You can pick steak by the cut, the grade, and whether or not the beef has been aged. And there's another-- the cow’s diet. Most American beef is grain-fed. But what about grass-fed beef?
Why does grass-fed beef have a bad reputation for being tasteless, too lean, and gamey?
In our test kitchen, we judge whether grain-fed beef is richer and fattier than grass-fed. We're also check whether grass-fed beef is lean and chewy with a gamey taste.
To judge, we purchase meat that is aged for the same number of days, and we purchase meat that was fed with the same grain. We then sear the steaks to medium-rare and taste. With various steaks, our taste testers could not make any major distinctions between grass-fed and grain-fed meat.
Our taste testers noticed some of the flavor of the grain-fed beef was mild, and the flavor of the grass-fed beef was nutty. But there were no major difference between grass- and grain-fed beef.
In the past few years, grass-fed beef has become more tasty, more appealing to chefs and kitchen. Why? "Finishing" grass-fed beef is becoming more popular. Farmers are letting their cows eat clover and similar grasses to bring in a sweeter final taste. Many farmers are dry-aging their meat, which helps to concentrate a more "beefy" flavor and increase tenderness.
Our conclusion is that grass-fed beef that is dry-aged and are of fattier cuts, like rib-eye, you'll find that the meat is rich in flavor and buttery compared to the regular, grain-fed, dry-aged beef. Go for the grass-fed beef. And also, grass-fed cows live a better life, but that topic is for another article.
You may be interested in reading Tips to Grilling Ribeye Steak.
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