The Health Snob’s Guide to Dairy Beef - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Health Snob’s Guide to Dairy Beef

A trend among mindful meat-eaters, sourcing steak from ex-dairy cattle can help you herd up nutrition and a barn-load of flavour.

Got Milk?

While supermarket beef is generally sourced from three-year-old cows, dairy cattle aren’t put to pasture until later in life. Too often they end up as mince, but the meat is high-quality: rich in omega-3, vitamins, iron, zinc and selenium.

“It also carries a deeper flavour, a result of slow growth and maturity,” says James George of butchers Turner and George. He and partner Richard Turner are here to beef up your repertoire.


The meat of any cow is broken down into “primal” and “subprimal” cuts. Fillet is a subprimal cut of the loin – a rarely used muscle in the middle of the back that yields more tender (and therefore more expensive) meat.


One of the more common cuts, rump comes from the “round” and is typically lean and inexpensive. But as ex-dairy cows are generally fattier than their meat-bred counterparts, you’ll appreciate a delicious difference in taste.

Prime Rib

Rib cuts get much of their flavour from the heavy marbling of fat and are packed with nutritious CLA and omega-3s. Ex-dairy cows have more intermuscular fat and so more marbling, giving cuts like this a rich depth (or “length”) of flavour.


Nestled between the loin and the round, this may be the healthiest steak cut on offer. A typical serving can boast around 50g of protein, while most of the flavour-rich fat is of the healthy, monounsaturated variety.

Don’t butcher it

A high-quality cut can be ruined by poor knife skills, so sharpen yours. Lash out on the German-made Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional S 3pc set $345; The extra length of the largest blade makes it perfect for slicing cuts of meat. 

Once prepped, ensure the beef is seared to perfection with a wireless thermometer – the Meater Single Probe Thermometer ($164; is among the best. Ensuring your meat doesn’t end up burned also
means fewer carcinogens.

For masterful cooking, opt for a high-end grill like the Traeger Ironwood 885 ($2899; Keeping it lean? Grilling reduces kilojoules by allowing fat to drip away. Finally, backyard barbecue chefs can complete the look with a distressed, multi-pocket, brown-leather apron ($216.50;

Steak Out

Big beefeater? Count your lucky stars that you live in Australia, where the local product exceeds internationally recognised food-safety and animal-health standards. Concerned about environmental damage caused by livestock? Fair enough. But there’s comfort in the fact that our industry   is pursuing a carbon-neutral-by-2030 target. Use the best cuts in these recipes.

Cuts Above

Had enough of beef? Add these three under-appreciated meats to your home menu

Borrowdale Pork:This is free-range pork from the Gooralie farm near Goondiwindi in Queensland.

Goat Meat:Australia is a big exporter of this international staple but not much of a consumer. Worth a try for its nutrient-rich, marbled meat. 

Herb-Fed Poultry:Free-range turkeys and roosters feast on fresh herbs, resulting in an unexpected depth
of flavour.

Recipe: Chopped Fillet Steak With Parmesan


Serves four

Fillet steak, 400g, diced into 4mm pieces

– Extra virgin olive oil, 50ml 

– Lemon, zest and juice 

– Parmesan cheese, finely grated

– Sourdough


1. Serving uncooked beef at home might seem daunting but it needn’t be: a home-made carpaccio or tartare is
a show-stopping appetiser, high in energising B vitamins. For this dish, dice the fillet into 4mm pieces. Season to taste and add antioxidant-rich olive oil and lemon.

2. Pile 100g onto each plate, then grate Parmesan over it. Serve with thinly sliced, lightly grilled sourdough.

Recipe: Cast-Iron Rump With Bone Marrow


Serves two

– Rump steak, 2 x 200g

– Onions, 500g, sliced

– Beef dripping, 50g, and more for frying

– Steel-cut oats, 50g

–  Plain flour, 10g

– Bone marrow meat, 100g, cooked

– Parsley, 1g


1. Gently fry the onions in half of the beef dripping until dark and golden. Season and drain excess fat. Roast the steel-cut oats and remaining beef dripping until golden at 180°C. Drain fat again.

2. Butterfly the rump steak so it’s even, then season and lightly flour. Pan-fry in dripping, colouring nicely, until medium-rare.

3. Top with the onions and vitamin-rich bone marrow chunks. Sprinkle with parsley and roasted oats.

Recipe: Prime Rib With Golden Garlic Butter


Serves two

Bone-in ribs, 1kg

Beef dripping, 50g

Unsalted butter, 125g half-pack

Thyme sprigs, 4 

– Garlic head, peeled

Rosemary, a sprig

Half a lemon, juiced

Parsley, 1tbsp, chopped


1. Heat the dripping in a skillet, add steak and cook on high until crusty on the bottom. Turn and add butter, thyme, garlic and rosemary. Cook on high, basting the steaks until medium-rare.

2. Transfer to a cutting board; rest for 10 minutes.

3. Fry the garlic until golden and deglaze the pan with lemon juice. Sieve foaming butter over the garlic and add parsley. Debone the steaks and serve with garlic and nut-brown garlic butter.

Recipe: Sirloin Sandwich With Hollandaise


Makes one sandwich

– Sirloin steak, 200g

– Sourdough, 2 slices

– Hollandaise, 30ml 

– Tracklements Hot Mustard, 30ml 

– Red onion, 10g

– Horseradish, 3g, grated

– Watercress, a handful


“A steak sandwich should be simple, but the permutations are legion and are not always successful,” Turner says.

1. Chargrill the steak, a top source of power-building creatine, and rest. Grill the bread until warm. Slice the steak into 1cm strips, mix Hollandaise and mustard and spread on a sourdough slice.

2. Layer steak, horseradish, shaved onion and antioxidant-rich watercress. Put the other sourdough slice on top.

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