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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pass the grass

We were never huge hamburger people during the week regardless of where we were in our weight loss adventure.  I was never picky about what kind of beef I got I just picked up 80/20 (or 90/10 if we were watching it) and went on with my life.  About 10 years ago, I remember hearing about this amazing grass fed beef on the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was back when grass fed was not common and we paid to have four steaks mailed to us.  You can imagine what we paid for the privilege.

We were both raised to believe that corn fed beef was the way to go.  We both agree that, to us, it does taste the best.  However, there is just too much evidence that much of the corn feed is GMO, chock full of hormones and antibiotics and Lord knows what else.  After reading about the benefits of grass fed beef, it got me wondering if we should give it another shot.

Here are some of the benefits of grass fed beef:

  • The way the animal is raised for grass fed is good for them and supports great farmers with ethical ranching practice.
  • It is leaner than grain fed and had a higher amount of omega fatty acids, which is good for everyone.
  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid that's believed reduce to cancer and heart disease risks as well as more antioxidants like vitamin E.
  • It's more environmentally friendly.  The U.S. produces 1.5 billion (with a B, y'all) bushels of yellow corn per year just to feed cows.  That corn takes chemical fertilizer added to the soil and the gases emitted by the machines used to harvest them which leaves a massive carbon footprint.  It takes half the fossil fuels to produce two pounds of grass fed beef vs. corn fed.  

When I saw it kept showing up in Trader Joe's both in the regular and frozen section, I figured that would be the time to try it again.  If you don't like anything at TJ's, you can return it no questions asked so what did I have to lose?  I've since used their organic grass fed beef but this was my first dabble to see if I was going to be able to make the switch for the rare times we had red meat in the house.

Here's a peek at the nutritional info

I thawed the beef in the fridge and slapped it in the skillet.

I gave it a goodly amount of seasoning while it cooked like ground chipotle powder, garlic powder, cumin and some ground black pepper.

One thing I noticed was despite being 85% lean, it cooked as though it was 80% and had a lot of extra grease that I'm not used to.

When it was done, I drained the beef so what I was going to add to it wasn't swimming in fat.

I grabbed my TJ's enchilada sauce...

...and my poblano salsa.

I added two servings of each to the meat.

I gave it a stir to combine.

Time for the taco shells!

I also cut up some red cabbage I had on hand as well as some black beans.

Here's how I stack my tacos so that we get more healthy filler over meat.  Layer the cabbage first.

Then the black beans.  (These are crock pot beans, not from the can)

Then add about 2 oz of meat to the shell and a little cabbage on top for color.  It fools you into thinking the entire taco is filled with meat.

I paired it with some roasted carrots and it was taco time!

The Verdict?

The Mr could barely tell the difference, he said it was very slight but nothing he didn't like.  I did notice that the meat was slightly more chewy due to the leanness of the meat and it was more greasy than I normally like.  For the rare times we have red meat in the house, I will likely go grass fed even though it's more expensive.  The reasons listed above are enough to change my mind and now, I just rinse it off slightly (not until it's bone dry though) so it gets that coating of grease off the top.  (It's still plenty juicy inside)

Do you eat grass fed beef?  How often do you have red meat?

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Sources for info:
The Scoop on Grass Fed Beef
Does grass-fed beef have any heart-health benefits that other types of beef don't?
Grass is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat


  1. I'm an infrequent red meat eater. It tends to upset my digestion (akin to what lactose does to me, no fun). But when I do have it I go for the good stuff. Our butcher has all local meats so we grab something there.

    I noticed the fresher (organic, grass fed, whatever) has more flavor. I really noticed it with the chicken. Normally chicken is just meh on the flavor scale (when you cook it very plainly) but with the higher quality chicken it tasted more like a nice fresh egg (or does the egg taste like the chicken?).

  2. I really enjoy the grass fed stuff. I hope it becomes the norm in the future because it really makes the most sense. We have to stop breeding these freak cows on antibiotics and putting all these terrible things into food to make a buck!

  3. I don't use a lot of red meat either. I do keep ground beef in the freezer, but a little goes a long way these days. I've picked up ground buffalo a few times for burgers and I really like that. It's expensive enough though that I only buy it to make burgers, not for tacos/spaghetti/chili...

  4. I don't think I've ever had grass-fed beef but I've heard excellent things about it. I have heard that hamburgers taste good with it. I do eat red meat and actually during the months of really bad female issues my doc told me to consume more because of the need for iron. I'll use ground chuck or ground sirloin if I'm making meatloaf or meatballs and on the occasions we have steak they are pretty lean cuts. I will say the one thing I really miss (and mom always lamented about this too) is the beef roasts nowadays are nowhere near as flavorful is they were when we were kids when the fat content as much higher. They are certainly more lean and healthier now, but the taste is different. I've tried ground turkey and I just can't do it. I have not tried ground chicken yet, but have tried chicken sausage and that was quite good I thought.


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