2

votes

I'm going to eat grass-fed beef for the first time IN MY LIFE...how does it taste mostly plain?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 29, 2012 at 1:32 AM

I just found certified humanely raised and grass-fed pastured beef. I have never had it in my life! I've been relying on seafood and eggs since going paleo. However, I recently had too many eggs at once and my stomach was trying to eat me alive. I also don't want to be eating seafood all the time because of the mercury and toxins...plus, food cooked in cans and all that jazz. Basically, I want to vary up my protein choices. Until now, I left beef alone because I refuse to eat conventionally raised beef or raised in inhumane conditions (just organic on the label is not good enough for me).

I just picked up some beef...and I'm not even sure how to cook it. I eat seafood and eggs plain, with just the vegetables and if I use it, coconut oil to flavor it. If something is too seasoned or salty/heavily flavored, it triggers binging (yes, I'm pathetic and I acknowledge that).

So...how does it taste just plain? I try not to use spices so I'd love to know:). I hear the taste is a lot different than "regular" beef but I'm not sure whether you guys find that true or not.

3d6f0a7777f0649d00067523e4f0d703

on March 30, 2012
at 06:53 AM

Me too! That's what we raise and eat and it is delicious.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Also, a lot of the fisherman will get certified by things like "Ocean Wise" which guarantees, at the risk of a fine, sustainable fishing practices. It varies from place to place- my boyfriend got his two boats registered under Vancouver Aquarium for sustainable fishing. That adds some peace of mind.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Excellent point! I have a shameless preference for Angus.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Darn, that thread would've been SO useful had I read it before overcooking the beef...

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:04 PM

I should've read your comment before I cooked it. I cooked it well done and it was chewy. Thanks!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:03 PM

Yeah, I just cooked the ground beef! It was definitely not very strong tasting. Thanks for letting me know that it cooks differently. I cooked it pretty "well-done" (although it was ground) and it was chewy...

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thanks for this detailed response! I just cooked my beef and I thought it tasted bland and awful. But I'm also a horrible cook who doesn't use spices, so who knows. It's good to know that different breeds are different though!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 02:13 PM

The type of fish and the fishing method varies. I don't just buy any wild fish. Sardines reproduce very rapidly for instance. I buy my sardines from Wild Planet, which keeps in mind environmental sustainability when it comes to fishing methods.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on March 29, 2012
at 10:03 AM

Commercial fishing isn't any more ethical than factory farming. Just because it's caught in the "wild" doesn't make it good... wild caught fish exact a high price in ocean biodiversity. I limit my consumption because of this...

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 29, 2012
at 07:16 AM

Side note, Chris Kresser has some posts, or one of his podcasts which goes over the fact that mercury in fish is essentially countered by the selenium content. Toxins on the other hand...that's where some wild-caught goodies are needed.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:33 AM

Beef that tastes like salmon...that sounds like a dream come true for me

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on March 29, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Also don't forget this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/68807/how-to-cook-the-different-cuts-of-beef/68830#68830 All of the tips here apply equally well to grassfed.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 29, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Huh. The 85/15 grassfed ground beef I get at Whole Foods is really juicy. I strain the pan fat and save it for cooking veg. Different farms, I guess - no hate!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:34 AM

I also expected it to be extremely expensive, but it wasn't. I did a cost per protein gram analysis and it's cheaper than my sardines that I inhale

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14 Answers

5
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:49 AM

As an ancient old lady, I can say that grassfed beef tastes just like supermarket beef tasted 40-50 years ago.

Some general things:

  • In general, grassfed beef is typically a little less fatty without extensive marbling
  • Some cuts will be quite tender, but others will be very tough unless cooked gently with moisture; I think there's a wider range in tenderness from one cut to another
  • It's possible you'll find the taste a little stronger; not gamey, really, just more intense. Grassfed beef may come from an older animal because it takes longer to reach profitable size on grass.
  • Although meat depts. used to carry many more cuts of beef, if you buy grassfed in bulk you may find unfamiliar cuts/parts. They're all good! If in doubt, cook gently with moisture and vegetables.

Speaking for myself, I think grassfed tastes better and more "real." Sort of an "I know it when I taste it" recognition similar to your first experience with authentic Asian/Mexican cuisine.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on March 29, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Also don't forget this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/68807/how-to-cook-the-different-cuts-of-beef/68830#68830 All of the tips here apply equally well to grassfed.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Darn, that thread would've been SO useful had I read it before overcooking the beef...

2
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:15 AM

I eat most of my GF beef raw, I find it tastes mildly sweet to me. I find store bought beef to be bland & tasteless. I also eat raw liver, cooking it makes it taste more like 'liver' if that makes sense.

2
9b0a4701e373d4dd13831cfb9b13f42d

(1677)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:49 AM

Since you haven't eaten it much it'll just taste like beef. You probaly won't be able to tell a difference.

1
3d6f0a7777f0649d00067523e4f0d703

on March 29, 2012
at 06:06 PM

In addition to taste of grass fed beef depending on what type of grass the cow ate, what type or breed of cow you are eating will make a HUGE difference in the texture and taste. Simply put, not all bovines finish well on grass due to their genetics, size and shape. Sort of like the difference in an Olympic gymnast's body and a NBA basketball player's body - if they both eat the same thing they will still have very different body types and shapes. In bovines, that translates to either good milk production or good meat - usually not both.

So, if you are eating a dairy breed (Holstein, Jersey etc.) bull calf or culled cow with a large, bony frame that was raised on grass it is going to taste a lot different than a beef breed (Angus, Hereford etc.) that is genetically predisposed to finish well on grass. They generally have shorter, stockier bodies, carry their weight across the top side (where you get rib-eyes) and are "easy fleshing" which translates to tender, tasty meat on grass.

Unfortunately not all "grass fed" beef is tender or tastes good! I suggest you ask your local rancher or producer not only what the cow ate, but just as important, what kind of cow is it? A beef breed will taste better.

3d6f0a7777f0649d00067523e4f0d703

on March 30, 2012
at 06:53 AM

Me too! That's what we raise and eat and it is delicious.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on March 29, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Excellent point! I have a shameless preference for Angus.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Thanks for this detailed response! I just cooked my beef and I thought it tasted bland and awful. But I'm also a horrible cook who doesn't use spices, so who knows. It's good to know that different breeds are different though!

1
C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

on March 29, 2012
at 03:35 AM

There is definitely a variation based on the source, which makes sense because they eat the local grass instead of #2 commodity corn. My CSA generally produces a stronger beefy flavor but the steaks sometimes have a pleasant gaminess. Whole Foods around me (northeast US) has ground beef that really tastes similar to grain fed but with more texture. My favorite burger joint in Boston (Channel Cafe) just tastes... good.

However, some will have a slight fishy note -- this is nothing to worry about as long as it doesn't put you off eating it. It's not spoilage, but a build-up of trimethylamine in the cow while it was alive. You will know when your beef is spoiled because it smells foul -- this has only thus far happened to me with Trader Joe's beef.

1
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on March 29, 2012
at 02:40 AM

It varies on taste depending on the butchering practices as well. Mine is dry aged 21 days which has a "beefier" taste. I eat it plain, topped with butter sometimes. sea salt/pepper

0
29b5da4bf662cd35c5a512d804d11589

on March 29, 2012
at 02:32 PM

Ok, no one is really saying this, so I'll go out and say it. If you've never had grass fed beef, it will taste intense and even "Gamey".

No reason to hide this fact.

I bought a 1/4 steer last year and have yet to finish it for that reason. I bought it from a highly rated local producer, so I'm sure it wasn't raised wrong or killed improperly.

My wife won't touch the roasts or the steaks, so I'm the only one that eats them. Don't get me wrong, they are quite tasty and delicious. Just very different.

I've found that conventionally grown beef is blander, and usually adopts the taste of the seasoning/marinada that you give it completely. This type of beef will still have its one flavor and it can't be masked complete by the marinade.

The strong gamier taste I've found usually lies in the fat of the animal, so leaner pieces will be less intense.

The ground beef though, is entirely different. Its not strong at all, and will adopt any flavor you impart on it.

Based on this and that trader joes now sells organic, grassfed ground beef now at only 6.49/lb, Its a safe bet that I'll only be buying that from now on, with the very occasional grassfed steak. This as oppose to quarter steers.

All that said, grassfeed beef cooks very different. You need to marinade it and even tenderize it as it can be tougher than conventional beef, and the steak shouldn't be "well-done". I sear them almost to a smoking point on each side and then throw them in the oven.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:03 PM

Yeah, I just cooked the ground beef! It was definitely not very strong tasting. Thanks for letting me know that it cooks differently. I cooked it pretty "well-done" (although it was ground) and it was chewy...

0
7d01d86c539003eed77cf901bf037412

(1076)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:44 AM

To me, it tastes NORMAL because there is no other kind where I live, except for a few luxury feedlot operations that target the export market. It's grainfed that tastes weird as far as I'm concerned.

Plant species has a modest effect on flavour, but not as much as you'd think, because cattle digestion is so efficient. This is not to say it has none: back in the day when I worked briefly at the Meat Industry Research Institute of New Zealand, scientists were investigating the charmingly named "fecal-milky" odour, which turned out to be caused by confining cattle in pastures where they ate all the grass down and turned to other plants that produced this off-flavour. But, you needed to use so-called break-feeding and have the wrong plants in your pasture for this to occur. As far as I know, flavour and tenderness have as much or more to do with the stress on the animal immediately pre-slaughter and aging of the carcase afterwards as they do with the kind of plant the animal was grazing.

I don't understand the replies to this question that call grassfed flavourless. When I've been in the US, I've found the local beef tasteless and oddly mushy, and assumed it was the result of the feedlot approach.

I usually eat my beef grilled with salt and pepper, roasted with salt and herbs, or casseroled in red wine, depending on the cut. If I'm making curry or something heavily spiced I prefer lamb or mutton or goat.

0
Ad4e73742dd56e37e15b1a06430237cc

on March 29, 2012
at 02:42 AM

Mine taste a little on the sweet side. You will want to cook it quickly as it will cook faster than fatter beef. I like to sprinkle garlic salt on mine after it has cooked and while it is cooling on the plate (4-5 minutes), this will help it absorb some of the juice.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 08:04 PM

I should've read your comment before I cooked it. I cooked it well done and it was chewy. Thanks!

0
68ed20a9086599c9df2fd7f17368756e

(0)

on March 29, 2012
at 02:41 AM

Grass fed beef is influenced by what the cow ate, and grasses do vary. Also the quality of grass-fed beef can vary so the eating experience can also vary. If the animal is pastured it will probably have a texture that you might not be used to. I love grass fed beef for its wonderful, complex taste and great texture.

0
Medium avatar

(10663)

on March 29, 2012
at 02:00 AM

I may be the only one who feels this way but I think grass-fed beef has very little flavor. I mostly pan-fry mine and I can notice a significant difference in taste and texture between grass-fed and non-grass-fed.

Just a few of my opinions:
85/15 ground beef: grass-fed has less flavor, looks lighter when cooked, leaves less oil/fat in the pan
Ribeye: grass-fed does not have as much marbling and is a little tougher
New York: grass-fed is a lot tougher, tastes very plain to me

However, I will only ever buy grass-fed beef liver which I prefer over grass-fed lamb liver. I will never eat non-grass-fed organs.
I guess the main reason I'm remaining so nonchalant about whether I eat grass-fed or not (btw, most of the time I don't because it's really expensive) is because I buy my meat at Whole Foods, who have assured me that all their non-grass-fed beef are "three-fourths grass-fed with no antibiotics or hormones added, etc." So call me foolish for trusting these guys but I would really prefer a juicy, fatty ribeye that has only a slightly different o6:o3 ratio than plain, tough grass-fed.
Bring on the haters.

1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 29, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Huh. The 85/15 grassfed ground beef I get at Whole Foods is really juicy. I strain the pan fat and save it for cooking veg. Different farms, I guess - no hate!

0
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:58 AM

Grassfed beef is a lot less homogenized compared to commercial beef, which is simply rich without any evidence of it being a specific kind of animal. Imagine lamb without the mild citrus-like gamey flavor, or deer without that heavy mineral/copper gamey flavor. Imagine that beef has similar characteristics but it's been bred out - and you have commercial beef. Down here in Florida, most of the grassfed beef I get is considerably tougher (you have to cook it at a lower temp to get a tender steak), and it has a slight gamey character that is mildy reminiscent of fish.

0
1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:50 AM

In my experience, if you have a sensitive palate, some grassfed beef will taste almost sweet. I definitely think it generally has better character than conventionally-raised/fed. I do salt and pepper mine lightly, but it really doesn't need much. If I didn't have any spices, and was used to eating plain foods, I would probably appreciate the nuance even more. Enjoy!

0
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on March 29, 2012
at 01:39 AM

Kind of depends on the type of grass your particular cow ate. I've has grass fed beef that tastes like 'regular' beef, grass fed beef that tastes almost like salmon, and grass fed beef that falls somewhere in the middle.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on March 29, 2012
at 05:33 AM

Beef that tastes like salmon...that sounds like a dream come true for me

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