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My Butcher (who sells grass fed beef) says it tastes like crap!

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  • My Butcher (who sells grass fed beef) says it tastes like crap!

    I talked to my butcher today and he said that all animals are grass fed (excepts birds) and that they are grain finished in order to make them taste good.

    He also said that the term "grass finished" was just some marketing ploy and there is no difference between grass fed and grass finished. He said the only reason people come in and buy his grass fed meat was because of the movie Food Inc. He also claims that people who buy his grass fed meat always go back to grain fed because the grain fed tastes so much better.

    Since he is a butcher I have to assume he knows what he is talking about. But I've never heard anything like that before.

  • #2
    Well I think it has to do with the animals becomming fatter on grains and thus having more marbling. I've also read that there is a flavour difference, but I can't say I've tried grass fed beef or pastured chicken unfortunately.
    Being a butcher doesn't make him an expert in nutrition when being a nutritional expert today doesn't make you an expert in nutrition. Afaik grain finished animals have the same fat constituents as 100% grain fed animals, so the benefits of eating it aren't there. On the other hand, if you're an animal lover it might be worth it to think that theyve been running around and what not.


    • #3
      In general, I'd have to agree with what he's saying. Grass fed steaks are leaner, tougher, and generally less flavorful. The only grass fed steak I've ever enjoyed was a rib-eye, because its fatty enough in grass fed or traditional beef. But if you are buying and eating organ meat and/or raw dairy products, grass fed is the way to go.
      "One can only be a perfect physician for oneself alone. " ~ Luigi Cornaro


      • #4
        I doubt it "tastes better" so much as most Americans are used to bland, cardboard-y food.
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        • #5
          Sounds like your butcher would benefit from watching this video.
          “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

          My primal journal


          • #6
            There is a difference between grass fed and grass finished. Grass fed can be grain finished, you have to ask.

            As for flavor, a few thoughts. Just because we are used to the flavor of feedlot grown beef doesn't make it the standard. They feed the cows corn and other grains to fatten them up and, yes, get that marbling. But seriously, after eating grass fed for so long, the grain fed stuff tastes kinda gross. Especially fattier cuts, something just seems off about it to me. Probably because it is off.

            The ranch near me that raises 100% grass fed cattle for beef did so only after having an Argentinian exchange student. He asked why they grain fed their cattle, since Argentinian beef is 100% grass fed and is considered some of the best in the world. The owners were skeptical, but let him raise a 100% grass fed cow and had a blind taste test. The owners were so sure their grain fed beef would win, they only had a few cuts taken from the grass fed cow. But after 40 different people chose the grass fed beef over the grain fed, they completely switched their practices. Nobody chose the grain fed beef on flavor alone.

            Sooo...I dunno. To each their own?
            The Paleo Periodical
            It's not a Diet. It's a lifestyle.


            • #7
              I suspect there are several factors at play. For one, what our palates are acclimated to and what we associate with pleasant memories will generally please us even if, objectively, an alternative tastes better. I know people who swear bargain brand boxed mac and cheese tastes better than homemade batches of the stuff. The majority of people in the US are acclimated to grain-finished beef. My sister balked at consuming more than a few bites of the first grass-fed cow I purchased. She hated the taste.

              The second factor is exactly which grasses the animal has been eating. I must admit that my sister was correct in pointing out some very grassy flavors in that first cow I purchased. I didn't mind them, but she did. Soil quality and plant species undoubtedly play a big role in taste outcomes.

              A final factor is the breed of cattle. When I purchased another variety of local grass-fed beef that was a special species made to thrive in our climate, the taste difference was huge. It was scrumptious to everyone in my family.


              • #8
                Marketing ploy? I'd bet there's a good amount of truth to that. I've heard a butcher say something similar.

                I haven't had grass fed/grass finished beef. I have had no hormones or antibiotic beef and it was quite good. If a farmer can feed his cows for free with grass it wouldn't make sense to not let them eat some. Grain too to fatten them up so they can make more $$$.

                I'm quite healthy and fit and eat conventional beef so I have to question why so much obession over what the cow eats. I can understand the hormone and antibiotic issue. Especially the overuse and unnecessary use.

                I don't worry in the least about omega 6 so save anyone from shooting off about the extreme amount that is in conventional beef. I don't buy that since each round of meat isn't checked.

                This site has really made me enjoy my meals even more. I don't care about the balance of this and that. A plate of food tastes so nice when you sit and enjoy it while not turning every morsel turn into science or what you think is the science. LOL I've never liked the fatty cuts. I'll take beef tenderloin or NY Strip beef anyday as long as it is Canadian or European. Same for chickens, lamb or pork etc.
                Last edited by O_O; 03-19-2011, 01:12 PM.


                • #9
                  Grass fed meat does cook much faster and needs slightly different coooking. And it can be tough sometimes, to be honest, but often they are really great. But is it healthier - sure, definitely. You can also make the reasonable assumption that a grass-finished animal is better treated and less environmentally damaging than a grain fed CAFO animal, for sure.
                  If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


                  • #10
                    Grassfed taste hell of a lot better than grainfed and I can immediately tell the difference. Grainfed tastes off and quite frankly gross. To me it is like the taste of butter versus margarine. The latter tasting rancid.
                    Sometimes you need to be told the truth in order to be able to see it.

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                    • #11
                      It's a matter of what you're used to. My husband's parents lived in Ireland for a couple years and hated the taste of the beef there because it was all grass fed. When we went to visit we pigged out on all that tasty beef and couldn't figure out what their problem was!
                      "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot

                      "Excuses are like asses, some are just bigger than others" Kathryn Martyn Smith


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by inquisitiveone View Post
                        Sounds like your butcher would benefit from watching this video.
                        Ha ha, I had the exact same thought! I found that video fascinating, and lost the link, so thanks for posting it (again for me)!

                        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                        beachrat's new primal journal


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by inquisitiveone View Post
                          Sounds like your butcher would benefit from watching this video.
                          I watched this video and this guy says that 99.9% of lamb in this country are grain fed, but this blog article in psychology today says that lamb and bison are usually grass fed!

                          Your Brain On Omega 3

                          My butcher said his lamb was grass fed, but his buffalo was grain fed.


                          • #14
                            My kids don't like to eat a ton of meat but they absolutely refuse to eat grain fed meat and always are happy with the taste of grass fed animals (pork and beef mainly, we buy from the farm directly and they are 100% grass-fed/ pastured, not just finished on grass). Truth from the mouth of babes?


                            • #15
                              Disagree with your butcher. WHile I don't find grain fed "off" or "gross" as others here have said, I do find an appreciable difference. I find the grass fed has a much meatier flavour, needing little more than salt and pepper to taste fantastic (and the fat, oh my god it's yum!). Grain fed OTOH I find to taste bland, if a little bit more moist. The fat doesn't taste so good either.