Have you ever heard the saying, “you are what you eat”? Well, this famous phrase rings true for what your food eats too. The food that a cow eats throughout its lifetime plays a massive role in its nutrient composition. It affects the taste, nutritional value, and texture of the beef you eat. In this introductory guide, we’re going to break down the differences between grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef so you know what to expect with each of the two types of meat.
Whether cows are grain-fed or grass-fed often has to do with how and where the beef is produced. For example, in countries like the United States, where beef is typically mass-produced, the cows are often grain-fed. However, in countries like Australia, grass-fed meat is more common.
What do Grain-fed Cows Eat?
Cows that are grain-fed are typically given a combination of corn and soy products. This type of feed promotes faster growth in cows and leads to higher marbling levels (aka more fat) with a slightly sweeter taste.
Grain-fed Beef Taste
The critical differences between grain-fed beef and grass-fed beef lie in the differences in the marbling. Because of the higher marbling contents in grain-fed beef, this type of beef is generally richer in flavour with a more buttery texture. That being said, more marbled meat means more fat, which also means that grain-fed beef is typically fattier than grass-fed beef. If you prefer a cut of beef that is incredibly rich in flavour and buttery in texture, then you would most likely want to opt for grain-fed beef.
What do Grass-fed Cows Eat?
You may already be able to guess what grass-fed cows eat. It’s grass! More specifically, grass and a mixture of any plants found on the ground where the cows are raised. Long before the beef was ever mass-produced, the grass was the natural diet of cows.
Grass-fed Beef Taste
This diet induces a more mineral-heavy flavour that can be described as more “gamey” than grain-fed beef. The lower levels of marbling in grass-fed beef are known to be the healthier of the two. It’s lower in calories and fat yet higher in omega-3 fatty acids. If you prefer a more natural and lean cut of beef, you would probably want to opt for grass-fed beef.
Is Grain-fed or Grass-fed Beef Better?
This is a trick question because it’s entirely based on preference. Grass-fed beef advocates could count all the ways in which their pick comes out on top, but grain-fed beef lovers could do the same. When it comes down to it, both types of beef have qualities that make them fantastic choices. Get whichever kind of beef you prefer, and don’t let anyone try to tell you that your choice is wrong. If you’re looking for a fun way to see which type of beef you prefer, try cooking them both and hosting a blind taste test with your family or friends. The results may surprise you!
Check out the range of beef products available to purchase online now from Biltong Chief, including grass-fed and grain-fed options in a variety of butchery cuts.