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My Beef...tastes like a cow.

Have you ever had a nice cut of beef taste...well, like a "cow"? Barn-yardy? Not gamey, that is different.

I mean, like you just sniffed a Holstein. I am finishing up a 1/4 of expensive grass fed beef. The roast and beef broth both taste like a cow. Does anyone know why this happens? On a particular cut from the same animal? The hamburger, steaks and ribs were great.

Is there anything you can do about it? I HATE to throw away my beef stock-but I fear I can't use it. It smells like a manure clad hoof. It was destined to be beef barley soup...but I don't trust that the flavor will be there. Bay leaf? Onion? Tomato? Will anything cover up it's "cow-ness"????

Thanks peeps.

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  1. oh, I don't know...if I spent money on expensive grass fed beef, it had _better_ taste like a cow!!!
    ;-) I'd be more concerned if the meat _didn't_ have a markedly more intense flavor than regular beef.
    Seriously though...If it really was an "off" taste (and not just the ramped up flavor that comes with grass fed), could the method of storage maybe have anything to do with it? Was it frozen and for how long (compared to the other cuts you used)? Was it wrapped in effective oxygen barrier wrappings?

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Professor

      It was stored appropriately. I buy grass fed beef regularly so, I am speaking of an off flavor of "cow"...manure, musky, etc. Not pleasant what -so -ever. It was frozen the longest of all. I was thinking that maybe that had something to do with it.

    2. Grass-fed beef is naturally going to taste more "ban yardy" because it's not fed a diet of bland corn. The animals have actually seen a barn yard. That "cow" flavor is one of the reasons I like grass-fed beef. But if you don't, maybe freeze the stock and save it for a heavily seasoned, strongly flavored dish that will mask the subtler tastes of the beef stock--like chili or something.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lady_Tenar

        This has nothing to do with grass fed beef. I buy it all the time. Please re-read my post. It tastes like shit. I was asking if anyone else has had the same experience with a particular cut of beef tasting "off" ...like cow, barnyard- not like quality beef, and why would this happen.

        1. re: sedimental

          I read your post. It was unclear to me if what you were objecting to was the naturally more intense flavor of grass-fred beef (which a lot of people don't like) or something more sinister. If you had it frozen for a long time, that could definitely be the culprit. I've used beef that I had frozen for a really long time and it also had an unappetizing flavor--I wouldn't describe it as "cow" but definitely off. I don't know why it happens but it definitely does.

      2. Just to be clear..as an update: the rest of the 1/4 side of beef was great. This has nothing to do with the normal taste of grass fed beef. This was finishing off 2 roasts and some soup bones. They all taste like poopy cow. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this and what it might be from.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          No. And I don't know. However; I would not expect most of a quarter of a beef to taste good and some other parts to taste like cow shit. Might lead me to think that the shitty tasting parts were from another animal or were not handled properly.

          1. re: sedimental

            This is not correct. I would have contacted who I bought the beef from and the butcher. It should NOT taste like poopy cow ever.

            Full disclosure. I sell grass fed beef in southern CA.

          2. In Ireland I had goat cheese that tasted like a goat. Horrid. I swore it off for years. I think it was just crappy goat cheese or really fresh. Either way I know what you mean, but can't say what it is!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Mojave

              Yeah, I was wondering if (in this case) it had to do with the size of the cut. The poop taste is profound in the huge knuckles and femur (soup bones) and a gigantic roast...or maybe that they were over a year old in the freezer. Weird. Actually....gross and weird.

              1. re: sedimental

                Given that you mentioned that the rest of the meat tasted fine, maybe it is indeed from the long term freezing, especially if it wasn't really _very_ securely wrapped airtight for proper long term freezer storage (here's where those vacuum bag machines like FoodSaver can be well worth the purchase price). How long were these particular pieces in the freezer? And how were they wrapped? Also, when was the last time you sampled meat from this particular purchase?

                It's true that different cuts can have different (and distinct) flavors, but it sounds like your case was pretty extreme. I''ll be interested in seeing further replies on this one myself.

                1. re: The Professor

                  Exactly. All the meat was professionally wrapped by a meat packer. It was pristine and had no observable freezer burn or other problem. When I unwrapped the meat (that tasted like poop) it was still very bloody and fresh looking.
                  I have had pork occasionally taste "piggy" and lamb taste "lamby" if that makes sense. I am a true carnivore :0) but these flavors are really objectionable.I am very curious as to why this happens. I suspect it has to do with the cut of the animal- but I don't know that for sure.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    I think the best way of saying it is that..."an animal should not taste the way it smells when I drive by the farm". lol

            2. I did not read all the responses. But to be honest, the first time I've had grass fed beef... I had the same sentiments as sedimental... it tasted like grass to me. I felt I was eating a grass... animal. The grass flavor was too intense for me.

              To answer your question, I would use the stock for something that is heavily seasoned/spiced. Maybe a beef curry or pho?

              1 Reply
              1. My first thought is that it may have been contaminated with some part of the digestive tract when packaged or butchered. perhaps only some of the packs where exposed or the extra storage time just pushed it past the tipping point.
                Freezing does slow bacteria growth but does not stop it. During the thawing and cooking it may have had time to multiply enough to taint the flavor.
                Personally I would not use it for anything. There are some smells/ flavors I might over look in meats, but Ammonia (barn yard) or Feces are not one of them.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chefj

                  Thanks for your response! I have a gut feeling about this. My beef is always professionally packaged by a big outfit, but I also watched them package some of it. I DO trust them. But accidents happen. I wonder if some of my beef got mixed up with someone else? That could explain this.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    "Gut feeling" indeed! Whether or not you intended the pun. For a more extreme version of your experience, see this decade-old CH classic, "Excremental Encounter": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/261442

                  2. re: chefj

                    That's what I thought. I don't know anything that smells like shit that isn't shit.

                    As you open each package, smell it and if it stinks throw it out.

                    Call the company and complain, they need to know and you should get a discount. If it happens again stop using that company.

                  3. The nose knows. If it smells like shit, that's what it is.

                    2 Replies