By Amanda Hill
Nothing makes my mouth water more than a steak—cooked medium, perfectly light pink in the center—for dinner. When I was approached to attend the Texas Beef Council‘s Farm to Fork event in Fort Worth a few weeks ago, I figured we’d be eating a lot of steak. My mouth was watering just thinking about it. Naturally, in the name of reporting, I agreed to attend.
I was right—we had delicious beef meals throughout the event. But we also learned a lot about the nutritional benefits of the 29 cuts of lean beef.
The Farm to Fork event began with the cattle drive through downtown Fort Worth—a sight for any Texan—followed by a trip to the Ranch Management Program at Texas Christian University. This is a master’s level program that teaches ranchers best practices in raising beef cattle and managing land. We also had dinner at Chef Richard Chamberlain’s house. I promise, dinner was just as fabulous at his house as it is at his well-known Dallas steakhouse.
Our second day of the tour started with breakfast with lean beef, prepared by Chef Tiffany Collins Blackmon. We also learned about the nutritional benefits of lean beef from two registered dietitians and a pediatrician. Did you know that a meal with 30 grams of protein can reduce hunger and increase fullness for four hours? And, a high-protein breakfast leads to 15 percent more fullness throughout the day. Eating protein earlier in the day can actually help you eat less overall.
Next, we headed out to Starr Hollow Ranch in Tolar, about an hour outside of Fort Worth. These women are the daughters of Marvin Leonard, who purchased the ranch in the mid 1960s.
We got a full tour of the ranch, and Texas AgriLife Extension Livestock Specialist Dr. Rick Machen explained safe animal handling practices. Here, he’s showing us how and why a squeeze chute is used to keep a cow calm and still for vaccinations and care. Typically, the cow is only in the chute for 20-30 seconds and is safely treated for all sorts of needs.
In the afternoon, we heard from Dr. Ty Lawrence, an associate professor of animal science at West Texas A&M University. Dr. Lawrence did a great job of explaining some difficult concepts and dispelling some myths about the beef business. For example, he explained that antibiotics are given to cattle only when they are sick or if an entire pen is in danger of catching a deadly disease—not willy-nilly like some people would have customers believe.
We finished up the second day with a delicious chuck wagon dinner featuring, you guessed it, beef!
On the last day, we had a chance to get in the kitchen and cook a few recipes with lean beef. Several dishes were prepared, but my group made a tenderloin, cranberry and pear salad with honey mustard dressing (at the top right of the plate). All of the recipes made for a delicious lunch.
Here’s a video wrap-up of our time with the Texas Beef Council. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot. And, I’m looking forward to trying more recipes with lean beef!
For more information about lean beef, check out the Texas Beef Council’s blog at www.beeflovingtexans.com.