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Why does my beef stew meat taste like liver?

My experience is that the livery flavor is due entirely to being grass fed. I raise beef. I don't eat grass fed.

Dec 12, 2010
TheTexasLady in Home Cooking

What gives some red meats that horrific "smell/aftertaste"??

I think it is wonderful that so many people have tried to help you answer this question. I raise beef. My grandfather raised beef. I would consider myself someone who knows beef.

My experience is that there are three things that give beef a bad aftertaste. 1) If you get beef that is old (either old in age or has set out too long), it can have a bad aftertaste. 2) If you get beef that is close to spoiling, it can have a bad aftertaste. 3) My experience has been that the reason that beef most often tastes bad is that it is grass fed beef. To my taste buds, grass fed beef very often has a bad aftertaste.

I have been raising my own beef for nearly a decade. We started raising our own beef because I was not satisfied with the taste and tenderness of beef in the supermarket. We believed we could do a better job. After a short while, we began selling our beef. People loved the taste. We're even starting up a website to sell beef because we have so many requests for our beef.

In the past, I have purchased several half beef sides which I then put in my freezer. The three times I purchased grass fed beef, it had a livery taste. In fact, it was so strong tasting that the last one we threw out the last one hundred pounds. We couldn't eat it. Some folks like grass fed beef. We intensely dislike it. Some folks say that it is the way beef should taste. We disagree. If we have to eat food that leaves a long lasting taste in our mouth that we do not like, we are not going to eat it.

Although the current hype is that beef should be grass fed, the idea is somewhat deceptive. Cows are vegetarians. They do not eat meat unless they are tricked into it (by adding products to their feed). Cows eat grass and grass products. Most growers that like to eat beef do feed their beeves grass hay (which includes alfalfa, rye, oat, and other types of hay). The steers are also fed grass seed heads the last few months. The grass seed heads have extra nutrients and carbohydrates in them which the cattle crave and love. Grass seed heads are often called corn, rye, and wheat. You probably eat all of these seed heads yourself by eating corn on the cob, rye bread, or wheat flour or bread.

I have seen the websites that claim that grass fed beef is better for people. I am not sure they are based on solid research facts. However, beef has many nutrients that are excellent and needed by the body including protein, zinc, phosphorus, and many other nutrients. http://www.txbeef.org/files/whatyoumi...

I think if you avoid grass fed beef, you will probably avoid that livery, after taste.

Dec 12, 2010
TheTexasLady in General Topics

100% grass fed beef. Icky! Am I crazy?

Your comments are priceless! Yes, I've done the same, and felt the same, and experienced the same.

I vote wholeheartedly for corn fed beef. I love it, it tastes great, and it is consistently good. Grass fed has been everything from (mostly) bad tasting to good tasting.

I laugh when I read that cows are not going to eat corn if they can eat something else or corn isn't a cattle food. Cows love corn! They will eat it until it makes them sick. It's cow candy.

I do like a combination of free range and grain fed chickens. They seem to have a better texture and have a little more flavor than the store bought chickens.

And as far as fish, I don't like muddy catfish (depending on where you catch them), but I do like cat fish.

Unfortunately, we have become a nation of fast food--we grow our meat creatures the fastest way we can, feed them whatever makes them grow best, grow them in large groups where they are inclined to get sick and then feed them antibiotics and other chemicals to keep them from getting sick. Of course, the government and everyone else says that it doesn't hurt a person at all. But over the last 40-50 years, there has been a marked increase in the growth of our youth. Are the growth hormones not affecting us?

I too am interested in purchasing only from people I know that have raised them the way that I want my food raised--the more natural the better; however, I do realize that corn, barley and all the grains fed to cattle are really just part of the grasses that cattle normally eat. It is a total misnomer to say that corn fed cattle are not grass fed. The grains are at the top of all the grasses when the grasses go to seed--if they are on grass, they have been grain fed.

Dec 29, 2009
TheTexasLady in General Topics

Grass-fed beef vs. Grain Fed beef

My grandparents raised cattle, and I grew up eating corn fed Hereford beef. Since that time, I have tried to find beef that was as good as what we ate then. It isn't easy.

I have purchased several half and whole beeves that I was told were "grass fed" (they were what was available for purchase at the butcher's I frequented). I believe they were pasture grass fed. All of them smelled strange before cooking and tasted strong and left a taste in my mouth that wasn't pleasant. The last one we threw away part of because it stunk. I have purchased one grass fed steak that was good tasting one time. All other times, they tasted strong and had an "off" taste to me.

In the meantime, I have purchased a lot of meat from the supermarket (when I couldn't purchase a half or whole beef). It is marginal. I have purchased meat from the large chain warehouses, and it is reasonably good. I have purchased meat from a butcher (when I couldn't afford a whole or half beef). It is better. But of course, the better the flavor, the most the price. But price doesn't always guarantee best flavor.

The most dependably good beef I've had since childhood is what I have from a real person who grows beef for themselves or for others but not in big feedlots (though there are some that do an excellent job, raising excellent beef for the consumer (such as Harris Ranch), many just grow beef). The taste is best. I am sure what I am getting as far as health--no antibiotics, no growth hormones, and I know what kind of food the animal has eaten. I can even go out and see what it is being fed upon request. Most of these people can sell a half or whole beef, some can sell a quarter. You can always go in with another person or family members to get a share for yourself.

Whether or not most of you know it, cattle that will be harvested for beef are placed on fields or pastures from birth to weaning or longer that have different kinds of grasses on them in order to grow them to an age where they can be sent to a feedlot or grown out for personal use. Barley can be a grass that they are placed on right before harvesting the beef. Corn can also. According to Wiki, "Botanically speaking grasses are members of the family Poaceae. The taxonomy for "corn" (maize) is: Kingdom Plantae, class Liliopsida, order Poales, family Poaceae, genus Zea, species mays." So if you believe that "corn-fed" is not natural cattle food or is not "grass-fed," that information is incorrect. Many, many cattle are placed on corn fields after the harvest of the corn ears. They eat what is left including the corn.

It is probably impossible to raise a cow on straight corn because total corn diets cause ulcers in cattle. Nobody does this (other than a few people who might for a very few weeks near the end of raising the beef.) Alfalfa can cause bloat. Barley grains the same type of problems. It is the way that the "grasses" are combined that determines the "flavor" of the meat.

When a cow gets into a field (if you watch them), they will eat the tops off the grasses and continue to wander around looking for more tops but also eating the stems and other parts. That means that they are eating the "grains" off the grasses. Corn is an oversized "grain" off of a grass that we eat on what is called "cobs" and sometimes off the cob. The cow tends to eat the entire plant for the most part while we consume only the grain. Cows like that grain too, but they also like the taste of the rest of the plant.

"Grass fed" generally means that the animal has not been put in a feedlot and raised on a predetermined diet which often includes corn, barley and other grains in abundance. "Grass fed" often means that the animal has eaten his or her choice of the food available. If it is corn stalks, then they are "grass-fed." If it is barley, "grass fed" is what they are. If it is pasture, they are still grass-fed. But also realize that, if it is a chemically sprayed field, it is still "grass-fed."

If you purchase a half or whole beef, find out what kinds of grasses they were fed. Find out what you want to know i.e. natural, organic, free fed, or grain fed. Each farmer/rancher has a different methodology, but every single one of them are feeding some form of grass to every animal every day.

There are many hundreds of thousands of Holstein calves born each year that are males. The females are used for milk. The males are grown to be put in a feedlot. They are about 10% of the beef in the supermarkets. There are many breeds of cattle born in the US each year that are used for beef. As you might suppose, different breeds have different tenderness (cut-ability), different taste (often dependent on the type of feed), and different marbling (which adds to taste). The marbling of the beef is what adds the most to taste if it is fed the correct "grasses" or grains harvested from the "grasses."

Waygu marble the best, but they don't produce as much meat, and the tenderness is so great that the steaks can seem "mushy." But remember, the food they eat creates the taste of the beef. If they eat trash, the meat will taste very bad. The reason that many ranchers add Angus to their herds is that Angus beef has some of the highest marbling with the some of the best growth, some of the best tenderness, and some of the highest meat to bone ratio meaning you get more food i.e. it is a high quality, all purpose animal. Angus mothers are also considered some of the best which is a necessity in order to raise live calves to weaning.

All beef that comes to the supermarket is grass fed. Beef cannot be fed a strictly corn (or any grain) diet and live without serious health issues that will kill them without medication to keep them alive--not a profitable plan. It is the type of grass, the type of water, the type of animal and the type of husbandry that makes the difference in taste. So "grass-fed" can be great if fed the right grass with the grain heads on it (such as barley or corn) or it can be horrible when fed rice straw and pasture grass only.

Once again, whatever it is, you get what you pay for. Good beef is built from the breeding up to the harvest--every step of the way counts for good quality and good tasting meat.

Dec 29, 2009
TheTexasLady in General Topics