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what happened to that good old rich beef flavor in our choice and prime cuts?

I have noticed for the past 20 years or so that beef is not as good as I remember. Even choice beef doesn't taste as rich as it used to. Are they feeding cattle differently? The same goes for pork. The flavors have changed and they have gotton tougher.. I have been so disappointed these last several years. Twice I purchased a boneless prime rib ( and yes WinCo employees said ALL their meat is PRIME) and both times it was flavorless and tough. I tried Costco's pork and beef with the same result. Does anyone know what is up.

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  1. That is an easy one...the lack of flavor is from the diet cattle and pigs are fed...corn fed beef is not as rich in flavor as grass fed ( what mother nature intended). Buy yourself some grass fed beef..you will not be disappointed.

    1. Well, it turns out Americans have gotten used to bland meat. Think of the popularity of beef tenderloin (I'd rather eat tofu - I like skirt steak, and hanger steak). And the meat is also leaner, not as nicely marbled.

      Here's a lovely trick: get yourself some suet from corn-fed vs grass-fed beef and render it. The corn-fed tallow will be white; the grass-fed will be golden, the way old tallow candles used to be.

      Pork is an outright culinary catastrophe: they've bred them much leaner, to compete with poultry. For the past dozen years, heritage swine breeds have ruled the roost (to mix metaphors) in gourmet and fine restaurant trade, but are too pricey for average American supermarkets.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Karl S

        Or think of the popularity of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

        Does anyone know about the difference between Asian and western pork breeds? I have a feeling the Asian pigs are bred to be more fatty, because there's never any lack of fat in the local pork. Or do they just prefer the fatter cuts (pork belly, cuts for braising sold with a thick layer of fat)?

        1. Here's an interesting old thread relating to this -
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/424804

          1. There are advertisement on TV in Quebec from the pork producers association heavily promoting that pork is about 30% leaner than it was 25 years ago, so that explains the change in flavor from back then