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Grass-fed beef?

Jillsifer's picture

Has anybody tried grass-fed beef? I'm really interested, but the prices are intimidating. BUT if it's that much better, I think the expense would be worthwhile.


Ideas? Recommendations?


 


Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Adele's picture

(post #34165, reply #1 of 94)

I'm missing something because I see cows eat grass all the time.  :)


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Jillsifer's picture

(post #34165, reply #2 of 94)

I'm thinking back to The Omnivore's Dilemma and the whole discussion about grain-fed/feedlot cattle. Our local paper had an article this morning about a nearby "grass farmer" whose beef (beeves?) NEVER eat corn . . .

 


Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Glenys's picture

(post #34165, reply #12 of 94)

And if they're happy black and white Holsteins, they're for milking. That is until they get old and she's no longer useful and then it's off to the burger factory. No one should eat dairy cattle.

Adele's picture

(post #34165, reply #15 of 94)

Yeah, come to think of it, they are all dairy cows around here. 

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

JaneRI444's picture

(post #34165, reply #82 of 94)

You're probably seeing a very small scale dairy farmer's cows.  If you buy your beef from a supermarket or butcher shop, that cow probably never got the chance to eat grass.

Nightrider's picture

(post #34165, reply #3 of 94)

I've never tried it, but from what I've heard, it's a very different taste and texture that can take some getting used to.


If you do try, please report back...I'd love to know what you think of it.

beebuzzled's picture

(post #34165, reply #4 of 94)

I have had grass fed organic beef and its flavour and texture were far superior to the grain fed or grain finished beef. The meat is firm, but tender with a deeper, beefier flavour to it.


 


Why is the rum always gone?  Captain Jack Sparrow
Why is the rum always gone?  Captain Jack Sparrow
CookiM0nster's picture

(post #34165, reply #5 of 94)

Like Nightrider said, it has a very different taste and texture that can take some getting used to.

The flavor can very a lot, I assume depending on what plants the cows have been eating. I've had some I thought was absolutely delicious, and some I thought had an unpleasantly, for lack of a better word, strong taste.

The texture is also tougher. I find it to be only a slight difference, and not one that bothers me, but DH doesn't like it and has banned it from the table, except for ground beef.

When it comes to cooking it it's a lot less forgiving than grain fed beef. You really have to watch your times and temperatures.

The same grass farmer I get my beef from also sells chickens that have lived truly free-ranging lives, and I find a similar difference with the chickens as well - they are unpleasantly tough unless I brine them or braise them.

Jillsifer's picture

(post #34165, reply #6 of 94)

Thanks, all! I will report back when I've tried it.

 


Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

samchang's picture

(post #34165, reply #7 of 94)

The Trader Joe's grass fed beef is what we get when we buy ground beef. The flavor and smell are both quite different, although the texture is the same. As CookiMonster says, it cooks very quickly.

For steaks, the taste can hugely vary. I've had some fishy tasting grass fed beef steaks (those omega-3 fatty acids kicking in?), some were tired tasting, but some were spectacular.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #34165, reply #8 of 94)

I've bought it a few times, also Wagu beef (which is sort of like Kobe beef, but cheaper.) I may be getting them mixed up, but I find both taste mild & not have much flavor in comparison to "regular" beef. One of them has sort of a mushy texture-not just tender but sort of odd.

Sigh...we once did a side-by-side taste comparison, made 3 steaks & tried them out. Now I can't remember the details-just that I didn't like either one as well as the regular meat from our butcher.

Jean's picture

(post #34165, reply #9 of 94)

Wow, judging by what I'm reading here, the farmers can keep on planting corn. :/



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Marcia's picture

(post #34165, reply #10 of 94)

We had a grass fed rib eye roast yesterday, and it may not have been as unctuous as regular beef but it was delicious. I did it simply, with garlic slivers inserted all over, and seasoned the outside with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roasted at 450 until it reached 120 degrees, and it was excellent, but then the rib cut is quite flavorful, anyway. I'm not that grass fed would be good with a less flavorful cut of meat, but I'm going to try more.


The outside had a nice layer of fat, but the inside was far leaner than most beef of this cut, but still full of flavor. The texture, I admit, was a bit different, but was surely something we'd get used to.


We don't eat that much been nowadays, so the roast may have been so good simply because we're beef deprived.

Gretchen's picture

(post #34165, reply #11 of 94)

I don't think we have the choice, but we used to go to an Argentinian restaurant that specifically advertised that they brought their beef from Argentina. While it was delicious, I prefer our beef. And I would be pretty sure it is grass fed.  The tenderness is one point, but we don't particularly "prize" beef for being super tender (as in a filet). But this beef was less tender than "ours". But I am basing all this on supposition.


Growing up I KNOW I ate grass fed beef because our family and a couple of friends grew steers and slaughtered them.  But back then, beef was MUCH less tender all around--and memory of that is not very sharp!!


Gretchen
Gretchen
Jesse's picture

(post #34165, reply #25 of 94)

That's a long way to ship beef.

I spent about 5 months in Argentina, and the top 20 steaks I've had in my whole life have all been down there. I can't say for sure if they were all grass fed, however.

Jean's picture

(post #34165, reply #26 of 94)

When DH and I were first married 50+  years ago. I used to buy canned beef from Argentina that tasted just like your best beef roast....with just enough in the can for 2 servings. I was still in nursing school and we lived on that stuff...and pressure cooker pork steak. :) The good old days. sigh.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Gretchen's picture

(post #34165, reply #34 of 94)

I remember that--and I think it might still be available. I think we used to take it camping.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Jean's picture

(post #34165, reply #35 of 94)

Really!!  Haven't looked for it for years. It was really a treat for us back then. We probably couldn't afford it now though.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Glenys's picture

(post #34165, reply #13 of 94)

As long as we purchase Canadian beef in secondary and butcher cuts, our meat here in Western Canada is grass raised. Corn finishing is a U.S. thing. They do bring them in from the range and finish them with grain but all that walking is what makes the meat leaner and more structured.
I usually buy certified organic or certified Angus. It's all I've ever known.

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #34165, reply #14 of 94)

I'm confused. I thought most beef was grain finished in Canada.

Glenys's picture

(post #34165, reply #16 of 94)

They are grain finished but not corn finished. Usually they eat a mix of oats, pellets and hay on the natural end. Whatever they feed them on the budget feed lot finish, well you can just guess.

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #34165, reply #17 of 94)

Ahhh, I understand now. It makes sense too, given the extra abundance of feed corn in the U.S. (thanks to government policy) compared to here.

We have two organic producers near here. One finishes on grain and the other keeps them on grass. Honestly, the grain finished has a more consistent flavor.

Gretchen's picture

(post #34165, reply #18 of 94)

Corn finishing may become a thing of the past in the US with the increased use of corn for fuel. Think about that as an improvement!!

Gretchen

Gretchen
bonnieruth's picture

(post #34165, reply #20 of 94)

I usually buy grass fed beef, since it is available here at Whole Foods or Wild Oats.  Or else I buy buffalo, which I assume is grass fed (they don't have feed lots for buffalo yet, do they?).  It is largely an animal cruelty issue for me; cows are made to eat grass, not to be force fed corn gruel that they don't like.  But I also like the flavor of grass fed beef a lot better.  Although less fatty, it is more flavorful.  My guess is, it is this natural beef flavor that acclimation to corn-fed beef teaches us not to like.  I do find it takes more careful cooking, can be overdone easily.  Free range chickens are the only kind I ever buy; the others just taste anemic to me.

Lword's picture

(post #34165, reply #21 of 94)

"Although less fatty, it is more flavorful. "


Interesting! Maybe because they enjoy their food ;)


I will look for some and I prefer it rare so the cooking time shouldn't present a problem. Do you know what cut to look for if I want to use some for steak tartar and the rest on the grill? Flavor is more important than tenderness. (No rush, we aren't planning this for a while.)


L.
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." Mother Teresa
L.
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." Mother Teresa
bonnieruth's picture

(post #34165, reply #27 of 94)

I have never made steak tartar and don't know what beef cut you use, but I suppose you would use the same cut of buffalo.  The article about e-coli in grain fed cattle is really interesting.  I knew feed lot cattle were the problem but didn't know it has to do specifically with their being fed grain.  With all that acid and c-coli in their stomachs, they must be feeling sick all the time. 

gmunger's picture

(post #34165, reply #22 of 94)

Here is my favorite reason to eschew grain-fed beef (and dairy?).

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Glenys's picture

(post #34165, reply #23 of 94)

It just so happens that last night I was among a group of women in the food industry and it just so happens that one of them is an importer and distributor of high-end meat and poultry, especially to the upper end restaurants and alternative grocery stores and markets. She informed me that blood meal from slaughtered animals is still legally sprayed on feed pellets fed to animals in the U.S. Canada and Britain outlawed the practice but not the U.S.

gmunger's picture

(post #34165, reply #24 of 94)

True, true. Government of, by, and for the corporations.


I think I have recommended it before, but it bears repeating. Micheal Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma is a fantastic read, and he provides a brilliant discussion of the troubles with our "food system" in general, but also including a great section on feedlot beef.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
bonnieruth's picture

(post #34165, reply #28 of 94)

Oh, and I forgot to comment on the blood meal sprayed on the feed pellets.  Good GRIEF, what are they thinking?  Everyone knows this is mad cow disease in the making.