Steak is synonymous with mouthwatering for those of us in the omnivore/carnivore persuasion. The steaks we get at the store today, just don’t taste like the steaks we got at the butcher when I was a kid. Last summer I had an amazing culinary moment where my husband and I purchased some grass-fed beef from our local farmer’s market. The cow was raised less than 20 minutes from our house, and frankly, it tasted like a happy cow. It reminded me of the good steaks we had for special occasions when I was younger. Good quality beef has marbling like you see in the picture to the right. It’s actually the fat that gives beef it’s flavor. So why does the beef at the store taste more bland?
MSN Money has a great post on why beef is “losing its flavor.” It turns out that feedlots are giving cows a drug called Zilmax that helps them put on a lot of muscle in those last few weeks. Farmers faced with drought or low feed can still maintain the size of their cows, but without all those “extras” like food and water. Apparently this is at the cost of the taste of the meat. This is another case where we’re told that there should be no noticeable difference to us, no difference to the cows. But I’m not buying it. And I’m not buying store-bought steaks anymore, either. For our rare red meat occasions, I’m going to go shake the hand of the farmer who’s bringing me my steaks.
In case you are wondering about the cost problem of higher quality farmer’s market beef, we found it very interesting to see that we ate less of the higher quality meat. I purchased the same quantity I would have purchased at the store, for virtually the same cost, but we ate half as much.