The Battle over Taste: Grass-Fed or Grain-Fed Beef?

As meat-eaters, all we want is that perfect, juicy steak.

But, when it comes to taste, we can’t say that one type of steak is better than another since it depends on preference – something that varies between us. However, understanding the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef can take us one step closer to finding that steak which tastes best for us!

As you may already know, most of the flavour from any kind of meat comes from the fat. This is important to note because:

  • different animal diets lead to different nutrients found within their fat
  • this means that animal diet affects the flavour of the meat

Beta-Carotene (also known as the thing which makes carrots orange)

Beta-carotene is a nutrient found in beef fat, but its presence is dependent on the cow’s diet. Luckily, it’s something we can SEE. The fat in grass-fed beef contains high levels of beta-carotene, giving off a yellow colour. However, cows fed on barley or corn (which are types of grain) have low beta-carotene content within the fat, giving it a whiter/paler yellow colour.

Beta-carotene is only one of the several nutrients that are more present in grass-fed beef. From previous blog posts, you may remember that grass-fed beef is also much higher in omega-3 fatty acids. When we consider all of these nutrients that are missing from grain-fed beef, does it really surprise us that it tastes different?

Notice how it says different, and not better because again, taste is a subjective thing.

Does grain-fed beef bring anything to our taste buds that grass-fed doesn’t?

Grain-fed beef tends to have more marbling – these are the white streaks of fat inside of the meat. Marbling can affect the taste of a steak by:

  • giving it a richer flavour
  • helping to give the steak a fatter texture

So, if you do like your steak as fat and juicy as possible, grain-fed is probably the one for you. But if you’re going for flavour, choose grass-fed because of all the yummy nutrients. And if you’re looking for a good balance between taste and health, again go for grass-fed. It isn’t only healthier because of the good fats, but also because it’s leaner and less calorie dense.

But don’t take our word for it – try both types of steak and see for yourself! At Saffron Alley, we sell premium rib-eye and sirloin steaks, both grass-fed and grain-fed. Just make sure you:

  • buy the same exact cut, one grass-fed and one grain-fed
  • season each with a little salt and pepper only (you don’t want to mask the flavour of the meat with a marinade)
  • cook each steak in the exact same way

Do let us know if your taste buds can tell the difference!

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