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Jun 2, 2012 08:40 PM

No flavor in the taste of meats, pork, poultry

I wonder if I was asleep for the last 10 - 20 years while our meats flavor and fat content were systematically destroyed or is it that I have moved to a part of the country that does not realize that their meat supply is terrible? I am covering all meats including beef, chicken and pork.

By changed I mean there is no more flavor, fat or texture in our foods. I have heard from reliable sources that all meats are now being finished (before they are killed) by feeding them extremely poor low quality foods since corn (which used to be fed) has become for expensive.

So I have wanted to ask this question on the internet for years now.....I hope someone can shed some light on the sad situation. It does not matter how long I marinate, BQ, smoke, low heat, vinegar, lemon j., super high heat, etc., a product it still tastes like rubber bands dried up pieces of garbage to me

I know this is not how I grew up. My meats from Philly dripped with indescribable taste of luscious fatty juices and I never gained a pound. I weighed 110 all my life so I never understood the push to kill flavor.

I now have to purchase Kobe beef in order to just try and like meats from the supermarket these days. That costs me a minimum of $19.00 / lb.

I am considering learning how to raise kobe beef and also caribou pork to finally get the real taste of food back in my life. Supermarkets take the lowest bids I think, here in the northwest and we get a bunch of garbage for our money seems like.

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  1. There's no conspiracy to kill flavor, just to deliver a cheap and lean product to market. Loss of flavor and texture is a side-effect. (Leaving aside the environmental and ethical considerations of high-density feedlot operations.) It's not just feeds, it's the breeds of animals brought to market - pork and beef are bred to produce large, ultra-lean cuts. Poultry is bred for big white breasts, etc. Yes, supermarkets buy this stuff, because as it turns out, 89-cent chickens and $3 steaks sell, and we live in a country where regulating (beyond abysmally low standards) how animals are raised and what they are fed is politically unthinkable.

    I deal with this by patronizing local butchers and farmers markets where I can get pasture raised "heritage breeds" (i.e. delicious breeds that are not considered economical to raise in the factory meat supply chain for non-flavor-related considerations like speed of maturation, fat distribution, etc.) This means that I pay a lot more for my meat than I would at qfc or costco - triple or quadruple the weekly flyer price in many cases - and that I eat less meat as a result. For me, that's a worthwhile tradeoff to eat meat that tastes like meat (again, there are also environmental and ethical considerations amply covered by e.g. Michael Pollan that I won't address here.)

    If you have the resources to raise your own meat, that's a good way to go. If you don't, find a local farmers market (the Ballard, U-district, and West Seattle markets are the biggest and are year-round) and try some of the vendors there (Sea Breeze farms from Vashon and Skagit River Ranch are regulars.) I also recommend stopping by Rain Shadow Meats in the Melrose Market and the Swinery in West Seattle; they generally have excellent product as well (and they're whole-animal butchers that can do custom orders, which is cool.)

    Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to the question "where can I find cheap supermarket meat that tastes good?"

    3 Replies
    1. re: terrier

      A second for pasture raised meats and poultry--we stopped buying from supermarkets about 10 years ago because of the horrible conditions under which our food sources are produced. I remember one of the first free range chickens I roasted--my husband was less than enthused when seeing it on the table, as he'd always avoided chicken for being rubbery with virtually no flavor. He was amazed at how delicious that bird was and asks for chicken on a regular basis now!

      Yes, we pay more, but there is absolutely no comparison in taste. We are happy with eating less of excellent quality foods with a good conscience.

      1. re: Transplant_DK

        terrier has already hooked me on the idea of making a bunch of phone calls to new places where I can hopefully call our new meat suppliers.......very excited about this idea and thank you for encouraging me to move on. I am heading in this direction. Thank you!!!

      2. re: terrier

        OK then terrier........ I genuinely have to thank you for your clear insight on this very important topic which has had me so confused & frustrated for so long now.

        It is true I have also visited Costco in the hope that their Choice or Prime meats would work in my kitchen and they did not. Kind of a liver smell if I recall correctly.

        Early in my post what I was meaning to say by less expensive meats with flavor was the price point could be less than $20 per pound not necessarily $3 per pound although it is clear something has gone terribly wrong with our supermarket chains.........

        I will be giving all the places you have recommended a call early this week and see what I can find and will post you back once I have attempted to enjoy this product again.

        It was not easy in the small town I live in to gingerly encourage the butcher from the local market to hand over the Kobe since all of this product is designated to restaurants these days.

        Butcher had to call said restaurant, get permission to sell me the beef and it was a pain and still is so thank you again for the new ideas!!.

      3. rbluvsfood,

        Hate to break this to are getting old

        For most people, like eyesight, sense of taste and smell will deteriorate as we age.

        1 Reply
        1. re: urika

          :) OK urika you are to funny.......... Yes it is true I am a bit older but not all that much really to loose my taste bud sensations.

          I am exceptionally sensitive to flavor changes however since I have rarely ever eatten out and have cooked my foods at home all my life really so flavor changes have a profound impact on me pretty quickly....basically first bite and smell. Basically my family always cooked so I do the same. My kids are very healthy and eat really well however they refuse to eat certain meats now too.

          Last tenderloin I made was so bad it smelled like liver so I just threw it on the BQ and turned it into slicing meat. Still the dog ate well that night.

          Thank you for reminding me of my age though!! :)