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Summer

Opinions on Grass-fed Beef

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I have a feeling I am going to get "beat up" with this topic, but I am just so curious as to other opinions as it pertains to grass-beef and the flavor.

I have been strict paleo for about 3 months now. In regards to beef, I am only consuming grass-fed. However, I do not find the flavor is as good as, well, the other grain-fed beef options I have consumed all of my life previous to paleo. I have heard others say the flavor of grass-fed is SO much better and I just completely disagree. I even switched sources to see if maybe it was just the particular store I was purchasing from. I have now tried a total of 3 different sources and I find them all to be the same. If I had to describe it, I would use the word "gamey", but not sure that is a good way to describe the taste.

I will of course continue to consume grass fed beef for the obvious reasons, but I was just curious what other opinions are on this topic if anyone would care to share?

Thanks in advance.....

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To be honest, I've never noticed the difference but I was eating much less protein before I went whole30/paleo and rarely cooked any steaks at home so it was an easy switch for me. Grass-fed is a bit leaner and so that might be part of why they're less tasty to you. Maybe get a fattier cut like a New York Strip and be sure to cook it less than you would a grain-fed steak. If you're still struggling top it with a pat of homemade garlic (clarified) butter!

All I can say is that you'll adjust and if you only eat grass-fed you'll forget there was ever a difference. Keep it up!

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Hi Summer!

You're not alone in this one. When we first made the switch, I noticed it too. Especially when the meat was cooking. I found that the leaner cuts didn't have as much of that grassy smell/taste. I added my own fat sources and plenty of spices and that helped a lot. Eventually, though, you will adjust over (if you decide to stick with GF beef) and then grain fed beef tastes sweet and salty (but not in a good way).

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Yep…I just got my first ½ grass fed cow. The first steak I had was not very good at all…it even tasted fishy. I was concerned because I just spent a BUNCH of money on it. However, I have since had different cuts including a roast and ground beef and it was really good. I think this experience will give me the opportunity to know which cuts I like best. I never really paid attention to that before…steak was steak was steak. From everything I have heard, you will get use to it. Also, this is a really good opportunity to experiment with spices.

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What your animal is eating makes a big difference in taste (hunters are particularly aware of this). You might consider trying cuts from another area or farmer, or ask you farmer what kind of grass/herbaceous material his cattle is eating.

I'm lucky in that corn-fed beef always tasted pretty gross to me. I much prefer grassfed, although some game meat can be too sagey.

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My dad refuses to eat grassfed beef. He further says that all beef is "grass fed" up to a certain point so it's pointless to buy unless you get "grass finished". He grows his own produce and only buys meet at the local grocer, so it's a lot about taste for him.

That said, I'm with Johnny M. I ate hardly any red meat before starting this so I haven't noticed a difference. Except in the pocketbook. Ouch!

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I agree with your Dad although we are approaching it from a different angle; I make sure my beef is grass finished and not corn finished. He is correct that all beef is grass fed up to a point, but it's the time the animals spend being forced to eat corn that makes them sick (and ultimately us sick).

So I make sure that my meat is not corn finished. Unfortunately, even some small ranchers corn-finish their cattle so then I can't buy from them. But there are ranchers who never feed corn.

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Grass fed beef can taste "gamey" much like a deer or elk. I struggled with it for a long time, you're definitely not alone. I think pre-seasoning your beef like with a brine or marinade can really help as well as the aforementioned cooking with delicious fat. I love some garlic ghee on my beef. Hang in there, just got to reset those tastebuds.

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This is fascinating because grass-fed beef tastes SO much better to me, and that was even before I started the Whole 30. In fact I have a grass-fed pot roast in the crockpot right now...

I agree with Emily that it might be that particular rancher's beef. I've been getting my beef from a local supplier who comes to town once a month to deliver. It's expensive, so I don't get a lot: a couple of pounds of ground and a pot roast.

I recently learned that my co-op sells two kinds of beef: "grass-fed" (which means grass-fed and finished) and "all-natural" (which means grass-fed and grain-finished). I asked what that meant and was told that the cattle are given grain for 90 days prior to slaughter. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not...I didn't ask if the grain was corn though...

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Cattle are able to digest grass (they are ruminants) but eating grain makes them sick, so (to me) any kind of grain is not okay. When they eat grain their meat takes on a more marbled fat and protein consistency which the majority seems to like.

I hate the idea of forcing them to eat something they biologically can't deal with.

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Thank you to everyone who has responded so far! I think it is great to hear other people's experience and opinions!

It is optimal to consume grass-fed AND grass-fnished when possible. From what I understand thus far and the research I have done, grass-finishing can positively impact the omega-6/omega-3 ratios. Corn is considered a grain, and is not the most healthy choice to be eating. Whatever the animal consumes, we consume - - that is how I look at this.

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Do you feel "beat up", as you said in your first post? I hope not. I'm also in Colorado and would be happy to send you some links to Front Range sources that we buy our beef from (we buy quarters and halves at a time).

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Hi Emily -

Ha! Nah, that wasn't too bad. :) I just have heard quite a few others rant and rave about grass fed flavor and I just couldn't understand. It is nice to know I wasn't the only one.

Sure, if you have any recommendations in particular of Front Range sources of beef, I would be happy to get those from you. Thank you!

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Over the last two years, I've gotten beef from each of these places:

The Farm at Sunrise Ranch (Masonville) (they are also great to visit and see the cattle; I even went with them to a slaughterhouse)

Grant Family Farms (Fort Collins) we have a CSA with Grant Farms and we've bought beef from them—they have an arrangement with a ranch in Wyoming. They may be moving away from beef though; I wasn't able to find anything on the website about meat.

Amy and Ellen's Grassfed Beef (Wellington) we bought a 1/4 from them last year and have been really happy with it.

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Thank you very much for all the great information, Emily! I will research each of the options you provided. Many thanks again!

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Ok, my experience so far with GrassFed Beef. Know the variety of the cattle. Understand where the cattle are grazing. I experienced a gentleman that had a diary farm and he was slaughtering his Holstein male cows, not a good choice for beef. My preference is to find a ranch that raises start to finish. They breed their own cattle on the ranch. Some ranches just finish the cows on the ranch, in other words buy the calf from another farm. Also some of the best meat I have had, the rancher hung the meat for 45 days, a little longer than most, but the meat was incredible. Back to the grass. We have succulent, beautiful grass here in Oregon and the better ranchers are grazing the cattle and relocating them to other areas every few days. Other areas of the country don't have this luxury. I visited a local farm this weekend thinking that I had found the source for my meat and left realizing I needed to keep looking. Under no circumstances would I purchase a large portion without trying 3-4 cuts of meat. My favorite two cuts are hamburger and ribeyes...Don't over cook grass fed beef!!!

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I honestly do not like the taste of grassfed beef. I know that sounds weird, but unless I top it with a sauce of some sort, or mix the ground beef with garlic when making burgers, it does not taste good to me at all - and beef is my absolute favorite protein. We eat a lot of beef. I have to alternate between grass-finished and good-quality grain fed because we cannot afford to order grass-finished beef all the time. I wish I lived closer to the ranches out west so I can try different brands without paying so much for shipping.

I heard that Alderspring Ranch in Idaho won a taste test.

My local farmer has grassfed beef and other animals, but they are inconsistent. Not too crazy about his stuff because of the taste variations. My WF carries local grass-fed beef, but the prices are very high. It taste good, but not great.

Some of the best tasting beef I've ever eaten was from a small farm in Idaho that grazed their cattle on grass, but added white potatoes to their herd's diet before slaughter. Not exactly Paleo, but the burgers were very good!

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Cary makes an excellent point about knowing the breed of cattle your grass-fed beef comes from. Beef breeds such as Angus (black & red), Hereford, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental (dual breed but good for beef) are your best bet. Any of these crossed with the other are good too.

Avoid dairy breeds sold as beef - Holstein is the most common in this country (they're the big black & white splotched ones). Dairy beef is tough and can have a funny taste. A lot of supermarket beef is dairy beef or one of the dairy breeds crossed with a beef breed, which partially accounts for the taste.

Wow, I had no idea that all those years in 4-H would come in hand :)

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We have succulent, beautiful grass here in Oregon and the better ranchers are grazing the cattle and relocating them to other areas every few days. Other areas of the country don't have this luxury. I visited a local farm this weekend thinking that I had found the source for my meat and left realizing I needed to keep looking. Under no circumstances would I purchase a large portion without trying 3-4 cuts of meat.

This. I am also in Oregon and I've had wonderfully delicious grass-fed beef and terribly disgusting grass-fed beef, both local. What the cattle eat is a huge contributor and even if you live in a lush place, not all ranchers/farmers treat their grass like the gold that it is. Our current supplier is a student of Joel Salatin's practices, so we knew we were on the right track. (Google him if you don't know who he is) And yes, definitely trying a few cuts before committing to a whole quarter (or whatever) is a really good idea.

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I just got some grass-fed organic beef from TJ's (I got the frozen beef). I hope it is tasty because I bought 3 lbs...hey it was a good deal!

Has anyone here had any of the TJs grassfed? They do have fresh beef that says 100% grass fed, I put that back to get the three frozen.

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I have nothing really relevant to add to this except Dr. Cordain uses the word "gamey" to describe grass fed meats in The Paleo Diet. So, you're certainly not alone. ;)

I've found the pastured beef I get from one farmer is very gamey, but from another farmer it is significantly less so. Oh, and bison meat is the same issue to me. I eat it, but I can't really call it better!

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Maybe try some grass-fed bison or veal?

I get my grass-fed bison from a local farmer (

http://lindnerbison.com/) it's out of this world! You could also opt for exotic meats, I recommend Fossil Farms if you'd like to give some a shot! (http://www.fossilfarms.com/). I suggest giving their ostrich a try! As for finding grass/milk-fed veal, I recommend Strauss - and you can even find them at Whole Foods! Easy access and good quality.(http://www.straussbrands.com/freeraised/fr-vealfaq.html)

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I just got some grass-fed organic beef from TJ's (I got the frozen beef). I hope it is tasty because I bought 3 lbs...hey it was a good deal!

Has anyone here had any of the TJs grassfed? They do have fresh beef that says 100% grass fed, I put that back to get the three frozen.

I've only bought the TJ's grass-fed ground beef or some local grass-fed beef at Kroger or Whole Foods. Made chili with the TJ's ground beef yesterday. I don't taste much difference at all. Bought steak at Marietta Square Farmer's market and my hubby couldn't tell difference either. I mostly get grass-fed ground beef and lean cuts of grain fed steak for my family. Not totally grass-fed here yet. Maybe some day. Want to split a side of beef with me? :)

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I've only bought the TJ's grass-fed ground beef or some local grass-fed beef at Kroger or Whole Foods. Made chili with the TJ's ground beef yesterday. I don't taste much difference at all. Bought steak at Marietta Square Farmer's market and my hubby couldn't tell difference either. I mostly get grass-fed ground beef and lean cuts of grain fed steak for my family. Not totally grass-fed here yet. Maybe some day. Want to split a side of beef with me? :)

I thought the TJ's beef was pretty tasty. I made the Well Fed Meatza pie with it (which was awesome) and some meat sauce last night that made me wiggle in my chair. I have 1 more pound of it in the freezer and just picked up 4 pounds from Carlton Farms today! I think I'm gonna bring the TJ's with me on vacation for burgers. I can't wait to try the beef from the local farmer!

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I like the TJ grass fed ground beef, but I prefer to buy mine from New Seasons since I know it's local. Grass Fed does taste different like many have said because of what they are fed. I found I love it. A rib eye is a great (and expensive) way to start because it's a fattier cut. Also, be really careful how you cook it. You don't want to sear it over high heat like you do grain fed beef. Here is a link to an explanation of why and how to cook it. Didn't want to cut and paste because of the length. :)

http://www.grassfeda...public/137.cfm/

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