‘Best meat I’ve ever had, I can’t go back!’
‘Thank you! This beef is so flavorful I only added a little salt’
‘This reminds me of the chicken when I was a kid ‘back home’, no chemically smell.’
High quality grass fed meat is richer, more flavorful and infused with earthy subtlety that enlivens the taste buds. In a sense it shouldn’t be too surprising. After all the animals are eating what they were created to eat, and are not being fed a steady stream of junk and chemicals that ultimately make their way into the meat. Taste is of course a matter of taste, some may not perceive any difference at all, and the final product (unless you’re planning on eating it raw) depends on how it was cooked. But it’s interesting to note that in blind taste tests, grass fed beef has won hands down:
“Never have I witnessed a piece of meat so move grown men (and women). Every taster but one instantly proclaimed the grass-fed steak the winner, commending it for its “beautiful,” “fabu,” and “extra juicy” flavor that “bursts out on every bite.””
When we chew our food many senses play a part in how we experience, or ‘taste’ it. We actually start interacting with the food even before it enters our mouth. The sound of it cooking and the sight of a well presented meal can affect how we end up ‘tasting’. And of course the aroma, the feel and texture of the meat also play a part in our experience with the food and our perceived taste. In all cases grass fed meat is sure to please when prepared properly. The aroma, the texture and of course the taste that GZ meat brings to the table are a refreshing change from industrial alternatives. However there is one often neglected quality of the meat that can significantly impact our experience and ability to fully enjoy the meal, and that is the story of the meat.
Conscious Eating and Taste
One area that is not generally discussed when speaking of taste is the comfort that comes with the knowledge that the animal lived life peacefully and treated with dignity and allowed to express its innate nature. In our modern world, we are disconnected from the source of our food perhaps more than ever before, so it’s not too surprising that this doesn’t enter to our minds. However for those who strive to eat with a conscience this fact certainly allows for a fulfilling meal that cannot be attained through industrial meat. In the Slate article, they mentioned that the fact that the grass fed beef steak was from the type of farms we work with “…made for an unexpected warm and fuzzy feeling as we loosened our belts, sat back, and embarked on several hours of wine-aided digestion.” That warm and fuzzy feeling allows for total enjoyment and connection with the meal, a level of relationship with the dish that is not possible with industrial raised meat for those who view animals are more than just simple raw materials, but value them for the amazing creations they are.
Cooking notes, its different
Grass fed meats cook differently than industrial raised meat, so care should be taken when preparing it. Besides generally have less fat, they also are not injected with liquids like industrial meat often is. If you are making curry or braising you won’t see much difference but for grilling it can have an impact. To get the best experience with grass fed beef there are some simple rules of thumb to keep in mind, cook less time over lower heat. For steaks we’re not much of grillers anyways, we actually like to pan fry. One good site that we’d recommend is here. We’ll cover this more in depth in another section, however it’s important to keep in mind because no one likes a dry steak!
Not all grass fed created equal
The quality and taste of grass fed meat, particularly beef, varies WIDELY. Now, we’ve learned that the hard way, especially early on when we didn’t even know what questions to ask. But now you can buy with confidence, because at GZ we work with ranchers who have practices in place to ensure the highest quality beef, which ensures the best culinary experience. Trust us on this one, grass fed beef taste can be extremely variable, it can even taste bad if a rancher doesn’t do the right things to make sure the final product turns out right. The quality of the meat depends on the herd’s genetics to finish well on grass, as well as the quality of the soil to product highly nutritional forage. So we’re very particular about who we work with, and have been very pleased with the beef we’ve been getting and hope you will be as well.
Rejuvenate our taste buds! Do you like the taste of ammonia?
Let’s face it, as denizens of the modern world, our taste buds and hence our sense of taste has been assaulted by chemicals since we had our first processed food. Many of us don’t have the ability to distinguish subtle flavors, or even worse we’ve gotten unconsciously programmed to prefer processed food. In a NY Times article, children actually preferred the taste of ground beef that was processed with ammonia!
So let’s try an exercise, for vegetarian or meat eater alike, to rejuvenate our sense of taste. Give up processed foods, cold turkey, for three weeks. So no Twinkies, no fast food, no junk food and nothing that doesn’t rot. Just give it up, detoxify yourself and give your taste buds a break from being assaulted by fake ‘food’!
After three weeks try to sink your teeth into a Snickers and you might be surprised to find that the chemicals, artificial sweeteners and preservatives almost overpower you while the film of whatever it is lines your mouth. What used to be just sweet enough is now sickingly fake. Whether you go back to your old habits is up to you, but your taste buds (not to mention your body, mind and soul) will thank you for this break!