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What gives some red meats that horrific "smell/aftertaste"??

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cups123 Feb 2, 2009 06:11 PM

Does anyone know what I am talking about? I don't eat lamb for the reason that is has that awful smell/aftertaste that lingers in your mouth. Sometimes when I buy beef, however, it has the exact same smell (maybe a bit toned down, but it is still there!). Does anyone know where this smell comes from and if it is only present in certain cuts of beef?? Or how to avoid it?

Thanks for the help!

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  1. Shrinkrap RE: cups123 Feb 2, 2009 10:30 PM

    I wonder if you mean it tastes "gamey"? I've noticed this with some lamb and some goat, and assume it's related to the feed (grass"), and dark meat, but I'm not sure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shrinkrap
      c
      cups123 RE: Shrinkrap Feb 3, 2009 03:06 AM

      yeah, gamey. I dont eat lamb so it doesnt bother me. The worst those is when I bring home a piece of beef and it has that every so slightly terrible lambish scent. yuck!

    2. f
      fbf242 RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 04:26 AM

      I also don't eat lamb because of a strange, not quite identifiable taste that I find unpleasant, but I have never had that same reaction to beef, grain or grass fed. Hmm.

      1. HaagenDazs RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 05:56 AM

        "horrific" is your opinion... My first reaction is just that you don't like beef. There are very few people who actually eat beef and also say that it's "horrific."

        As Shrink mentioned, it's partly because of the feed, but also partly because of the animal. Lamb will always taste stronger than beef no matter what it eats because it's simply a different animal. Grass fed beef often has a stronger flavor compared to cattle that have been grain fed.

        As a small side note, understand that grass fed beef is natural and is the way beef actually SHOULD taste. Cows were not meant to eat grain and corn.

        In general... the stronger taste in some cuts of beef is going to be more prevalent in the cuts that have more fat, more connective tissue, and more muscle usage. Tenderloin will have less fat, less usage, and less of a strong beef flavor. Beef shank on the other hand will have a stronger flavor, more connective tissue, more fat, and will have been used more often when the animal was still on all fours walking around. These are very generalized definitions, but it's a place to start.

        Also think about the cooking method: Tenderloin is often simply grilled within a few short minutes with no other flavors added. Beef shank is just the opposite. It's often braised in flavorful liquids for long periods of time.

        1. e
          EdwardAdams RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 06:21 AM

          This is funny because my complaint about lamb is that the market for the "mild" version sometimes makes the meat so close to beef that it is no longer much different. While I don't want something labeled lamb to taste like mutton, I like the flavor of lamb and don't want it taken out of the product entirely.

          3 Replies
          1. re: EdwardAdams
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            Humbucker RE: EdwardAdams Feb 3, 2009 06:39 AM

            I totally agree! I've used to order lamb whenever I saw it on the menu, but I've stopped because I always end up disappointed with the "may-as-well-be-beef" that I receive.

            1. re: Humbucker
              applehome RE: Humbucker Feb 3, 2009 01:54 PM

              Then eat mutton instead (older than 1 year).

              1. re: applehome
                h
                Humbucker RE: applehome Feb 3, 2009 07:06 PM

                I would love to eat mutton more often, but I can't find the stuff! I see a lot of goat, but I don't think I've ever found mutton in a market near me.

          2. Caralien RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 06:35 AM

            There may be a few things involved in this:
            1. Aged meats (including dry cured meats such as salami) may have a smell similar to mold, as aging includes having the exteriour aged with naturally boune tenderizers like mold (the "je ne sais crois" aspect, some may add); husband mentioned this yesterday regarding some proscuitto. If you smell something similar to certain cheeses, this may be the culprit.
            2. Steaming ground red meat, particularly burgers, may release a smell and taste similar to liver (put hamburger in hot pan, add lid, and you'll see what I mean). This doesn't happen to braised meats, I've recently learned, but can happen if done incorrectly
            3. Gameyness (as others have mentioned). Particularly true with lamb and goat, as well as some turkey and bison. Anything which drives our pets to act in a feral nature. Lamb has a lot of more pungent fat, and trimming this prior to roasting usually helps.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Caralien
              HaagenDazs RE: Caralien Feb 3, 2009 06:55 AM

              Good points.

              As for the trimming of the lamb fat you are particularly correct. Get rid of the fat, and you get rid of much of the gameyness. Also note that much of the flavor of lamb is attributed to the lanolin in the fat which is produced by the animals.

              1. re: HaagenDazs
                Caralien RE: HaagenDazs Feb 3, 2009 07:01 AM

                Lanolin does make a good moisturiser, and for a lot of herbs & spices, including truffles, fat is the best way to soak up the flavouring agents (forgive me if truffles ar neither an herb nor a spice, as I don't know where funghi falls).

                Love lamb, however. Need to find a turkish place soon.

                1. re: Caralien
                  HaagenDazs RE: Caralien Feb 3, 2009 07:41 AM

                  You have it right - truffles are a fungi. They are used more like an herb/spice but in the simplest terms they are just fancy mushrooms.

                  1. re: HaagenDazs
                    Caralien RE: HaagenDazs Feb 3, 2009 08:01 AM

                    but oh so yummy. Can't wait until October to try another batch from Oregon.

                2. re: HaagenDazs
                  h
                  harryharry RE: HaagenDazs Apr 10, 2014 12:20 PM

                  And don't forget to remove the glands that are found in the leg - they are quite gamey - sometimes even too much for me, and I love the gamey taste of lamb.

                3. re: Caralien
                  c
                  cups123 RE: Caralien Feb 3, 2009 01:44 PM

                  Its not that I don't like meat or beef in general. For example, I have never had a bad experience with "steaks". Steaks seem to never have that aftertaste. Similar experience w ground beef. However, last week I made a roast beef (one of those bulky, round cuts that roast in the over for a few hrs - don't remember the exact cut) and when it was done, the smell!!! I seasoned it, put a sauce on it, inserted garlics into it, but it was that distinctive smell. I'm just trying to figure out which cuts to stay away from so I know ahead of time.

                  1. re: cups123
                    Caralien RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 01:50 PM

                    can you describe the odour? dirt, liver, mold, sour, sweet, green, fermented, sewage, rotting vegetables, fishy (apologies so close to dinner time)

                    1. re: Caralien
                      c
                      condiment RE: Caralien Feb 3, 2009 07:46 PM

                      Theoretically, a properly dry-aged steak should have more of that smell, not less. I love the strong, cheeselike flavor of extra-aged prime beef, which is worth paying a lot extra for. And as others have pointed out, the problem with most of the lamb sold here is that it isn't strong enough: the best lamb is either slaughtered cruelly young or way too late - if you know a grower, you can sometimes get ``weathers,'' lamb that somehow escaped the roundup the first time around and is a year older than its brethren.

                    2. re: cups123
                      Karl S RE: cups123 Apr 24, 2009 05:20 AM

                      Round is well known for its flavor notes of liver. That's why some of us like it - too much of today's beef is actually deficient in flavor, as it were.

                  2. ipsedixit RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 01:48 PM

                    Maybe your meat has gone ... bad???

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit
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                      cups123 RE: ipsedixit Feb 3, 2009 03:58 PM

                      Its that gamey "smell" maybe I should say taste. Its that gamey taste that leaves that gross aftertaste. The same "taste" that lamb has that some people on this board apparently like. Sorry to throw you off w my use of smell - its just so bad it overwhelms both senses lol.

                      1. re: cups123
                        Caralien RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 06:13 PM

                        Maybe you should simply avoid red meat if you have such a negative reaction to it, even occasionally. I really don't know which parts of a cow are more gamey than another, as it never smells (or tastes) like lamb to me.

                        1. re: Caralien
                          HaagenDazs RE: Caralien Feb 4, 2009 05:51 AM

                          I agree. There's ample room for venting about personal likes and dislikes but to me this post is getting kind of ridiculous.

                          It's pretty obvious to me that you just don't like red meat.

                          1. re: Caralien
                            LindaWhit RE: Caralien Apr 24, 2009 10:05 AM

                            I've been reading through this, and other than grass-fed beef I've purchased, I haven't noticed beef smelling the way lamb does either. Perhaps the OP just has a more sensitive taste towards beefiness and gaminess?

                      2. applehome RE: cups123 Feb 3, 2009 06:50 PM

                        Since the flavor is mostly in the fat, it's probably a good guess that the gameyness is there as well. (Although not necessarily.) But you might try buying only the freshest and leanest of cuts for a while to see if you run into the same issues. Stay away from anything from the rib or short loin (top loin or strip, although the tenderloin is probably ok). Buy sirloin for steak, round - particularly eye of round - for roasts. Flank is probably ok, but not skirt. Certainly no brisket. Avoid anything from the chuck altogether. For hamburger, buy only ground round or sirloin 85% lean or better, and make sure it was ground that morning.

                        Most people (me included) have the other problem - we crave the fat. Probably has to do with the ice age neanderthal genes - our bodies still think we need it to survive. Consider yourself lucky. Eat lean red meat only once in a while, live a long, healthy life, and consider your small carbon footprint (from being the cause of only a small amount of methane) to be your contribution to the betterment of the world.

                        1. paulj RE: cups123 Feb 4, 2009 09:42 AM

                          Lamb fat has a higher melting point than beef, which in turn is higher than that of pork. I find pork fat to be quite palatable because it melts around mouth temperature, much like butter. Lamb fat, on the other hand, can form a solid coating on the roof your mouth.

                          While I don't like this texture aspect of lamb fat, I haven't noticed anything wrong with the flavor. Still if there was something wrong with the flavor or smell, this high melting point could explain why it tends to linger.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: paulj
                            Shrinkrap RE: paulj Feb 4, 2009 11:24 AM

                            Wow! That's interesting!

                          2. d
                            Dan G RE: cups123 Feb 4, 2009 12:20 PM

                            I'm baffled by the concept of "gameyness" in farm-raised animals, as used throughout this thread. While grass-fed/pastured beef and lamb does taste very different (and as HaagenDasz points out, natural) it isn't a game flavour in the sense that I understand it. Even farmed/pastured elk, deer, rabbit, etc, who live on a restricted diet don't have true game flavour that comes from a broad-based, natural diet (cedar, juniper, grasses, whatever...). That true game flavour can, I know, be off-putting to people raised on factory-farmed meats, how that is comparable to meats bought in a normal store/butcher shop, I don't quite get.

                            1. a
                              alpa chino RE: cups123 Apr 24, 2009 03:57 AM

                              You are absolutely right about the disgusting after-taste that lamb has. I'm not sure if it's technically the "gamey" flavor that is associated with other meats. The best way to describe this taste is if (sorry to be crude) someone farted in your mouth. I don't know what it is, but after you eat something like a gyro/shawarma, you will always notice that there was lamb inside it because of that nasty after-taste. And it's not just an after-taste, you are able to notice the nastiness while you're eating it, which makes it a "during-taste." I've heard that if you trim the fat off of the lamb, you will remove most of this nastiness. Much of that lanolin/gameyness/fart is located in the fat. I've also heard that if you wash your lamb, before cooking, in vinegar and rinsing it off---it will also mitigate the nastiness. I've also heard that by marinating it in yogurt and really pungent spices/herbs such as rosemary helps to nullify the nastiness......but all you're really doing is concealing what's already there.

                              I've been trying for years to find a way to eat lamb, and it's been impossible.

                              As for beef, I'm not so sure that it has the same nasty taste. I've never noticed it. Then again, it's been awhile since I've eaten beef.

                              either way, it all tastes better than liver.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: alpa chino
                                Tee RE: alpa chino Apr 24, 2009 04:46 AM

                                alpa chino,
                                I love lamb. In the spirit of full disclosure, I adore all liver.

                                The only thing I can suggest for you to "find a way to eat lamb" is to try to find the freshest lamb you can. Find a local producer if possible. I had the great fortune to live in outback Austraila for several years in the mid '80s and knew many producers, so I ate lamb frequently. No aftertaste!
                                When I returned to the states I was consistantly dissapointed by lamb, in restaurants and via retail, because of the aftertaste. I finally understood mint jelly, IMHO it is used to cover this flavor.
                                When I can find very fresh chops I will buy them to grill, and I am rarely dissapointed.

                                1. re: Tee
                                  a
                                  alpa chino RE: Tee Apr 27, 2009 12:38 AM

                                  Tee,
                                  Forgive me if I call your pallet suspect. After all, you do adore liver. But with that being said, we regularly get "fresh new zealand" lamb here all the time. I remember just recently for easter/passover, there was a ton of nz lamb at the local sam's club. I don't know if NZ is the same as Aussie lamb or if this stuff is actually fresh or not, but I'm sorry my friend---that taste is inescapable. And you're right about mint jelly---that's exactly what it's there for.

                                  1. re: alpa chino
                                    Tee RE: alpa chino Apr 27, 2009 12:30 PM

                                    alpa Chino,
                                    My palate is just fine, thank you!
                                    However, I do think I could eat a whole pallet of liver.
                                    Back to lamb, I stand by my conviction that really fresh meat has no aftertaste. That , of course, is only my opinion , and I respect your disagreement.
                                    Now I want lamb chops, and liver and onions for dinner.......

                                2. re: alpa chino
                                  phofiend RE: alpa chino Apr 24, 2009 09:14 AM

                                  Perhaps you should just avoid lamb altogether. Calling foods others eat and enjoy "nasty" and "disgusting" is insulting and offensive. We all have preferences and aversions to certain foods, but there is no need to denigrate others tastes.

                                  1. re: phofiend
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                                    alpa chino RE: phofiend Apr 27, 2009 12:42 AM

                                    I'm not denigrating anyone else's tastes. I'm only referring to what the original poster, cups, called "awful." And yes, for those of us who don't like it---it is awful and nasty.
                                    But if you like lamb----by all means, eat it up. I like brussel sprouts, and that's not so popular with everyone. To each his own.

                                  2. re: alpa chino
                                    h
                                    harryharry RE: alpa chino Apr 10, 2014 12:24 PM

                                    perhaps try using I instead of you - using the word "you" seems to remove the subjective aspect of what you are describing.

                                  3. Sam Fujisaka RE: cups123 Apr 24, 2009 07:26 AM

                                    A question to those of you who don't like lamb: do you also not like stinky cheeses?

                                    I prefer lamb, mutton, capybara, guinea pig, and goat over beef; and duck over chicken. Love stinky cheeses.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                      Emmmily RE: Sam Fujisaka Apr 24, 2009 07:49 AM

                                      Hate stinky cheeses, love (most) lamb. True, I'm much more likely to go for a Middle-Eastern preparation with cinnamon & garlic & such, chopped small or ground, than a grilled lamb chop, but that's more about my dislike of gnawing on big hunks of red meat than a flavor thing. I have noticed though - I do a fantastic French-ish braised leg of lamb that's delicious when it comes out of the oven, but after a day or two in the fridge the leftovers get an unpleasant overly-lamby taste. Things like that make me a little wary of lamb someimes, but when it's done well it's oh-so-good.

                                    2. mnosyne RE: cups123 Apr 24, 2009 08:48 AM

                                      The smell you describe is just raw meat protein. Lamb can be tamed somewhat by removing the fell or silverskin.

                                      1. c
                                        chefbeth RE: cups123 Apr 27, 2009 04:56 PM

                                        I adore good beef, any cut of lamb AND brussells sprouts. I can also appreciate calve's liver from time to time if I'm in the mood for it, but I rarely am.

                                        I recently purchased beef from a national chain supermarket (I was in the mood for a steak, but didn't have the time or energy to drive an extra twenty miles to a supermarket with a quality meat market - blame PMS) and I've purchased a cut of beef that supermarket calls a "tender." Not tenderloin, mind you. Just "tender" which is close enough to be entirely deceptive. It was the most expensive cut in this cut-rate market, and it was marked "grill quality" but it just wasn't. It tasted overwhelmingly like liver, and I just couldn't eat it. I should have known better, but I got taken.

                                        This is what I took from that experience: Don't buy cheap beef. If it's cut-rate, chances are it's from played-out dairy cows who haven't spent a whole lot of time outdoors. Tastes like desperation.

                                        I prefer grass-fed beef, and yes, it is "gamier" or stronger-tasting. It tastes like, well, beef! No BGH, no antibiotics, free-range, no feed lot. The Australian stuff is my favorite.

                                        (And - as a friendly bit of advice - you might want to lay off the fart comparison. Some might take it wrong. You can buy me off for a few lamb chops, though!)

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: chefbeth
                                          paulj RE: chefbeth Apr 27, 2009 05:16 PM

                                          I wonder if that 'tender' was a hanging-tender.
                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanger_s...
                                          This can be a quite tender piece of meat, except for a strip of connective tissue down the middle. But because it is close to the kidneys it can be more 'flavorful', or given a different perception, more 'livery' (due to a higher iron content?).

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            applehome RE: paulj Apr 27, 2009 10:33 PM

                                            In a supermarket, it's much more likely to be Chuck tender, often called "Mock-tender". Hanger steaks are pretty much reserved for restaurants and high-end butchers.

                                            From the IMPS:

                                            "Item No. 116B - Beef Chuck, Chuck Tender - This item consists of the supraspinatus muscle which lies dorsal to the medial ridge of the blade bone. The chuck tender shall be separated from the other muscles through the natural seams."

                                            It's a single solid muscle the size of a trimmed-out tenderloin and so referred to as a mock tender (without the loin because it's chuck). It's a piece of chuck - braise it. Roasting it is going to create a very chewy piece of meat. About the only thing I don't braise (or smoke for hours) from the chuck is the top blade which can become a flatiron or a blade roast/steak.

                                            1. re: applehome
                                              paulj RE: applehome Apr 27, 2009 11:33 PM

                                              OK. It's the Flat Iron, also derived from the chuck, that has become more common in groceries. I even find that in small town groceries. I must be fortunate in that my local butch (good, but not high end) sometimes has the hanging-tender. If so, I may be more familiar with the hanging-tender than most.

                                              It's less obvious, then, why something from the chuck would taste livery.

                                        2. oldbaycupcake RE: cups123 Apr 27, 2009 06:05 PM

                                          It could also be the packaging. Air tight (like Cryovac) is a good thing for shelf life, visual color and to be leak proof but the lack of oxygen can also cause a funky smell when first opened and an off flavor/aftertaste if cooked too soon after packaging is removed. There's all kinds of science behind the packaging that I'm not going to pretend to understand (gases used in packaging, residual oxygen anyone?) but I have noticed small print on labels that advise that product should sit at room temperature or in the cooler for a certain amount of time prior to prepping or cooking. How to avoid...open packaging & run fast or only buy fresh cuts from a butcher?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: oldbaycupcake
                                            Shrinkrap RE: oldbaycupcake Apr 27, 2009 06:20 PM

                                            Learn something new ( here) every day!

                                          2. j
                                            janealicia RE: cups123 Jul 30, 2009 06:36 AM

                                            Hi there... From what you have described, I think I experience the exact same problem. All my life I have always been a big meat eater, including beef and lamb. My mother at times would complain about a smell and taste that I couldn't smell or taste at the time, but over the years has become apparent. It got really bad when I was pregnant, and now I notice it so much that often I just cant eat the meat. When I start cooking it I can smell it distinctly now, sometimes stronger than other times, and I know that I wont be able to eat it if it has that smell, as it will have "that" flavour. I am sorry to say I have no idea what it is. I notice it most with supermarket meat. I have never noticed it with organic mince (have not tried any other cut or type of organic meat) and I very much doubt it is anything to do with being grass fed as I have eaten a lot of meat in Argentina, as I have family there, and all the meat there is grass fed, and it is fantastic - and has never had that smell or flavour. In fact I don't think it has ever happened with meat that I have specifically bought as grass fed ( I buy grass fed as it has much more flavour and is better for cooking an Argentinean asado bbq) even here in Australia. I would love to know if you found out what it is. I suspect it may be some sort of preservative or additive. Cheers

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: janealicia
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                                              Greg5372 RE: janealicia Jul 10, 2012 09:13 PM

                                              I agree completely. It doesn't matter what meat I buy, T Bones, fillet steak, rump etc. It all has that horrible after taste like liver. If i"m pan frying chopped up rump I have to overdose it with garlic salt just to bear the smell. The only meat I can eat now is lamb rump steak. No smell, no after taste just delicious. To the commenters who say lamb has the taste I can only suggest you are eating mutton dressed up to be lamb. No way Australian lamb has that taste but I recall in South Africa it was the other way round. The "lamb" was God aweful but the beef was great. Not sure what Aussies are doing to their beef but it's realing putting me off. I just stick with chicken and fish now and some lamb. (Lamb rump is surprise surprise the most expensive meat out there). Might have to go and shoot a few Roo's and see how that goes.

                                              1. re: Greg5372
                                                j
                                                janealicia RE: Greg5372 Jul 10, 2012 11:32 PM

                                                Hi Greg, One thing is for sure - its a mystery what is causing this particular flavour. I have spent years trying to work it out. I have eaten all kinds of meat without it, (never tasted it eating Argentine meat), but now unfortunately most Australian meat seems to have it. Lamb, often has it for me. The only meat that seems to consistently not have it is Woolworths Organic Mince. It has a slight smell when cooking but I find I can make bolognese and no taste, even taco's meat filling, no taste. Usually I can taste it despite the sauces etc. Most of their other meat does have that flavour, and worse than most butchers. With butchers, one week a particular butchers meat will be great, next week disgusting. I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but I do hope the reason is uncovered one day, as I too gravitate toward Chicken and fish now, and really miss my steaks. As I mentioned, try the mince and see if it works for you, I would stay well away from Roo (if you meant that seriously), as I once tried to cook it for my dog (bought from Woolies) and it was the absolute worst case of this smell EVER. I almost threw up, just from starting to cook the meat, and could smell it for weeks in my house despite opening windows etc. Cheers, Jane-Alicia

                                            2. t
                                              TheTexasLady RE: cups123 Dec 12, 2010 04:50 AM

                                              I think it is wonderful that so many people have tried to help you answer this question. I raise beef. My grandfather raised beef. I would consider myself someone who knows beef.

                                              My experience is that there are three things that give beef a bad aftertaste. 1) If you get beef that is old (either old in age or has set out too long), it can have a bad aftertaste. 2) If you get beef that is close to spoiling, it can have a bad aftertaste. 3) My experience has been that the reason that beef most often tastes bad is that it is grass fed beef. To my taste buds, grass fed beef very often has a bad aftertaste.

                                              I have been raising my own beef for nearly a decade. We started raising our own beef because I was not satisfied with the taste and tenderness of beef in the supermarket. We believed we could do a better job. After a short while, we began selling our beef. People loved the taste. We're even starting up a website to sell beef because we have so many requests for our beef.

                                              In the past, I have purchased several half beef sides which I then put in my freezer. The three times I purchased grass fed beef, it had a livery taste. In fact, it was so strong tasting that the last one we threw out the last one hundred pounds. We couldn't eat it. Some folks like grass fed beef. We intensely dislike it. Some folks say that it is the way beef should taste. We disagree. If we have to eat food that leaves a long lasting taste in our mouth that we do not like, we are not going to eat it.

                                              Although the current hype is that beef should be grass fed, the idea is somewhat deceptive. Cows are vegetarians. They do not eat meat unless they are tricked into it (by adding products to their feed). Cows eat grass and grass products. Most growers that like to eat beef do feed their beeves grass hay (which includes alfalfa, rye, oat, and other types of hay). The steers are also fed grass seed heads the last few months. The grass seed heads have extra nutrients and carbohydrates in them which the cattle crave and love. Grass seed heads are often called corn, rye, and wheat. You probably eat all of these seed heads yourself by eating corn on the cob, rye bread, or wheat flour or bread.

                                              I have seen the websites that claim that grass fed beef is better for people. I am not sure they are based on solid research facts. However, beef has many nutrients that are excellent and needed by the body including protein, zinc, phosphorus, and many other nutrients. http://www.txbeef.org/files/whatyoumi...

                                              I think if you avoid grass fed beef, you will probably avoid that livery, after taste.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: TheTexasLady
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                                                pgreen RE: TheTexasLady Mar 6, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                Kind of an old topic, but thought I would throw in my two cents. I recall when I was a kid, my mother would occasionally splurge and get porterhouse steaks. I thought they had a disgusting off-flavor and smell, sort of livery. They were frozen steaks from a cheap place that specialized in frozen meats and other foods that used to have an outpost near us (I am blanking on the name). Disgusting, I thought. The next time I experienced a similar flavor was when I had some free-range chickens from a local farm. Didn't like them at all. But I don't think it was the free range part, or that the beef was grass fed. Recently, I visited Buenos Aires, and had lots of grass-fed beef. It tasted a lot like the beef I am used to, albeit a little chewier. So I'm not sure what produces the off-flavor (and smell). Maybe poor storage?

                                                1. re: TheTexasLady
                                                  g
                                                  Greg5372 RE: TheTexasLady Jul 10, 2012 09:33 PM

                                                  Thanks Texas Lady. I am confused though. Most Australian cattle are grass fed (African Buffel grass). The farms are huge with thousands of head of cattle. If they not grazing on grass what on earth do they eat? Isn't grass what they would naturally eat?

                                                2. e
                                                  ed8r RE: cups123 Dec 29, 2012 12:56 PM

                                                  I thought it had more to do with the length of the aging process?

                                                  [note: sorry to resurrect such an old discussion!]

                                                  1. g
                                                    GinnyLee RE: cups123 Apr 9, 2014 04:42 PM

                                                    Im wondering anymore if the cattle are bled right. When you buy it in the market the tray in which it is packaged always has so much blood in it. Im 76 years old and do not remember beef tasting the way it does.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: GinnyLee
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                                                      Puffin3 RE: GinnyLee Apr 10, 2014 06:16 AM

                                                      Virtually 100% of the beef people eat in the US/Can is from 'feeders'. Feed lot cattle that spend almost all their lives walking around in foot thick shit. Being injected at regular intervals with medications/steroids. Eating 'formulated' feed meant to get the most 'daily gain' from the animals.
                                                      Cattle evolved to have a specific amount of space between themselves and the other members of the herd. This might sound 'out there' but any animal that must live in overcrowded conditions develop certain stresses which effect their hormone production. These hormones exist throughout the entire body. Fill the muscles with 'fight or flight' hormones for the entire life of an animal and you will get meat that is 'scour'.
                                                      Range cattle who live all their lives rarely having their brain produce stress hormones taste much sweeter.
                                                      Go find a farmer/rancher who raises beef for themselves/family/friends. When they slaughter an animal everything is done VERY quietly and peacefully. NO running. NO yelling. NO stress of any type on the animal.
                                                      There is night and day difference between large slaughter houses and a ranchers back yard.
                                                      Slaughter houses that process hundreds of sheep a day are loud/frantic and terrify sheep that have never been in a truck before. Or in a pen for days with hundreds of other sheep eating chemicals that induce stomach contractions, to empty the digestive system, so bad some sheep die from it before they enter the slaughter room.
                                                      All 'red meat' wild animal species just taste different. Deer/elk/moose/caribou all taste different.

                                                      1. re: GinnyLee
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                                                        ferret RE: GinnyLee Apr 10, 2014 08:43 AM

                                                        That's not blood, it's water and myoglobin (a protein). Meat contains a lot of water and the longer it sits, teh more likely it will drain (you'll notice they sometimes have an absorbent pad under some packaged meat).

                                                        1. re: ferret
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                                                          Puffin3 RE: ferret Apr 10, 2014 10:28 AM

                                                          That "absorbent pad" is called many things in the industry. "Peach paper" is one. Yes the "pad' absorbs some of the moisture. But the main reason it's there is to give off a gas that prevents the meat from turning brown. The gas replaces the oxygen in the plastic wrapped package.
                                                          FYI the longer beef is hung the more water evaporates. Meaning the store has to sell less water and more meat.
                                                          Longer hanging=more expensive.

                                                          1. re: Puffin3
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                                                            ferret RE: Puffin3 Apr 10, 2014 11:59 AM

                                                            That's a spurious claim. The only gas treatment that's used to keep meat red in packaging is carbon monoxide.

                                                      2. d
                                                        deeart7 RE: cups123 Apr 15, 2014 04:28 PM

                                                        Honestly, - i think it comes from the factory farms, the FDA injects drugs and antibiotics into the animal because of the bacteria and filth the animals are exposed to in the feed lots.
                                                        i've never experienced that from eating fresh beef at home.

                                                        1. westsidegal RE: cups123 Apr 16, 2014 08:33 AM

                                                          if you've ever seen a CAFO operation up close, or a commercial slaughterhouse up close, you would have an idea that there are many correct answers to your question that exist simultaneously.

                                                          cows are fed everything from chicken litter (i.e. chicken poop), the waste from the slaughter of other animals, the waste from unsold other foodstuffs (candy, etc).
                                                          during their time in CAFO operations they are standing in their own sh-t and the sh-it is everywhere. because of the weird things they are fed in the interest of cost-saving, their digestive systems don't even function properly (they are being fed "food" that they are not evolved to eat), so the sh-t is weird.

                                                          when they are slaughtered, their fecal matter contaminates almost everything (this is the reason pink slime was developed in the first place--it wasn't created to feed people ammonia for the nutritional value of the ammonia).
                                                          keep in mind that now that there is less federal money available to send out inspectors. . . .

                                                          let's not even talk about the vermin in the slaughter houses nor the insects. . . .

                                                          1. c
                                                            cebare RE: cups123 May 21, 2014 02:28 PM

                                                            We grow our own beef and from time to time will get this smell/aftertaste. I have found to cure the issue if I smell the "smell" when I open the package I immediately soak the meat in extra virgin olive oil -and I do mean lots- at least overnight. This applies to hamburger, steaks, or roasts. Break the hamburger meat up and pour to olive oil all thru it. Steaks and especially large cuts of roasts usually work better if they soak for 48 hours. Pour off all oil before cooking.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: cebare
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                                                              Carolinaguy RE: cebare May 28, 2014 05:33 AM

                                                              I know the smell you are referring to. It is the same smell that comes from a can of dog food. I have no clue as to what causes it but I have experienced it with a deer that I had processed once and recently from a boston butt as well so I'm not buying into the injections or grass fed explanation. Maybe packaging or time between slaughter and processing has an effect. I know that I have seen it sporadically with several different meats but every time a can of dog food is opened I smell it.

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