What Cattle Eat Affect the Flavor of your Beef

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Grass fed beef cattle

Photo by RyanMcGuire licensed under Pixabay License

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, the same thing rings true for cattle. The debate over grain or grass fed beef has been ongoing, but there are certainly pros and cons to both that should be taken into account—particularly with regards to flavor.


Grass Fed

Traditionally, cows begin feeding on grass from an early age. Even if cattle are classified as grain fed, there is a good chance that it was once primarily grass fed, and likely has some grass incorporated into its diet in the form of grazing. One of the major pros of grass feeding is the natural vitamins and nutrients that are developed over the course of the cattle’s life. These include antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin A, B, and E. It also tends to produce leaner meat that is lower in calories.

Unfortunately, in terms of flavor, grass fed beef has been said to have an “earthy” taste to it and a poorer texture. This is due to the leanness and the lack of fat content. Fat, after all, is what makes a steak juicy, tender, and flavorful.

Grain Fed

Many cows that begin their lives feeding on grass are introduced to grain feeding during the final year before slaughter. This is meant to “beef up” the cattle and help them gain weight faster. For many farmers, this reduces the amount of time required for a cow to fully grow, and therefore speeds up production.

In terms of flavor profiles, corn is the most popular grain used by beef farmers. Grain fed cattle tends to be more fatty and this is what produces marbling and that beefy flavor. Unfortunately, many farmers who grain feed may also inject hormones to boost growth and this can be harmful to health. Some even inject artificial marbling directly into their cuts if they haven’t given the proper amount of time for their cattle to grow sufficiently. This is why it’s important to know exactly where your beef is coming from.
At Chicago Steak Company, we raise our cattle throughout the mid-west. This ranges from eastern Nebraska to western Wisconsin, as well as central Minnesota to northern Missouri. Our carefully selected locations have the best Corn Belt in the entire country. Feeding from the sweetest corn and fresh grass, our cattle are raised in a setting where they can eat freely and get fat naturally. This provides an incredible source of nutrients and protein while bringing a naturally fine marbled steak. That’s why our beef is always bursting with flavor.

Truly, beef flavor comes down to the quality of the beef you are purchasing. Though some argue that grass fed is healthier and grain fed is tastier, it’s still important to investigate where your meat is coming from and how it is being produced. What cattle are fed will determine the marbling and flavor of the beef, so avoiding beef that is farmed artificially is the first step to finding a flavorful steak. Instead, look to a company that uses sustainable, natural production processes that produce the unforgettable flavor you crave. Look to Chicago Steak Company.

Is grass fed cattle considered organic? Read the article to learn what makes beef organic, it may surprise you.