Main Dishes Raw & Fermented

Four Raw Beef Recipes from Around the World

Well-prepared raw beef can be a cultural delight worth trying at least once. Here are four traditional raw beef recipes from different parts of the world.

Almost all cultures that eat traditional whole food diets have recipes for raw meat, and trying these dishes can really give you a unique and exciting taste of the culture itself.

Everyone should try well-prepared raw beef once, even if you think you won’t like it, as it can be a real treat. Here are four traditional raw beef recipes from different parts of the world.

The Benefits of Raw Animal Foods

Fresh, local, organic foods in their raw or fermented state are nutrient-dense and packed with enzymes and beneficial bacteria that help us absorb vitamins and maintain a healthy digestive system. You might be surprised that this is especially true of raw, pasture-raised meats, eggs and dairy, as well as wild caught seafood.

Cooking (or, worse, microwaving, pasteurizing or irradiating) animal foods denatures their fat and protein, destroys their enzymes and reduces their vitamin content. For example, people who are lactose-intolerant to pasteurized dairy often have no problem with raw milk, which has its lactase enzyme intact to break down the lactose naturally.

Properly prepared raw meat is very easy to digest. Many people note that indigestion goes away after switching to raw meat. Raw meat also has significantly more vitamins than cooked meat and contains enzymes for digestion. Raw fats in the meat help balance metabolism and detoxify the body.

Raw beef, when from a pasture-raised, grass-fed cow, is packed with Vitamins A, D and B-12 as well as iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium, which most Americans have deficiencies in.

Grass-fed beef also is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids and is the highest food source of cancer-fighting Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).

But, when you grill meat, sear it, or cook it above medium rare, you not only destroy nutrients, but you can also create oxidized fats and chemical byproducts that can be highly toxic to the body. Some of these byproducts, like the char on blackened meat and fish, are carcinogenic.

Long ago, charred meat was probably one of the few toxins we ever unknowingly introduced into our lives. But today, given how polluted our living environments have become, how stressed out our modern lives are, and how depleted most of our food is to begin with, adding to your body’s toxic burden by eating denatured foods that have been ultra-pasteurized, irradiated, microwaved or cooked too long at high temperatures is just not a very good idea.

Eating at least 50% of your food in a raw or lacto-fermented state can greatly improve your nutrition, and therefore your health! Some raw or lacto-fermented foods you might add more of in your diet include:

  • vegetable salads
  • sushi or sashimi
  • raw milk or raw milk cheese
  • yogurt or kefir
  • salami, carpaccio or pastrami
  • sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables
  • beef or tuna tartare
  • raw egg smoothies
  • green smoothies
  • raw egg and raw milk ice cream
  • frozen raw liver “pills”

For more information on the benefits of adding more raw foods to your diet, check out Raw Paleo – The Extreme Advantages of Eating Paleo Foods in the Raw

Related:

Selecting Raw Animal Foods

Raw meat or seafood “cooked” in acid (citrus, vinegar, etc.) and seasoned with local spices is an ancient and traditional way of preparing meat that goes by many names, and is enjoyed by many people worldwide.

However, the quality of the ingredients is paramount to the success of the dish, and, considering the horrid infections that occasionally strike those who eat industrially-raised, feedlot meats, selecting your meat properly is very important.

To eat any raw food safely (plant or animal), always make sure it is fresh, organic, and preferably raised on a local, small farm you can visit.

Any animal products you intend to eat raw must not only be organic, but also pasture-raised and grass-fed. Anything else just isn’t as likely to be safe or healthy.

While industrially-produced, grain-fed animal products from the grocery store are typically not clean enough to eat rare, much less raw, you can often find eggs, meat, seafood and dairy that are fresh, toxin-free and pasture-raised from local farmers (or wild-caught by local fishermen).

Other good places to find clean meat are natural food stores, good butcher shops, Eatwild.com, or through reputable online retailers like U.S. Wellness Meats and Vital Choice Seafood.

Traditional Raw Beef Recipes

Choose your beef from healthy, 100% pasture-raised cattle that are not treated with hormones or antibiotics. If the beef has also been flash-frozen immediately after butchering, you can feel extra comfortable eating it raw. (U.S. Wellness Meats does this.)

To eat fresh raw beef safely, you want to find a thick, whole piece of grass-fed beef filet or sirloin. Filet or sirloin are the most tender cuts, and you want the cut to be thick because the bacteria that can cause food poisoning can’t penetrate a whole piece of meat—they stay on the surface.

When you get the meat home, quickly sear it on all sides—you’re just killing whatever’s on the surface, not cooking the meat. Then remove it from the flames, trim away the seared sections, and you’re ready to proceed.

For more information, The Primal Diet by raw-foodist Aajonus Vonderplanitz, has some excellent recipes and tips for selecting and preparing raw animal foods safely.

Steak Tartare - France

Yield 8 servings

This French classic is easy to make and a great, high-nutrition appetizer.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Chop the meat very finely with a sharp, long-bladed knife. Don't use a grinder because the texture will suffer.
  • Mix ingredients carefully to maintain fluffiness.
  • Shape into a large loaf.
  • Garnish with anchovy strips, more onions, more capers.
  • Enjoy with toast points or any kind of cracker.

Courses Dinner, Appetizer

Cuisine French

 

Carne Cruda - Italy

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of top quality, grass-fed beef filet
  • The juice of 2 organic lemons
  • Two cloves garlic, crushed flat (or more, to taste)
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 white truffle (optional)
  • 1 rinsed, boned and minced wild-caught anchovy (optional)

Instructions

  1. Chop the meat very finely with a sharp, long-bladed knife. Don't use a grinder because the texture will suffer.
  2. Put the meat in a bowl and mix the lemon juice into it, together with the garlic, and season abundantly with olive oil (as much as the lemon juice or perhaps more), salt and pepper. If you are using the anchovy, add it now.
  3. Let the meat sit, for between 10 minutes and two hours—the longer it sits the more the pinkness will fade, as the lemon juice cooks the meat.
  4. Once it has sat, mix it again, removing the flattened garlic chunks when you do.
  5. Put it on a serving dish, and garnish it with finely shaved truffle if you're using it, and serve it as an antipasto or appetizer.

Courses Appetizer

Cuisine Italian

 

Kitfo - Ethiopia

Ingredients

* You can also find Mitmita in Ethiopian or Indian groceries.

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into small pieces; remove fat and sinews.
  2. In a food processor put small amount of the meat at a time, sprinkle on some Mitmita or cayenne, process until meat is finely chopped. Alternately, you can mince the meat very fine with knives.
  3. Using a fork, remove any fat or sinews from the minced, spiced meat; repeat the process until all the meat is done
  4. In small pot, melt the clarified butter or ghee over low heat, mix in the remaining Mitmita or cayenne, cardamom, garlic, black pepper, and sea salt; remove from heat.
  5. Combine the spicy ground meat with the spicy butter, and mix thoroughly until the meat is completely marinated.
  6. If preferred, sauté the marinated meat for one or two minutes.
  7. Enjoy immediately with Injera or bread.

Courses Appetizer

Cuisine Ethiopian

 

Beef Larb - Thailand

Ingredients

(Start with these amounts and adjust to your taste. Use big bunches of herbs, err on the side of too much, and it will probably end up just right.)

Instructions

  1. Toast the rice in a dry skillet, shaking occasionally, until golden and fragrant.
  2. Grind toasted rice to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  3. Chop the meat very finely with a sharp, long-bladed knife. Don't use a grinder, because the texture will suffer.
  4. Mince the shallots, herbs, chilies and lime leaves.
  5. Combine all ingredients, and season with fish sauce and lime juice.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Wrap the larb in lettuce leaves, and enjoy!

Courses Appetizer

Cuisine Thai

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.

19 Comments

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  • A former manager and I loved to eat raw locally raised bison. We’d mix a 1/2 lb. with salt, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and finely chopped onion. Wow! Talk about a great flavor and nutritional hit.
    But, we’d also believed that freezing would kill All bugs and parasites. Glad to read more info about this, and to discover that we could have been taking a risk. Thankfully, it was local and pasture fed, we knew the producers, and proved to suffer no ill effects.

  • At family weddings in the 50’s and 60’s everyone brought food. One thing we always had was finely chopped raw beef, it would be spread on slices of rye bread and sprinkled with thinly sliced raw onion and salt and pepper. Always my favourite!

  • How long would leftovers keep? I’m the only one preparing and eating this, so even if I cut a recipe in half, would it still be good for lunch the next day? or longer?

  • Hi Dawn…coming from A Humble Bumble blog hop.

    We own a family farm here in MO and raise our own beef, so you’ve almost persuaded me to try the Carne Cruda. It actually sounds delicious.

    I’m pinning this so I can keep it handy.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I’m so happy to have found this page. Raw beef is one my absolute favorite things in the entire world (right up there with a great champagne, and QT with the hubby) and I’ve been looking to find ways to prepare it at home, just wish grass-fed beef was easier to find in Northern Florida. Thank you!!!

    • I live in Atlanta and just discovered “Maverick Ranch” organic, grass fed beef & bison at Kroger. You might check your local Kroger, if you have one.

      Good Hunting & Gathering.

  • I’ve never experienced tartare! However I am a huge fan of a nice super thinly sliced beef carpaccio. It is ironic how the char that so many fans of grilling love can be carcinogenic, isn’t it? Overall I tend not to worry about these things as it can drive me nuts, but I have been trying to support our local ranch, purchasing their delicious grass fed beef.

  • Australia’s aboriginal people are not especially long-lived. Nor werre they when living in their traditional way.

    I do agree with your main point – that we should eat real food. As to meat – it has become much fattier over the years. Tribal people’s meat was effectively game – much less fat.

    • Our meat has become fattier indeed. It’s all that GMO soy and corn cows eat, and their lack of exercise—just like American people! Grass-fed beef or bison meat is significantly less fatty than commercially raised beef, which is the closest we Americans are really going to get to “game” on a wide scale.

      • Plus, grass fed beef contains omega 3 fat that we all need more of! Pasture based farming is a win win situation for our people and our planet. When animals eat the grass (which humans can’t digest), they convert energy from the sun into powerful nutrients. Not only that, they nourish and fertilize the soil too.

        If factory farms were converted to pasture based ones, then our people and our planet would be a lot healthier.

        Thanks for sharing the recipes! I will definitely give them a try.

        • Not to mention that farming actually destroys a lot of land compared to properly raising cattle. Also, cattle can be raised on land that wouldn’t be suitable for farming.

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