Our earlier post (The taste of beef), pointed out that the USDA beef grading system is based largely on visible carcass fat, the best grade known as Prime.  When the grading system originated (1920s), almost all beef had a much higher percentage of grass in their diet and harvested at a much older age than beef today.

usda prime beef shield

USDA grading system for beef largely based on visible fat (triglycerides). Photo source: http://www.ams.usda.gov

Today a conventionally raised (corn-fed) USDA Prime steak, in my opinion, has very little flavor.  Maybe because almost every processed food product today contains CORN.  We eat corn for breakfast, we drink corn during lunch, we eat corn at snack time, we drive home using corn in our vehicles, we have corn during our evening meal and finally relax in the evening with corn for desert.  Corn corn corn, give me a break, but I digress.

If we have a Prime steak fattened primarily on grass and another Prime steak fattened primarily on corn and the USDA grades on visible fat, do they taste the same?  Of course not, refer to the post A cow named grass-fed.  Does beef flavor come from “fat”?  Yes and No.  Flavor is stored in fat (more in a future post) but the flavor actually comes from the diet of the animal.  The animal is largely, what it eats.  Remember also, you are largely what you eat and when you eat meat, you are what your meat eats.

Do you want to experience true flavor in the beef you consume?  Find a local farmer and get to know their production practices.  Then taste their beef and you will be experiencing the “flavor of their farm”.  Maybe you will find some beef like grandpa use to raise.


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