Is beef finished on grass tough? - Mothering Forums
Traditional Foods > Is beef finished on grass tough?
BedHead 02:14 PM 03-25-2009
My husband claims that we will need to marinate everything to make it palatable once we get our grass finished meat. He says they finish them in feed lots on grains to add marbling, which makes them tender. What's your experience?

AllieFaye's Avatar AllieFaye 03:11 PM 03-25-2009
Grass finished beef isn't tough, but it is strongly beef flavored. Considering that we ate mostly game before trying it, it was more palatable to our taste. Supermarket beef had an odd lack of flavor from our point of view. We can tolerate the higher end beef now, but plan to go back to 100% grass fed and finished once our budget allows.
JElaineB's Avatar JElaineB 03:14 PM 03-25-2009
I think it depends on what cuts you like and how you like to cook it. Anything cooked low and slow will be fine. If you like steaks that are medium-well or well-done those could be tougher due to less marbling.
dogmom327's Avatar dogmom327 03:36 PM 03-25-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by JElaineB View Post
I think it depends on what cuts you like and how you like to cook it. Anything cooked low and slow will be fine. If you like steaks that are medium-well or well-done those could be tougher due to less marbling.
:

The secret to steaks is to cook them only to 130 or 135 degrees. Anything more and there isn't enough moisture/fat left to keep them tender.
tallulahma's Avatar tallulahma 03:43 PM 03-25-2009
we eat ours medium rare.... it was never tough- per se.... but it is definitely a different texture IMHO and took some getting used to.

my dh's best friend is a french chef and he turns his nose up at the steaks completely.... but he did enjoy my grass fed ox tails.

hth
plantmama's Avatar plantmama 05:07 PM 03-25-2009
We've experienced both. We had some grass fed old dairy cow ground beef the other night that was tough...yes it was GROUND!
We get our grass fed beef from 1 farm at our farmer's market that is SOO good. We've gotten roasts, ribs, sausage, corned beef, now we're going to try to steak so we'll see if it's still as good.
The other farm has the tough problem. I honestly don't know what it is that makes them different.
We had grass fed beef from my parents' farmer's market that almost made us give it up, it was what i would call gamey and I really disliked the taste. I do like venison though. So, keep trying it until you find a farm and a cut that you like.
velcromom's Avatar velcromom 08:01 PM 03-25-2009
I kind of expected it to be, but I've had it from two sources and neither was tough. Both had great beefy flavor, too. I haven't tried all the cuts in our quarter but so far, it's very good and tender despite how lean it is.
quietserena's Avatar quietserena 09:16 PM 03-25-2009
My farmer friend tells me that if the animal was losing weight, meat will be tough and won't taste as good.
Carlin's Avatar Carlin 09:23 PM 03-25-2009
We've been eating grass fed for 2 years now and none of it's been tough. It's often leaner and more flavorful, and of course how tender it is depends on the cut, but it's certainly not tough. Maybe try buying a couple good cuts of meat for your husband to try? I suspect he'll like it.

The main reason cattle are finished in feed lots is because you can get a lot more weight on them a lot faster than if they're only eating grass.
pampered_mom's Avatar pampered_mom 05:12 PM 03-26-2009
I've never really noticed a difference in the roasts, but I have noticed a difference in the steaks and ground beef - although only when we make hamburgers. They key for both of those has been to avoid overcooking - medium rare is about the most done we can go. I've also noticed that the steaks are quite a bit more gamey than most other cuts. So much so that we can't actually eat them. Marinating there helps, but not enough for our tastes.
weliveintheforest's Avatar weliveintheforest 06:39 PM 03-26-2009
We have had good experiences with our grass finished meat and it has not been tough.
~*~MamaJava~*~'s Avatar ~*~MamaJava~*~ 07:00 PM 03-26-2009
marbling has a lot to do with breeding as well - they can be bred to have better marbling.

our grass fed beef is super tender...but it is aged :
Slabobbin's Avatar Slabobbin 11:02 AM 03-27-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~MamaJava~*~ View Post
marbling has a lot to do with breeding as well - they can be bred to have better marbling.

our grass fed beef is super tender...but it is aged :
Okay, clue me in. Why is aged bad?
~*~MamaJava~*~'s Avatar ~*~MamaJava~*~ 01:07 PM 03-27-2009
well, they hang it, raw, for two weeks (in our case) that is sort of rotting it, right? if you listen to kevin trudeau etc they say that's terrible for you. but it's SO much more tender.
Attached Mama's Avatar Attached Mama 01:25 PM 03-27-2009
As a former veg I can't stand meat that is tough or meaty - and I only buy humanely raised grass fed beef from local farmers.

We buy mostly ground beef which does have far less fat than grain raised. But I season it so profusely that it always tastes great to everyone. We also get london broils or other similiar steaks. I usually use them like stew beef or slow roast them in the oven with onion and garlic and oil - so they end up shredded for soups, Mexican food or stews.

I don't really ever sit down and eat a steak so I'm no help there. We did cook a roast beef cut a few months back and I was really surprised at how tender and flavorful it was (don't remember what my dh seasoned it with).

I don't buy stew beef because to me it's too fatty and tough even in a stew.
kjbrown92's Avatar kjbrown92 01:36 PM 03-27-2009
Is it only grass finished, but grain the rest of the time? I personally wouldn't bother spending more unless it was totally grass fed, but maybe that's just me.

I bought local grass fed meat and it was very strong flavored and tough. I bought grass fed meat from TX and it was lean but tender and absolutely wonderful (and I'm ordering again as soon as they can tell me the ingredients on their sausage).
Junegoddess's Avatar Junegoddess 11:46 PM 03-27-2009
I've had such a variety- I've now eaten grassfed beef from four different sources, but never yet noticed it being tough. We even grill the steaks- high heat, for a short time- and haven't noticed anything being too chewy. We generally don't cook them past medium-rare. I have noticed a variety of flavor. One place I got beef from the steaks and roasts were divine but the ground beef tasted like ground turkey. Very bland. Blech. Our current cow was from a dairy farm, so he was younger than usual, but not bred for marbling... so tender thanks to being semi-veal, but lots of trimming needed on the round steaks and such, due to sinewy parts. Tastes really good, though.

I've heard it over and over again that grassfed equals tough, but I've yet to experience it.
Nan'sMom's Avatar Nan'sMom 12:16 AM 03-28-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~MamaJava~*~ View Post
well, they hang it, raw, for two weeks (in our case) that is sort of rotting it, right? if you listen to kevin trudeau etc they say that's terrible for you. but it's SO much more tender.
Wow, I thought this was ok to do. Ours doesn't seem tough to me but I have no frame of reference since only the non grass-fed beef I ate was when I was a child.
MoonStarFalling's Avatar MoonStarFalling 01:25 PM 03-28-2009
I'm not sure what makes them tough but I've had the most tender beef ever and it was totally grass fed yearling with almost no fat in it. I've had some tougher beef too but it was an 2 year old cow with a lot more fat on it. My friend swears that the best beef he ever had was a really old grass fed jersey.
mnnice's Avatar mnnice 01:37 PM 03-28-2009
We by and eat totally grassfeed beef and lamb and I've never found it to be tough. But I think the genetics of the animals play a part. The farmer we buy our grassfeed beef from only buys from genetic lines that have never been feed grain (He started with Galloways and has been crossbreeding with Hereford bulls from some seriously old bloodlines. So each year the meat get more "Herefordy"). Both have tasted great. They did taste different to our tastebuds in the begining, but I'm not going back.
spughy's Avatar spughy 01:42 PM 03-28-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~MamaJava~*~ View Post
well, they hang it, raw, for two weeks (in our case) that is sort of rotting it, right? if you listen to kevin trudeau etc they say that's terrible for you. but it's SO much more tender.
Who is this Kevin Trudeau person and what is he smoking exactly? Meat SHOULD be aged. Enzymes start to break it down, tenderizing it and also probably making it easier to digest. It improves flavour (especially the umami flavour that makes meat so succulent) too.

Hanging meat is *extremely* traditional, especially for game that can definitely be tough, especially if it had to be chased before it was killed (stress hormones can toughen meat). I can't see how it would be bad for you though. So many of the processes that unlock nutrients for all foods - fermentation, soaking, etc. - are controlled rot; hanging meat is no different, and CERTAINLY humans are adapted to eating less-than-fresh food, we'd have never survived prehistory or even the middle ages otherwise.
JElaineB's Avatar JElaineB 11:35 PM 03-28-2009
The current issue of Mother Earth News has a good article on grass-fed beef in it. It does say that certain breeds and techniqes of grassland management can make the beef taste better (or worse). It doesn't appear that the article is online yet though.
BedHead 04:44 PM 03-30-2009
Yeah, it's totally normal (and good) to hang meat to age it. I didn't know it tenderized it too.

I found a local source that sells from their farm but also at an organic grocery, it's grass finished (which seems to be unusual here), so we're going to try some of it and then see about getting a 1/4 or something of beef and some chickens. They also sell nitrate free bacon and hot dogs!!! :
whitepony79's Avatar whitepony79 02:53 PM 06-05-2013

Grass fed beef is different than grain fed. It taste is stronger and can be tougher is cooked wrong. Low quality fat is an insulator, so when you cook meat too hot or fast and it is surrounded in grain based fat you often will not ruin the steak. Grass fed meat has higher quality and less fat on it so when you cook it wrong there is less room for error. If you have ever cooked with a low quality lard or crisco vs higher end oils you know that higher end oil burns quicker and often has a lower heat tolerance the same is true for beef. I think grass fed gets a bad wrap sometimes because people mess up and over cook it. Low and slow and you will be fine. 


pek64's Avatar pek64 08:20 PM 06-05-2013
We buy grass fed ground beef, and just put olive oil in the skillet before the beef to brown it. Tasty!

It has a lower fat content, so it would stick to the pan without the oil. This way, it doesn't stick and olive oil is a healthy fat.
pumabearclan 02:12 PM 06-06-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~MamaJava~*~ View Post

our grass fed beef is super tender...but it is aged :

 

 

There is nothing wrong - and everything right - in aging beef. Most of what I get from the estancias is aged, simply because it isn't common here to cryovac meat immediately. Traditionally, meat was aged rather than frozen, because the technology for freezing wasn't available. I eat a lot of raw aged beef. Aged raw beef has all the benefits and none of the harm in freezing and cooking it: enzymes remain intact, vitamins are unaffected, but the proteins have begun to soften and beneficial bacteria to develop that aid health and tenderize the meat. I consider raw aged beef to be among the best foods in every respect, and may be my favorite food of all.


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