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How to Cook Pastured Meats from Our Farm

written by

Meg Peery

posted on

April 2, 2024


Fun fact: Laura (J&L's co-owner) rarely uses a recipe when she's cooking.


She relies on instinct, experience, and quality ingredients to create clean, wholesome and very tasty meals. And she's really good at it.

Fun fact #2: Meg (J&L's outreach & marketing assistant, typing these words) has an approach to cooking meat that could be called "Cook it until it's really, REALLY done...and then leave it on a while longer just in case."

How about you? Are you an intuitive cook? (Or someone who lets your spouse cook the meat?)

We know that for many people, instructions can be a huge help! 

So here are a few simple guidelines to help you cook the tender and flavorful pasture-raised meats Laura and Jordan raise on their farm.

Get ready for some amazingly tasty meals.


How to Cook Pastured Meats From Our Farm

1. Forested Heritage-Breed Pork


Forested Pork Guidelines: 

▫️ Cook pork cuts and pork roasts to a internal temp of 145°F. To avoid overcooking, remove from the heat a few degrees ahead of 145°F at the thickest part. Then allow to rest in a warm spot for a few minutes, where pork will continue to cook to 145°.

▫️ Cook ground pork and ground pork mixtures (meatloaf, beef & sausage burgers, sausages) to a minimum internal temp of 160°F.

▫️ To get an accurate temperature reading, use a high quality food thermometer and take your measurement in the thickest part of the meat, away from bone, fat or gristle.

Specific Pork Cuts:



▫️ Allow bone-in or boneless chops to come to room temperature before cooking (30 min).

▫️ Preheat pan or grill to medium heat.

▫️ If you aren't using a nonstick pan, melt a small amount of lard or bacon fat in the pan to prevent sticking. 

▫️ Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 3-7 minutes per side depending on thickness.

▫️ To avoid overcooking, remove from the heat a few degrees ahead of 145°F at the thickest part. Then allow to rest in a warm spot for a few minutes, where the pork will continue to cook to 145°.

* * *



▫️ Suggested oven temperature: 325°F.  

▫️ Cooking time: Cover with foil and bake approx 40-45 minutes per pound. 

▫️ Good to Know: Pastured pork roasts don't get dry when they cook longer — they get better! A pastured roast is truly done (and most delicious) when it's falling apart.

Our Pork Roast Recipes:

Orange Pecan Glazed Pork Loin Roast

Pork Loin Roast with Rosemary-Balsamic Marinade

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
*Note special cook times and temps

Sweet & Sour Pork
*Save time with pre-cut Pork Stew Meat

* * *



▫️ Good to Know: With our smoked hams, you can simply heat and serve—they're truly delicious as-is! Or, take it up a notch and add a simple homemade glaze.

▫️ Suggested oven temperature: Preheat to 325-350°F depending on your oven. The goal is to warm the roast thoroughly without drying it out, so lower temps are best.

▫️ Cooking prep: Place ham cut-side down in a baking dish or shallow roasting pan. Optionally, add a small amount of water to prevent scorching. Cover with foil. 

▫️ Cooking time: approx. 20 minutes per pound, or until heated through.

▫️ If glazing: Pull ham from oven about 30 minutes from expected end time. Remove from pan any remaining water and brush ham with glaze. Remove foil if you wish to caramelize the glaze. Return ham to oven.

▫️ Recommended internal temp: 145°F at the center. Pull from heat a few degrees ahead of this and allow ham to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Find complete instructions and a printable PDF here.

* * *



▫️ Simplest Preparation: Place ribs in an oven-safe baking dish. Pour on your favorite BBQ sauce. Leave overnight in the fridge.

▫️ Next day, slow-cook in the oven at 325°F for several hours. The meat will be most tender when the internal temp reaches 195-200°F and the meat is falling apart. 

Our Spare Ribs/Backbone Recipes:

Orange Pork Ribs

BBQ Pork Backbone

* * *



▫️ Good to Know: Ground pork and loose sausage are super versatile and simple to prepare. Think casseroles, chili, and soups, plus beef/sausage burgers, meatloaf and meatballs.

▫️ Cook ground pork and loose pork sausage to an internal temp of 160°F.

Our Ground Pork / Loose Pork Sausage Recipes:

Sausage and Rice Casserole

Crock-Pot Sausage Chili

Forested Sausage Zuppa Toscana

Laura's Texas BBQ Burgers (Beef/Sausage Mix)

* * *




▫️ Preheat a nonstick or cast iron pan on medium heat. For cast iron, melt a small amount of pork lard or bacon fat to prevent sticking. 

▫️ Space sausages in pan and cook according to the following table:

  • 1oz and 2oz links: 3 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temp of 160°F; remove from heat and allow to rest 2-3 minutes before serving.
  • 4oz links and bratwurst: approx 10 minutes per side or until internal temp of 160°F; remove from heat and allow to rest 2-3 minutes before serving.


▫️ Bake 1oz and 2oz links from frozen in a Pyrex dish at 375°F for an hour, or until the internal temperature measures 160°F.

▫️ For 4oz links and bratwurst, thaw in refrigerator and bring to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Cook in a Pyrex dish at 375°F for 30-45 minutes, or until the internal temperature measures 160°F.

Serving Suggestions:

▫️ We (Laura & family) love to serve links or bratwurst hot-dog style, or as our main course meat alongside eggs, veggies and/or whole grain sides.

▫️ We freeze leftover cooked links in a Ziploc so we can pull one out anytime to quickly reheat for a fast meal.

▫️ We also chop cooked links into bite-sized pieces before freezing to top pizza and throw into casseroles, quiche, and stir-fry dishes on busy nights.

* * * * * 

2. Pasture-Raised Chicken


Pastured Chicken Guidelines: 

▫️ Cook all chicken cuts, ground chicken and whole broilers to a minimum internal temp of 165°F. To avoid overcooking, remove from the heat a few degrees ahead of 165°F at the thickest part. Then allow to rest in a warm spot for a few minutes, where the meat will continue to cook to 165°.

Specific Chicken Cuts:



▫️ We LOVE our chicken breast sprinkled with seasoning (like curry dry rub) and put in the air fryer for about 25 minutes. Cook 15 minutes on one side, flip, sprinkle with a little more seasoning, and air fry the second side for about 10 minutes.

▫️ Chicken breast is also great on the grill. Grill until almost done and then smother with bbq sauce at the end and let that get a little crispy before pulling off and serving. 

▫️ Another option we love is to slice the chicken breast into thin strips (cut against the grain) or into cubes. (Tip: Cutting raw chicken breast when it is still partially frozen makes this easy!) Cook slices or cubes in a cast iron pan on the stovetop, with onions and garlic if desired. Add fresh vegetables of your choosing and cook for a few minutes until veggies are slightly soft to enjoy a stir fry! Serve over rice if desired.

▫️ Here are a few additional tips:

  • Allow breasts to come to room temperature before cooking (30 minutes). This means less time on the heat to reach the desired internal temperature, keeping more delicious moisture in the meat.
  • If you want to get the thicker part of the breast thinner so the breast will cook more evenly, hold the breast on its side while still partially frozen and filet in half (our meat knife is highly recommended if you don't have a good sharp knife). Pull the tender off first (the little piece of chicken under the breast) before cutting in half.
  • Don't overcook! Remove from the heat when the breasts are a few degrees below 165°F at their thickest part. Then let them rest in a warm spot where they will continue to cook to 165°.

Our Chicken Breast Recipe:

Chicken Salad

* * * 



    ▫️ Drumsticks (legs) and thighs are delicious cooked in the air fryer following the same instructions described in the chicken breast section above.

    ▫️ Likewise for the grilling suggestings offered in the chicken breast section - drumsticks/thighs are incredibly tasty cooked this way! 

    ▫️ To bake in the oven, place drumsticks (or chicken thighs, skin side up) in a greased baking pan. Add sauce or seasonings. Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 165°F. If you've added a sauce, baste every 15 minutes by spooning the sauce over the chicken.

    ▫️ You can also line a 9x13 pan with foil, cover in chicken drumsticks or thighs, and slow bake at 300°F for 3 hours. Pull the meat off the bone and save the juice, which is now your chicken broth.

    ▫️ Drumsticks and thighs are both wonderful cooked in the smoker. They are both bone-in and can go low and slow.

    Our Recipe for Chicken Drumsticks:
    (Great for Thighs, Too!)

    Honey Baked Chicken

    * * *



    ▫️ Spread wings on a baking tray (use parchment paper for easier cleanup). 

    ▫️ Brush with barbecue sauce or dust generously with your favorite dry rub on both sides. 

    ▫️ Bake in the oven at 400°F uncovered for about 40 minutes.

    ▫️ You'll know they're perfectly done when chicken skin is crispy and the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

    Our Recipe for Wings:

    Crispy Curry Chicken Wings

    * * * 



    ▫️ Use one of the methods here to get tender, cooked chicken to eat as-is next to your favorite veggies and sides, or to shred and use in a variety of recipes like chicken soup, chicken pot pie, or enchiladas.

    ▫️ Good to Know: Once you're done cooking the chicken, save the carcass and make chicken bone broth to get the most out of your chicken! Find our bone broth instructions here.

    Cooking a Whole Chicken & Making Bone Broth:

    How to Cook a Whole Chicken Broiler

    Recipes Using Pulled Chicken from a Whole Broiler:

    Chicken Enchiladas 

    Chicken Soup 

    *Save time with our pre-made Pulled Chicken

    * * * * *

    3. Grass-Fed and Finished Beef


    Grass-fed Beef Guidelines:

    ▫️ You know how you can order a steak or a burger "rare" or "medium-rare" in a restaurant? Unlike pork and chicken, which have to be cooked to specific temperatures for food safety, beef is safe and healthy to eat however "done" you like it!

    ▫️ With beef, you can watch the meat—not a thermometer—to check for your desired doneness. Raw beef is deep red, cooked beef is brown. Beef that is pink or red after cooking is as fine (and delicious) to eat as meat that is brown all the way through. The only measurement you need is your preference. :)

    ▫️ That being said, when you're first starting out and trying to figure out how rare or well done the grass-fed beef is that you're cooking, you can absolutely measure the temperature. Temps vary by source, but the grass-fed range tends to be: 

    RARE 120-125°
    MEDIUM-RARE 130-135°
    MEDIUM 135-145°
    MEDIUM-WELL 145-155°
    WELL DONE 155-160°

    When you're deciding when to take your meat off the heat, keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after being removed from the heat. Aiming for somewhere between medium-rare and medium is a pretty safe bet. :)

    Specific Beef Cuts:



    ▫️ Laura has a terrific guide in the Recipes section for cooking grass-fed beef steaks. Check it out here.

    ▫️ If desired, you can season steaks overnight before cooking using a dry rub, steak seasoning, or spice blend. Just dust it on/rub it in, and set the steaks covered in the fridge overnight. The results are amazing.

    ▫️ We also enjoy the beef ribeye steak cooked in the air fryer. Cook approx 15 minutes, turn the steaks over, and cook another 10 min or so. Let them rest before cutting into them.

    * * *



    ▫️ In the crockpot: Submerge in liquid (water works fine) and cook on low for around 8 hours until tender and falling apart.

    ▫️ In the oven: Using a dutch oven or large oven-safe pot covered with foil, submerge in liquid and cook at 275°F for 5 to 6 hours.

    Our Beef Roast Recipes:

    Crockpot Beef Pot Roast

    Texas-Style Beef Brisket

    Korean Beef Tacos

    * * *



    Ways to Cook:

    Smoker Grill
    Cast Iron
    Air Fryer

      ▫️ Cook on both sides until cooked to your preference. 

      ▫️ Good to know: Leftover patties reheat great. Refrigerate for lunches, or freeze extras to rerun the meal another night.

      Laura's FAVORITE Burger Recipe:

      Laura's Texas BBQ Burgers
      *Because these contain ground pork, they should be cooked well done to 160°F.

      * * *



      ▫️ Place in a preheated skillet (cast iron is best) on med-high heat and saute until all meat is browned. A little red or pink will not hurt you! :)

      Our Ground Beef Recipes:

      Porcupine Sweet & Sour Meatballs

      Beef Stroganoff

      Ground Beef & Cabbage Soup

      Crockpot Beef Chili

      * * *



      ▫️ Follow beef roast instructions above to add to a soup or stew.

      ▫️ For kabobs, marinade overnight and then skewer for the grill or smoker. Cook to your desired doneness!

      Our Beef Kabobs & Stew Meat Recipes:

      Beef Souvlaki Kabobs

      Beef Stew

      * * *



      ▫️ Brown ribs on all sides over medium heat in a large skillet.

      ▫️ Add additional ingredients as desired and cook low and slow in the oven or crockpot.

      ▫️ Cook until meat is tender and falling apart.

      Our Favorite Beef Ribs Recipe:

      Beef Short Rib Supreme

      * * * * *


      Questions? Let us know!

      Happy Cooking!

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