Keith and Cindy Rogers and their four children own and operate CowHouse Creek Meat Company in Hamilton, Texas. The operation is located on Hidden Oaks Ranch and gets its name from the creek that rushes through the property. The Rogers live on 350 acres and have owned and operated the ranch for 9 years! They have another 1500 acres that belongs solely to their grass-fed cattle. But that was not always the case.
Two years ago The Rogers made the decision to begin raising their cows on grass alone after learning that cows stomachs were made to ONLY digest grass. When a cow’s diet consists of grass alone they will produce the healthiest and tastiest meat, the way it was intended. Grass fed meat has slightly less fat and significantly more Omega 3’s and CLA (read more about CLA here) then grain fed meat. The Rogers also saw that their was a huge market for grass-fed beef and were excited to diversify their operation with the opportunity for their kids to learn another side of cattle raising.
Raising Grass-Fed Meat
The Rogers have chosen to raise Hereford breed of cattle because of their marbling, superior tenderness and flavor in the meat they produce. The challenge with grass-fed cattle is that it takes an extended amount of time before they can be processed compared to grain-fed. When relying on a natural source of nutrition, time and patience is required. Grass-fed cows take about 2 years as oppose to 18 months for grain-fed.
“The production method we use in raising CowHouse Creek beef is designed to work with nature. It is a slow process that requires months and months of the cattle just being cattle on the ranch. But what you get in the end is a healthy, tasty product. We harvest the beef when it is in peak conditions, and wait until it is ready, no matter how long it takes.” – Cindy Roger from BeefsteakVeg
Most of the herd are females with a few bulls that are castrated. The steers are never bought and are completely grass-fed as well. Hereford mothers are known to stay with the calves until completely weaned allowing them to get the full amount of nutrition so that grain will never be supplemented. The cows graze on a variety of native grasses that include; sideoats grama, little bluestem, indian grass, vetch, and clovers. Sometimes In the winter the Rogers plant fields of oats if the grasses are not as plentiful as needed. The grass is always free of fertilizer and the cows are never given hormones or antibiotics. It is necessary to move the cows to different pastures often in a process called rotational grazing. This is so they do not over-graze an area of grass to the point where it will not continue to grow.
“We were there when the calves were born, when they were weaned and all throughout their life. One of us sees them every single day. We can tell you what day they were born and weaned from their mother. And we can even tell you about some of their personalities.” -Cindy
At the Processor
The Rogers use a USDA inspected processor and never add preservatives or additives to the meat. CowHouse Creek Meat also undergoes a dry aging process that transforms average grass-fed beef into a succulent experience. Dry aging is a very controlled closely observed art. The process involves leaving the meat hanging for 7-21 days in a refrigerated area where the temperature must be kept between a precise 34 and 36 degrees. A continual flow of air is maintained to control humidity as well as strict hygienic standards and the implementation of a bacteria killing light source. While hanging, the juices are extracted on the inside and are more evenly distributed throughout the meat. Eventually the meat will form a crust-like texture on the outside. The crusty layer is then cut off producing the most tender and flavorful cut of beef. Dry aged meat is rare and usually expensive because of the time it takes and the even amount of fat content that must be present in the meat. This is more likely when cattle are raised in stress free, natural environments. CowHouse Creek Meat has an 85/15 fat percentage making it lean but still bursting with flavor. No doubt you will be able to taste the difference.
“How do you know if the meat is grain-fed or grass-fed? You can tell by the color of the fat. Yellow fat indicates grass-fed and white fat indicates grain fed.”-Cindy
A Team Effort
Cindy Rogers grew up on a ranch and started showing cattle when she was 9 years old. She met her husband, Keith, at Texas A&M while both majoring in Animal Science. Their oldest, Shelby, is a senior at Oklahoma State and studying Animal Science and Ag Communications. Koby, the second child, is a sophomore in culinary school at OSU. Along with Keith and Cindy, the two youngest Harley, a senior in high school, and Brody, a sophomore in high school, are very active in running the farm. The kids create invoices, pack orders, weigh the meat and check on the steers daily. Brody even decides how the cows should be processed and takes them to the processor. On top of working on the family farm, Harley and Brody are both part of FFA. Harley raises and shows cows and has placed in a number of shows as well as sold some for top dollar. Brody is part of the meat judging team and can tell you where every cut of meat comes from on a cow. When asked what to look for when judging, his answer was, “You want quality and cut-ability. Quality referring to marbling and cut-ability referring to not too much fat”.
The Roger Family has a passion for raising cattle and know how to do it RIGHT. I am amazed that their farm and meat operation is solely family run. They sell an average of 15 cows a year but they are well on their way to doubling that. We are proud to sell Cowhouse Creek grass-fed beef. Thanks to the Rogers for raising happy cows that produce quality beef!