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Grass-fed beef?

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Old 02-25-2008, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default Grass-fed beef?

My recent beef purchases both at Costco and at my local super market have been disappointing. I have really cut back on the red meat, so when I eat it, I want it to be good. I am wondering if the (huge) extra expense of grass-fed beef is worth it. I could rationalize the expense by saying I won't eat very much - just like the dark chocolate.

Also, I see that Costco sells prime beef on line for an exhorbitant price. It doesn't say anything about being grass-fed, so I imagine it is a real artery clogger!
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:51 PM   #2
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My friend,

Even though I don't post there any more, I know you from a "past association", therefore I know you to be a smart, thoughtful person.

I am not going to attempt my lay person analysis of why grass fed beef is not only worth the money, it's way worth the money not only in health benefits (start with the merits of grass fed beef over farm raised salmon) but in reducing our carbon foot print, and ending the insanity of our corn-based agricultural complex.

Get your hands on a copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma. by Michael Pollen.

It will explain why, yes, grass fed beef, but LOCAL grass fed beef; it will bum you out, but then it will lift you up! It has changed my life!

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Old 02-26-2008, 12:56 AM   #3
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It was a really good book - an eyeopener! It's really hard for us to get local meat here - but wild salmon, that's easy.
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Old 02-26-2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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We may live in southern California, but we are almost as isolated as Pat is, food-wise. We get quite a bit of produce from Mexico, which is actually fairly local to us. No CSAs here. There is a farmer's market, but mostly it is folks bringing in stuff from the central valley. It usually seems over priced and suffers from sitting in the heat.

Our grocery had wild Keta Salmon on sale yesterday. I get it whenever they have it. Sometimes it is out of this world good, other times not so good.

I have read The Omnivore's Dilemma. This book is what got me to looking at grass-fed beef in the first place.

I guess what I really wanted to know is how does it taste? I agree with the philosophy behind it.
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:15 AM   #5
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I loved Omnivore's Dilemma...and it truly does outline the dilemma of trying to get grass-fed beef to the average meat-eater's table. Most of the farms that raise gfb are not accessible to urban areas and shipping is cost prohibitive. Yet it is a choice and many make the choice to spend the money and/or drive the distances to get grass fed. Have any of you checked out eatwild.org? I found several farmers, but it gets to be real expensive and we don't eat enough red meat to justify it. I buy beef from our local gourmet grocery chain. They have a beef that is mostly-grass fed and the animals are sent to CAFO for a short period before butchering. It's still more expensive, bit not as much.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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You have to cook it differently as it is very lean. Lower heat is better. I think it's like anything else that is raised the way nature intended. It tastes more like beef, in the same way truly free-range chicken tastes more like chicken. I really don't know any other way to explain it.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:11 PM   #7
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I did run across the "Eat Wild" site when I was looking for grass fed beef. I saved it to my favorites.

Thanks, Zenor, for your response. I think if I get some, I will go to one of the places that is relatively near me - like 200 miles or so.
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:54 PM   #8
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I picked up Omnivore's Dilemma (and a few other books about the horrors of modern agriculture) on a whim; I thought maybe it would help to curb my appetite.
It worked a little too well ... I am now a member of my local food co-op and am trying to opt out completely from the corn cycle.

We had a terrific roast last weekend, but it was definately different. The color is a little different (which is good - they use gases and dyes sometimes to keep up that pretty pink color in industrial meats) and you may have to adjust the menu a bit to make up for the leanness. I couldnt make a decent gravy, but I'm bad at gravy anyways ... The meat didnt need it and the potatoes were easy to spice up with garlic =)
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:32 AM   #9
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try grass-fed bison. it is lower in fat that skinless chicken.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:24 PM   #10
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The book made me suspicious of corn and soybeans! That doesn't leave very much prepared/fast food for me to eat.

One of the grass-fed websites I looked at sells bison.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:26 AM   #11
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I had a grass-fed bison burger at a local restaurant the other day. I've had their bison burger before, but never really noticed much of a difference between the bison burger and a burger made of super lean ground beef (both make a burger that's a little drier because of the lack of fat). I thought of this thread, and decided to really pay attention to the flavor.

I had it with sauteed onions and pepper jack cheese and ate it without the bun. Usually I order it with raw onions and blue cheese, which definitely are stronger flavors, and obscure the subtle difference between the two meats. I had them cook it medium, but it was closer to well-done. Since I tend to prefer over, rather than under cooked meat, I didn't make a fuss. I do think though that I would recommend anyone order one level rarer than their usual preference when ordering bison or any super lean meat.

I decided that the taste is a tiny bit stronger than beef. Sort of "beefier than beef." Trying to decide what made it "beefier," I think it tasted a bit as if you ground a tiny bit of beef liver into the ground beef. Not enough to taste like liver, just enough to taste a little more of iron, maybe? With a little bit of ketchup, or (as I've had in the past) some blue cheese or raw onion the difference is completely masked.

I know Andrew Zimmern (of Bizarre Foods on the travel channel) claims that animals taste of what they eat, so he says he can taste the grass or clover in beef, lamb, goat... I've not noticed that (though I LOVE lamb and goat), but I think I'll be paying alot more attention.

There's a new small "pasture-raised" meat animal farm in our area, that should be selling at the farmers' markets this summer at much better prices than are currently in the health food stores. They raise grass-fed beef and sheep (a special breed of sheep that has hair instead of wool, and supposedly tastes milder, more like young goat). They possibly will raise bison and goat at some point.

I got hooked on goat from a mexican restaurant that served goat meat tacos. It's leaner than beef, but more tender. You'd never guess it wasn't beef unless you were very familiar with lamb and goat.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:28 PM   #12
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Nice post Kaplods. You could have an excellent future as a food taster.

I've noticed that the grassfed beef available locally tends to taste slightly gamy. I've noticed it when I've had that beef as a burger in local restaurants and when I've cooked it at home. It has a slightly stronger--but certainly not unpleasant--taste. I'm in it for the ethics though, more than the taste. My taste buds have lost much of their subtlety through all these years of heavy smoking. (I'm envious of that Zimmern fellow!)

However, last fall we and friends split a whole lamb from a local farmer. I love lamb and this one is delicious. The flavor is delicate and distinct and not at all gamy or muttony. I had some lamb that I'd bought from the grocery store in the freezer around the time we were eating lots of this local lamb and I cooked it up and we both noticed that it tasted very different. Fattier and stronger-tasting, but the flavor was less distinctly lamby.
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Old 03-20-2008, 12:57 AM   #13
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I got some little lamb chops at Sam's Club a while back. They were the best I've ever had, in fact I wouldn't have known it was lamb if I hadn't bought it myself.

I haven't heard anything about ostrich meat lately. Seems like that is supposed to be lean.

I am probably more interested in the ethics, too. Because the sustainable, grass fed beef is so much more expensive, I believe I would eat less of it.
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Old 03-20-2008, 02:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gailr42 View Post
I am probably more interested in the ethics, too. Because the sustainable, grass fed beef is so much more expensive, I believe I would eat less of it.
This is key, I think. One of the philosophies I try to live by now is eating smaller portions of the best quality foods. It's relatively easy to deal with the increased costs of organic meats when you treat the meat more like a side dish and less like the centerpiece of a meal, and the payoffs go beyond your wallet.

I find I don't need nearly as large a portion when the beef (which I still eat rarely) or chicken (which I eat all the time) is organic. The flavor is better, the meat tastes richer and more satisfying. There are obviously environmental benefits to not consuming as much, but it's nice that it doesn't feel like a sacrifice to do so.
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Old 04-02-2010, 04:19 PM   #15
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Last sunday I bought ground bison meat to try from the farmers market. DH made Bison burgers out of them and they were delicious! They tasted better than the beef burgers and didn't really need any seasoning (my hubby added green onion). Since bison is really lean, it was super fast to cook. We are now looking into buying grass fed beef as well.
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