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Even if you’re a pro in the kitchen we advise you to read the section below when cooking up any Green Being meats, or anyone else’s pastured, organic meats for that matter. Their diet is different than conventional animals, and as such, the meat is different, meaning it also behaves a little differently in the oven.
We're not sure why (and maybe it’s better that way), but pastured organic chicken takes much less time to cook than conventional chicken. You really want to have a meat thermometer handy, or you will end up with an overcooked bird. Also, with pastured chicken, the juices don’t tend to run clear when it’s cooked, so this method of telling when a chicken is cooked is not reliable. Cook a chicken so it registers 155ºF in the breast and 180ºF in the leg.
I would like to offer some suggestions for preparation so that your turkey will go down in your family’s history as "Best Turkey Ever." First and foremost, use a meat thermometer! Experience has shown that truly free-range organic turkeys do not take as long to cook (up to 30% less time), so don’t rely on your tried, tested and true method of roasting a bird without a thermometer on standby! It would be shame to overcook your bird. Aim for 165-170ºF in the breast and about 177-180ºF in the thigh. Many people find it is difficult to fully cook the legs without overcooking the breast…try covering the breast with a tin-foil tent for the first while. My mother actually cooks her turkey upside down and claims it keeps the breast juicier (though with a pastured bird, it’s hardly necessary).
If you have never brined your turkey before, I would strongly suggest giving it a shot. It is the revolution in turkey dinner… this is how you make a memorable meal! Brining is essentially soaking your turkey overnight in a solution of kosher salt, herbs and seasonings. The result is an unbelievably juicy and flavourful bird. There are many variations on the theme; check out celebrity chef Alton Brown who is famed for his brined turkey recipe, and Martha Stewart’s Spice-Cured Turkey.
For more turkey guidance, check out great advice from grassfed cooking author, Shannon Hayes, here.
First of all, do not make the mistake of overcooking your pork! We developed this tendency decades ago due to a trichinosis scare and now most people do not dare allow any hint of pink in their pork. This is hogwash, if you’ll excuse the pun! Cases of trichinosis have all but disappeared, and the trichinae are killed at 137ºF, so if you cook your pork to 148ºF, you are guaranteeing safety from pathogens and ensuring your pork will be juicy. You can cook fattier roasts another 10ºF. A strong recommendation here is to buy a meat thermometer, if you’re going to be buying all this great pork you don’t want to ruin your investment by overcooking it!
A great way to prepare chops is to use a dry rub, then grill them.
Try this rub, from Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly’s Complete Meat Cookbook – the best meat cookbook going! This rub makes a lot, so only rub a few pinches onto each chop. Rubs can be stored in the fridge a number of weeks.