Why grass-fed beef?
All cows eat grass, right? Does grass-fed beef taste different? Is grass-fed better for our health?
This blog post delves into the world of grass-fed beef, endeavouring to answer all these questions and more!
Firstly, what is grass-fed beef?
In Australia, 99% of cows start life the same.
They drink milk until they’re old enough to roam the paddocks and eat grass.
Certified Grain-fed cows eat grain (corn, oats, barley) for the final period of their lives (minimum 60 days) to accelerate their growth (fat and muscle).
Certified Grass-fed cattle remain on grass only their entire lives.
But, not all cows are certified ‘grain-fed’ or ‘grass-fed’.
These cows eat grass (duh) but, their diet is substituted with grain when little grass is available like in times of drought.
These cows aren’t as fashionable as their trendy 'certified'counterparts but they make up the majority of Australia’s cattle herd.
Why are cows fed grain?
Simply put, It’s faster and easier to fatten a cow by feeding them grain.
Grain is more energy dense than grass and therefore helps cows to grow bigger faster, adding both meat (muscle) and lots of fat.
Interestingly, the same thing happens when humans load up on energy rich (but nutrient poor) grain - we put on weight.
(And often suffer other health issues but that's a topic for another time..)
In times of drought you might not have much grass but, you can always purchase grain and ship it in. Meaning grain is a handy fall-back option for farmers.
Is the meat different from grass-fed vs grain-fed cows?
To explore this question you need to check out an epic video by The Bearded butchers!
The guys butcher a grass-fed cow and a grain-fed cow side-by-side. Plus,they BBQ the meat giving you an incredible comparison.
It's a 45 minute video but trust me once you start watching you won’t be able to stop. It’s very informative and EXTREMELY SATISFYING watching these guys butcher a cow with skill and precision:
Here’s a quick video summary:
Grass-fed = more yellow fat, deeper red flesh
Grain-fed = brighter, more fat and whiter fat
Grain = more buttery, more ‘mellow’
Grass = more ‘beefy’ or ‘gamey’
Another great video on the grass-fed vs grain-fed debate is this Joe Rogan clip.
Lots of good banter. The way the guys go back and forth on the topic helps you appreciate it’s not black and white - it’s super complex!
And, like most things in life, it’s all about personal preference.
So, what are the three main benefits of eating grass-fed beef?
I’m so glad you asked...
The cows are less likely to have consumed any pesticides or fertilizers as they are eating only grass which grows naturally.
Grass-fed beef contains more omega-3 fatty acids which have a range of health benefits
The animal may have lived a happier life as it roamed free on pasture the entire time and were never bunched together in a feedlot.
Grass-fed beef is also likely better for the environment as no extra food production or mono-cropping is required for their feed.
Ok, just tell me what I sould choose!
If you’re totally health conscious, grass-fed is for you.
If you love BBQs and eating fattier cuts of meat, maybe grain-fed or a combination of the two is for you.
Grass-fed where possible.
If you’re eating more quality meat and making an effort to understand where it comes from, you’re on your way to a healthier life - Grass-fed or grain-fed!
At McKenzie’s Meats, our mission is to get you healthy and strong by delivering the best meat to your door!
We have an extensive range of grass-fed beef which is delicious, good for you and leaves you feeling like you can run through a brick wall!
Reach out to me and I’ll help you get set-up so you maximise your health with the best meat delivered to your door.
Better meat for better health!