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Which is best- Corn Fed or Grass Fed Beef?

s
steakrules85 Aug 4, 2007 10:36 AM

I was just wondering what everyone thought was better. As a steak lover I know that different steakhouses use different techniques. My favorite is PL and they definitely use corn to feed their cattle. So based on that I will say corn feds better. I am not sure who uses grass but I know CraftSteak gives you a choice of either picking corn fed or grass fed. Does it taste any different?

  1. b
    bulavinaka Aug 4, 2007 04:08 PM

    You might give this recently active thread a look...

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/424804

    I think like alot of things, when it comes to taste, it's personal preference. As far as what's good for yourself as well as the earth, grassfed seems to be the choice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka
      Sister Y Aug 6, 2007 07:45 PM

      And if that's too much work, it's digested here

      http://www.chow.com/digest/3343

      1. re: Sister Y
        m
        mpalmer6c Aug 7, 2007 01:17 PM

        I had a grass-fed ribeye from Alderspring a few nights ago and thought it was the tastiest steak I’ve ever eaten. I also like Tallgrass beef. But it’s a matter of individual taste.

    2. k
      Kelli2006 Aug 10, 2007 10:11 AM

      The best beef I have ever had was grass fed (free-range pasture) and dry aged for 10 days to 2 weeks after butchering. Corn is a unnatural food stuff for cattle and causes a lot of stomach problems. It is usually fed to cattle just before slaughtering to bulk them up for maximum profit. The best farmers let them roam in the pasture in the summer, and feed them silage in the winter.

      39 Replies
      1. re: Kelli2006
        s
        sunshine63343 Jun 15, 2010 08:36 AM

        I have one question "What do you think silage is?" CORN. The whole plant is chopped up and then put in a pit or silo and aged. But silage is still CORN. THe problem is that most of you have never set foot on a farm large or small. You really need to find out what life on the farm really is!!!! IT IS NOT A MOVIE

        1. re: sunshine63343
          johnb Jun 15, 2010 09:14 AM

          Good point. OTOH, if i understand correctly the silage is the stalk (grass) part of the corn plant, not the corn itself (the kernels), so I suppose the "anti-corn argument" would still be valid assuming it had merit in the first place, which is another question. Kelli is clearly a bit confused, since the corn is fed not to "bulk them up," but to increase the marbling which as we all know brings a lot of flavor and tenderness to the table (literally).

          As a one-time farm boy myself (chickens/eggs not cattle) I too sometimes am flummoxed by the strange ideas that get thrown around here.

          1. re: johnb
            i
            Idahofarmgirl Jul 11, 2010 08:44 AM

            Silage means fermented foliage.. Not just corn. Silage uses the whole stalk plant, including the corn cob, ect.. (Farmers also use alfalfa, grass, or sunflowers.) The corn gets chopped up with a special machine called a, "Corn Chopper". Once the corn has been chopped it loaded into a silo or a pit to start the fermentation process. Once the corn is fermented into silage, it has a high vitamins and minerals such as carotene and Vitamin A and is a great supplement to the cattle's diet.

            And btw corn-fed beef equals more fat. Its how most farmers put weight on a cow before it goes to market to be sold. The healthiest, best flavors of beef are from grass-fed cattle, that are given the silage (or haylage) and grain very sporadically.

            1. re: Idahofarmgirl
              johnb Jul 11, 2010 10:34 AM

              "And btw corn-fed beef equals more fat. Its how most farmers put weight on a cow before it goes to market to be sold. The healthiest, best flavors of beef are from grass-fed cattle, that are given the silage (or haylage) and grain very sporadically."

              The fat that matters isn't the fat around the edge, as you seem to suggest, but the marbling inside the meat. That's the fundamental reason for the corn finishing, not to "put weight on a "cow" (sic) --if you're a farm girl, why do you call them cows--they are steers--we're talking about steaks here, not ground beef. And most folks are of the opinion that the fat is where the best taste comes from, along with the juiciness and tenderness from that marbling, not from grass, silage, or other grains. Of course, grass-fed beef is becoming more politically correct these days, the latest food fad, and certainly has its adherents, but for my money "fatty," corn-finished, beef tastes the best. And that includes comparison with Argentinian beef which I have been fortunate enough to eat in Argentina. But to each his own.

              1. re: johnb
                s
                soupkitten Jul 11, 2010 10:43 AM

                grass fed beef is a "fad" to you? grass-fed was the pre-inustrial farm, pre cafo norm. it's still the norm in many areas of the country for local consumption-- it's just that the big industrial meat companies/packers have standardized the grain finishing of beef for institutional, fast food and big-distribution, and brought their advertising dollar to bear to convince the customer that the industrial, cheaper product is in fact "normal" and superior to grass-fed beef and proper sustainable farm management.

                1. re: johnb
                  mcf Jul 11, 2010 11:32 AM

                  Grass fed beef isn't about politics; it's about human health and environmental preservation, too.

                  That marbling caused by corn has a very unfortunate group of health risks in it, as compared to grass fed beef. Grass fed beef tastes better to a lot of us. And beef cattle that graze don't get antibiotics dumped into their feed that cause super pathogen development.

                  Those are all practical, not political considerations for me.

                  1. re: johnb
                    j
                    JeremyEG Jul 11, 2010 02:37 PM

                    Disagree on all fronts. There is very well marbled grass fed beef available now mostly from farmers who know a lot about genetics. The photo below is of an entirely grass fed rib steak from a very good farmer. The beef had both rich marbling as well as a healthy layer of fat on the outside. No grain involved anywhere in the process. The best grass fed beef tastes far better than its corn-fed counterpart. Also, never had a steak in the US anywhere near as delicious as the Argentinian beef. As others have said, I don't think eating meat from cows raised the way they were supposed to be raised (and they way they were raised until the CAFO's came in) is a 'fad' any more than people's concerns for their health, workers rights, and the environment are 'fads' as well. Don't confuse people's recent awareness with bigger food and health issues with a passing fad. Corn-fed beef is not sustainable long term by anyone's analysis and it's good that people are looking at the issue seriously.
                    JeremyEG
                    homecooklocavore.com

                     
                    1. re: JeremyEG
                      mcf Jul 11, 2010 04:57 PM

                      Word. And yum.

                      1. re: JeremyEG
                        johnb Jul 11, 2010 09:43 PM

                        CAFO's and corn finishing are not the same thing. It is entirely feasible to corn-finish a steer without confining it in a feedlot. BTW, I go out of my way to purchase cage free eggs, not because of taste or health concerns but purely because I don't like cage production. If you don't like feedlots, that's fine with me. I am not commenting on feedlots, health, sustainability or anything else but taste. IMO the corn-finished meat tastes better, and I have eaten both, and I didn't enter the comparison with a prior point-of-view. You can believe the contrary if you wish.

                        I would be very pleased see those who assert that grass fed beef is so much better to do it in a properly-structured blind tasting and see if they really can reliably identify which is which. I seriously doubt they can. I have posted before, and I will again, that self-delusion is often behind what we humans put forth as fact.

                        Here's a link pertaining to eggs, but it's the same idea (I'm not claiming this was scientific, but it's reasonable):

                        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                        1. re: johnb
                          j
                          JeremyEG Jul 11, 2010 10:44 PM

                          There have been lots of blind taste tests to compare grass vs. grain fed beef...

                          http://www.slate.com/id/2152674

                          http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                          I think for many of us, it's difficult to separate the taste discussion from the other issues as they are so intertwined. Comparing grass fed and grain fed beef with no discussion of the environment, animal welfare, or health seems to be oversimplifying the issue. Almost like asking "Which is more fun to build? A windmill or an oil well?" An oil well because you get to be in the water. Great! Let's just make more of those. The End! There are simply too many other issues that come into play when people decide where their meat is produced and yes, what 'better' actually means.

                          And speaking of self-delusion, I think the self delusion comes into play far more often when people buy their $.99 hamburgers and convince themselves that no other costs will be incurred. That's self-delusion and I see it far less among those of us who have tried to think about how our foods are produced and make responsible choices accordingly.

                          JeremyEG
                          homecooklocavore.com

                          1. re: JeremyEG
                            johnb Jul 12, 2010 09:23 AM

                            Read those results carefully.

                            Of your two links, one was for steak, one was for burgers. The point of marbling is lost on a burger because once the meat is ground the fact that it had intramuscular fat per se has little or no impact on taste or tenderness any longer. Only the fat/lean ratio in the grind really matters, and if you look at the end of that article you will see that in the "supplementary" test of plain store-bought ground beef at a 85/15 ratio did very well. In fact most everybody agrees that 80/20 is the ideal ratio, and a proper 80/20 ratio would probably have done better. The reason the "low quality" beef did poorly was obviously that it didn't have enough fat in the grind--he practically =admits that without saying so. The grass-fed did well, because it did have lots of fat, as was pointed out. That is to be expected. In short, this test does nothing to prove that grass-fed is better, only that fat is what matters.

                            With respect to the Slate test, Alderspring is a good piece of beef. But it is not the be all and end all of grass-fed beef, and in fact is quite exceptional. The notes on it include the following remark about grass-fed beef generally (direct quote):
                            >>>The knock against it: Consistency, or lack thereof. One grass-fed rancher I spoke to refused to send me any steak for this article because, he said, it sometimes tastes like salmon. Restaurants and supermarkets don't like grass-fed beef because like all slow food, grass-fed beef producers can't guarantee consistency—it won't look and taste exactly the same every time you buy it. Grass-fed beef also has a reputation for being tough.<<<

                            The results also make clear that this particular meat was indeed tougher than marbled, feedlot-finished meat (e.g. the Niman).

                            Bottom line. Fat (marbling) as achieved by corn finishing is a component of flavor, and certainly adds tenderness and juiciness. I am not defending the husbandry practices of the cattle industry at large, but the generalization that "grass-fed beef tastes better" simply doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. If you prefer it for other reasons or because you genuinely prefer that flavor, fine, but you're on thin ice turning that into a sweeping claim of superiority.

                            1. re: johnb
                              s
                              soupkitten Jul 12, 2010 11:23 AM

                              restaurants and supermarkets don't like grass-fed? *bullshit* ;) that sounds like a sweeping generalization based on the limited selection in someone's parochial area. in some areas of the country you can certainly buy grass-fed beef at the supermarket, or even at target, for goodness sakes-- and it's extremely common to find grass-fed burgers and steaks in restaurants. raising cattle that produce characteristically tender, flavorful, high-quality grass-fed beef is not the esoteric art you make it out to be, either, otherwise it would hardly be profitable for the hundreds of farms and ranches that do it successfully. ime, restaurants and grocery stores "like" what their customers like.

                              1. re: soupkitten
                                johnb Jul 12, 2010 11:39 AM

                                Look carefully. It was a direct quote from the article he cited to support his case. If you don't agree, fine, but he cited it in support of his (and your) viewpoint.

                                1. re: johnb
                                  mcf Jul 12, 2010 01:34 PM

                                  I've been buying grass fed and finished beef for years and have had exactly one slightly off tasting steak in all those meals. None were ever dry or lacking in adequate marbling, though it's not the same type and degree of marbling one gets from unhealthy feed lot practices. If it didn't taste good, I would eat something else before I'd eat feedlot or corn fed beef.

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    j
                                    JeremyEG Jul 13, 2010 09:39 AM

                                    Where are you located? Where do you get your beef from? Glad you have such a good supplier!
                                    JeremyEG
                                    homecooklocavore.com

                                    1. re: JeremyEG
                                      mcf Jul 13, 2010 02:43 PM

                                      I'm in metro NY and I buy OBE beef at Fairway on LI.

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        almansa Jul 23, 2010 06:21 PM

                                        There are various grains in the OBE beef pastures. Also, their website mentions that they are looking for suppliers of grain as well as supplements. Another thing this conversation misses is that much "grass-fed" cattle gets raised in feedlots as well - they just don't get grain feed. The industry isn't stupid; it knows how to respond to any trend with a pretty package. One more thing: a 100% pastured steer will emit 50 kilos of methane during its lifetime. A fed steer will emit 26 kilos of methane during the same. Don't believe everything you read or hear. Plus the economies (and efficiency) of scale in a world in which demand for beef increases by the year necessitate some form of large-scale, organized, industrious feeding system. I, myself, prefer grain-fed beef, but I like both and try to eat more grass-fed for its health benefits. However I tend to push for ways to improve the feeding operations as the best reasonable solution, and people like Temple Grandin are really doing good work in that department.

                              2. re: johnb
                                j
                                JeremyEG Jul 13, 2010 09:34 AM

                                Hey John,
                                You misunderstood my post. I was only responding to your claim that people can't tell the difference without being told which is which. That's not true in most cases (and sometimes people end up preferring corn fed depending on the sample). There are hundreds of blind taste tests written about all over. The links are to show that many can tell the difference whether they end up preferring corn or grass fed in the end. The links are not to show some scientific proof of anything except that often, people can tell the difference between the two types of meet regardless of which one they prefer.

                                Also, I disagree with your burger comment. I've had corn fed and grass fed ground beef ground to about the same fat/meat ratio and I do not find the flavors to be the same (of course depending on the supplier). The fat ratio is one thing but I think there are other reasons for the differences in flavors as well. Brgr, the take-out burger joint near my place switched entirely to grass-fed before they even started marketing it that way because customers preferred the flavor to the corn fed ground beef with the same fat/meat ratio. I don't think that's scientific proof of anything (often hard to find when it comes to something as subjective as taste!) but certainly the thousands of people who dine there can tell the difference and many prefer grass fed.
                                JeremyEG
                                homecooklocavore.com

                                1. re: JeremyEG
                                  johnb Jul 13, 2010 07:09 PM

                                  Well, you're certainly right about one thing. Those two "blind tests" were definitely not "scientific." In fact, they were both so poorly structured that anyone who has even the most cursory understanding of how to do a valid such tasting can see that the results cannot be relied upon for anything at all. In spite of your comment I have looked for other comparisons but have not come up with anything reliable. Please post links if you have any--I'd be interested.

                                  Corn finishing and factory farming, which seem to be one and the same in many minds, are not the same. Cattle were finished on corn and other grains long before industrial agriculture took hold, on farms where cheaper grass was available just over the fence. The reason it was done was that it produced more tender, more juicy, and, to many, better-tasting meat. That hasn't changed. In the last few years you and many others appear to have engaged in a campaign to demonize industrial farming including typical beef production, and have cited a number of reasons for this. Many of these reasons may well be valid, and I agree with many of them. However among the reasons that have been bandied about is the claim that grass-fed beef is clearly, across the board, greatly superior on the plate. I disagree. Both kinds can often be good and often be bad. I don't think there is much if any valid evidence to support the position, which is purely subjective anyway. Wanting something to be true doesn't make it true. This does not in any way impune your position that factory farming has many bad characteristics. We agree on that; hell I've not eaten veal for 30 years because I object to how it is produced, and I'm getting close to the same position on pork. I'm only saying that that one particular supporting argument you have offered is, at best, overstated.

                                  This horse has been pretty well beaten to death, so I'll now get off my soapbox and shut up.

                        2. re: johnb
                          f
                          foreverhungry Sep 7, 2010 09:48 AM

                          There are a lot of interesting facets to this discussion, but one of the more interesting, to me, is the common supposition that more marbling = more flavor. Interestingly, many blind taste studies have found confounding results. Lots of folks have actually picked medium marbled beef as the most flavorful.

                          There are also 2 very different flavor components at work - one is the flavor added by the fat in marbling. And while there's no denying that in general, fat enhances other flavors, there's clearly a limit. I mean, at some point, the flavor of the fat dominates. And we don't eat steak to taste fat.

                          Which leads to the second major flavor profile in steak - beefiness. Here, I think some some folks (as I do) that grass fed beef tends to be "beefier" than corn fed. Just like wild-caught salmon is deeper in flavor than farm raised. Just like milk (and thus cheese) from cows fed different pasturages have very different flavors. Like honey from bees that pollinated different crops picks up different flavors. So steers fed different foods will have muscle that tastes a bit different.

                          As for the argument that corn is an "unnatural" for cattle is undeniable. And that it causes physiological issues is also undeniable. What it means for steak flavor, however, is very complicated.

                          1. re: foreverhungry
                            mcf Oct 2, 2010 02:15 PM

                            A good example is flank steak; lean but very flavorful. Minerality, beefiness, whatever it is, a lot of flavor comes from other than marbling, which I like, but not to excess. I've had buttery tasting flank steak that's grass fed to the finish, so it's not all about the fat, very true.

                            1. re: mcf
                              b
                              bulavinaka Oct 3, 2010 07:06 AM

                              I think your description of the flavor is on the nose. I liken the flavor of a grass-fed flank steak cut to slightly liver-like, but in a good way (I know some are really turned off by the flavor of liver).

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                mcf Oct 3, 2010 10:40 AM

                                I've experienced the live like flavor you describe on occasion, but so far, never with grass fed or flank steak. I don't know what it comes from, and I'm not sure I want to. ;-) But flank is still a great example of a really flavorful lean cut of beef.
                                But a nice grass fed ribeye, bone in, is still my favorite.

                                Flank makes GREAT home ground burger meat, btw.

                                1. re: mcf
                                  b
                                  bulavinaka Oct 3, 2010 11:04 AM

                                  Had some nice tender slices of grass-fed flank steak back in August. That slightly (what I described as) liver-like flavor (somewhat subtle - slightly mineral/beefy) was ever-present in my dish. Taste buds (and sense of smell) tend to be very personal (as you know), so YMMV.

                                  Never thought of using flank in ground burger meat, but it sounds like a great component - do you use that cut exclusively, or add other cuts?

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    mcf Oct 3, 2010 11:57 AM

                                    You're right; we all have receptors sensitive to different flavor components.

                                    I experimented with single meats (brisket, sirloin, brisket w/ short rib, chuck, flank, and in various combinations) and found that despite being lean (I hate sirloin burgers for this reason), the flank was moist and very flavorful. Also, I found my home ground burgers retained too much moisture, even if wrapped in paper towels in the fridge a while, and that ruined the texture and sometimes made the patties crumbly. Much less so with flank, and with less blotting than the others.

                                    1. re: mcf
                                      j
                                      JeremyEG Oct 4, 2010 07:58 AM

                                      Interesting, I have some wonderful grass fed flank in the freezer, and I'll be sure to try it. I wonder if anyone has made meatballs with flank as well as another meat? With flank steak's rich flavor and the fat of good heritage pork, I'm wondering if there isn't a spectacular meatball or meatloaf in there somewhere!
                                      JeremyEG
                                      homecooklocavore.com

                                      1. re: JeremyEG
                                        f
                                        foreverhungry Oct 4, 2010 09:19 AM

                                        Interesting indeed! Though I wonder at which point you start to lose the flavor of a flank steak in a meatball, given the other ingredients in meatballs, and the sauce cover. On meatballs, while I think there are certainly ways of making very good ones, there's a reason (at least a partial explanation) things like meatballs, meatloafs, and sausages were "invented" - being able to use a cut of meat that is not tender, and/or fatty and/or sinewy.

                                        Personally, I'm not sure I'd use something like a flank steak to grind up and mix with other ingredients and serve with a sauce. Ditto with a heritage pork - standard mass-produced pigs make plenty of fat - you can always grind more into the meat if you'd like.

                                        Now, I could see making a "special" meatball to serve as an appetizer, or as a stand-alone, but probably not for your typical spaghetti and meatballs application.

                                        1. re: foreverhungry
                                          j
                                          JeremyEG Oct 4, 2010 10:45 AM

                                          Yes good point. Since I started eating only farm raised/pastured/heritage meats, I actually find meatballs to be almost a special occasion dish! I know that sounds funny but when I get the best stuff (sometimes even some ground pork belly in the mix), it's really one of my favorite meat dishes. And you're right that a heavy sauce would mask the flavors of the meat. Instead, I use stock and simmer them gently. What you get is an extremely rich broth that really tastes of the meatballs themselves. I sometimes throw in a light vegetable like some cherry tomato or spinach but never anything too instense. We usually eat them with some crusty bread and we're good to go.

                                          I never thought meatballs would end up being such a treat for us and our guests but they really can be!
                                          JeremyEG
                                          homecooklocavore.com

                                          1. re: JeremyEG
                                            f
                                            foreverhungry Oct 4, 2010 01:39 PM

                                            What you're describing is almost an Italian Wedding Soup - meatballs simmered in a chicken-ish broth, with addition of some greens - endives, spinach, etc.

                                            I agree - a good meatball should be able to stand on its own, or in a simple and light preparation like stock-based soup.

                                            I've also - albeit too rarely - made meatballs in a stock, like you describe, or a light wedding soup, and you're right, it's a great reaction from guests (and my taste buds).

                                            What I don't get is people fawning over their nana's secret family recipe (it's a meatball, people) and then drowning the poor thing in a thick tomato sauce. Either the meatball isn't that good to begin with, or you're abusing the poor thing by burying it.

                                        2. re: JeremyEG
                                          mcf Oct 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                                          I like the way you think!

                      2. re: sunshine63343
                        d
                        Dan G Jun 15, 2010 09:57 AM

                        Silage doesn't have to be CORN. The farm I worked on for several years (as a teenager, in Canada) used alfalfa and timothy as silage.

                        1. re: Dan G
                          s
                          sunshine63343 Jun 15, 2010 10:09 AM

                          Correct, we feed hailage. But my point was that fed in the right stage corn, oats, beans can be grazed or cut for silage and then feed to cattle. Some of these grass fed programs include high protien grassess or grains in their cattles diets. They have to or they would not get their animals finished under the 30 months of age.

                          If you are looking for a lean, tender beef research the breed Piedmontese.

                          1. re: Dan G
                            chefathome Sep 16, 2012 06:24 PM

                            I grew up on a farm and the silage we made was alfalfa and oats. NOT corn. Corn would not have even been a consideration on our farm. Our beef was amazingly delicious from very happy cattle who grazed on grass in the spring and silage in the winter. All our animals, including our pigs and sheep, were happy and delicious animals. Although I was not impressed when my black lamb, Ebony, ended up on our table.

                            1. re: chefathome
                              z
                              zoey67 Sep 16, 2012 09:17 PM

                              If I had one wish that would be to go back in a time machine where animals ate naturally their original food...cows eating grass, chickens eating worms, insects, etc. Corn has ruined everything.

                              Like I said before, if you recall just in the 70's alone the hamburger and steaks you ate alone at fast food franchises was so much better than today. And the eggs I ate back then when chickens weren't eating corn feed their yolks were deep orange and super fresh.

                              So imagine if you can go back to 50's or early 1900's , everything including the seafood which at the time never saw a drop of oil spills or toxic chemicals thrown in the ocean or rivers how amazing the crabs and shrimp would be.

                              1. re: zoey67
                                johnb Sep 17, 2012 11:02 AM

                                "So imagine if you can go back to 50's or early 1900's , everything including the seafood which at the time never saw a drop of oil spills or toxic chemicals thrown in the ocean or rivers how amazing the crabs and shrimp would be."

                                Even in the early 1900's there were large amounts of chemicals being dumped into rivers and streams, and on into the oceans. Today there is far less of that than at its peak, probably around WWII and up to the Clean Water Act. As to oil, for millions of years there has been a huge amount of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico and other areas due to natural seepage, and even today natural seepage accounts for a significant amount of oil "pollution," perhaps as much or more than there is resulting from spills. So seafood has been putting up with pollution long before the present day, including the period when you suggest everything was hunky-dorey. If the crabs and shrimp truly were amazing then compared with now, I'm skeptical that the difference, if real, has much to do with such pollution.

                                Regarding eggs, you refer to the 70's as a time when yolks were deep orange due to a lack of corn in their diet. I grew up on an egg farm in the 50's, and already by then corn was a major component of their feed, so I'm unclear what sort of eggs you were eating in the 70's and how they differed from those today. I'm also unclear as to the connection you or positing between the chickens' diet and the eggs' freshness at that time.

                              2. re: chefathome
                                mcf Sep 17, 2012 06:33 AM

                                I'd have a really hard time eating an animal I'd named, too! And I'm a confirmed meatatarian.

                            2. re: sunshine63343
                              alanbarnes Jun 15, 2010 10:22 AM

                              >>"'What do you think silage is?' CORN.<<"

                              Um, no. Silage is any fermented, high-moisture fodder. It can be made from corn (the whole plant, not just the grain), but it can also be made from sorghum, oats, or alfalfa. In Austria, beef finished on sileage made from sugar beets is highly prized; those in the know claim that the meat is sweeter. I tend to agree; some of my favorite beef pastured on the sides of Haleakala, Maui and finished on sileage made from pineapple and sugarcane. Happy cows, and all.

                              So sileage is NOT corn. Corn is only one of the things that sileage can be made from, and even when it's made from corn, the stalks and leaves are included so the diet is better-suited to a bovine digestive system than the straight corn fed in CAFOs.

                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                t
                                turtlerockranch Mar 2, 2014 05:15 AM

                                ever hear of hay silage?

                              2. re: sunshine63343
                                k
                                Kelli2006 Jun 15, 2010 08:49 PM

                                Silage is the ground and fermented immature corn stalk and not just the corn kernels. I buy very little meat at a grocery because I prefer to buy a
                                side of a Hereford or Angus from a friend and have it custom slaughtered, wrapped and delivered.

                                I grew up in NE Ohio and many of my friends lived on farms so I was recruited to help with chores during harvesting. I am also well versed in how to utilize the business end of a Holstein and the first motorized vehicle that I drove was a John Deere.

                            3. m
                              mpalmer6c Aug 10, 2007 02:37 PM

                              For those who missed it, here is Slate's taste test of corn fed and grass fed beef (grass fed won):

                              http://www.slate.com/id/2152674

                              1. Richard 16 Aug 10, 2007 03:13 PM

                                From a taste perspective that's up to you. From a health prespective, it's no conest.

                                Fats are used by the body for a myriad of purposes, not the least of which is controlling inflammation. Precursors to pro- and antiinflammatory products come in a large part from omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Our diets are already way too high in omega 6/ omega ratios, which is steadily becoming more implicated as too much inflammation causes or exacrebations of many ailments.

                                Corn (and wheat) are high in omega 6s. (proinflammatory precursors.) For the wide variety of foods humans eat, that's fine. Cows eat what's availabe. If they prefer corn (I'm not a rancher) and they get it it, this is reflected in what's in their muscle.

                                Guess what fatty acids are high is grass?

                                1. The Chowhound Team Aug 11, 2007 08:08 PM

                                  Folks, please address the deliciousness aspect of this question. "Big issue" topics such as industrial farming practices are hot buttons which spiral quickly away from the matter at hand, and thus will be removed.

                                  Now back to the chow. Sorry for the interruption.

                                  1. r
                                    Ravynnelyn Nov 14, 2007 07:00 AM

                                    There is absolutely no comparison. Corn-fed beef is far better than grass-fed beef any day of the week. I moved to California ten years ago, and have YET to find a restaurant that serves grass-fed beef that is better than corn-fed. The meat is much more tender. Grass-fed beef is granier and does not look or taste as good. If you have had corn-fed beef from the midwest, you know what I mean. Claim Jumper is one of the few restaurants who gets the beef for one of their steak dinners from the Midwest. I also feel the same about corn on the cob. Corn in Iowa is so good and so sweet you can eat it right off the cob right in a field.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Ravynnelyn
                                      n
                                      nutrition Dec 8, 2007 02:59 AM

                                      But cows don't get to eat fresh corn on the cob right in the field in Iowa.
                                      As good as fresh corn might be, you couldn't live on it and be healthy!

                                      Some people eat for the taste (sweets, fats) and to hell with their health, while others like I am are most interested in the healthiest foods, that taste good, also!

                                      1. re: nutrition
                                        f
                                        foreverhungry Sep 7, 2010 10:03 AM

                                        Interesting statement "Some people eat for the taste (sweets, fats)..." IMO, that's the problem with much of today's corn. It doesn't taste like corn. It's so sweet that the "corniness" has been bred out. If I want sweet, I'll eat sugar. Ditto with beef - there's just an emphasis on tender and juiciness, that the taste of beef is sometimes non-existent. For the perfect example - what's one of the most popular (and hence expensive) cuts of beef? The tenderloin. What's one of the least flavorful cuts of beef? The tenderloin. That the tenderloin is so popular and expensive is a joke - and a phenomenon accentuated in the US. Because it's not about the flavor of beef - it's about tenderness and juiciness. (We could bring up pork as well, where virtually all flavor has been bred out so we could have "the other white meat").

                                        Clearly, many people want tenderness and juiciness. I think they would prefer corn-fed beef. Others prefer "beefiness", even if that means sacrificing some tenderness and juiciness. For them, grass-fed is best.

                                        I used to work regularly in Costa Rica, where just about all the cattle are roaming fields. There, steaks tend to be a bit drier, a bit tougher, and more "beefy" in flavor than the average US steak. Not surprisingly, Costa Ricans and some Americans (myself included) preferred Costa Rican beef. But many Americans I knew didn't like it, because they were used to Midwestern corn-fed beef. Different strokes.

                                        (By the way - I'm surprised no one has brought up the affect that the age of the steer as an impact on flavor...)

                                    2. steakman55 Nov 14, 2007 01:42 PM

                                      Forgive the pun, but they are two different animals. As one who has raised prime steers and loves a good steak, there is nothing in the world to compare to a corn-fed USDA Prime dry aged steak.

                                      21 Replies
                                      1. re: steakman55
                                        Eat_Nopal Nov 15, 2007 09:48 AM

                                        "...nothing in the world to compare to a corn-fed USDA Prime dry aged steak."

                                        Lets celebrate for that. It would be sad if the better meats (Grass Fed Limantour, Wagyu) were down at the corn-fed level.

                                        1. re: steakman55
                                          n
                                          nutrition Dec 8, 2007 03:02 AM

                                          I am not a steak person, but in Argentina, I enjoyed their Beef steak special, almost every night. Nothing like it in the Midwest.
                                          My guess is that they are happy grass fed cows out on the range!

                                          1. re: nutrition
                                            yamalam Mar 7, 2008 01:39 PM

                                            They are indeed grass fed, and sooooo delicious.

                                          2. re: steakman55
                                            d
                                            DishDelish Aug 7, 2009 04:32 AM

                                            I agree. My uncle used to be a Butcher, and his family sent my family a bunch of grass fed beef steaks once, also telling us how much better they were. I definitely believed them, until I took a bite. I will now take corn fed to grass fed any day.

                                            1. re: DishDelish
                                              j
                                              JeremyEG Aug 7, 2009 08:29 AM

                                              I used to feel that way until i got the really great stuff. Grass fed seems not to be as consistent until you find a great producer. The steaks I get now have even more marbling than most of the corn fed steaks I've eaten and are far more flavorful. The not as good stuff can be tough and too lean.

                                              Argentine beef is all grass fed and regarded as some of the best beef in the world. I visited once and have not eaten anything close to that quality (grass fed or corn fed). Some people are good at raising great grass fed beef and some are not.

                                              1. re: JeremyEG
                                                Sam Fujisaka Aug 7, 2009 11:44 AM

                                                Argentina! Bah!!! The beef produced in Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Brasil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Honduras is equally good.

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                  j
                                                  JeremyEG Aug 7, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                  I've had beef from Uruguay and it was indeed wonderful. How do the others compare? Is it all raised similarly (breed, feed, etc)?

                                                  JeremyEG

                                                  1. re: JeremyEG
                                                    Sam Fujisaka Aug 18, 2009 02:40 PM

                                                    Yes, breed and feed are roughly the same across the region.

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                      Passadumkeg Aug 18, 2009 04:11 PM

                                                      Bramahs for the heat? Ate it a lot in Bolivia.

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                        Sam Fujisaka Aug 19, 2009 07:23 AM

                                                        Zebu crosses with Pardo Suizo, Santa Gertrudis, Canchim, Ibage, and others.

                                                2. re: JeremyEG
                                                  n
                                                  nutrition Feb 24, 2010 12:07 AM

                                                  I think it depends on the grass how good the steak tastes.

                                                3. re: DishDelish
                                                  d
                                                  DishDelish Oct 5, 2010 03:12 AM

                                                  not anymore! my eyes have been opened. cows were never intended to eat corn, it's unnatural.

                                                  1. re: DishDelish
                                                    tommy Oct 5, 2010 05:56 AM

                                                    Who's to say it's "unnatural" or they "weren't intended to eat" corn? They seem to be doing quite well eating corn.

                                                    Many people say that humans weren't meant to eat meat. I think most people agree that's nonsense.

                                                    1. re: tommy
                                                      f
                                                      foreverhungry Oct 5, 2010 06:36 AM

                                                      Because cattle evolved in Europe, and corn evolved in NA. The 2 weren't put together until 500 years ago at the earliest. Given that, it's pretty safe to say cows didn't evolve eating corn. Moreover, it wasn't until the last few decades that cows were fed a corn only diet for their last several months before slaughter. Again, pretty safe to say that a 1 item diet is probably not the best - at least not for an herbivore that evolved foraging on hundreds of grasses.

                                                      As for the "doing quite well" part, I disagree. In many feedlots, cows are pushed to the maximum in terms of the amount of silage they are fed. There are frequent issues, like bloat, and those seem to be more frequent in feedlots than when cows are left to pasture.

                                                      Yes, agreed, it's nonsense that humans weren't meant to eat meat. Three factors point this out: 1) Our dentition pattern, 2) Our digestive system (yes, I know some folks will say that our dentition pattern is part of our digestive system), and 3) that humans require many nutrients (such as some essential amino acids, some vitamins, and some minerals) that are best obtained from animal sources (not exclusively, but for some vitamins, AAs, and minerals, it's easier to get them from animal sources).

                                                      1. re: foreverhungry
                                                        tommy Oct 5, 2010 06:57 AM

                                                        "didn't evolve eating" and "were never intended to eat" are two different things.

                                                        I recognize the facts, but question statements that are broad and general and allude to some greater, higher design.

                                                        1. re: tommy
                                                          f
                                                          foreverhungry Oct 5, 2010 08:26 AM

                                                          I understand. And I agree. "Intended" implies a design. OK.

                                                          My point, though, is when people say that corn is a perfectly natural diet for cattle, I think that's a false statement. Corn - silage - particularly when fed as a 1 item diet for several months, is not a natural diet for diet - with the meaning of natural that cattle evolved to eat that diet.

                                                          1. re: foreverhungry
                                                            tommy Oct 5, 2010 08:40 AM

                                                            I wouldn't suggest that corn is a perfectly natural diet for cattle. But I'll still question when people say that they weren't intended to eat corn products.

                                                            I think we agree for the most part. Although maybe cattle were just getting by on grass during their evolution, and needed a more broad diet.

                                                            Regarding mcf's comment on how sick cattle get during grain/corn feeding, I'm not convinced that this is not correlation rather than causation.

                                                            1. re: tommy
                                                              mcf Oct 5, 2010 09:36 AM

                                                              We say that because it makes them deathly ill. It's well documented and proven, why not do some homework?

                                                              1. re: tommy
                                                                r
                                                                rockfish42 Oct 5, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                                So what's your hypothesis for why cattle get sick in CAFOs? Is it solely the result of close quarters and bad sanitation?

                                                                1. re: rockfish42
                                                                  mcf Oct 5, 2010 02:52 PM

                                                                  scroll down to the section on adaptation to grain feeding; the decline in health is immediate: http://tinyurl.com/244d4z4

                                                                  It's from a veterinary text.

                                                        2. re: tommy
                                                          mcf Oct 5, 2010 08:29 AM

                                                          'They seem to be doing quite well eating corn. '

                                                          But they aren't; they are on chronic therapeutic doses of antibiotics during grain/corn feeding due to how sick with infections they get from it.

                                                  2. f
                                                    Fleur Nov 18, 2007 01:06 AM

                                                    For taste, and pure beefy deliciousness, whether in a burger or a steak, nothing tastes better than corn fed US Beef. My butcher, rated one of the top butchers in NY tells me he wouln't eat the grass fed, even though he carries it because of demand. He feels it is inferior in quality, taste, appearance, and satisfaction quotient.

                                                    IMHO , the rush for "grass fed " beef is a fad, along with a lot of other PC nonsense that has convinced people to pay more for a product that isn't better.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: Fleur
                                                      c
                                                      cooknKate Nov 19, 2007 05:03 AM

                                                      Grass fed a fad? How so? Cattle have been grass fed since people domesticated them; corn was too expensive to be considered animal feed. The cattle were put out to pasture and then moved when they wore down the grasses where they were. The reason more people think corn fed is better is because it's all they're used to eating.

                                                      Saying grass fed beef is a fad is like saying that the idea of eating locally and seasonally is some 'new' trend.

                                                      1. re: cooknKate
                                                        bbqboy Nov 19, 2007 05:13 AM

                                                        http://www.asiakan.org/history/histor...

                                                        1. re: cooknKate
                                                          v
                                                          vanalyn Jul 22, 2008 12:44 PM

                                                          I do not care for the taste of all grass fed beef, to me it's got a gamy quality that I don't care for. I tried it in a blind taste test at my University.

                                                          People have a real confusion over what corn-fed means. Cattle in the US spends most of their lives at cow-calf operations on forage (pasture-grass or hay provided by the rancher if forage is scarce with some concentrate supplementation depending on the quality of the forage. Typically the ration is about 70% forage). Cattle are then sold to feed lots where they get a higher concentrate diet (corn, grain, whatever is most economical as a concentrate feed stuff).

                                                          The assertion that US beef cattle if they are "corn-fed" means alls they get is corn is utterly false.

                                                          Good cattle nutrition balances the ration between both fibrous dry matter (grass) and concentrate feed (corn, other grains). If you want to argue that a "natural" cattle diet is only grass you're wrong, they would also eat some grain heads by grazing as well. However a wild "natural" diet is also not the most efficient diet for growth and health of the animal specially if it's living in an area where grazing is of low quality or scarce. Not all grazing areas are created equal and concentrate supplementation can off sent nutrient deficiencies in poor grazing areas.

                                                          So I agree that grass-fed has a large hype component that preys upon ignorance about true agricultural practices as well as ignorance about cattle nutrition.

                                                          As far as taste goes, that's subjective. I'd be interested to see what people prefer in blind taste tests where you don't know if it was "grass fed" or "corn fed".

                                                          The irony is that the practice of supplementing specifically corn as a cattle concentrate was encouraged post Depression to help keep corn farmers to go out of business. The cattle industry stepped up and cattle did what cattle do best, recycle plant stuff into tasty beef. Now the practice is largely being demonized from a variety of sources.

                                                          1. re: vanalyn
                                                            Sam Fujisaka Jul 27, 2008 06:22 PM

                                                            Among other things, I work on livestock feeding systems in the developing world. Cattle (for meat, dairy, and dual-purpose) benefit from improved grasses and forage legumes that research insitutes like ours develop. Grain finishing is not an option in most of the developing world.

                                                        2. re: Fleur
                                                          l
                                                          laguera Nov 19, 2007 06:21 AM

                                                          None of you all have eaten beef in Argentina! The beef there is entirely pastured, and the best of it tastes better than corn fed beef. There is a minerally funk to Argentine beef that I don't think corn fed beef has. The fat also does not leave the same heavy feeling in your belly as the fat from a corn fed steer does. And, though the marbling may not be as heavy as it is in prime US beef, the animals are not butchered the same way as in the US, so there is always enough fat on the cut you are eating to keep the meat juicy and flavorful.

                                                          1. re: laguera
                                                            Eat_Nopal Nov 19, 2007 08:05 AM

                                                            I have... in Peru & Mexico... in all cases the Argentinian beef has been superior tasting to any corn fed U.S. beef I've had including Peter Luger's and Boa Steakhouse.

                                                            You could argue that people are going to favor what they are familiar with... I was much more familiar with U.S. beef than I was with Argentinian when I first tasted that... all I can say is the Prime Corn Fed is fairly, objectively low on taste... succulent & juicy but tasteless. I don't think most Americans will understand how U.S. beef has been bred to eliminate all character until they travel a little more and open their minds.

                                                            Another myth perpetrated by the beef industry is that Black Angus is the best eating breed... depending on the cut of meat & dish.... Limantour & Wagyu will produce much better beef for tartares, steaks & roasts... if you are looking for very flavorful cuts of meat like Flank, Skirt etc.,... the difference between Sebu (while a bit chewy) & Black Angus is night & day.

                                                            1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                              l
                                                              laguera Nov 19, 2007 08:45 AM

                                                              Yes! (though I think there is a lot of Angus stock in Argentina.) I much prefer the Argentine beef to any of the US corn-fed beef. The fat on those cows tastes fantastic and is really much easier on the system. Not that this is at all scientific, but I can eat 5 oz. of vacio in Argentina and feel fine, whereas if I eat 5 oz. of corn fed beef (flank or skirt, say) I feel like exploding. I have to say, though, that most of the grass-fed beef here, whether it is domestic or imported from Australia or Uruguay, sucks. Most of it is watery and flavorless, so I understand why a lot of Americans prefer the corn fed.

                                                              Argentines also favor a lot of the "tougher" cuts (like vacio and tire de asado) that have phenomenal flavor. They are not as obsessed with the meat being tender as Americans are. I can't think of any Americans who would even consider throwing a cut like tire de asado on the grill. But yum, how good it is!

                                                            2. re: laguera
                                                              Megiac Dec 5, 2007 08:22 AM

                                                              I was going to say this. Having just come back from a trip to Argentina, I ate steak so good that it brought tears to my eyes. It tastes beefier than corn-finished beef. It is at a whole other level than the meat you get in American steak houses.

                                                            3. re: Fleur
                                                              Will Owen Mar 7, 2008 03:21 PM

                                                              Cattle cannot in fact digest corn properly, nor derive sufficient nourishment from it, as strong an indicator as anyone should need to conclude that corn-fed beef is intrinsically unhealthy beef, in the same way that a human living on cheeseburgers and Big Gulps is an unhealthy person.

                                                              1. re: Will Owen
                                                                v
                                                                vanalyn Jul 22, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                                I can point you to several bovine nutrition professors who would utterly disagree with you on this. Try Dr. Ed De Peters at the University of California at Davis, he was my professor for 4 years and I'm sure he'd be more than happy to share his data with you as to the digestibility of corn as a cattle concentrate feed.

                                                                1. re: vanalyn
                                                                  almansa Jul 22, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                                  Thank you, thank you, vanalyn. I am so tired of people being coerced into what to believe. It's not a simple solution, and the corporate beef and commodity industries are certainly not in any way to be respected, but the other side of the issue has to speak in real terms. The feed is not the problem. The husbandry is. I know it's a battle of simple propaganda, but condemning grain feeders as the problem is a detrimental tactic hurting the remaining independents. Cattle can digest grain, as can we, but the farmer simply needs to take care.

                                                            4. danna Nov 19, 2007 06:41 AM

                                                              Here's another vote for corn-fed; it tastes better.

                                                              I imagine grass-fed IS healthier...that's why I eat a lot of venison and try to limit my beef.

                                                              1. w
                                                                wangbang Dec 4, 2007 05:00 PM

                                                                I really don't care about the arguments about whether it's healthier, or if cows are supposed to eat corn, or any of that. All I care about is taste. I've always been a huge beef lover ever since I was a little boy. I wouldn't even trim the fat off my steak because I thought that was delicious, too! But for the last, oh, 15 to 20 years--something seemed wrong to me. I never seemed to enjoy my steak like I used to. It seemed strangely tasteless and so mild to me. I just attributed it to getting older--I thought maybe my taste buds were getting less sensitive. But then I tried out some pasture raised grass fed beef (no hormones, no antibiotics) from a farm 30 miles north of me. It was the most delicious steak I've ever had. To make sure I wasn't fooling myself, I recently bought a NY Strip steak from my local grocers, and sure enough, it tasted mild and bland to me. The grassfed beef is more expensive, but it is worth it to me. I definitely prefer that strong, robust flavor over corn fed beef.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: wangbang
                                                                  d
                                                                  DishDelish Aug 7, 2009 04:40 AM

                                                                  You know, I totally believe this. I really think it is just about personal taste. Some really do like the grass fed better, while others really do like the corn fed better (like myself). It is like any food. Some like milk chocolate, some like dark. It is all part of the uniqueness of our personal taste buds.

                                                                2. r
                                                                  RevImmigrant Dec 8, 2007 01:49 AM

                                                                  My father grew up on a farm 100 years ago and said his father always fed the animals (cows and pigs) that they were going to slaughter corn. I lived in Mexico 10 years and most of the beef there is grass fed. Some of it is very good. The most tender beef I have ever had was a whole beef tenderloin frozen bought at Sam's Club in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was from New Zealand and when we opened the vacuum pack, it smelled like clover. The flavor was wonderful when cooked and it was so tender you could cut it with your fork.

                                                                  1. eatnbmerry Dec 8, 2007 05:31 AM

                                                                    Corn definitely taste more like what we Americans are used to calling a "good steak", but our South American friends are used to grass and they prefer that. Having tasted both I like the flavor of USDA Prime corn fed although it could be a cultural bias. By the way, if your eating red meat why are you fretting over health benefits?

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: eatnbmerry
                                                                      n
                                                                      nutrition Dec 8, 2007 01:33 PM

                                                                      There is no problem eating red meat like your favorite steaks.
                                                                      It is the marbeled fat, that give a lot of the taste, which is the problem.
                                                                      The difference I noticed in the Argentine steaks is the decreased marbeled fat and more 'juiceymoist' red meat. Since like Jack Spratt I 'can eat no fat', I generally avoid lesser quality beef.
                                                                      American corn fed beef appears very marbeled with more whitish fat throughout. After marinating, which is so popular, the taste is altered significantly.

                                                                      1. re: nutrition
                                                                        eatnbmerry Dec 9, 2007 03:04 AM

                                                                        Thanks for the info. However, I for one DONT EVER marinate prime beef (grass or corn) unless you consider a dash of salt/peper a marinade. Also, like I said before it's a cultural bias as to taste, since we Americans (and many other foodies) feel strongly that the marbeling IS what gives the unique flavor. In fact, that rule applies to most, if not all meats (pork, lamb, etc.).

                                                                        1. re: eatnbmerry
                                                                          n
                                                                          nutrition Dec 10, 2007 12:49 AM

                                                                          The taste is in the marbeled fat and what you put on it for flavor alright, That is why it is considered not so great for the arteries and the heart. Whereas the better taste of argentine beef is in the flesh.

                                                                          1. re: nutrition
                                                                            eatnbmerry Dec 10, 2007 04:59 AM

                                                                            Touche NuTrition,

                                                                            May we all die healthy lol!

                                                                    2. GroovinGourmet Dec 8, 2007 05:42 AM

                                                                      I grew up eating lots of cornfed, but my first taste of grassfed, in Argentina, changed me forever. Now our fave chef runs an upscale burger place and uses grassfed. I won't eat a sitdown burger anywhere else, except maybe Burger Bar in LV's Mandalay Bay for comparison's sake.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: GroovinGourmet
                                                                        rockandroller1 Dec 10, 2007 04:53 AM

                                                                        I hear so much about the great, grass-fed beef in Argentina. Does anyone know of a shop or mail order place that makes it available to Americans at a reasonable cost? I'd be willing to order some if I could get it without breaking the bank, but have no idea where to look.

                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                          Eat_Nopal Dec 10, 2007 07:08 PM

                                                                          The kicker is that countries without a humgous beef lobby... can import Argentinian beef for quite cheap.

                                                                      2. j
                                                                        JCMBUTCHER Dec 11, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                                        Speaking from the view of a butcher for over 40 years and a small cattle farmer....Corn fed tastes best! Hands down. America's grasslands do not compare to Argentina. You just cannot compare the two. Corn Fed Prime American Beef 14 to 21 days dry aged straight from the small farm to the processor, landing next on your dinner table. USDA Grade and Freshness plays a huge role. If you buy from a supermarket, you most likely don't know what true corn fed beef tastes like. It's been sitting in a warehouse, cryovac'd, and shipped all over the country before you ever take it home. I process grass fed beef on a daily basis for local producers in the area. I can smell the grass. No thank you! If you like wild game then you will like grass fed. It's essentially the same. I will take corn or grain fed beef anyday!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JCMBUTCHER
                                                                          yamalam Mar 7, 2008 01:42 PM

                                                                          Do you know what it is about Argentina's grasslands that makes Argentine grass fed beef so damn tasty? Or what it is about American grasslands that doesn't?

                                                                          1. re: JCMBUTCHER
                                                                            alanbarnes Mar 7, 2008 05:20 PM

                                                                            Yep. It's a little-known fact that cellulose has a different molecular structure south of the equator.

                                                                          2. b
                                                                            beefeater101 Jan 27, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                            The only way grass fed tastes good is if the cook knows how. It is just like venison, and a bad cook can put one off grass fed forever. Been there, done that, and trust me, the more reliable taste is grain fed, which can be done humanely. Mitchum was right on-"Beef, it's what's for dinner!" But only USDA, and only grain fed:)

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: beefeater101
                                                                              k
                                                                              karenfinan Jan 27, 2008 04:11 PM

                                                                              I have to disagree. I live near a well renowned cattle ranch that has grass fed beef,and it is the only kind I cook. It is easy to cook, and I love it. I suspect the ones saying corn fed only have a dog in this race as they say.

                                                                            2. cassis Jan 27, 2008 05:04 PM

                                                                              Driving through France (or taking the TGV) you see nothing but white cattle grazing, also in Northern Italy. The breed is Charolais, they eat nothing but grass or hay and cereal in the winter, and the meat is delicious, tender and sweet. They are not artificially pumped up with corn and hormones. I never eat beef here in the US because to me it tastes funny. I do occasionally eat buffalo (grass fed) which tastes more like the charolais, I just wish they would offer more cuts besides ground. Beef in England is delicious too, other breeds but also grass fed.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: cassis
                                                                                danna Aug 7, 2009 09:59 AM

                                                                                are you sure about that? just because you see the cows in the pasture doesn't mean that they aren't finished out on corn before slaughter. You could drive past my Dad's pasture too and see the odd Charolais grazing, but that doesn't mean it's not going to spend a month or so on corn at the end.

                                                                              2. Shirley U. Jest Feb 1, 2008 02:19 PM

                                                                                is there such a thing as grass fed cows being raised in south florida for eating?
                                                                                i can no longer do the prices at whole foods. are there other options?

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Shirley U. Jest
                                                                                  a
                                                                                  adventuresinbaking Mar 7, 2008 07:27 AM

                                                                                  You may want to check and see with your local co op or do an internet search. My local community grocery store is starting to supply grass fed beef, the local farmer's markets are carrying it, and the community supported agriculture also has a meat share option.

                                                                                  These foods can be hard to find, but worth the reward.

                                                                                  1. re: Shirley U. Jest
                                                                                    s
                                                                                    soupkitten Mar 7, 2008 02:03 PM

                                                                                    you can find (any state) local sources for grass-fed beef and other pastured products on this website:
                                                                                    http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html
                                                                                    --just click on your own state--
                                                                                    but the climate in florida and california is not the best for most breeds of cattle (heat waves will kill them). so, for the best quality & selection of humanely raised animals, you can feel good about ordering from a small producer in the midwest! try thousand hills company:
                                                                                    http://www.thousandhillscattleco.com/...

                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                                                                      r
                                                                                      rockfish42 Jul 25, 2008 03:27 PM

                                                                                      Except for that huge swath of Northern California that remains cool most of the year.

                                                                                  2. n
                                                                                    Neeya Mar 7, 2008 07:16 AM

                                                                                    I was raised on corn-fed, but after a while, I had to stop eating it- every time I ate a steak I'd have stomach issues, and don't even get me started on hamburgers. I switched, about a year and a half ago, to all grass-fed meats, and I haven't had a spot of trouble since (and I'm a total carnivore). But when my parent's cook steak and I pop by to have dinner with them, it's still the corn-fed kind, and I can't eat more than a few bites without feeling sick (and getting sick later). The local grass-fed I buy is delicious, not gamy and has a perfect fat-to-lean ratio (Baucom's Best). And if I want to splurge, my boyfriend and I pop by Dean and Deluca and pick up a Niman Ranch grass-fed porterhouse, and it is oodles more delicious than any corn-fed steak I could buy in a high-end steakhouse.

                                                                                    1. p
                                                                                      pengcast Mar 7, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                                                      As a farm girl who grew up in ranching country, this question makes me laugh. It isn't corn fed or grass fed that makes the big difference. Biggest difference is the breed, then the finishing (even most range animals are finished with some kind of grain either corn or oats before going to slaughter) and then the hanging/aging time. Not to mention if the meat was ever frozen. (Don't be fooled into thinking that just because it is raw and unfrozen in the grocer's case that it never got frozen.)

                                                                                      So what you really want to ask is what breed? Probably the only people who can answer this are producer-vendors like those at farmers' markets.

                                                                                      Personally, think free range, oat finshed Herefords are considerably better than most Angus. But either are pretty good if dry hung for a few weeks.

                                                                                      1. Passadumkeg Mar 7, 2008 03:18 PM

                                                                                        Pengcast is spot on but....our corn fed beef is illegal in Europe and Asia. Think about. Argentine and Kobe beef is NOT corn fed. Think about it. Mr Steak, that I raised since he(it?) was a baby, in New Mexico, was grass fed and he (it?) was delicious. I'm thinking about it. Try gutting, skinning and butchering, with help, your oun steak. Think about it.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                          johnb Mar 7, 2008 04:26 PM

                                                                                          I like corn-finished beef. I dry age my own. I have visited Argentina and been taken out for beef there by people with the money to buy the best (we were processing a really big loan and the hosts were the borrowers--price was no object--we got the best). The beef was fine, but nothing head and shoulders above what we have, in my opinion and that of others who were there (we agreed Peter Luger was still better). I myself have hosted dinner at Peter Luger for a group of Spanish borrowers, and they (I think truly) felt it was about the best steak they ever had.

                                                                                          You believe what you want to believe.

                                                                                        2. n
                                                                                          NO SLICE Jul 18, 2008 08:57 AM

                                                                                          If anyone in this post is interested in the health or science-based claims about grass-fed beef found on this page, then please read Greener Pastures, a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists on this topic.

                                                                                          http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_enviro...

                                                                                          I have read in other papers that professional tasters found significant differences in the flavor and textural properties of butter from grass-fed cows. One paper found that butter from corn-fed cows had a significant "rancid" component to the flavor, which was virtually absent in butter from grass-fed cows.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: NO SLICE
                                                                                            v
                                                                                            vanalyn Jul 22, 2008 12:51 PM

                                                                                            The integrity of the "Union of Concerned Scientists" is questionable at best.

                                                                                            http://www.activistcash.com/organizat...

                                                                                            1. re: vanalyn
                                                                                              almansa Jul 22, 2008 06:48 PM

                                                                                              Again, thank you. The same doctors rose up in force against the Atkins diet, citing undocumented detriment to heart health. The diet really seemed to be quite favorable to cholesterol and blood pressure levels, but the vegan UCS was opposed to increased beef consumption.

                                                                                          2. Chew on That Jul 18, 2008 12:03 PM

                                                                                            That's great that Craft Steak lets you choose! I think in my experience, corn fed beef tastes better but I respect the grass-fed beef movement tremendously.

                                                                                            1. almansa Jul 18, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                                                              Most peopke prefer the flavor of corn finished beef. They've been feeding beef corn since the 1600's, and it has always been considered the higher quality. More important, however, are 1) the breed, and 2) the husbandry in determining the quality of the final product. 95% of commodoty beef is fairly terrible. There can be traces of as many as 1,400 breeds in any given animal. The treatment is environmentally and medically irresponsible. On the flip side, the majority of grassfed cattle are still raised in feedlots on a less expensive hay diet. It's very misleading.

                                                                                              I'm a fan of corn fed beef, but I am also an opponent of corporate agribusiness. That's why I get my beef from an independent producer who runs a completely sustainable operation, treats his purebred steer humanely, and uses no hormones or antibiotics. It tastes far better than any other beef I've had.

                                                                                              The other thing to consider, though, is that grass fed beef is actually healthier than most seafood - lowfat and high in Omega 3's.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: almansa
                                                                                                r
                                                                                                rockfish42 Jul 25, 2008 03:30 PM

                                                                                                I'm intrigued by the 1,400 breeds comment. What sort of genetic markers are we talking about? Is a non-pure bred cow really that much of a problem if all other factors are equal?

                                                                                                1. re: rockfish42
                                                                                                  almansa Jul 26, 2008 05:00 AM

                                                                                                  Think of cattle as members of the tuna family, then consider the difference between mackerel and bluefin. Imagine coming up with thousands of crossbreeds. What would they eventually taste like? Probably not bad, but probably not what you were looking for to begin with.

                                                                                                  1. re: almansa
                                                                                                    r
                                                                                                    rockfish42 Jul 26, 2008 04:38 PM

                                                                                                    That's comparing different species. I'd imagine you'd end up with the dog breeding equivalent of breeding back to something that looks vaguely like a wild dog/wolf. Though now I'm just arguing about semantics.

                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                JeremyEG Jul 30, 2008 06:41 PM

                                                                                                Corn fed beef is not sustainable. I say this as a serious carnivore. I do buy it on occasion but it seems silly to have this discussion with no talk of sustainability. It's like asking which car is better, a Prius or an Escalade. Probably an Escalade, but if we all drove them, we'd be in deep trouble.

                                                                                                Grass fed beef is harder to raise well. I just tasted a grass fed porterhouse with more marbling than many corn fed steaks I've eaten but that's certainly not the case all the time. It seems to be a combination of the right breed, and proper maintanence of the grazing area. It's not easy and it's often done poorly. Like finding a good sushi chef or handyman, it seems to be about finding someone who is skilled in his or her profession.

                                                                                                Eat well everyone.

                                                                                                JeremyEG

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: JeremyEG
                                                                                                  2
                                                                                                  2jsflyingranch Aug 8, 2008 10:52 PM

                                                                                                  We own a small farm in Florida and have raised beef throughout my entire life, some for consumption, some for breeding, and some for sales. I would much rather eat beef that has been under my control from genetics, diet, health, and weight control. Our cattle are range fed and near completion, they are put in a smaller pasture and grain fed along with their natural diet. The end result is better marbling with much of the taste distributed throughout the cut of meat. We cannot eat enough meet to keep up with our supply, and therefor, our beef is sold at a local cattle auction to be shipped out of state to feed lots. It takes a good pasture to maintain desired weight for a beef herd, and in Florida it seems that cross bred cattle can achieve the weight goal in hot Clements. A Brahman Angus cross will bring the best results to give a hearty animal tuned to adapt to our location. The Brahman is a breed that has evolved to adapt to heat, drought, and light pasture, while the Angus is one of the most pound for pound well sought breeds for yield.
                                                                                                  Because we cannot afford to have only the best cuts of beef in our freezer, near the end of the year I find myself going to a local butcher and buying the cuts we like best( while my freezer is full of flank steak and hamburg). How I yearn for the next year when fresh choice cuts of free range non frozen beef are introduced to my Webber Grill, and watch the smoke rise and the sun go down as I sip a cold-one keeping watch and time on my perfection and gazing out over the pastures with the full satisfaction of feeding my guests and knowing that they are being served the best.

                                                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG
                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                    turtlerockranch Mar 2, 2014 05:19 AM

                                                                                                    So True!!!!

                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                    Ms_LeRow Mar 23, 2010 06:20 PM

                                                                                                    I would only eat corn fed beef if you don't mind dying from e. coli

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Ms_LeRow
                                                                                                      alanbarnes Mar 23, 2010 07:24 PM

                                                                                                      Ah, the old claim that grass-fed beef is less susceptible to e. coli than grain-fed. It would be really nice if it were true. Too bad it's not.

                                                                                                      Yes, Science published a study in 1998 comparing gut acidity of conventionally-raised and grass-fed cattle, and the results led to some speculation that e. coli O157:H7 (which is resistant to acidity) would have difficulty thriving in the intestines of a grass-fed cow. The most visible example was Nina Planck's bit that got published on the op-ed page of the New York Times. But it was still just speculation.

                                                                                                      Since 1998, numerous studies have been conducted, and they've all shown that grass-fed cows become colonized with E. coli O157:H7 at same rate as grain-fed cattle. FYI: from a scientific perspective, studies are generally considered to have more persuasive value than speculation.

                                                                                                      Speaking of which, remember that spinach outbreak a few years ago? Turns out the most likely source of contamination were cattle grazing upstream. Emphasis on **grazing** - that is, eating grass.

                                                                                                      The health benefits of eating grass-fed beef are well documented and indisputable. A reduced risk of e. coli infection is not one of them.

                                                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                        almansa Mar 24, 2010 12:26 PM

                                                                                                        Thank you.

                                                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                          s
                                                                                                          sunshine63343 Jun 15, 2010 08:42 AM

                                                                                                          Thank you. What I have read on the internet has been done so to scare the consumer into buying grass fed beef.

                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                        sunshine63343 Jun 15, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                                                        I would eat a corn fed steak over a grass fed anything. I have eaten grass fed beef, it was tough, like shoe leather.

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine63343
                                                                                                          MandalayVA Jun 15, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                                                                          Then someone didn't cook it right. Grass-fed steak doesn't take as long to cook as corn-fed, you really have to keep an eye on it. I switched to grass-fed beef about a year ago and would never go back, corn-fed is mushy and tasteless to me now.

                                                                                                          1. re: MandalayVA
                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                            sunshine63343 Jun 15, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                                                                            I know how to cook lean meat. I raise cattle that are naturally lean. What I am hearing and reading is that the reason most people are going to grass fed beef is for lean, meat. There are breeds of cattle out there that are lean. But the only way that the british breeds (angus, Herford, Short-horn to name a couple) can produce lean beef is to grass-fed. The nature of their breed is to marble and to produce fat.

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine63343
                                                                                                              MandalayVA Jun 15, 2010 11:37 AM

                                                                                                              Also grass-fed varies widely. While there is a uniformness of taste in corn-fed that's not the case with grass-fed. I've had beef where if I gave it to someone who didn't like grass-fed and didn't tell them it was they would think it corn-fed, then I've had beef that was almost lamb-gamey in flavor. And that was off the same COW.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine63343
                                                                                                                mcf Jun 15, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                No, that's not why most people are eating grass fed and IME, it's not that lean. I get very well marbled grass fed ribeyes. Now bison is lean; no flavor at all. That's what fat avoiders eat.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                  JeremyEG Jun 15, 2010 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                  Second this. There are plenty of grass fed beef producers that have very well marbled beef.
                                                                                                                  JeremyEG
                                                                                                                  homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine63343
                                                                                                              alanbarnes Jun 15, 2010 10:35 AM

                                                                                                              I believe you when you say that the grass-fed beef you've had hasn't been very good. There's plenty of mediocre beef out there of all kinds; at least conventional operations have a grading system. But you're drawing incorrect conclusions about all grass-fed beef based on the small sample you've had. If you're happy eating corn-fed beef, more power to you. But don't knock what you don't know. In my opinion, a good piece of properly-prepared grass-fed beef is far superior to just about anything from a feedlot.

                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                mcf Jun 15, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                +1

                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  cheesemaestro Jun 15, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                  +2 There is a farmer in our area who raises Charolais cattle on grass and his beef is wonderful.

                                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                                The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah Aug 12, 2010 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                Someone may have addressed this: you have seen Food Inc., haven't you? Cows are not meant to eat corn. They eat grass. They are fed cord because it fattens them up sooner.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah
                                                                                                                  z
                                                                                                                  zoey67 Sep 7, 2010 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                  I"I love steak it's that simple. And I don't mind paying extra for quality and plus I like the fact Kansas city ships their steaks individually packed frozen so I just take out one at a time and don't have to hassle of putting them in ziploc bags from the market.
                                                                                                                  Ok on to steaks themselves. They look nice and juicy when you thawed them out but for some reason after you cook them it becomes kinda dry...esp if you cook it med or more. Again I love steaks and know how to season them like an iron chef but it can only do so much so although it's better than Sizzler or Denny's I would prob not re-order. I will pay a little more and re-order from Lacense beef which is also a on-line steak order but theirs is a total different animal. Their beef is grass fed and hormone free.

                                                                                                                  1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah
                                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                                    DishDelish Oct 5, 2010 03:07 AM

                                                                                                                    I finally watched it ... also check out http://www.westonaprice.org/ for some more info on the matter. I am currently looking into buying beef from my local farmers now after having my eyes opened to this information.
                                                                                                                    http://www.beyondorganic.com/template/nst.php?sn=sn2&id=021605&idy=2005
                                                                                                                    http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/268-its-the-beef.html
                                                                                                                    http://www.westonaprice.org/farm-a-ranch/448-splendor-from-the-grass.html
                                                                                                                    http://www.westonaprice.org/food-feat...

                                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                                    mimolette Sep 7, 2010 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                    I had grass fed beef quite frequently while abroad this summer. Corn fed beef I buy here is smooth and buttery, but the grass fed I had had more character. Slightly tougher but at the same time more concentrated flavor. To me, it was more interesting and satisfying.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: mimolette
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      burge Mar 6, 2011 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                      Canada Beef Especially Alberta Beef is all grass fed free range cattle the only difference is at the end they are grain finished for a couple of weeks Tasty and succulent its like you are biting into an apple. The best beef in the world in my opinion

                                                                                                                    2. r
                                                                                                                      Roland Parker Mar 6, 2011 11:15 PM

                                                                                                                      I live in Dubai and most of the beef is imported from either Australia or New Zealand. We get the occasional beef from the UK/Ireland. Cheaper beef from Brazil.

                                                                                                                      What they all have in common is that they're grass fed. I've cooked both the cheaper beef and the expensive UK organic beef every way possible and I still prefer the US corn-fed beef because it's juicier. I won't say it's more flavorful because it's not, but the texture is juicy and gives you that meltingly quality as you get when you chew on a piece of rare-medium rare steak. Grass fed beef does have more flavor but is also drier and tougher. I'm aware I don't get the best of the grass-fed in Dubai and I've had superb grass-fed steaks and roasts in the UK, but at the end of the day I find it easier to cook corn fed beef and it's just simply more satisfying to my taste buds.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Roland Parker
                                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                                        Harters Aug 19, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                        Roland's post may evidence the suggestion that what you like is what you know.

                                                                                                                        As a Briton, I am used to eating grass fed here and in other European countries. When I visit America, I don't often order steak as I know I'm not going to enjoy it as much as I generally find it bland and flavourless in comparision.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                          mcf Aug 19, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                          I grew up eating high quality grain/corn feedlot beef and I buy grass fed and finished from Oz and elsewhere for cooking at home.

                                                                                                                          They're very different, and I love the varied flavors and intensity of grass fed, and have had only maybe one dryish or tough piece of grass fed ever... but even though I don't opt to buy it, when I eat corn fed beef at a restaurant or elsewhere, I also enjoy the tenderness and buttery flavor, though milder... some cuts do have a nice mineral flavor as well. I just choose not to use it for other reasons when I have another choice. I think it's differently flavored but not bland. That said, I hate the consequences of producing such beef.

                                                                                                                      2. b
                                                                                                                        BWalt Aug 18, 2012 08:28 PM

                                                                                                                        I'm in my 60's and grew up eating steak. When I was younger, the beef sold in stores was usually USDA Choice and corn fed. Today, it's almost impossible to find Choice or corn fed beef in a grocery store. The most expensive steaks are sold on the basis of name branding, not USDA grading. Also, a lot of the cheaper cuts have to be subjected to flavor enhancers and tenderizers, something that changes the grilling characteristics of the meat. It's pretty rare that a steak on the grill flares up anymore - something that is caused by all that delectible fat that comes from the corn. I would agree that grass fed beef is healthier, but it sure doesn't taste as good as corn fed.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: BWalt
                                                                                                                          tommy Aug 19, 2012 04:59 AM

                                                                                                                          "Today, it's almost impossible to find Choice or corn fed beef in a grocery store."

                                                                                                                          I guess that depends on where you live. While I see some branded products, I certainly see USDA Choice graded steaks at the supermarkets. They are the norm. Same goes with corn fed, assuming you mean grain fed. Grass fed is not the norm.

                                                                                                                          1. re: BWalt
                                                                                                                            mcf Aug 19, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                            In supermarkets in my area, I see heavily marbled choice meat pretty much exclusively. Costco carries choice and prime. Grain and corn feeding is still prevalent, as far as I know.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                              z
                                                                                                                              zoey67 Sep 16, 2012 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                              Well I was ecstatic when I got my hands on the infamous prime sirloin at Costco last week at $6/LB and they were nice and thick. But when I went to eat them it was a big let down. Right of the bat they were very tough, not at all close to what prime should be like. 2nd the flavor was bland, could have been something I've bought from Food-4-Less on sale for $1.89.

                                                                                                                              Costco stuff looks really good an clean but when it comes down to it, it's all very over rated. The stuff on sale I get from Albertson's at $3/LB is even better. What I think is really good and is on top of my list is what's been airing on TV during the Olympics...Walmart's choice steaks with that annoying guy that looks like Pee Wee Herman's son. They had just the right amount of marbling and I'm sure they're priced great just like all their stuff so def looking forward to them and will report back soon.

                                                                                                                              Grass fed is the way to go. I've been getting them online at LaCense and hope Walmart will get some soon because at Whole foods you need to have a Dr Salary to afford them. I think Fresn n Easy has some grass fed so I'll also check those out.

                                                                                                                          2. AngusCattleman Mar 18, 2013 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                            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

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