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

16621 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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Just because I asked for a recipe doesn't mean I'll ever make it. How do you know if it's going to be bad if you haven't read the recipe.

Have you spent time in the UK? I haven't. Maybe some parts have worse food than others, just like the US.
My apologies. I hope you get your recipe.
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My apologies. I hope you get your recipe.
Seriously, have you spent much time in the UK? You've got me curious now. All those cooking shows make their food look so good that you want to reach through the tv and taste it. Does the common food really taste like .... ick?
........Have you spent time in the UK? I haven't. Maybe some parts have worse food than others, just like the US.
I've lived for six years in the UK and I can tell you from experience, the UK is chock full of excellent cooks. Also some really excellent restaurants as long as you get away from the places intended for tourists.

There is every possible ingredient you could ever want available in the supermarkets and severeal really good foreign cuisines as well as British. You want some good curry? You can find it in Britain.
Grass fed beef tastes different. A number of years ago, I lived on venison. After 6 months, I had dinner guests, so I bought beef steaks and it smelled awful to me. But it was just that it is different.
Real grass fed beef has to be lush amounts of grass to keep them growing. Just normal pastures will produce slow growing tough, tasteless beef.

Many things in Homesteading are not the way we hope they are or how we imagine them to be. Grass finished beef is one of them. Free Range chickens sounds romantic, until the neighbor's dog tears into them. Farm Fresh eggs sounds great, until you realize that their holding a weeks supply of eggs and the grocery store eggs fell out of the hen less than 24 hours ago. Organic fruit and vegetables sounds healthy, until you learn its no fun losing a crop to insects, eating around the worms and that grocery store produce doesn't have any pesticides in it anyway.
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