Seattle chef Thomas Dodd’s customers demand the best, so the only steak on the menu is marbled, tender, and flavorful American wagyu.
He sees orders climb each week for the breed developed largely from Washington State University research to help Northwest ranchers compete with Japan’s famed Kobe beef and other specialty brands.
“When people were tasting it for the first time, they were kind of freaking out over how flavorful it is, saying things like it’s the best steak they’d ever had,” says Dodd, executive chef at Liam’s. “Now we’re starting to see this expectation because people know … or have heard about American wagyu.”
Most of us are accustomed to eating beef from cattle finished on grain. The finishing process builds up intramuscular fat and can result in tasty, fat-marbleized meat. But many of Washington’s small and medium-scale cattle ranches finish their cattle on forage and pasture, resulting in a much leaner beef with lower levels of fat and cholesterol. And this leaner meat requires a different approach to cooking.
Penn Cove may be known for its mussels, but just across the Whidbey Island bay from Coupeville is another operation—the Muzzall family farm, known to local grass-fed beef fans as the Three Sisters Cattle Company.
The farm was founded in 1910 by Ron Muzzall’s great-grandparents. For generations it was a dairy. When Ron ’86 returned from college, the farm had 50 cows. With his wife, Shelly, who grew up with family farming in Eastern Washington, he planned to follow in his parents’ footsteps.
But the dairy business was changing so fast. To keep up, the Muzzalls had to continuously add to their herd—something … » More …
Holly Ferguson knows her cow pies about as well as anyone. In the first study of flies in managed pastures in the Pacific Northwest, the entomologist has spent an unusual amount of time traveling the state and assessing its cow pies.
No matter the obvious jokes, dung dispersal in pastures is serious business. Wherever there are cows, there will be cow dung, and lots of it. A beef cow can produce nearly a ton of manure per month. And if that ton sits there untended, there will be problems.
Oddly enough, the conditions of the cow’s other major habitat, the feedlot, reduce the problem of … » More …
A cultural link between women and cattle seems unlikely in this age of turbo-powered technology. Yet, cows are all around us as decorative symbols, from the large fiberglass art-cow statues that decorated the streets of Chicago and New York recently, to their widespread presence in gift shops and department stores. Their whimsical countenances appear on a myriad of kitchen towels, coffee mugs, and cookie jars. This surge of interest in all things bovine by giftware manufacturers, who market a plethora of calendars, aprons, refrigerator magnets, and so on, all depicting clever or cute cows, is directed at women.
At 77, Esther Johnson McDonald is still active in the day-to-day operation of the 9,000-acre Triangle Ranch in Philipsburg, Montana, with her husband of 51 years, John W. “Pat” McDonald. The two met at a bull sale in Missoula. Her mother operated a ranch in Darby, so Esther had an idea what she was getting into. She also had the foresight to earn a degree in animal sciences in 1948.
In years past, she cooked for ranch hands, while raising three sons and five daughters. The ranch is 75 miles southeast of Missoula in a mile-high mountain valley. “Some of the best feeder cattle come … » More …