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Discussion Starter #1
We have raised 2 batches of hogs now--2 gilts last year, and 2 barrow this year. They were all raised on our woodlands, on fresh ground, rotated regularly, and supplemented with whey, goat milk, fruits and veggies from our garden/orchard, and purchased organic grain.

We enjoyed a good steak from our recent barrow last night. To our surprise, the steak looked and tasted just like a mild-flavored beef! My family was convinced I had confused freezers and grabbed the wrong package. It took pulling out the labeled package and showing them to prove it was pork steaks.

We have been eating our own pork for over a year now, and this is the first time that has happened. It wasn't bad at all, in fact it was delicious--in a grass-fed beef kind of way. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not.
 

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Redgate, welcome to the world of pork that hasn't been entirely grain fed. Your pork should have flavour and texture, not a soft, tasteless lump of gray meat sitting on your plate. You've learnt early what makes for a good pig.

Pigs are foragers and opportunists. They do not live on grain. Like poultry, and even rats, they are the worlds cleaner-uppers. We can channel that whichever way we like and I used to do it big time. My pigs rarely got grain but they got milk, vegetables, fruit and cooked food waste. The demand for porkers exceeded the supply.

Cheers,
Ronnie
 

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That is very interesting and I'm hoping to have that same when our gilt goes to freezer camp next week. We sold half a side of a grass finished steer to a couple; the wife loved it but husband thought it was "gamey". We've been eating the same beef and can't get how it could be considered "gamey" at all. People must have different palates I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've found those that describe our beef as "gamey" have either never had wild game or have never had range-feed beef as opposed to pastured beef. Although range-fed (like out west) is still not as wild tasting as true wild game, imo, it is definitely a more sage-type flavor (it least where we were, where the wild lands were full of desert sage). Our grass-fed beef here in IL is just "rich," and I forewarn my customers about that, using that term instead. I explain the difference in flavor, and they seem to be more prepared for it that way.
 

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I agree Redgate; it makes me wonder if he had ever had real grass finished beef. I think there are scams out there purporting to sell "grass fed" because it was on the range before it went to a feed lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We've had a hard time finding grain-free weaned steers to buy. The local farmers around here are trying to tap in to the grass-fed market without fully understanding it. Several told me that their cattle were all grass-fed, but when pressed for more info, almost all are supplemented with grain whether to train the animals to come to holding pens, to fatten them, or as winter feed. In general, the farmers figured, if they eat grass or hay, they qualify as grass-fed, despite what other feed they are given.
 

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That's interesting - but I suspect they may not be totally ignorant as to what "grass fed" means. The grain makes them size up faster = $ @ grass fed prices. Marketing.
 

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It might be the diet of the steer, but I think it has a lot to do with never having dry aged beef before. Dry aged beef is totally different than what is for sale in the supermarket.

Most people love dry aged at first bite, but some folks can't tolerate anything that is a change, neither good not bad, just intolerant of change.
 

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So the beef sold at the grocery store is not hung at all? I wondered why our beef has a much deeper color!
 

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hhhmmm.. I've been feeding my pigs a lot of deer scraps and deer carcass.. .Wonder if they will end up tasting like venison? :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't know, but if it's anything like a dairy animal, then the flavor is affected by strong, herb-type foods. That would make sense, then, that the range fed beef had a more sage flavor, while the pastured beef was milder.
 
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