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100% grass fed beef. Icky! Am I crazy?

I went to the greenmarket in Union Sq today and picked up a bunch of stuff. I was about to hop on the subway when I decided to text my SO. As I stood there, the seller nearest me, offered his "shade from the sun" while I texted. Then I got lured into buying his beef. I must admit that I had heard the grass fed beef might taste odd to most of us not used to it. I decided to buy the beef patties, because I did not want to spend more money if the meat wasn't to our liking. So, here I made a delicious cucumber salad, a potato salad, and jalapeno butter grilled corn. I sliced the sweet onions an heirloom tomato to put on top of our grilled burgers. We sat down and took one bite each and looked at each other with faces of disgust. We hated the taste of the meat. I seriously put my burger down and said "Let's order pizza". I figured the salads and produce would hang well until tomorrow when we can make burgers with meat from our butcher. But, am I crazy? Am I missing something? We do try to eat organically and we do love adventurous food. But we just did not like the beef. I almost feel wrong for not liking it. Thoughts?

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  1. Grassfed definitely has a unique flavor, and many people are turned off by it. You are not alone.

    1. Me too. I really wanted to like it, but I thought it was gamey and I could definitely taste that it had more flavor and less fat. We did tried it on the Big Island at Merriman's, so it was locally source. I might try it again just to be sure.

      1. I think it depends on the producer and other factors. I buy ground grassfed beef from Trader Joe's and like it quite a bit. In fact, I was expecting the worst given the complaints about the flavor. I do, however, use it for kebabs, so the aleppo pepper, mint, red pepper paste, etc. are adding (and potentially masking) flavor.

        1. Can't say you don't have a right to your taste - but I wonder what you expected, and how you'd describe what you tasted (and what about it you disliked).

          I had some and remarked "gosh this actually tasted like beef, not cardboard."

          1. I've been purchasing grass fed ground beef from a local family farm at our farmers market for a couple of years and it has been consistently good. I tried a steak a year or so ago and wasn't impressed but I can't remember if I bought it from the farmer or WF. Anyway, I really want to like it as well and I understand it can vary from farmer to farmer and seasonally. Last weekend on impulse I decided to try again and I bought one ribeye on the bone and one strip from the same farm. I wasn't expecting a lot but they were awesome. Some of the best steak I've had in a long time - flavorful - beefier, chewy but still tender. If you care about eating pastured beef you might keep trying different sources until you find one you like.

            1. I don't find it icky, but I do find it inferior to grain finished beef. I've had grass-fed filet that I paid out the nose for at at high end restaurants...L'Etoile in WI comes to mind. That rest. is consistently on the Gourmet top 50 list (assuming that means anything) and is one of those places where every component of a dish is preceded by the name of the farmer. The founder worked originally w/ Alice Waters. So I make the assumption they served the best available. The steak was very good, but not as delicious as many others I have had...Coleman and Lobels come to mind.

              1 Reply
              1. re: danna

                I have grass and hay fed black angus bull. I also say icky.I marinade every bit I cook. make meat balls with the Hamburg. It is so strong just grilled the smell and flavor gag me. The cow isn't quite as bad but just cannot compare to a grain fattened steer. We have so much. Any suggestions to take away that harsh gamey taste? Even the smell of the fat I cut off stinks. My dogs love it!

              2. It's so odd to me when people don't like the taste of grass fed beef- grass feeding is how cows are supposed to be fed- it's how beef is supposed to taste. Beef isn't meant to be fed on grain or that slop they feed them now.

                9 Replies
                1. re: jpschust

                  It's not a question of what they're supposed to eat or what they're supposed to taste like. It's what you're used to based on the grain fed diet.


                  1. re: Davwud

                    It is only a question of what cows are supposed to eat. Cows are genetically designed to eat ONLY grass. Ideally, all cows would be fed grass and people who don't like the taste would eat other food.

                    1. re: khall

                      Agree 100%.

                      So much of our food is so far removed from its natural origin as to be laughable. But hey, the education has to start somewhere.

                      It's about developing a different palate. People are so addicted to sugar that it takes some doing to appreciate the savory side of cuisine.

                      1. re: JReichert

                        I concur. It took me years of force feeding my children brightly colored, sugar-based breakfast cereal. But, now they can chow down on Quisp the way I did in the mid 1960's. I'm currently working with them with the "Tang" product and General Foods "Space Sticks" but it is hard to get them to stop watching television.

                      2. re: khall

                        I agree, Cow's were not meant to eat corn (Grain-fed).

                        Then again, Neither were humans, but that got America through the famine, and look at us now!

                        Corn is #1 ingredient in all of our food! No wonder we feed it to our cows(grain fed), cats (Cat food), dogs (Dog food), fish (Farm raised), and Children (every Drink and snack known to man)...

                        But...Grass Fed beef Still tastes awful though.

                        1. re: GuyJeb

                          I have had grass-fed beef that wasn't good at all - I have also had some that was delicious. Maybe the new pioneers who are starting fresh with grass feeding are still figuring out how it works.....

                          1. re: sandylc

                            Lots of the farmers love to hear feedback from customers as they work on feeding and aging. I've had some incredible grass-fed beef lately that I wouldn't trade for any corn-fed steak.

                    2. re: jpschust

                      right...younger people don't realize that the beef they eat today is totally different than when beef were fed the food they evolved eating. Beef now are corn fed and chemically infused to make them grow fast and cheaper.

                      1. re: jpschust

                        Enter fois gras. Geese will nod in appreciation, I'm sure!

                      2. All of our beef in Colombia is fully range/grass fed. When I visit the US, beef tastes like...nothing.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Thank you.

                          I might have had pastured/grass fed beef as a child (I'm 50 ish) but most of my life here in the US I'm sure it has been grain fed. I've always loved me a good steak but in the past 5 years or so - not so much. Grain fed beef has started to taste bland with a mushy texture to boot. And I go out of my way to buy dry aged prime beef. Although many of these have been good, they've not had the taste/texture that I remember from long ago and have been in seach of. Those fully pastured steaks I had last weekend were spot on!

                          1. re: queenie

                            I've noticed the same thing as far as steaks tasting better in say even 1999 vs. today. The meat industry is changing more and more and the thing that occured to me is that the cows are fed primarily corn and today 90% of corn is GM. So if you eat beef today you are eating in a sense GM beef. This is a sad fact because we do not know all the ramifications of GM food. It's very sad indeed that corn is not the corn my grandma or mother or even I grew up on since our food supply has been "tampered" with for the last 20 years and now since that is the diet of cows and other animals that we kill for food consist of this GM corn and slop the meat is not the same either.

                            1. re: queenie

                              I LOVED steak growing up - I am 53 - but they just don't have that delicious taste anymore. For maybe about 10 years now. Very sad.

                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              Hey Sam. Ja, it's relatively easy to get grassfed beef - or grassfed but 'finished' on grains - here in South Africa, too. In fact, a lot of butchers are surprised if you ask! Some of the best is from Swaziland; again, that gamey, wild flavour, quite lean. Same deal with our lamb, much of which is raised in the Karoo, on indigenous shrubs. Locals buy it all - there is no international market for the meat, because the shrubs give it an almost sharp, spicy-herby flavour. Their loss, our gain. Now only if we could get our crayfish back from the exporters and tourist trap restaurants...

                              1. re: Gooseberry

                                And the lamb in Lesotho!! Herded by kids born on horses who later ride on locally made English style saddles!

                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                  I figured I'd just add my 0.02 here- it seems to fit:

                                  Those who find grass-fed at best inconsistent or at worst gamy are encountering a phenomenon specifically avoided by large scale grain fed cattle operations.
                                  Cattle are different from what another- variations in their diet from animal to animal and other environmental factors will result in variations in the flavor and texture of the meat.

                                  I always offer the following anecdote- I brought 4 ranched venison tenderloins to a party. Each one tasted drastically different from the next running the gamut from mild and almost beefy, through lamb all the way to very, very gamy.

                                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Couldn't agree more. We beefeaters in the US have had our tastebuds programmed to accept grain-fed juiced-up beef as real beef - not! The first time I tried grass-fed was a strange sense to me as I didn't get was I was expecting. But once I accepted the flavor as REAL beef and better for me, I can truly say that it's a great protein.

                                  Having just recently returned from Malaysia and Singapore, I can say that the beef there tastes and feels different as well. I can't be certain how much is commercially raised like in the US, but I know I ate grass-fed while on the island of Langkawi. The steers and kerbau (Malay for water buffalo) graze in many of the yards and adjacent open fields on the lush island and are utilized for milk, draft, fertilizer, hides, and of course meat. Beef rendang is believed to have evolved in order to "tenderize" and preserve the relatively tougher meat of the grass-fed water buffalos.

                                  As I am sure Sam the Man knows, it's better in almost every way for everyone as well. It's better for the steer, farmers, the environment, and consumers themselves. In fact, grass-fed beef is lower in overall fat, much higher in unsaturated fat, and actually contains Omega-3 fatty acids - once thought to be only available for the most part in seafood.

                                  Yes, ounce for ounce, beef is more intensive on resources than say chicken, but if you're opting to eat beef, grass-fed is the way to go. Keep it simple...

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka


                                    An old post of Sam's - but one that I guess has answered an old question in the Harters household.

                                    We've been regularly visiting America since 1980 and have often commented about how bland the beef usually is, in comparision to what we get in the UK. We thought it might have been something to do with the hanging/ageing process. Never occured to me it was something as fundamental that your cattle don't graze on grass.

                                    We do have some feed mixes which supplement silage or hay in the winter.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Missed this one! Yup after living abroad for so many years, 'Merican beef tastes like greasy cardboard, chicken like a doctor's office smells and pork bland. Maybe this is why we eat so much lamb!

                                    2. I'd think it depends on the producer. Until recently, the last time I had grass-fed beef was years ago at the home of a friend to raised cattle. I didn't like it; it was gamey,

                                      But just last night I had a grass-fed ribeye (from the Tallgrass company) that had great flavor, certainly better than any grain-fed steak I've ever bought from a supermarket.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: mpalmer6c

                                        I completely agree. Just to illustrate the importance of feeding and the grasses that grow on the range- I live in a state which has a wide variation in ecology. The eastern half is mostly plains while the western half is mostly coniferous trees. I was raised on venison but only from the western half of the state- juicy, tender and delicious! Recently I tried some "eastern" venison, it was disgusting and that's when I really understood the meaning of "gamey." The taste of meat varies SO MUCH by little details like the local ecology and the type of cow. Some people sell grass-fed meat that was cut from cows who are bred for milk production. all I can say is that it will keep a person alive, that's about it.

                                        1. re: SaoirseC

                                          Reminds me of the time I ate what was tantamount to corn-fed venison, between all the suburban/rural deer feeders they might as well just eat beef.

                                      2. I find the same thing with grass fed bought from the Farmer's Market in GAP and some of the grass fed from the Park Slope Coop. The meat is tough and has a lot of gristle. Saying that, I will ay it depends on the farm you buy it from. To me the best rib eye out there is by Hardwick's. It's 100% grass, has a nice fat content, it's buttery and has very little gristle. As for ground beef, I will always grind it myself, this way I know what to expect.

                                        1. personally i love grass fed beef. however, when i've served it, about half of the people aren' t fans....

                                          1. Don't feel wrong...if you have not had it before, it will take getting used to.

                                            Along Sam F's lines, I am from Guatemala and while I lived there as a teenager, all we ate was grass fed beef (because that is how its done down there). My father has a dairy farm and those cows are out in the pasture all the time and depending on what grasses they are eating that is the subtle flavor that comes thru the milk...it is also heavily influenced by the season as well (rainy vs. dry). So it is same with grass fed beef, they are what they eat :D. You may have to shop around until you find the the one ranch whose grass fed taste you like. I would not give up just yet.

                                            1. It's unfortunate that we have become culturally conditioned to prefer the taste of beef raised in a manner that is not only worse for the cows but is also worse for the environment and our own health.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Megiac

                                                The same thing has been happening here in Canada vis-a-vis salmon. Sustainable, yes. Tasty? No! Our tastes have indeed been modified by mass production.

                                              2. I like grass-fed beef, but not as beef jerky for some strange reason.

                                                1. Since I'm used to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is too gamey for me.

                                                  1. was it the taste, or the texture, or both? I ask because grass-fed has less fat content & burgers can get tough when subjected to normal (grain-fed) beef cooking treatment.

                                                    also, since the patties were ready-made, you don't know what cuts went into them. some cuts definitely have a more game-y/liver-y taste.

                                                    I recommend that you try again...but go with a good cut - try a thick-cut (1.5-2 in.) new york steak. Split one between you and SO & you will be spending less than $20.

                                                    Some websites (including grass-fed beef suppliers!) recommend cooking grass-fed beef more delicately (lower heat; less time). I think this misleads. The best way is to season with salt & pepper, brush with olive oil & grill over a *high* heat fire to sear both sides nicely dark brown & grill-marked. Then move off direct heat & let the steak roast until the thickest interior is 120 degrees. (I like to throw some wood chips over on the charcoal side for this part).

                                                    Let rest for 5 minutes or so after you remove from the heat. Interior should rise another few degrees or so & be fairly rare.

                                                    ...so...quick direct heat for exterior crusty flavor & then slow, even heat to finish.

                                                    If you like your steak medium or above, then skip the whole thing.


                                                    1. I also grew up eating grass fed beef. To me, the US beef is like pink cottonwool. Bland and mushy. I also like goat and mutton. It tastes like meat!

                                                      1. We buy all of our beef from a local farm that pastures their animals from birth to slaughter. The taste is the differece between budweiser (grain fed) and a wonderful microbrew (grass fed).

                                                        I really enjoy the way the flavor is different depending on the time of year, etc. To me, these differences are akin to a wine's terroir. Grain fed beef is quite literally a factory product. If that is your bag, fine. I, personally, am not keen on it.

                                                        1. I have bought grass fed beef hamburger at the grocery store. It was a little gamey, more like farm raised buffalo. It also had a distinctively more beefy taste.

                                                          The farmer we bought a 1/4 cow from mostly grass feeds, he was going to finish the cow the week before it was sent to the meat locker on grains. He changed his mind at the last minute, said the cow didn't need additional fattening up. So what we ended up with was basically grass fed and it is awesome stuff. It tastes more beefy but not gamey. The steaks practically fall apart, but some of the traditionally tougher cuts are tougher than grain fed grocery store equivalents.

                                                          1. I'm curious--how does the flavor of grass fed beef compare to buffalo meat? We eat buffalo all the time and like it quite well. To me, it has a sweeter, more mineral flavor that I wouldn't describe as gamey, though it's certainly more flavorful than grain fed beef. Do they compare?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: amyzan

                                                              the buffalo I have had is indeed "mineraly" - it has a flavor somewhere in the direction of liver, but in a good way. To me it is different than pastured beef, but I have a hard time coming up with what, exactly, the difference is. The beef can be more in the gamey direction (though it does not have to be), and it does not have that mineral quality.

                                                            2. i'd say, yeah you're crazy-- but that would be rude. also i think maybe something else is going on.
                                                              i think that the op got pressured by the seller into buying something she wasn't sure she'd dig, then she may not have prepared it correctly, it's hard to tell from the post. it's also unclear whether the "beefy, meaty" taste was too strong or whether it was too lean & it got overcooked. she just says "we hated the taste of the meat" and doesn't say what she was tasting.

                                                              just as milk from pastured cows can taste different at different times of the year and due to different regions/types of pasture, grass-fed beef can vary due to what the animal ate. if the farmer is serious about the taste of his animals' meat, s/he will take care of the pastures and the types of grasses that grow there.

                                                              assuming it was a "pressure sale"-- maybe the guy is unscrupulous or sloppy. maybe he's selling you patties because they're from old, tough animals-- milkers, maybe? or maybe the meat was overcooked & that's why it didn't taste good.

                                                              ask a friend who enjoys grass-fed beef where they prefer to buy their beef (butcher, store, farm. . .) & share a meal with them. maybe you like grass-fed beef, just not those burgers from that farmer/producer. give it a second shot before panning all grass-fed beef. to me, grass fed is wonderful!

                                                              1. I've had grass fed beef that is amazing, and grass fed beef that is awful. Like any artisinal product, quality varies from producer to producer. Would you judge all goat cheese by one mediocre gouda?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                  uhh that is what cows were meant to eat... come to Northern California to taste some of the most succulent grass fed beef ever. As others have said- the product varies from farm to farm. Better than commercial feed lot beef that is uniformly tasteless.

                                                                  1. re: drmimi

                                                                    Where do you get your beef from? Fellow nor'cal folks want to know.

                                                                2. Today I wanted to buy some good beef to feed my family (6 at home tonight). Knowing this could get expensive, I went to my local Wild Oats, in search of some grassfed. Incredibly, their grassfed filet mignon was $17.99 per pound compared to $24.99 for regular. I bought 2lbs., and proceeded to grill it, and accompanied it with old school baked potatoes, a salad made from arugula, basil, and napa cabbage, and a bottle of "Heart of Darkness" 2004. It was delicious. And my grocery bill was less than what one person would cost at a steakhouse. My family has no problem with grassfed meat. That's what I buy whenever given the choice. It just tastes better to me.

                                                                  1. I'm thinking that maybe something was wrong in the packaging. I bought some grass fed steaks from an organic farm that wrapped the steaks in butcher paper and then froze. The steaks were freezer burned and tasted awful. I recently bought some at my farmers market that were shrink vac-packed and were wonderful.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: LikestoEatout

                                                                      It's very possible. Grass fed beef is often ruined due to improper aging, butchering, storage, and/or freezing techniques. It's a cottage industry, and some producers are still perfecting their methods.

                                                                    2. What's the difference between grass-fed beef and Kobe Beef from Japan? What do they feed the Japanese Cows that makes their meat so expensive?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bigmackdaddy

                                                                        Bigmackdaddy is indeed the daddy mack!

                                                                        I've made a few posts about this before- to those who have heard this, I apologize...
                                                                        Waygu literally translates as "Beef of Japan" There is very little inherently better about waygu vs. angus vs. hereford PER SE... the difference comes from the fattening process that has been given the name from the Japanese prefecture where it was perfected- Kobe.
                                                                        Waygu cattle from Japan (who are frequently raised in countries with more pasturage, notably Australia and the US) are raised for the first 16-18 weeks much as any other meat cattle are raised- grazing on grass in open pasture, but whereas most "American" steers are then shipped off to crowded feedlots for a few weeks of carbo-loading of grain (mostly corn), the "Kobe" cattle are transported to smaller elite pastures where grains (mostly rice) are offered in addition to their grazing, they are frequently groomed, and are supplied beer and Sake lees in the summer to increase their appetite- all of this for another 130-150 days. Basically, Kobe is Beef Foie Gras- it is pampered and overfed- but no one could possibly call their treatment inhumane- the Philosophy behind the process is that happy cows make happy beef.
                                                                        Now back to some of the facts behind the philosophy: the beef is expensive because: 1) grazing is more expensive than feed (ranch labor). 2) the labor intensive handling of the animals 3) transporting the animals 4) the length of time the animals are alive is nearly twice as long as conventional cattle- that means more food, more labor, etc 5) waygu cattle and crossbreeds between waygu and angus (all of the beef we eat in the US called "Kobe" is actually cross-bred) has a different saturated fat/unsaturated fat/hdl/ldl ratio than hereford or angus, it is, in fact, better for you, despite the quantity of fat per serving. All of these characteristics raise the price of Kobe-style beef high above that of conventional beef- but as vickib said above- rising petroleum costs impacts industries dependent upon it faster than those that do not- grassfed may be more expensive now, but won't fluctuate as much and may eventually be a better buy across the board- which is the goal of all sustainable agriculture business!
                                                                        to tie this whole thing back to the original post, the Kobe fattening process is just that: an artificial process meant to standardize the final product- Kobe-style beef should be fairly consistent from steak to steak. Entirely grass-fed animals will naturally have more variations because of the minor variation in diet and exercise from animal to animal.
                                                                        Damn, I'm a wordy bastard!

                                                                        1. re: lunchbox

                                                                          But I'm not done yet... sorry.
                                                                          At the top of my post I said something about waygu, angus, and hereford being relatively similar- that's really a simplification, but one of the chief differences comes not from the beginning of the steer's life, but from the end: The American palette (that which has not been rendered bland) appreciates the flavor of aged beef. Hereford and Angus are usually hung 4-11 days, butchered, then wet aged as much as 20 days before it hits your plate. Further dry aging is a desirable thing. For the most part waygu- whether it goes through the Kobe process or not- is aged very little (often 4-7 days at the most). Aging allows enzymatic reactions which break down some of the proteins in the meat and allow significant amounts of water to evaporate from the meat- if you just spent the better part of a year making a cow perfect, you want it served as is!

                                                                          1. re: lunchbox

                                                                            I really appreciate the trouble you've taken in giving me a much needed and very complete lesson in the various distinctions that exist. Despite the fact that I spent much of my early years on a farm, my knowledge was limited to pigs. Thanks again.

                                                                      2. No...I would not say I was pressured, as I was already interested in a way. Although, my interest was not enough to actually make me buy it until they purveyor offered me his shade from the hot NYC sun while I was texting. I went for the beef patties, because they were cheap and did not want to spend and arm and a leg on my first foray into grass fed beef. Do you think if I bought a whole cut, like a rib eye, it would be "easier" to accept? The taste was very, welly, grassy, my BF said "like hay", and also kinda metallic. And it had an interesting smell. We understand that cows are meant to eat grass and I totally acknowledge that my taste buds have been treated to grain fed beef for 32 years, for good or bad, but as much as I would like to train my palette to accept grass fed, this experience has gotten me running from it.

                                                                        Fortunately, I bought free range farm chicken at the Greenmarket in Sunnyside today and I know that is something we already like better than the supymarket kind.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Justpaula

                                                                          I would take the opportunity to try it again, perhaps in a restaurant where it might be properly prepared. If you like it, you can purchase the same cut and try to make it at home. If after a few tries grassfed still doesn't appeal, don't sweat it. You don't have to force yourself to eat anything you don't like.

                                                                          1. re: Justpaula

                                                                            you definitely have to cook it in a different way from traditional grain finished beef. here are some tips: http://sustainabletable.org/features/...

                                                                          2. Yeah, maybe it was the producer. I recently bought some New Zealand grassfed ground beef from Citarella, made a hamburger at home, and it was the best hamburger I've ever had in my life by miles. A friend at work tried it and she loved it too. It was truly superior. Certainly not gamey or tough in any way. More like melt in your mouth and so fresh. Of course, we're not doing the environment any favors flying things in from New Zealand but it was so delicious I will have to get it again.

                                                                            1. Grass-fed beef tastes like... beef. It's just more intense.

                                                                              Also, grass-fed beef (or any animal) is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential nutrient. Grain-fed beef has more omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of omega3:omega6 is critical for metabolism.

                                                                              In other words, omega 6 intake reduces out the benefits of omega-3 intake. Ratios that favor omega-3 will reduce inflammation, blood clotting, and tumor growth; ratios heavy in omega-6 promote these health hazards. Also, omega-3 is critical for brain metabolism, while omega-6 has been linked to depression.

                                                                              The typical (grain-fed) American diet is heavy in omega-6, and this is probably a major factor behind our many health issues.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jeffypop

                                                                                I love grass-fed bison & grass-fed beef. My husband & I had the best grass-fed NY steaks about a month ago we bought at the farmer's market in Paso Robles. It didn't seem gamey at all to me, just really flavorful (I love game meats, especially elk).

                                                                                1. re: jeffypop

                                                                                  Don't forget conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which can only be found in specific meats, and is much more concentrated in free-range meats than meats fed on commercial feed.

                                                                                2. I haved read all the above because I am trying to learn more about the topic of Graas-finished vs. Corn-finished beef. The web page below is to some good info on topic.

                                                                                  As for your question, IMO, No, not crazy! You are just another victim of the American Cattle farmer lobby. In the beginning the Native Americans hunted grass-fed buffalo on the Great plains. That all changed with the creation of Indian Reservations for the Natives and the Scorched Earth policy for the Prairies, which burned the grass and starved the buffalo. Other buffalo herds were shot so their hides could be used to make belts to turn the wheels of the industrial revolution. Now comes the Cattle farmers to feed the nation with Natural grass-fed beef (a domesticated animal) on the "open" prairies. The problem with this plan was that seasonal changes and weather problems have a bad impact on profits -- Yikes. Moreover, corn-fed beef finished in "industrial feedlots" grow faster, bigger, have more savory fat and concerns about mass illness of the heard, caused by such close proximity of cattle in those feedlots, are addressed by mixing antibiotics into the feed - Yummy! Overtime, our Manifest Destiny was to gradually learn to like “Midwest Corn-fed beef.” Recently, however, Americans (from the Mountains, to the Prairies, to the Oceans -- white with foam) have begun to question what they have been taught to eat and the result is a more educatied consumer wanting to eat better foods -- even gress-fed buffalo.

                                                                                  "White with Foam"? Yes! Use Sea salt and pepper on your gress-fed beef at least one hour before cooking slowly over low heat and it is something to sing about.

                                                                                  As for the flavor issue, it might be that what is learned first is learned best. Thus, maybe it is simply hard to adapt to the flavor of grass-finished beef, and/or maybe it is the quality of the grass that the particular beef eats which is determined by those same problems of seasonal changes and poor weather that brought about our learning to eat domesticated animals finished on corn mixed with antibiotics. Anyone for a chezborger?

                                                                                  The Web page below is a good article by Cathy Thomas, Food editor
                                                                                  The Orange County Register

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                    Raising grass-fed beef is tricky - pasture quality, genetics, harvest age, etc. all play a part. The BEST grassfed beef I have ever had comes from Tallgrass Beef in Kansas. I eat as locally as I can, but have yet to find a local product that holds a candle here. I know the Tallgrass Beef is served at Harry Caray's in Chicago (among other places) and we have loved it. I have served it to grain-fed beef eaters to rave reviews.

                                                                                    If you want to try grassfed for health reasons and have a grain-fed palate, try Tallgrass.

                                                                                    Tallgrass Beef Co
                                                                                    103 E Main St, Sedan, KS 67361

                                                                                    1. re: lmariaschneider

                                                                                      Two years ago we ate at a few different places in Chicago every night looking for the best ribeye in town (Yes, it was hard work). On our last night in town we all agreed to return to Harry Caray's because we all liked the meat there more than any other place we had a ribeye. We thought it was the aging (very tender) but what you say now explains the superior flavor. Also, I have never found a better ribeye.Thanks for the tip. Now I will contact Tallgrass and ask if they sell to a steakhouse in L.A.

                                                                                      Web page for Tallgrass

                                                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                        Lets discuss why grassfed beef tastes different... if we can even argue that it does. There is a body of scientific research that says most Americans can't tell the difference, even though there is a clear difference in fatty acid composition between grain fed and grass fed cattle. Personally, I have worked in feedlots, and worked on some heritage breed pasture based farms in central NY, and I think I would rather risk my digestive tract on the grass fed cattle. To be fair, however, feedlots serve a purpose, they provide a consistent cookie-cutter product to a population who is content eating fast food hamburgers every day. Grass fed beef requires some talent to properly cook and flavor, and while it does have some more readily oxidized fatty acids, it is consistently leaner and contains a healthier fatty acid mix. I encourage people from all walks of life to really give grass fed beef a try; it is different than what most people are used to in this country, however, it is a healthier solution that provides a natural solution to many of the problems that feedlots have created. There will be little e-coli 0157-H7 in grass fed beef, as these cattle have an unsuitable rumen environment for this bug. Also, when your butcher tells you grass will kill cows, tell him to climb in his hobart grinder feet first. I had a client tell me this once, and couldn't quite believe my ears. Cattle are rumenants, and much like termites, they house microbes in their stomachs which allow them to convert cellulose into energy... there is a long pathway we will skip here, however. Cattle evolved this way, and we have tried to inefficiently feed them corn to get them fatter faster, regardless of cost, so that people will have a beef product they feel is consistently moist and has the same flavor (or fatty acid profile). So, I encourage you to go out and be daring, grass fed beef out of australia is very cheap and easy to come by... if you eat alot of beef, contact a local wholesaler who is probably importing from a company like Dunedin Beef... and order right from them. Go out there and eat grass fed!

                                                                                  2. I've never been able to detect any difference in taste, but I've only tried the patties. It seems to cook faster and shrink more.

                                                                                    Maybe not scientific, but I like the idea that this is what the cows would eat naturally if they were to roam free and not domesticated.

                                                                                    1. I LOVE grass fed beef from Whole Foods supermarket. It’s SO much better than regular beef! If there’s a Whole Foods near you, go try theirs, it’s wonderful! My whole family agrees, it’s all we buy now.

                                                                                      1. We buy our grass-fed beef on the hoof then have it dressed, aged, and butchered to our liking. Our preference is for very young beef; a nine month old steer being perfect for our taste. I do wish more people had the opportunity to taste this younger beef. It's tender, succulent, flavorful, and quite digestible. The fat is still creamy from mother's milk, and lightly yellow from the grass; and the cuts are about 1/4 to 1/3 smaller than those of older beef.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: fromagina

                                                                                          Oh, I'm so jealous. My sister just got us a cow share which we'll receive in June. I can't wait...I also noticed that my local TJ's didn't have grass fed ground beef yesterday. It looks like they also redesigned some of the packaging. They had cryovac organic, which doesn't mean grass fed. I hope they will still have the grass fed...

                                                                                          1. re: peppatty

                                                                                            If it's organic, it's almost certainly grass fed. Grain-fed cattle need a constant dosing with antibiotics to counter-act the havoc wrought on their digestive system by corn. The use of antibiotics would render the beef non-organic.

                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                              Not necessarily, organic dairy cattle never see the pasture, they're given " organic remedies" to ease the pain.

                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                The cows might get some organic hay, but organic in no way means grass fed. I know a former dairy farmer who said a lot of organic milk comes from cows fed organic grain and hay but stand in pens that are just as muddy. The image of them grazing is not usually the case because the farmer would have to get organic certification for the entire ranging area - not easy and expensive. Instead, give them organic grain and hay. No grazing or they are back to certifying the field is organic.

                                                                                                As for beef, it's the same. The organic beef means they eat some hay and mostly grain. The goal is still fatten them quickly. Fortunately, the cows are not fed the farma diet of mostly gmo corn, chicken litter, and rendered beef fat (yes, they eat their cousins. Beef fat is on the approved feed list even after mad cow). The organic cows are a healthier due to the better diet of more hay. Organic beef is better than conventional, but it is not the same as grass fed. Otherwise, they would tell you right on the label and charge you more. That's business.

                                                                                                Cows are meant to eat grass. Many Americans have been served the bland corn-fed beef and told it's an ideal. It really isn't. That said, if you do not like the flavor of grass fed it is understandable because of what we have been fed for so long. Time to ask for real meat that isn't sick, is lower in saturated fat, high in CLA, and Omega 3s. If you don't like that meat, then yes, get a pastured chicken. But then that opens the door to those who do not like the "chicken" flavor and don't find them as tender.

                                                                                                It's a slow battle back to nature.

                                                                                          2. I've been buying only grass fed beef, mostl from Australia and NZ for a few years now, for health reasons and for taste and texture and because grain finishing negates the health benefits.

                                                                                            Rarely, I've gotten a piece of meat with an unusual flavor I don't love, but usually it's very buttery, with the good mineral flavor that good beef should have. What it tastes like is very influenced by what's growing in that particular pasture at the time of grazing, so there's huge variety in the flavors of grass fed beef depending upon where they've been range fed.

                                                                                            I like Oze beef from Australia and the NZ beef Trader Joe's carries. I also much prefer lamb from those countries.

                                                                                            I really hate Niman ranch And Coleman beef, bad texture and flavors, IME.

                                                                                            1. There's a good chance that if you bought grass-fed ground beef, and it tasted bad, then some of the fatty acids oxidized. This would have given it a rancid flavor. Read the post from JerseyMidwest. I think this might have been the problem, try some grass-fed steak that seems more fresh next time.

                                                                                              1. I can definitely understand your dislike for grass-fed beef. It has a sort of Earthy, dirt-taste to it that you don't find with other beef. But I do think it's taste you can adjust to if you prioritize the movement. I interviewd Bill Kurtis, a former CBS anchor who owns a ranch of grass-fed cows, and he swears by it.

                                                                                                1. Adam Perry Lang, famous BBQ chef,openly admits to viewing grain-fed beef as being better. The main difference being that grain-fed beef is much more fatty than grass. Grain-fed cows are the main reason why our beef is generally considered the best in the world, no matter what all-natural, organic pundants might say.

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: phan1

                                                                                                    Your beef is considered the best on the world? Whose beef? By whom?

                                                                                                    1. re: rachelfc

                                                                                                      By reputation. The same reason why France has the reputation of having the best wine in the world. And it's a reputation that has been earned, not given.

                                                                                                      1. re: phan1

                                                                                                        I see. I'm presuming you are in the US and believe it is reputed to have the best beef in the world? I had just never heard of this reputation, even when I lived there, so was a little confused. No offence intended.

                                                                                                        1. re: phan1

                                                                                                          so if u.s. beef is so great, why is it banned in europe, japan, korea, etc? you can't pay a lot of visitors to the u.s. to eat beef here, it's considered dirty and unsafe-- a reputation that has been earned, not given.

                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                            US beef is not banned in Germany. Maybe it was in 2008, but I seriously, seriously doubt that.

                                                                                                      2. re: phan1

                                                                                                        Millions of Argentines would disagree with that statement.

                                                                                                        1. re: laguera

                                                                                                          Many Americans who have traveled abroad (of which I'm one) would disagree, as well.

                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                            Not sure about the reputation of US beef. Even the lunch buffets in Argentina serve beef in an entirely different league than US beef. Not only that, much of the world is terrified to consume US beef because of the atrocious food safety regulations here.

                                                                                                        2. re: phan1

                                                                                                          What nonsense! US beef is most certainly not held in high esteem here (France) nor I suppose in most of the world. It's inexpensive and highly available. Argentine beef is often held in high esteem, as is Norman beef; both of these are places where cattle graze.

                                                                                                          1. re: phan1

                                                                                                            US has a reputation for the best beef in the world? Not by a long shot. If anything the opposite is true.
                                                                                                            It may have a good reputation among the American cattle industry, but that's about it. It barely even tastes like beef, and between the "factory" cows' unnatural diet and the drugs they are fed, it's a bad choice on many levels.

                                                                                                            But hey...what do I know? People buy it, and like it.
                                                                                                            Unfortunately, many people here in the US have been conditioned to be suspect of anything that has real flavor. Thankfully, we do have a choice. Just read labels carefully: a lot of "grass fed" beef is not 100 percent grass fed...it is often finished on a feed lot like conventional American "factory" beef.

                                                                                                            1. re: phan1

                                                                                                              These days Lang can be seen on La Cense Ranch (online grass-fed beef purveyor)'s web site cooking up a storm. Either they're paying him well or his tastes have changed.

                                                                                                            2. This seems to be a YMMV issue, As a kid I ate at the stockyards at Grand Jct. Colo and the beef there was range fed, back east I spent 10 years working for a residential school that raised its own beef, all grass fed. It is going to be different from feedlot beef and it is a function of what you are used to.

                                                                                                              1. I've recently been buying grass fed beef at our local farmers' market (NY) and while I like the taste, it's been really challenging grilling it. The burgers are easy to get to medium rare, but yesterday I grilled strip steaks for less than 3 minutes on each side (last time 4 on each was too much), and they still came out past medium rare. I was so frustrated... I guess I'll try again with 2 minutes on each side. Any tips?

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                                                                                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                                                                  Check out this link from ebbatten's post above (from about a year ago):


                                                                                                                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                                                                    "the farmer and the grill" by shannon hayes is a great book on grilling techniques for all types of grassfed meats.

                                                                                                                  2. It all goes back to you are what you eat. I don't think I've ever had 'exclusively' grass fed beef being born and raised here in the U.S. That and the fact that Ive never sought it out. A few cases in point with regard to the 'you are what you eat' statement. Many years ago not long after I furloughed out from the Air Force I moved up to up in Napa from So Cal. Lesuire time included fishing various lakes throughout Northern Ca, one of them being Lake Berryessa near Napa itself. Catfish were one of the more easily caught fish in the lake. The first time me and my friend brought home a mess of them my friends wife, who was from Thailand, fried them up in a pan for dinner. One bite and I wasn't too impressed with the muddy/mossey taste of the flesh of the fish. Even further back in time, when I was a young teen-ager and we were visiting my grandparents who were living in San Jose at the time and while dining out in what was at that time a 'fine dining' restaurant' I saw a 'frog legs' dinner on the menu and decided to be adventerous and ordered them because of all the talk that they tasted like 'chicken'. Well nothing could've been further from the truth. Tasted like pond water. Fast forward to more current times and now that most all the catfish you see on any menu in any restuarant in the country are farm raised and fed a diet of some kind of pellets and live in shallow waters of man made ponds. I decided to give catfish on the menu at a local Red Lobster a try. Well, there was no comparison in taste to those muddy creatures from the depths of Lake Berryessa. It was in a word dilectable. I now never hesitate to order it in any seafood restaurant that may have it on their menu or to buy it in the market and fix it myself. As far as frog legs goes, although I haven't had them since, I imagine if they are now 'farm raised' and fed a diet that is not the same as they would feed on in the wild, that they too would taste quite differently. And so it is I would imagine with the domesticated 'bovine' of the animal world. Should they be dining exclusively on the grasses of the the natural habitat of their wild ancestors the taste of the flesh is going to be different and not the same as if they had been grain fed. So if you've been raised all your life eating grain fed beef and are accustomed to its flavor and taste, then experiencing exclusively grass fed is going to be somewhat of a shock to your tastebuds and one that you might not enjoy...at first or may never come to like it period. So you may not be missing anything at all and I would not feel wrong, for not liking it. Of course there may be seasoning and or cooking techniques that could help with the flavor issue you experienced with the grass fed beef. Maybe an internet search engine could help you find information on how to prepare this type of beef. In fact here is the link to one just such web sight from a google search of 'preparing grass fed beef', 'Tips for Cooking Grass Fed Beef ' and the link to the many hits from that search.



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                                                                                                                    1. re: crt

                                                                                                                      The grass fed vs. grain fed issue has to be discussed in the context of sustainability and health or it doesn't make any sense. It's not as simple as "I like oranges, so why should I change to apples? To each his own." Grain fed beef is a major contributor to the energy crisis and grass fed is not. Everyone needs to find his/her own balance but people generally seek out sustainable food for bigger reasons than taste.

                                                                                                                      Also, grass fed beef can be cooked very well. It took me a few tries but I finally made a rare burger with very good fixins (homeade mayo, brioche, local pickles). Delicious and sustainable.

                                                                                                                    2. the beauty of grass fed beef (well i should say ONE OF the ) is that you dont have to slather it in sauces and spices. it is so good and flavorful just the way it is. cows were meant to eat grass, not corn. With grain fed beef - you're getting antibiotics along with that taste. Really - it's just b/c you are used to it ... someone from argentina, just like the person who posted to this reply from colombia - they eat beef fed on grass - always - and when they eat grain fed beef here - it tastes bad. This is one of the couple of reasons Americans are SO FAT, and other countries - dont suffer from the obesity we see here. EVERYTHING is processed here! corn is genetically modified then given to cows. YOU SHOULD read OMNIVOURS DILEMA - very good book - easy read too...

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                                                                                                                      1. re: feebee45

                                                                                                                        I agree that grass-fed beef, when aged properly, is superior to corn-fed, but I will say that not all Argentines think our beef tastes bad. I am married to an Argentine, and we have family and friends come to visit all the time. Almost all the Argentines (and various other South Americans) I have cooked for remark on how delicious the beef is. I am not going to get into the politics of it, but a lot of people, not just Americans, like the taste of corn-fed beef.

                                                                                                                      2. Ohmagawd, thank u so much for posting this. I had a similiar experience and my husband and I were so perplexed. Was it us? Was it something we did/didn't do? I feel better, after reading other responses.

                                                                                                                        We purchased a couple of ribeyes from a grass-fed beef farmer at our farmer's market. We've had his flank steaks before and liked them, but we had marinated them. I didn't do anything to the ribeyes other than oil, s&p and cooked them 3 mins each side in a cast iron skillet and then an additional 2 mins. in a hot oven to med. rare. The beef had a strange gamey flavor (for lack of a better description) and it was so tough that we couldn't finish our steaks. Now, mind you, we are adventurous eaters and not typically turned off by something out of the ordinary. I suppose it was not what we were expecting and so we were surprised by the flavor. Does the beef tend to be tougher too?

                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                          Grass-fed beef is definitely leaner. So that's why you probably think it's tougher. When you cook it, you really shouldn't cook it as long as grain-fed beef.

                                                                                                                          At home, I eat grass-fed beef -- ground beef, short ribs, brisket, chuck, flank, etc. However, when I go to a steakhouse (about once a year), I prefer grain-fed. To me, a grass-fed steak is just not the same. And, yes, I've had grass-fed steaks before.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                            Well, thanks for the information. I cooked it how I would a grain-fed beef steak. Now I know. I guess it's back to the market to give it another try!

                                                                                                                            I do think the flavor is simply a matter of getting used to. It's like tasting lamb for the first time and expecting it to taste like beef. I loved the flank steak and was pleasantly surprised by the more prominent beef flavor.

                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                              To hades with what i call milk cow beef.
                                                                                                                              I was raised on it when we could afford beef at all.
                                                                                                                              Sure you can "get used" to free range /grass fed beef, but why?
                                                                                                                              You could get used to cow corn instead of sweet corn too, but why?
                                                                                                                              If you want to live like a third world peasant or a monk , buy a hair shirt.
                                                                                                                              Please, no one tell me about the delights of free range chicken either.
                                                                                                                              Again, i was raised on them, shooting them in the head and then chopping off the head so they could bleed out and then scalding and plucking and they were in the end, fit only for the pressure cooker and none too good even then.

                                                                                                                              We are becoming a nation of food snobs, having CONVINCED ourselves that this stuff must be good because it is ghastly expensive and the in crowd extols it's virtues.

                                                                                                                              Like it? fine, eat it.
                                                                                                                              If i have to learn to like it i'll pass thanks.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mr jig

                                                                                                                                I think you misuderstood me. I don't want to learn to like something simply because it is hip or now or whatever. If, however, it is a better product because it is environmentally and animal friendly, well then I'll consider it. I had one steak that I didn't enjoy from a farmer who had sold me several flank steaks that I loved. I wasn't sure if I got a bad cut or what.

                                                                                                                                As for free range chicken - I much prefer it over my local supermarket stuff. Less fat to trim and more flavorful. Even if it tasted the same, I would likely chose it because I think there's something to be said for the chicken that has had a better quality of life than those crammed on top of one another in a commercial poultry farm. But that's just me. Each to their own.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mr jig

                                                                                                                                  Your comments are priceless! Yes, I've done the same, and felt the same, and experienced the same.

                                                                                                                                  I vote wholeheartedly for corn fed beef. I love it, it tastes great, and it is consistently good. Grass fed has been everything from (mostly) bad tasting to good tasting.

                                                                                                                                  I laugh when I read that cows are not going to eat corn if they can eat something else or corn isn't a cattle food. Cows love corn! They will eat it until it makes them sick. It's cow candy.

                                                                                                                                  I do like a combination of free range and grain fed chickens. They seem to have a better texture and have a little more flavor than the store bought chickens.

                                                                                                                                  And as far as fish, I don't like muddy catfish (depending on where you catch them), but I do like cat fish.

                                                                                                                                  Unfortunately, we have become a nation of fast food--we grow our meat creatures the fastest way we can, feed them whatever makes them grow best, grow them in large groups where they are inclined to get sick and then feed them antibiotics and other chemicals to keep them from getting sick. Of course, the government and everyone else says that it doesn't hurt a person at all. But over the last 40-50 years, there has been a marked increase in the growth of our youth. Are the growth hormones not affecting us?

                                                                                                                                  I too am interested in purchasing only from people I know that have raised them the way that I want my food raised--the more natural the better; however, I do realize that corn, barley and all the grains fed to cattle are really just part of the grasses that cattle normally eat. It is a total misnomer to say that corn fed cattle are not grass fed. The grains are at the top of all the grasses when the grasses go to seed--if they are on grass, they have been grain fed.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: TheTexasLady

                                                                                                                                    Hey TexasLady,
                                                                                                                                    The food safety/science community is pretty much in agreement that cows do indeed have a harder time digesting corn than they do grass. More important;y, the E Coli rate among grass fed cows is more than 80% lower than with corn fed. So there are real food safety concerns.
                                                                                                                                    A lot of the bacteria though dies if they are returned to grass for just a short period of time so the small producers you're talking about who might add corn or grain to a pastured cow's diet are not subject to the same problems.

                                                                                                                                    It think when people on this site talk about corn-fed cattle, they are referring to cows that graze on grass for the first part of their lives and then are finished in a feedlot (eating no grass and only corn based feed) and are often not healthy animals I know many also buy grass fed beef not so much because they're worried about a small amount of grain in a cow's diet, but because the feedlot system itself is so horrific and they want no part of it either for health or ethical reasons.

                                                                                                                                    Eat well and have a good New Year!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                      Hi, JeremyEG. Please find data that hasn't been submitted by advocacy groups. They do tend to skew the numbers in their favor, which is unfortunate. There are several great sites that bolster your argument who aren't hippy slow-food movement desperados. Here's a great article, for instance, talking about the pros and cons of pasture raising cattle, while also citing a variety of studies done globally in regards to the advantages and disadvantages or grass-feeding cattle: http://www.americancattlemen.com/arti.... If you want folks to make informed decisions, give them the tools to make informed decisions. There are so many more sites out there that really let the consumer see the facts and decide. Me? I live in Texas. We have a wide variety of cattle available to us, and I prefer the Genesis Wagyu beef from Coleman OK. :)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: TheTexasLady

                                                                                                                                      Well you have to consider that there's a huge difference between the grains that grow on top of most grasses, and the corn grain. Corn has been selectively bred for centuries (and most has been genetically modified over the past decade) so that it responds very differently than your typical grain at the top of grass. See JeremyEG's comment for more (I don't really want to repeat something that someone else has already said). :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: SaoirseC

                                                                                                                                        All major cereals have been selectively bred for centuries. "Most" maize has not been genetically modified: selected factors such as the Bt gene or Roundup resistance have been placed in varieties that are regulated around the world.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: mr jig

                                                                                                                                      Wow. Now just because you've had it growing up doesn't mean your experience of "it" is really the experience of others. I've had a lot of different locally-produced meats, and you can definitely tell the difference between producers, breeds, and what they're fed. The free-range chickens I've had were the best- fatty and flavorful. The chickens I've had from the grocery store just don't compare in taste or the fat content. However, I've also had local chickens that were just bland- these were also free range. Same with beef, milk, and pork.

                                                                                                                                      Though i do agree with you- if I have to learn to like it, I'll pass. I guess that's why I've passed on the grocery varieties as well as some of the local stuff.

                                                                                                                                2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                  Hmm, I eat only grass-fed, and my steaks usually turn out fabulous. I don't buy the expensive cuts, usually just sirloin, and I'm too lazy to marinate. I throw a little salt and pepper on top and fry them in a little oil (to sear), then turn the heat waaayyy down and cook until medium-rare. Very tender, almost don't need a knife. Rarely I buy the odd piece that's tough and should have been braised, but the vast majority of the time the steaks are fabulous. It really depends on the cow, there's a lot of variation, but grass-fed does not always mean tough and gamey.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: SaoirseC

                                                                                                                                    Had a grass-fed top sirloin for dinner last night -- no marinade, just s&p, quick sear in olive oil and a rest of 5 minutes before slicing. Magnificent. Tender, juicy, flavorful, just what beef should be.

                                                                                                                                3. I'll agree that what you had was probably oxidized beef. I've had rancid/oxidized corn-fed meat before -- I don't think the bad taste had to do with it's provenance.

                                                                                                                                  We eat almost exclusively grass-fed beef and buffalo, and I prefer it so much to grain-fed beef that on the rare occasion I go to a steakhouse and order a corn-fed steak, I am immediately struck by how flavorless and "not-beefy" it is (I have given up filets forever. Just 'cause something is tender doesn't make it delicious. Flabby, bland, overpriced. Boo.) We just served grass-fed buffalo strips at a party, and they were the tenderest, most flavorful (and with only moderate marbling) steaks we had ever had. Our guests remarked on how delicious they were and didn't realize they were Buffalo until we told them.

                                                                                                                                  Re: Mr. Jig's (furious!) post, I don't think this is food snobbery. I think trying to eat in a way that respects the environment, and also your family's health (who wants to eat meat from an animal that spent it's last days standing knee-deep in feces, eating ground up bits of other animals and being pumped full of drugs to keep multiple infections at bay? Yuck!). Most other developed countries pasture their cows (I just spent three weeks in France and didn't see one feedlot -- drive a couple of hours in California and it's nothing but manure and miserable cows as far as the eye can see) and it's better for the animals, better for the environment, and better for you.

                                                                                                                                  Give it one more try. Whole Foods is a very reliable place to get certified, sustainable, grass-fed meats. Don't write it off just yet!

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Francoise

                                                                                                                                    Great post! I've served ground buffalo ti guests as well and mt guests have remarked that it's the best burger they've ever eaten.

                                                                                                                                    In addition to Whole Foods, I would also suggest your local farmer's market. Some people have specific tastes in red meat (more fat, less fat, mild, etc). Go ahead and ask the beef or bison farmer at your market which cut might be best for you. I find most farmers more than willing to work with their customers. Don't expect that at McDonald's!


                                                                                                                                    1. re: Francoise

                                                                                                                                      We also buy and eat only grass fed beef, and it's for health, environmental and humane reasons all. To lower cost, I plan to buy a chest freezer and begin ordering from a farmer and buying half an animal cut to our specifications. Flavors are much better, though varied depending upon what animals have grazed on, and meat is tender, but not in the same way as highly marbled grain/corn fed beef.

                                                                                                                                    2. Once you had grass fed beef in Argentina you will not eat anything else.

                                                                                                                                      Cows cannot digest corn and would never eat it if they had a choice. But corn is cheap, government subsidized fodder, so the cows get it together with medication which helps with the digestion. I do not want these drugs in my food even if they are considered safe.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: apple11

                                                                                                                                        I'm sorry - but grassfed/rangefed beef equal to or better than that of Argentina is grown from central-southern Mexico down through Central America and in Brasil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

                                                                                                                                        And, apple11, I'm not picking on you. Far too many hounds, if they think of South America at all, only think of Argentina.

                                                                                                                                      2. I use lamb recipes for my grassfed beef. I would chop up those burgers and add them to a tomato sauce. Or mix with bread pieces to stuff summer squash. The flavor makes a little meat go a long way. DH grew up on wild game, so he grills a steak on high heat, pink inside. Too strong for me.

                                                                                                                                        Try it in a lamb korma recipe. Or Mexican birria. Thai beef salad (marinate beef, then grill, and then the salad gets a dressing). Strongly flavored meat with more 'texture' are why these recipes were invented!

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: aamaranth

                                                                                                                                          It's sad, that the general public, are forced into buying the Con Agra mass-produced/slaughtered-quick-turn-around meat in the US. There are not likely any expectations from any other meat offered in the US.? The "green" grass-fed boeuf is exactly that. Pun intended. Any form of consumer-end meat quality is not likely gonna be good in good ol' America?

                                                                                                                                          Not that easy to distinguish between good and bad, grass-fed and corn-fed, if no one in the conglomerate system gives a rat's patootie? Fast, cheap, and easy...that's what we all get, unless we made grew it ourselves?

                                                                                                                                          I grew up on ranches. My family had a small cow-calf operation, as breeding good horses was our main focus.

                                                                                                                                          As other "in-touch-people" who have lived outside the supermarket,... have already suggested: Good beef is a matter of genetics, and many, many... other factors.

                                                                                                                                          Genetics DO count. As does the slaughtering, hanging/aging. As does the feeding/finishing of the Boeuf Something, which you are not likely to taste in your local Mega-Mart.

                                                                                                                                        2. It's very possible that it depends on what the cow is eating. "grass-fed" is a generic term meant to describe cows who are not fed commercial feed and instead are allowed to graze. But there are SO MANY types of grass (and plants) on the range. Also, different breeds of cattle taste different as well.

                                                                                                                                          Most of the beef I buy is straight from the rancher, or just one small step away (as in I could potentially visit the ranch), and I've tasted quite a wide variation among the locally produced grass-fed cows. Personally, I can't stand the taste of beef from the grocer- I assume it's because that beef is grain-fed (most of the beef I buy is fed on the range during warmer months, and stored alfalfa during the winter). BUT I did buy some commercial grass-fed beef that was raised in ?Brazil? because it was on sale and cheaper than even the local stuff. It was AWFUL. Like you said- gamey and sort of dry. I didn't like it at all, and we had to use the rest of it in very highly flavored meals to mask the taste.

                                                                                                                                          The grass-fed beef I usually buy tastes exactly like what I was raised on, even though my parents never intended to buy grassfed (they bought from the farmer because it's cheaper that way around here)- definitely has a lot of fat in it which I really liked as a kid (and still do). Anyway, in short, the taste will depend on the cut of the meat, the type and age of the cow, how/if the meat was aged, where it was raised, and what the local micro-ecology is like there, as well as what the season was like (warmer, wetter seasons will result in fatter cows). So, feel free to try again sometime from a different producer if it's not too difficult or expensive to find in your area.

                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: SaoirseC

                                                                                                                                            "Grassfed' includes animals that have been grazed on planted and/or enriched pastures, not only open rangeland.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                              We raise our own beef on our organic farm in Ontario, and have over thirty years of farming tried different methods of raising beef. Since we have always eaten our own beef, I feel that I have a good basis for comparison. We currently only feed our cattle on pasture (and hay in winter, from our own hay grounds) as well as a small portion of grain, which is necessary to keep them in good condition when the cows are raising calves. When we are "finishing" some steers for slaughter, they get a slightly increased increased portion of grain so they are nicely marbled. Our grain is raised on our farm also, and is certified organic, as is our pasture and hay grounds. I too feel that even our own Hereford cross beef is "gamey" tasting if fed only on grass and hay. Although you could call our cattle "grass-fed beef" I would tell anyone who purchases beef from us that we do feed some spelt grain as finishing rations, and I think most small farmers that we know in this area feed some grain as part of the ration.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: baywolfblu

                                                                                                                                                The farmer we got our most recent side of beef from, in Iowa, does similar: he's certified organic, and the cattle were raised primarily on grass (with some grain supplement during early spring) but then the ratio of grain was increased for the last few weeks--with pasture still available--to "finish" the beef.

                                                                                                                                                Has anyone ever seen a study examining the ratio of health benefits vs. time on grain? I mean, if a cow was raised on grass, and had supplemental grain only during its last few weeks, how fast do the omega3's and so forth decline, if at all?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                                                                  :: a study examining the ratio of health benefits vs. time on grain? I mean, if a cow was raised on grass, and had supplemental grain only during its last few weeks, how fast do the omega3's and so forth decline, if at all?::

                                                                                                                                                  That's an excellent question, to which I have no answer or pointers to answers. But I'd be very, very interested to know more.

                                                                                                                                                  Small producers in my area take the same approach -- pasture and own-produced hay, with grain when needed (to support calving cows, as noted, but also at times to help cattle weather wet, cold conditions) and often for finishing -- because it's the only way to reach the marbling requirements for choice grade, and because until recently there was only demand for the grain finished.

                                                                                                                                                  I know there's been research comparing nutrient content of grass-fed-and-finished with conventional/feedlot beef, but I'm less sure whether or to what extent the small-producer grass-fed/grain finished model has been included.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                    Those added "marbling requirements" show you how rapidly grain fed/finished changes the healthier profile of grass fed beef. I don't want more of the type of fat that beef cattle accumulate during grain feeding.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                      I think the "healthier profile" here is a red herring in this discussion. People generally do not eat red meat for health reasons. Different breeds show different levels of marbling, this can be selected for, and probably was in heirloom breeds. Marbling is also a result of the animal's age. Older animals, like older humans, tend to gain body fat as they age.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NO SLICE

                                                                                                                                                        It's not at all a red herring! I eat meat, including red meat, for my health. The fats in grass fed beef are higher in omega 3s and CLA and lower in arachidonic acid and omega 6s, both of which promote inflammation. Not to mention they're not loaded with antibiotics to deal with the painful torment of grain feeding which they are ill suited to endure.

                                                                                                                                          2. Your not crazy. grass fed beef tastes like crap. It produces a leaner cow. Unfortunately, fat means flavor. That's why I buy Angus or prime if I can afford it. Both grades are a measure of how much fat is in the meat. Yes, I know Angus isn't a government grade but I have found it to be exactly what the producers say it is.... Choice or above.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: tonka11_99

                                                                                                                                              Again, depends on the producer. In Argentina where the cows are grass fed, nearly every steak I tasted was richer and fattier than it's US counterpart. Grassfed tends to be leaner but there are far too many variables to say that all corn fed beef has better flavor. It's just not true. The full marbling I get on my aged grassfed porterhouse produces a much more flavorful steak than most corn fed.

                                                                                                                                            2. I'm curious if you ever found a good source of grass-fed (no grain) beef. In line with what some have touched on already, the flavor & texture will vary by the same things that influence wine, including breed (and the specific genetics ala root stock), growing region, specific diet, age at slaughter, husbandry/handling on farm and truck and at slaughter and butchering, aging time and technique and the relative talents of folks who raise, transport, slaughter, or butcher it. The one critical difference between wine and beef is that with wine one seeks to stress the grapes whereas stress can ruin beef.

                                                                                                                                              I have personally tasted and helped others taste a lot of different grass-finished and grain-finished beef (I host education and blind tastings across North America) over the past five years. One thing I can say for sure is that there is no "perfect" steak or burger! We have different palates and preferences for meat just as we do for wine, coffee, chocolate, potato chips, even apples. I'm guessing that you might have done this already but if not, if you have the opportunity, see if you can get samples (steaks or ground beef) from several farm/butcher teams and do a taste test. If you find one that you like, stock up on it so you have your favorite flavor of beef (or pork, lamb, poultry) on hand whenever you want it!

                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Oliver Ranch

                                                                                                                                                I suspect that grass fed beef is primarily USDA select beef. The grading is based on marbling of fat in the muscle tissue. It is a lot harder to get pure grass fed beef up to choice grade. I won't say it can't be done but it would be the rarity, I suspect.

                                                                                                                                                Grass fed beef is healthier, albeit in my opinion a less flavorful, beef. I also suspect that for the most part grass fed beef tastes gamier because of the diet.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: tonka11_99

                                                                                                                                                  so it's less flavorful, but more gamy? you suspect? i guess i don't understand your post. why don't you just try some grassfed beef so that it's not just conjecture? plenty of great marbling in the 100% grassfed steaks i've had recently btw, and no "gaminess."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                    No thanks. That will leave more for you.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                      Grass fed beef sure is very flavorful, and that can change based upon what they're grazing on seasonally or regionally. I have never found it to be dry or without marbling, even the grass fed flank steak I buy, a typically lean cut (which makes astonishingly good burgers when ground fresh at home). I've only ever had a gamey-ish piece of grass fed meat once in several years of buying it exclusively. It wasn't bad, it was just different tasting.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                        I'm in a local co-op and can get grass fed beef from three different farms. The beef from each tastes quite different even though all three farms are within a thirty-mile radius of each other. What some people would describe as "gamey" I'd describe as tasting like lamb but only one of the farms produce beef with that flavor. My husband, who doesn't like lamb, happily eats beef from all three farms. I've always told people who ask me what grass fed beef can taste like that if they like lamb they're not going to have a problem with it.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                          Whereas I really dislike gamey meats, marinate all heck out of lamb with yogurt and/or lemon juice, and still love grass fed meat. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for using "rarity" and not "oddity."
                                                                                                                                                              Such a fine line. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                            MandalayVA, how lucky for you to have the ability to easily choose from three different farms! I have definitely tasted beef that had lamb flavor notes. There are some with game flavors e.g. venison, or offal. There's another group of flavors that I call Ocean Notes, ranging from ocean breeze to seaweed to mackerel. Few people want their beef to taste like mackerel, but some people like ocean or game/offal flavors and others do not.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                              This is very interesting. A small burger place near me makes all their burgers from grass fed beef obtained from a local farm, and the beef is delicious, best burgers I've ever had. Today at a farmers' market, I bought grass fed ground beef from a different farm, but it's in the same town as the other farm. I'm curious to see if there are any differences in flavor...hoping I'll like it just as much once I make burgers with it!

                                                                                                                                                    2. Every traditional peasant knows that a cow that feeds on bitter grasses will produce bitter-tasting milk. It's been lost on generations of urbanites, apparently, that the flesh and milk of animals taste of what they ate. That's why supermarket chicken breasts and white pork have all the flavor of soy mush, that's why American feedlot beef is so flavorless, that's why supermarket milk tastes barely different from water.

                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, it's obviously too late to reply to the original poster, but in general, if you find yourself disliking the taste of grass-fed beef, there are two possibilities:
                                                                                                                                                      1. The animal was fed on unsavory grasses and as a result has an unsavory taste.
                                                                                                                                                      2. You're the typical American who grew up eating all this ungodly garbage that passes for food in this country. Ask yourself two simple questions: do you like stronger flavored meats/offal in general (lamb, venison and other game meats, tongue, liver, etc.)? Do you buy and eat Wonderbread-type sliced bread? If the answer is no to the first question and yes to the second, don't worry: you're a typical American garbage eater. You dislike the taste of real food. Just relax and keep eating your ketchup and chemicals. If that's not the case, look to the first possibility again. Beef and lamb raised on fragrant grasses can be incredibly flavorful. The trick is in finding them.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shrimps

                                                                                                                                                        What if the answer is no to both questions? I am sure there is more than one person in America who finds strong tasting meat unpalatable yet strictly eats high-quality whole grain breads (and even bakes them herself!). Just curious what your opinion is when you are not making broad generalizations about the eating preferences of complete strangers, based on whether they like eating offal or not. Before answering, also consider that an individual who purchased grass-fed beef is likely not existing on a diet of "ketchup and chemicals", okay?

                                                                                                                                                      2. Sorry if I'm politically incorrect, but if one hunts, deer, elk, antilope, wild turkey, grouse, fowl, etc., on probably prefers grass fed beef.
                                                                                                                                                        Search your values.
                                                                                                                                                        Zen Keg

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                          I have been thinking about this topic a lot. Again, I think it is a matter of what we are used to. As 'Mercans, we've grown up w/ the flavor of corn fed beef, it is what we are used to and expect. On the other hand it creeps me out to know that 'Mercan beef can't (or is almost impossible to sell.) in Europe or Japan, due to hormone & other additives. When I send my sons packs of beef jerky the Koren customs incinerate it, unless I label the customs declaration "hiking accessories", instead of beef jerky.
                                                                                                                                                          Me, I'm not fussy, give me either.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                            we were talking about beef, not wild game

                                                                                                                                                          2. It is more accurate to think of bacteria as beef cattle's main feed. The bacteria thrives on the grass a cow munches down, then, through an array of stomachs, the cow digests a portion of this bacteria-in-residence for its nutrient needs. If all the beast has to eat is grain, it will have a very disrupted flora in its gut. A cow cannot - CAN NOT - reach and maintain optimal health unless it eats its natural food: grass. Grain-fed beef is denatured beef. Foodies would, in turn, enjoy better health if they included such biological imperatives in their criteria of what constitutes a truly special meal.

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Eggs Arnold

                                                                                                                                                              Well said and thank for your post.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Yes, definitely. Grass fed beef is the only way to go.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Another factor in the grass fed beef debate is the breed of cattle that are used. Breeds like Herford, Angus, and Shorthorn, which are crossbred to Charolais, Simmental or Tarentaise are the most common.

                                                                                                                                                                As mentioned previously, what the cattle graze on is also a significant factor in the taste and texture of the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                I am lucky that I live in an area of California that has access to a wonderful farmer's market. At this market, we are able to purchase grass fed beef directly from the producer. While it may be a bit pricier, it is most definitely worth it. I know where the producer is and I know the land that the cattle are grazing on. It makes all the difference in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                Please do not give up on grass fed, but better yet grass FINISHED beef. It is healthier for you by far in the Omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) in the meat. Grain fed and grain finished beef products do not have these healthy fats in them as the ruminant stomach cannot process the grain as efficiently as the grass.

                                                                                                                                                                Furthermore, grass fed beef needs to be cooked at a lower temperature than grain fed beef. This low slow cooking results in a tender, juicy and flavorful piece of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                BTW, if you an wondering, I am a high school ag teacher that teaches my students the beauty of sustainable agriculture.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I have an acquaintance that is a geneticist by trade (worked on the human genome project at Stanford), and a hobby cattle farmer. His cattle are grass fed and grain finished. Best damn rib steak I've ever had - by far. Much superior to the local grass fed and finished rancher at the farmer's market.

                                                                                                                                                                  Grass fed is like any other ag product - variable. Like wine, it all comes back to varietal (breed) and terroir......

                                                                                                                                                                  1. there are hundreds of Union Squares in the United States, including NYC and SF and SLO.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I had a bad experience with grassfed beef myself. I thought that the grass had made the beef bad. But I've been reading about people who say that they enjoy grassfed beef and there have been taste tests where people prefer grassfed beef over feedlot beef. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/sh... I think the problem with some grassfed beef is that it is butchered too young, while it has very high growth energy requirements which are not being met on a diet of grass alone. I really believe that is the reason that some grassfed beef tastes off and some tastes delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                      My younger brother also raises Angus cattle. This weekend he told me that one time he took his steers to PX Feeders to be fed http://pxfeeders.com/index.asp . They were fed in a feedlot, a dry lot, with no grass. He had the beef processed the same way that he always does, dry-aged 14 days. When he tasted the beef he was not very happy with the flavor of the beef, it did not have the same good flavor that he was used to, it lacked flavor. The flavor of the beef that he raised at home, that was fed corn while on grass pastures had a much better flavor. He told me that cattle need to eat grass to produce beef with the best flavor. I once thought that eating grass hurt the flavor of beef, but I've competely changed my opinion. I now believe that eating grass greatly improves the flavor of beef. Whether the animal is eating corn or not eating corn, as long as the animal is consuming enough calories to support their specific level of growth, eating grass does improve the flavor of the beef

                                                                                                                                                                      1. The shityist beef I have ever had has been Grass-fed beef, by turn, the best beef I have ever had was Grass-fed beef.

                                                                                                                                                                        Grass-fed meats are a lot like wines in the sense that management practices, breed, locale, and aging technique all play a huge role in what the finished product will taste like. Even more important is what type of grass the cattle have been fed.

                                                                                                                                                                        Cattle harvested before they are ready or during the wrong part of the grass season usually produce much tougher steaks with a strong gamey flavor unlike those harvested within the proper season for that locale.

                                                                                                                                                                        I just purchased some rib-eye's from nature's reserve Australian beef, and it was so gamey, so tough and so awful, that I threw it out (and I have eaten and enjoyed much venison and other game meats). The fat and connective tissue was like steel. The best I have had is from http://www.nimanranch.com/beef.aspx but this is grain finished. Apparently, many people feel that this ruins the beef and cuts down or eliminates all the beneficial substances that grass-fed beef can produce.

                                                                                                                                                                        I would not give up on grass-fed beef. It is like hearing how great wine is and then getting a corked bottle the first time you try it and then never try it again.

                                                                                                                                                                        Read this and think about it the next time you run out and get supermarket meat:

                                                                                                                                                                        Feedlot cattle fattened on stale gummy bears

                                                                                                                                                                        Some commercial feedlots feed stale candy to cattle in an effort to reduce costs. According to a recent review, milk chocolate and candy "are often economical sources of nutrients, particularly fat. They may be high in sugar and/or fat content. Milk chocolate and candy may contain 48% and 22% fat, respectively. They are sometimes fed in their wrappers. Candies, such as cull gummy bears, lemon drops, or gum drops are high in sugar content." The article recommends that "upper feeding limits for candy or candy blends and chocolate are 5 and 2 lb. per cow per day, respectively."

                                                                                                                                                                        As long as beef producers are not accountable for the ultimate nutritional value of the meat, they will continue to formulate feedlot diets on a least cost basis and American consumers will continue to eat meat that is artificially high in fat and low in vitamin E, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and CLA.

                                                                                                                                                                        ("By-Product Feedstuffs in Dairy Cattle Diets in the Upper Midwest." Randy D. Shaver, Ph.D.
                                                                                                                                                                        Associate Professor, Extension Nutritionist, Department of Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I love steak, in nearly all its forms. In my area, there isn't a wide availability of many cuts of grass-fed beef but if the same cut is available in both grass-fed and grain-fed, I usually go for grass-fed. That's not to say that I won't eat grain-fed or find it bad, but I prefer grass-fed for a multitude of reasons including flavor as well as it's nutritional profile and have never found it "icky." While I eat mostly grass-fed beef (75%), some nights I just want a hearty grain-fed rib eye or another cut which isn't easy to find in grass-fed variety in my area and I don't blink twice at buying the the corn beef.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I don't agree with the notion that cows are supposed to eat grass, therefore grass-fed cows taste better.

                                                                                                                                                                            Cows aren't supposed to be fed beer either, but Kobe beef is still the best in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                            I think the problem with much of that grass-fed beef is that it tends to be much leaner, so you don't get that texture and umami taste from a well-marbled steak.

                                                                                                                                                                            I care about taste only. Good steaks are all depended on a producer that cares.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: david t.

                                                                                                                                                                              "Producer that cares"... Have you seen how most corn fed cows are raised? Not sure I call that caring.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Its a matter of taste. I grow and eat only grass-fed beef and can't stand the fatty taste of regular beef. (I also don't like whole milk) so I think its just what you're used to. Also there are ways to cook it that make it more palatable. I always add canola oil to my burgers and fast grill steaks.