Meyer Company Ranch: Stewards of Land and Cattle

July 30, 2014

The vast sagebrush prairiescapes ending abruptly at the towering Ponderosa pine forests reminded me of my hometown in high-desert Central Oregon. It was my first visit to Montana, yet strangely I at home. I was on my way to visit Meyer Company Ranch in Helmville, a tiny blip of town located in the heart of the Big Blackfoot River valley and silhouetted by the Garnet Mountains. If you love the outdoors, this place will pull at your heart and call forth your inner cowgirl (or cowboy). I wanted to hop on a horse and ride.

The Ranch

Meyer Company Ranch, the largest working ranch in the valley, was founded in 1990 by Robert Meyer, a savvy businessman with a passion for doing things the right way for both animals and Mother Earth. The progressive ranch, a pristine spread with refurbished buildings dating back to the early 1900s, was once a sheep operation, with evidence of the past still intact in many of the barns and outbuildings. Even the charming old schoolhouse still stands (read more about the property’s rich history here).

In 1990, Meyer began their Red Angus genetics program (their herd is at least 50% Red Angus, the truer breed and more docile of the Anguses) to achieve both the highest quality in meat but to also maintain a healthy breeding herd. Beyond being a leader in the agricultural industry, Meyer strongly believed that this quality could not be achieved without being a good steward to the animal and the land. He’s restored wetlands through bank stabilization and fencing, and ensures that their cattle graze below the carrying capacity of the land. Ranch manager Jim Phillips has also begun to plant daikon as cover crop, a progressive and earth-friendly practice that also provides a high-protein, high-moisture diet for the cattle. The large radish acts as a natural aerator, breaking up the hard clay and puts nitrogen back into the soil.

The Cattle

The Meyer cattle are naturally raised and handled. They gave up branding 3 years ago because it’s simply too stressful on the animal, and they have a “high pressure, low stress” practice when it comes to working their cattle. They use no herding dogs, no ATVs, and no cattle prods, but instead the cattle are herded the old-fashioned way - by cowboys - an example of “high pressure, low stress.” Phillips says, “You treat the animal right in the field and they’ll taste right on the plate.” They’ve also switched their calving date to springtime to be more in line with natural wildlife, not in winter when the rest of the industry calves. 

“My promise to our customers has always been the same: to consistently provide the industry’s highest quality, best tasting beef with a commitment to environmentally sound practices, humane animal treatment and personal integrity. I stand behind this commitment the best way I know — by putting my name on everything we sell.” ~ Bob Meyer.

The Beef

When you’ve had really great tasting beef, you simply can’t go back to buying anything but the best. We don’t eat a lot of beef in our home, but when we do we make sure it’s not only the healthiest but the highest-quality we can buy. I care what I feed my family so I want to make sure the meat I serve isn’t pumped full of growth hormones and other additives, what Meyer Company Ranch’s executive chef John Enright calls “Barry Bonds Beef,” beef that’s amped up on steroids. Meyer Natural Premium Angus Beef averages 15-17% prime grade, making it the best beef you can buy short of American Kobe or Wagyu. Chef John describes it as having a “sexy beef flavor that’s tender, not chewy.”  

All-Natural

Food labels in the United States can be confusing and downright misleading. “Some “natural” beef programs allow the use of antibiotics and added hormones and stop the "amping" just long enough to appear natural. What’s Meyer’s definition of natural? They never use hormones or antibiotics (though if an animal gets sick they do treat it with antibiotics, but it’s then removed from the natural program), the cattle are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and are allowed to mature naturally (allowing for optimal tenderness and marbling of fat), their genetics are verified Red Angus, and they’re humanely raised (read more about the Meyer Natural Foods Humanely Handled Program here).

Knowing where my family’s food comes from and how it's raised is important to me. My visit to Meyer Company Ranch, learning about what they do, and the collective passion they all have - from ranch manager to cowboy - for the land and animals makes me feel better about the choices I make when buying beef. I even sent my father a package of Prime Angus filet mignon for Father’s Day, and he said it was the best gift he'd ever received!
 
The Menu

During our stay at Meyer Ranch, Chef John prepared meal after delicious meal featuring various cuts of Meyer Natural Angus beef, and we ate like hungry cowboys and cowgirls. Get inspiration from our menu below and discover more beef recipes featuring both USDA Prime Angus and Artisan Dry Aged Angus on the Meyer Natural Angus Beef website here. And, you can save up to 40% with their spring/summer sale going on now! Try the Grilled Ribeye Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Purple Potatoes below - a favorite in our home!  

Day 1

Appetizer
Brie and portobello mushroom quesadillas with mango salsa
Chorizo and goat cheese stuffed roasted peppers with cilantro sauce
 
Second Course
Spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

Third Course
Meyer prime rib with vanilla scented potatoes and braised Brussels sprouts

Dessert
Grand Marnier soaked cake topped with mix berries and cream
 
Day 2

Lunch

Meyer dry-aged ground beef chili
Meyer dry-aged ground beef sliders with roasted tomatoes and garlic aioli
Spinach salad with nuts and fruit
Cucumbers with tarragon and dill
Macaroni and cheese
Slow-roasted Meyer brisket
 
Dinner

Appetizer
Bruschetta crostini
Fontina and prosciutto stuffed portobello mushrooms with balsamic glaze
Parmesan stuffed date wrapped with bacon


 
Second Course
Arugula and spinach salad with citronage
Braised Meyer short-ribs with pomegranate zinfandel glaze, fried leaks, ricotta polenta and herbs, roasted tomato and asparagus

Third Course
Bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce and ganache

 

 
Grilled Ribeye Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Purple Potatoes
Prep time: About 20 minutes
Cook time: about 25 minutes
Serves: 4

4 (10-ounce) Meyer Natural Angus Prime Ribeye Steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 yellow bell peppers, seeded, cored, thinly sliced
3 red bell peppers, seeded, cored, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
 fresh herbs for garnish

Directions:
Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, reserve 4 whole sprigs
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, reserve 4 whole sprigs
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 pound purple Peruvian potatoes
2 tablespoons salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 bunch chives, chopped

Make chimichurri sauce: Place all sauce ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Place potatoes into a large pot of water with salt and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are soft at center, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add butter and chives to potatoes and lightly crush, leaving chunks. Cover and keep warm.

While potatoes cook, heat grill to high. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat for 6 to 7 minutes on one side, flip, and grill another 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare (or to desired degree of doneness). Set meat aside to rest for 10 minutes (use rest time to smash potatoes, part of Step 2).

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, bell peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.

To serve, place a portion of smashed purple potatoes on plate, top with steak. Add some pepper and onion mixture and spoon 2 tablespoons chimichurri sauce partially over steak and onto plate. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
 

Skeet shooting, bear and elk watching, and 4-wheeling on the beautiful Meyer land was just the icing on the cake! Look below for more images of the beautiful ranch.

Barn Kitty

The Main Barn

 
Tack Room

Just in from the range

Chef John carving up the best prime rib I've ever had

Mama and her ~20-minute-old calf

Fortunately, we didn't need this...

Skeet Shooting


 

Pheromone envelope to help combat the devastating bark beetle, a project Bob Meyer is working on with the forestry service

Majestic

Beautiful Birch Grove

Editorial disclosure: Foodista's travel and expenses were generously provided by Meyer Company Ranch, but we received no other compensation for this post. All opinions regarding their product is 100% accurate.

 




 

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