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Why does my beef stew meat taste like liver?

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I bought some pretty pricey, " obe organic beef stew cut", with no other description of what cut it was. I ignorantly thought that because of the high price, the cut would be a good one. Instead, after adding a nice Sangiovese wine, and slowly cooked onions and herbs, and waiting a good two hours over a low simmer, the meat tasted like liver. It also went from tough to dried out. There was always enough liquid in the pan and the pan was covered with the lid ever so slightly ajar.

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  1. Do you often buy organic or grass-fed beef? You may be surprised at the flavor difference. Generally speaking grass fed or organic beef will have a much stronger flavor, owing to the natural, more varied diet. It stands to reason that a cow that eats a more varied diet (including grass) and gets exercise would have a richer flavor than one that stands around eating corn day in and day out. On top of that, a stewing cut is a muscle that gets lots of excercise, so it's bound to be on the stronger-flavored end of the spectrum. And what's a strong tasting meat? Liver, for one. I too have had grass-fed beef that I have thought was a bit livery. Whether you like that or not is up to your personal preference--I do, you may not.

    If you don't like it, try another farm or supplier and you may find a milder-flavored organic beef. (As an aside, maybe it's a typo, but I have no idea what the "obe" in name or your beef is.)

    1. Cook it longer. Two hours isn't long enough for beef stew meat, obe organic or not. Try another two hours or so over very low heat, keep adding liquid. Also, are you actually using a "pan" or is it in a pot? I think it makes a difference and if it's not in a pot, try putting it in one. That may help as well. Definitely cook it longer, though.

      1. I agree, cook it longer. When making stew, I simmer the meat for about 4 hours. Also, if it's purely grass fed, beef can acquire almost a gamey taste to it. I use a brand of organic beef that's grass fed, but given grain near the end for a bit of fat and a milder taste.

        1. It's also possible that even though it was labeled stew meat, it might actually not be from the best cuts for stewing. The best stews are made with cuts high in collagen (e.g. chuck roast) that melt under long, slow braising. But often 'stew meats' are bits and pieces leftover from any cuts, including cuts like sirloin that should be cooked quickly, not long and slow. This addresses the tough & dried out question more than the liver taste, though. Did it improve with more cooking?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

            Actually I agree and also personally find that lean overcooked meat tastes "liverish" to some (usually liver haters..)

            1. re: torty

              Overcooked round (which should never be cooked more than medium rare) is particularly guilty in this regard, and unfortunately round is thought of a stewing meat because of its (mis)use as "pot roast"....

            2. re: Karen_Schaffer

              It didn't improve. I think that may be the last time I buy "meat unknown labeled as stew meat"; I nearly always buy chuck or top blade for my stew, I never cook it much longer than two hours. I think you are right that they threw god knows what into the mix and some of it may have not been meant for stewing.

            3. I always use chuck roast for stews and pot roast because eye of round and round steak tastes like liver to me when it is braised for a long time.

              1. It's not clear from the original post whether you floured and browned the meat before adding the liquid. That would make a difference.

                3 Replies
                1. re: whs

                  I seasoned (salted), floured and browned the meat. I think in the end, after reading all the replies, the fault was in the cut. I never realized that round could be deliver such a liver like flavor. I have learned my lesson never to trust a package of stew meat again, expensive or otherwise. Thank you for all the information!

                  1. re: fayehess

                    My experience is that the livery flavor is due entirely to being grass fed. I raise beef. I don't eat grass fed.

                    1. re: TheTexasLady

                      Not sure why you've revived this nearly 3-yr old topic, but round is notorious for tasting livery. Grass-fed or not is immaterial, though it seems you may have a dog in this fight.

                2. Sounds like you bought some type of round. Round meat is often sold as "stew meat" (although other cuts like chuck makes a much better stew), and has a characteristic livery flavor. It also easily toughens and dries out.