There are many debates when it comes to what’s best for you – should you buy grass fed beef or stick with the regular stuff from the grocery store?
As my family started raising a cow for beef this year, we wondered what kind of difference we could expect. Let me tell you – grass fed beef has some serious health benefits and it’s also incredibly delicious.
But don’t just take my word for it. I’ll give you the cold, hard facts.
Here we will outline the pros and cons of both options, so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Grain fed beef is a type of beef that has been raised on a diet of grains, rather than grass. The majority of cattle in the United States are grain fed, as it is a more efficient way to produce higher quality meat.
Grain-fed beef comes from cows that are fed a diet of grains, typically corn and soy. This diet makes the cows fatter and causes them to put on more muscle.
The fat content in grain-fed beef is higher than grass-fed beef, and it has a higher percentage of saturated fat. Grain-fed beef also has more marbling, which is the streaks of fat that run through the meat. This marbling makes the meat more tender and flavorful.
The downside of grain-fed beef is that it can contain higher levels of antibiotics and hormones. Cows that are fed grains are more likely to get sick, so they’re often given antibiotics to prevent illness.
These antibiotics can end up in the beef that we eat. Hormones are also commonly used in grain-fed cattle to help them grow faster. These hormones can also end up in the meat.
Grass fed beef comes from cows that have been allowed to graze on grassy pastures. The cows are not given any grain or other supplements, and they are typically allowed to roam freely.
As a result, grass fed beef is often leaner and higher in certain nutrients than grain fed beef. Some people believe that it also has a more natural flavor.
In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for grass fed beef.
This is partly due to concerns about the healthfulness of grain fed beef, as well as the environmental impact of grain production.
Grass fed beef can be more expensive than grain fed beef, but many consumers feel that it is worth the extra cost.
Grass fed beef comes from cows that have been allowed to graze on open pastures. Store bought beef, on the other hand, comes from cows that are typically confined to feedlots and given a diet of grain and other supplements.
You may hear the terms “corn fed,” “corn-fed beef,” “conventional beef,” or “grain-fed” used to describe these sorts of herds, too.
While the term “store bought beef” is often used to refer to beef that is not grass fed, it’s kind of a misnomer. This was something I had to learn for myself in order to become a more conscientious consumer.
Although store bought beef traditionally is grain-fed, you can buy grass-fed beef at the store just as you can buy grain-fed beef from the farmer down the road.
With that clarification out of the way, here are a few key differences between the two types of meat.
Grass fed beef is a more natural and healthy option than grain fed or corn-fed beef. The nutritional value can’t be overlooked! The cattle are free to roam and graze on grasses, resulting in meat that is higher in certain vitamins and minerals.
Grass fed beef contains more vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin E than grain fed beef. It is also a good source of trace minerals such as zinc, beta carotene, iron, and magnesium. Plus, grass fed beef tends to have more antioxidants and fewer calories.
These nutrients are essential for human health, and grass fed beef provides a more complete nutrient profile than grain fed beef. In addition, grass fed beef is lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier choice for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For all these reasons, grass fed beef is the better choice for those looking for the most nutritious option.
Grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef differ in their fatty acid composition and content of conjugated linoleic acid.
Grass-fed beef has a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for human health, and a lower proportion of saturated fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Grass fed beef tends to be higher in omega-3s (also known as omega-3 fatty acids) and lower in overall total fat. Better nutrition!
Grass-fed beef also has a higher level of conjugated linoleic acid, which has been shown to have positive effects on human health. These differences arise from the different diets that these animals are fed.
These different diets result in different types and amounts of fat being deposited in the muscle tissue of the cattle, which ultimately affects the composition of the beef.
Cattle that are raised on a diet of grains typically have a higher fat content than those that are grass-fed. This fat is often marbled throughout the meat, giving it a richer flavor.
Grass-fed beef also tends to be leaner than grain-fed beef, and it has a more intense flavor. Some people describe the taste of grass-fed beef as earthy or grassy.
There is a misconception that grass-fed beef has an unpleasant taste or that it is tough and chewy. That’s not the case. Any kind of beef can be tough if cooked improperly.
You may have heard that grass-fed beef is leaner and healthier than grain-fed beef, but you may not know why. The difference lies in the cows’ diet.
Cows are meant to eat grass, which is their natural food source. When they are fed a diet of grains, they gain weight more quickly. The extra fat leads to higher levels of saturated fat in the meat.
If you’re looking for leaner, healthier beef, go for the grass-fed variety. I personally love grass fed beef for this reason. I prefer a leaner steak in general. When it comes time to make burgers, I just roll some pig fat into my ground beef to help hold things together. Easy as that!
We’ve been buying beef from the farmer up the road for so long, I’d forgotten what cooking store-bought beef was like.
But last week, we ran out of the good stuff, and we’ll have to wait until he butchers again until we can buy more. So, we bought a few pounds of ground beef from the store.
But as it browned in the pan, I noticed that it was quickly swimming in yellow liquid- enough so that I had to pour it off into a jar so the meat could continue to fry.
I’d forgotten about how much grease comes off the hamburger meat you buy at the store! Beef from a grass-fed cow produces almost zero grease. I was pretty grossed out by how much fat was in that meat.
When it was all cooked up, Jerry walked into the kitchen and looked at what was left in the pan and said, “I thought you were frying a pound?”
I said, “I did.” He said, “Where’d it all go??” And I pointed to the jar full of grease. And I suddenly had a revelation, for I never before understood what that 80/20 on the package of meat meant!
20 percent of that pound of beef was fat!! Twenty percent! That’s quite a significant loss in meat! And I’d just paid for that grease I was about to throw away. My frugal nature felt robbed.
And it occurred to me that the grass fed beef we’ve been buying from the farmer, with seriously ZERO fat to pour off, was a much better price per pound than we realized.
Even though we may be paying about $3.90 per pound for grass fed beef from the farmer, we are eating 99-100% of that meat.
As compared to only actually getting 80% of the meat we buy at the store. So for instance, if you buy a pound of ground beef at the store for $2.99, but you lose 20% of that meat, you are actually paying about $3.59 in order to get a full pound of meat. Does that make sense?
And when you consider this, along with the fact that the price we pay per pound for locally raised grass-fed beef also includes steaks and roasts, I’d say we’re getting a pretty good deal!
Does Grass Fed Meat Need to Be Cooked Differently?
There is a lot of debate surrounding the best way to cook grass fed meat. Some say that it needs to be cooked slowly and at a lower temperature, while others claim that it can be cooked using the same methods as grain-fed meat. So, what’s the truth?
It is true that grass fed meat is leaner than grain-fed meat, and this can make it tougher and more difficult to cook. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely change your cooking methods.
If you’re used to cooking grain-fed meat, there’s no need to start from scratch. Just be aware that you may need to adjust your cooking time and temperature slightly.
Grass fed meat is also richer in flavor than grain-fed meat. This means that it doesn’t need as much seasoning or marinating. A simple rub of salt, pepper, and herbs will usually suffice.
When cooking, be careful not to overcook grass fed meat. It’s best to err on the side of caution, as grass fed meat is more likely to dry out if it’s overcooked.
So, does grass fed meat need to be cooked differently? The answer is yes and no. It all depends on your preferences and recipe.
When it comes to meat, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around: organic, grass-fed, and finished. But what do they all mean? And is organic beef the same thing as grass-fed and finished? These are questions I get asked all the time.
Let’s clear things up.
Organic meat refers to meat that has been raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. The animals may be fed an organic diet, but they may also be given non-organic feed.
Grass-fed meat, on the other hand, comes from animals that have only eaten grass throughout their lives. Grass-fed animals are typically allowed to roam freely and eat whatever grass they can find.
That grass may have been treated with chemicals in the past – so unless the beef is “certified organic,” just know that grass-fed doesn’t necessarily mean “organic” (and it may not matter, really).
Finally, grass-fed and finished means that the animal was not only raised on a diet of grass, but was also allowed to finish grazing before being sent to slaughter. This ensures that the meat is extra tender and flavorful.
So, is organic the same thing as grass-fed and finished? No, but it can be. It all depends on how the animal was raised and what it was fed.
In order for beef to be classified as grass fed, the cow must have been fed a diet of 100% grass for its entire life.
However, many cows are “grain finished,” meaning that they are fed a diet of grass for most of their life but are then finished on a diet of grains. Grain finishing is done in order to add marbling to the meat, which is favored by many consumers.
However, grain finishing also results in beef that is higher in saturated fat and calories. So, if you are looking for leaner beef that is lower in saturated fat, make sure to look for grass fed and grass finished beef.
So where can you find this coveted meat? Check out your local farmers market or natural food store, or look for online retailers that specialize in grass-fed beef. With a little effort, you’re sure to find the perfect ribeye, sirloin, or New York strip for your next BBQ.
Just something for you to consider, besides all of the health benefits of eating grass-fed meat, and supporting your local farmers. It just might not be much of a price difference for the good stuff, all things considered!
Grass-fed beef is becoming more popular every day, and for good reason. It’s healthier, tastes better, and is better for the environment. If you haven’t tried it yet, we encourage you to do so.
Not only will you be getting a high-quality product, but you’ll also be supporting small farmers who are doing their part to make our world a little healthier.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.