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Grass-Fed Beef

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  • Grass-Fed Beef



    Ok...I just got off the phone with the, in others' opinion, best steak house we have in town. The fella I was talking to said that he could bring some grass-fed beef in for me through his supplier and that it was going to cost less than beef that you'd buy in a grocery store because it is, as his supplier put it, a 'bad' product.


    Somehow this just doesn't seem right.


    What kind of questions should I be asking to ensure that I'm getting what I'm looking for.

    I grok, therefore I am.

  • #2
    1



    Any takers want to educate a n00b?

    I grok, therefore I am.

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    • #3
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      His thinking probably has more to do with Prime, Select, Choice, etc. There probably is beef that doesn't get to the feedlot for one reason or another and being lean, it would be graded as a "lower quality" carcass.


      About half way down: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef

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      • #4
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        Maybe you should just buy it off the Internet if you can't find a local butcher or store that sells it. Sounds like the restaurant guy is not very knowledgeable.

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        • #5
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          Well, on a good note he did say it was from Etobicoke Ontario and there is a grass fed farm there.

          http://www.berettaorganics.com/


          Sounds to me like both the dealer and supplier are a little unwise to the grass-fed ways. Although the guy at the restaurant said he tried one and he liked it.


          In fact the reason why he was in touch with the supplier is because said steakhouse is bringing in a grass-fed line.

          I grok, therefore I am.

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          • #6
            1



            You have to remember that for half a century feedlot beef was "better," as measured by having lots of fat.


            Which, if one is Primal, that shouldn't be a deterrent.


            Personally, I think the benefits of grass fed beef nutritionally don't justify the cost. However, I would do it for the animal welfare if I could afford it.

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            • #7
              1



              Oh yes, the person I was talking to completely understood the health benefits of grass-fed. I just have to keep in mind that I was speaking to someone who works at a high-scale steakhouse and their idea of a good steak and my idea of a good steak can be two completely separate ideals.


              I was just a little skeptical because he said it would be cheaper than the regular corn-fed beef. I'll give it a whirl and see what happens.

              I grok, therefore I am.

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              • #8
                1



                Grass fed is just going to be less marbled. Think about the effects of insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome..fatty liver, fatty deposits in the muscle tissue, etc. That's essentially what happens to the corn fed cows (they tend to die on that diet within a few days/weeks if they aren't slaughtered at the normal time). The marbling is just fatty deposits in the muscle tissue.

                Generally this just means you need to adjust how you cook the steak a bit, perhaps to the rarer side. The flavor also tends to end up in the muscle rather than the fat. The USDA grading system for beef is entirely based on corn/soy/candy-fed beef, and fails at assessing quality in natural beef.


                There is probably also something to be said for picking slightly different cuts. Maybe instead of a ribeye, which is almost defined by its high fat content and marbling, you would be better off going for a grass fed sirloin or filet, which is generally valued for being extremely lean/tender (hence the bacon wrapping to add fat).

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                • #9
                  1



                  Do you guys taste a difference between grain-fed and grass-fed beef? I could taste it right away and now that I tried it, I would never want to go back. To me, it taste more flavorful and is usually more tender.

                  However, this vendor we have at the Farmer's Market sells beef that's half grass-fed, half grain-fed. They have some special feeding program where they make sure 50% of a food supply of a cow comes from grains. They swear that a beef that's half-grain fed is much more tastier than the one that is strictly grass-fed. I don't really feel like trying their stuff, plus it's very expensive. I was just wandering what others think?

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                  • #10
                    1



                    Yeah, I think from a high-end steakhouse's standpoint, grass-fed would be an inferior product for them in terms of taste. Health-wise, it would be quite the opposite. He did say they would be less marbled, which is fine with me. I'm just looking for the health-benefits that grass-fed provides.


                    I'm not sure what the difference is between the US and Canadian grading system.


                    I'll definitely be doing up some filet mignon's. Medium chicago style is the only way to go! A steak steared on the outside in butter, who wouldn't enjoy that?


                    I'm hungry.

                    I grok, therefore I am.

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                    • #11
                      1



                      CC, grass fed cannot be more tender because there is less fat. Doesn't mean it has to be tough and stringy. Fat is what makes beef tender, the marbling. Knowing what you are eating makes for a poor sampling, you know.


                      As to flavor, you might well be right.


                      Of course, there are many factors that affect beef quality. A grass fed steer slaughtered young will probably be very good eating, not so much nearing the end of life. Yet, "grass fed, no grains."

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                      • #12
                        1



                        OTB, what is considered young? 18-24 months?

                        I grok, therefore I am.

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                        • #13
                          1



                          Darned if I know. I used to shovel dairy manure, that's about as close as I've gotten to beef.

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                          • #14
                            1



                            As far as I understood from the farmers I got my beef from, 24 months is not young, but when it comes to grass-fed cows, that's about as long as it takes to reach the full size.


                            OTB, I didn't quite understand the comment about knowing what one eats and it making for the poor sampling.

                            However, from a personal experience, last year we purchased 3 cases of Prime Black Angus steaks from a local wholesaler. Those same steaks were going for $1,400 for 3 boxes on their web-site, so I assume it was suppose to be a good quality. They were not grass-fed. We still have a few left over from last year when we got our 1/4 of a grass-fed cow, and I SWEAR, the grass-fed stuff was much more tender and better tasting overall.

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                            • #15
                              1



                              CC, it's simple. Your interpretation of your experiences is subjective. Our minds can play large tricks on us. That's why good science comparison uses double blind testing.


                              To have two very different products and knowing which you are eating is not a valid comparison.


                              I remember a friend saying that, oh yeah, he can tell the difference in vodka quality. So we set him up a few from El Cheapo to something fairly good but not expensive and he picked the El Cheapo every time as the better one.


                              I'm not saying your experience isn't valid, nor that you may not be correct, but in general feedlot beef will be more tender. That's why they do it.

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