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What caused my fresh grass-fed beef to taste & smell so ‘off’ this time?

16623 Views 43 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  haypoint
So I post this question as a consumer, reaching out to those of you who'd likely know the ins & outs of these things quite well. This relates to an expensive order I made from a local farm, that’s highly reviewed online by the few who know about it, and they check all the boxes for my standards in terms of their beef being a) 100% grass-fed & finished and b) certified organic. The owners seem like fantastic people from my interactions with them, and I can tell they’re quite knowledgable about the industry, and share many of the same views on nutrition and the benefits of grass-fed beef as I do.

Today I defrosted some striploin steaks I bought as part of my large order. Prior to putting them on the BBQ, I could tell they had quite a noticeable scent to them. I don’t know if “gamey” accurately describes what it was, or “barnyard-y” — but something just seemed off about the smell overall. I cooked them anyway, but that ‘off’ smell came out in the taste. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish it. I was frustrated and confused.

I’ve ordered & eaten organic, 100% grass-fed/finished steaks before while in another city (aka from other farms), yet there was no taste or smell issue for me.

These striploin steaks + the rest of my order were also very, very fresh and delivered to the farm by the butcher just a day before I went. I remember when I bought meat from this farm last year as well, that the butcher or slaughter date noted on the sticker was just 2 weeks prior. So really fresh stuff. If anything, I thought that the closer you are to the slaughter date of the animal, the more mild/lack of taste the beef will have? So what’s with this noticeable smell & taste I’m picking up this time around? Also, last year I made tartare from this same farm’s cut of tenderloin, and I know for sure I wouldn’t have eaten it if the smell was what I’m noticing now.

It’s also not exclusive to the striploin steaks I tried today, because I began defrosting some of the rib steaks from the same batch, and it seems like they have the same smell & could turn out tasting the same. :(

What would you speculate the potential issue is? Could it be the breed of cow? The 'freshness' of the steak? Whether it was dry-aged or not? (I'm going to ask them, but if I had to guess I don't think it is).
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If the seller is a legitimate operation, reputation is a big deal. You should give them a call, or better yet, return some of the meat for them to see/smell/taste first hand.
I believe our local processor is booked thru May of 2021.
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