detailed and focused display of craftsmanship. Whatever your cooking style, here are some helpful tips to guarantee your friends and family an appetizing entrée.

Thawing

Your refrigerator provides the best method for thawing Ontario beef as it allows for better texture and is safer as well against harmful bacteria. Thawing in a refrigerator will require more time than simply thawing on your counter so planning ahead is required. Place your steaks in a refrigerator on a plate or tray; make sure they are on a lower shelf in the chance that juices may flow off the plate onto food below. Allow a minimum of 24 hours for a steak to thaw, thicker steaks may take 48 hours. Once thawed, prepare the beef as soon as possible, ensuring you and your guest enjoy a delicious meal.

Check out the chart below for a great Defrosting Guide.

Beef Cut

Thickness

Approximate Refrigeration Time (at 35° F to 40° F)

Steaks

1/2 to 3/4 inch

12 hours

Stewing Beef

1 to 1-1/2 inches

24 hours

Small Roasts 

Varies

3 to 5 hours per pound

Large Roasts 

Varies

4 to 7 hours per pound

 

Preparation Tips

Steaks

Feature the natural flavor of the meat with simple preparation: rub with olive oil and season with kosher salt or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

A great way to marinate is placing the steak in a re-sealable bag, allowing the steak to absorb the marinade while squeezing out the air and minimizing mess

Roasts

To accomplish even colour throughout, tie the roast with string prior to cooking.

For optimum tenderness, marinate the roast for up to 12 to 24 hours before cooking

Cutting Tips

Roasts

Make sure you have a SHARP carving knife

To ensure even slices, hold the knife at the same angle for each cut

When cutting for tender pieces, cut meat against the grain.

Serving Tips

Steaks

Let the steaks sit for five minutes before serving. This allows them to continue to cook another 5-10oF.

Roasts

Let the roast stand for 10 to 12 minutes after removing from the oven to achieve the ideal tenderness and juiciness. Remove the roast from the oven when your meat thermometer reads 5-10° F below the desired doneness. This will allow you to reach the serving temperature you enjoy. Once removed from the oven, the roast will continue to cook to reach the desired internal temperature of 140° F (for medium doneness).

 

Rob and Maryjo Tait own and operate Celtic Ridge Farms located in Dutton Dunwich, Ontario with their son Alexander. Rob’s mom Annie Isobel still lives in the original homestead built in 1873 and remains active on the farm continuing the family farm tradition. Celtic Ridge Farms is a commercial cow/calf operation, along with a small purebred Limousin herd, and sheep. Rob and Maryjo’s key focuses are on raising cattle without additives or added growth hormones, animal traceability, the welfare and health of their cattle and environmental sustainability. Cattle are finished on the farm and sold through farm gate sales, while heifers are retained to continue growing their herd.

The home farm has been in their family since 1873. Their son Alexander is the fifth generation to live on the farm. Rob’s parents Annie Isobel (McCallum) and Duncan Alexander Tait farmed throughout their lives and instilled many qualities in their children that continue today on the farm, most notably the importance of hard work, being community oriented and of course the importance of respecting and caring for livestock. Rob’s Dad always stressed the importance of being quiet around cattle and that continues today as Rob is nicknamed the “Cow Whisperer” for his ability to keep all of his cows calm and comfortable.

Both Rob and Maryjo graduated from West Elgin Secondary School (WESS) and the University of Guelph. Rob returned to WESS as a History teacher and has been teaching fulltime since 2005. Maryjo grew up on a mixed farming operation that included Purebred Limousin cattle, cash crops, goats & turkeys. Maryjo currently works as a First Nations Liaison with the Ministry of Natural Resources. Juggling parenting, the farm and two full time jobs presents its share of obstacles, but it also provides both with great opportunities and success. Coaching, playing sports, playing music, director with Elgin Beef Farmers and participation on various boards are just some examples of their community involvement.

Celtic Ridge Farm’s philosophy has not changed that much from the early days. Their cattle are raised on a vegetation diet, which means they frequent the pasture grasses and hay.  Celtic Ridge Farms offer both grass-fed and naturally raised beef, whose forage-based diet is also complemented by high quality corn and oats.  All animals spend their spring, summer, and falls outdoors on pasture, and spend winters with access to the barns.  Celtic Ridge Farms has just built a new beef barn that will ensure a stress free environment for cattle and operators and will allow Rob, Maryjo and their family to continue their expansion for their farm and business.  

All of their cattle are “Born, Bred & Raised.” on Celtic Ridge Farms, allowing Rob and Maryjo to know where each cow and calf came come, ensuring a unique local product for each customer. They take pride in carrying forward their family’s farming traditions of producing quality beef. To learn more about Celtic Ridge Farms and to see or purchase products, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter @celticridgefarm or like them on Facebook.