At the Table

Grilling with R-C Ranch

By: Celia Funderburk

Ryan Cade, a fourth-generation Texan, grew up around cattle and consequently developed a passion for grilling. After graduating from the University of Louisiana, Cade returned home to Brazoria County. Ranching, in the beginning, was merely a hobby. As he worked with his family’s insurance business, Cade kept cattle on his piece of property—mostly for the agriculture tax exemptions.

Photograph of cows on the R-C Ranch
Photo courtesy of Josh Olalde

His life changed in 2009 when he tried Wagyu beef for the first time at a local steakhouse. In Waygu, Cade saw a way to merge his love for great food and his ranching hobby. He began his quest to learn everything he could about Wagyu ranching. 

Ryan Cade of R-C Ranch discusses grilling
Photo courtesy of Jody Horton

Cade and his family purchased their first Wagyu heifer in 2010 and eventually started a successful online direct-to-consumer Wagyu business called R-C Ranch. Today, Cade and his partner Blake Robertson tend to around 700 cows. The growing ranch and successful traction around their online business enabled the pair to open their free-standing butcher shop in Houston

Cade emphasizes the value of finding a trusted butcher. “One of the things that we focus on [at R-C Ranch Butcher Shop] is making sure that our customers understand what they’re buying. My advice would be to source from a good local butcher shop that can be part of your team, be your expert, and be your lifeline to grilling.”

Cade and his family live on the ranch and work the cows daily. As Cade says, R-C Ranch’s tagline is Texas Craft Meats because “craft means we’re big enough to be relevant, and small enough to be fully focused on the quality.”

With grilling the go-to method for summertime meat prep, the Local Palate got Cade’s expert take on how to approach cooking various cuts of beef, because, as he says, “There’s no cookie-cutter approach to grilling.”

Meet Ryan Cade: a Meat Master

TLP: Grilling is perfect in the summer. How do you recommend cooking for a large gathering of people at a cookout this summer?

Photograph of Ryan Cade serving a customer her meat for grilling
Photo courtesy of Jody Horton

Cade: The Texas in me loves to do a fajita-style grilling when I serve big groups of people. We get some great tortillas, make some delicious salsa, and use a tender bavette (can sub for skirts or flat iron steaks). We season with our Five Star Season blend, slice it against the grain (always go against the grain!), and then finish with a little bit of garlic, salt, and lime.

TLP: What’s your advice for novice grillers just starting to kindle the fire? 

Meat for cold cuts: We make roast beef, pastrami, and beef bacon. For roast beef, I love a cheesesteak sandwich. For the beef bacon, we slice it and add it to really good pinto beans. 

Cade: So many people shy away from more expensive beef because they’re afraid they’ll mess it up. I would say find your expert. There are people that can walk you through this process and make sure you do it right. The better the beef you buy, the better the end products gonna be. 

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What’s the Cut? Cade’s Top Preparations for Different Types of Beef

Steak: The best way to prepare steak is hot and fast. We want to find the hottest surface and season it really well. Cooking hot and getting that really good sear on all sides of it. Then, get it to that desired internal temperature (we never recommend passing medium rare).

Date-Night Steak: Ribeye, strips, and filets are still king. 

Budget Friendly: Bavettes, sirloins, and petite tenders are lesser known amd are absolutely exceptional, but a fraction of the cost. 

Burgers: Open flame, we love cooking on oak and pecan. 

Italian Gravy: We sell a delicious ground beef that is really rich, and almost creamy without any kind of cream in it that you can take home and make your own. 

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