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Here’s One for Beef Night

Who else grew up with a freezer full of beef?

Growing up in the middle of Texas beef country, everybody we knew had a chest freezer in their garage. We bought meat by the quarter or half, and if it was a whole carcass, we’d split it with family or several neighbors. Processed by a local meat market, we usually knew the ranch where that steer had been raised. More than likely, we had driven by its momma on occasion. Beef was usually on the menu at every meal.

Black Angus cattle, Sanford Ranch, Texas Panhandle. Pic by N. Bright.

Mom didn’t buy much fish because it was not from anywhere close to the land-locked Texas Panhandle. A “Catfish fry” refers to an event when all the neighbors emptied their freezers from the summer fishing trips. Cut up chicken was too expensive. My mother bought whole fryers when they went on sale, and taught me how to cut the chicken into recognizable pieces. Neither one of us liked that slimy mess. A whole ham was out of our budget too, usually to be enjoyed after Church on Easter Sunday. What we always had was a freezer full of beef and every meal was centered around red meat of some kind.

Meals I remember were always hearty and filling because the lifestyle demanded it. My grandfather grew cotton. My father owned a welding shop, usually leaving every morning at six o’clock, working long days to repair machinery used around the Dimmitt farming community where we lived. I married a man who works in the oilfield and cattle ranching where the day doesn’t end at five o’clock. Along with our two boys, my guys are always hungry.

The beef we raise and sell supports a wide variety of families and local business. Pic by N. Bright.

Our cattle are raised all natural, hormone free on the grasses of the great plains. The age verified program we participate in ensures that the calf remains on the same grass where it’s born until it is ready for market. At the Sanford Ranch, we participate in IMI Global, Where Food Comes From program which includes non-hormone, verified natural cattle. With so many food options today I concur that variety is a good thing, but as a Texas beef producer I think we raise some of the healthiest protein on the planet.

When you buy American beef, you’re not just supporting a rancher, you are supporting an entire community. All the people we rely make it possible for us to produce healthy beef. The money we make selling those calves is in turn passed on to other family-owned businesses such as the veterinarian, windmill repairman, farmers who grow hay, truckers who transport our calves to market, fencing crews, and so on. The list is endless.

Be sure to ask your grocer, better yet DEMAND, American raised beef. Not from Brazil. Not from Africa. USA choice Angus beef.

If you’re craving a good beef steak, here is a quick and easy recipe. It’s the same method from the days of the chuck wagon, prepared in cow camp over an open fire, and it tastes just as good cooked in your kitchen using your best cast iron skillet.

Rib eyes (Pinterest.com).

Cast Iron Skillet Steaks

  • 2 12-ounce New York strips, rib-eyes, or sirloin steaks (about 3/4- to 1-inch thick)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil (your choice)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed (optional)
  • saute mushrooms, onions, green or jalapeno peppers (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and ground pepper (or a any steak seasoning of your choice). Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pat steaks dry. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until skillet is very hot. Then add oil. (I’ve used whatever is on hand; vegetable, grape seed, virgin olive, coconut oil or bacon grease. They all work great.) Add steaks. Cook until seared, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add butter and spices. Continue cooking on medium heat, spooning melted butter on top. Or you can finish by placing the skillet in oven for 7-10 minutes (7 minutes is medium rare). Remove from oven and spoon melted butter mixture onto steaks. Add sauted vegetables of your choice. Serve hot, right out of your cast iron skillet. Seriously this is a no-fail Texas beef dinner. Comes out perfect every time. For a quick supper, add a salad and buttered french bread. You can’t go wrong with Texas beef!

Saute onions, green peppers and jalapenos for the perfect steak topper! (Pic by N, Bright)

For more about cast iron cooking, check out the Facebook Group CAST IRON COOKING. Click here.

Natalie Bright is an author, blogger, and speaker. Written with co-author Denise McAllister, the new WILD COW RANCH series will be available January 2021, a Christian Western Romance, from CKN Christian Publishing. Book #1 MAVERICK HEART. Book #2 WILD COW WINTER.

In May 2021, look for KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN‘ featuring authentic recipes from the cattle trail along with ranch photography and history of the great cattle driving era. Pre-order it now from TwoDot Books.