Greener Pastures: When It Comes to Beef, Is Grass-Fed Better?

By Patsy Jamieson, "Greener Pastures," March/April 2008

"This is such a wonderful article. I recently watched Food Inc and I am in the process of reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. I find most people just don't want to know where their meat comes from. In fact, I bought the documentary so I...

A Matter of Taste

But what about taste? The feedlot system has succeeded in producing tender, succulent beef that consumers love. Grass-fed beef is definitely a different product. I found adapting ground beef recipes like my mother-in-law’s meatballs and my healthy hamburgers to grass-fed beef to be a pretty seamless transition. I also had success with beef stews and braises. Simmering a grass-fed brisket in a heady chile sauce resulted in tender, succulent meat that tasted great, especially shredded and mixed with pinto beans.

As long as I took care not to overcook high-end grass-fed steaks like New York strip and tenderloin, the result was excellent. However, when I first attempted to cook some of the more economical steaks like flat-iron, London broil and round, the results were tough. My son commented that he needed to develop Paleolithic incisors to get through dinner. To adapt Grilled Steaks Balsamico to grass-fed beef, I used the slightly more expensive cut of sirloin and marinated it for at least 6 hours.

Now that I have mastered the basics of grass-fed-beef cookery, I’ve decided the trip to Maple Wind Farm is worth it.

—Contributing editor Patsy Jamieson is a cookbook author, recipe developer, food stylist and former food editor of EatingWell.

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