Grass-fed beef? Don’t all cows eat grass?
While it’s true that, in Canada, all cows must be fed a natural diet of grass, not all cows consume this healthy option for the entirety of their lives.
Most are fed grains during the last few months of their lives in order to help them gain fat and change the composition of their meat.
So, yes, all cows in Canada are grass-fed, but many are not grass-fed for their whole lives.
Cows that eat only grass produce what is known as “grass-finished” beef, indicating that they are never fed grains at all.
Either way, whether a cow is grass-fed or grass-finished, their meat is far more nutritious than those raised on grain-only diets.
So, if this buzzword has piqued your interest, keep reading to learn more about grass-fed beef and its benefits:
What Is Grass-Fed Beef?
Although the definition of grass-fed beef is not regulated in Canada, many Albertan farmers follow a standard when it comes to labeling their beef as such.
Producing grass-fed beef involves feeding and raising the cows according to a natural lifestyle by including foods they should be eating.
This way, the cattle are healthy, and the health benefits are passed on to the consumer (which we will get to in a moment!).
At D’Arcy’s Meat Market, we support sustainable and humane farming practices, so all of our beef is sourced from local farms that prioritize the health and welfare of their animals!
Why is Grass-Fed Beef Better?
Grass-fed beef is considered to be a healthier option than grain-fed beef because, pound for pound, it has less total fat and fewer calories.
Overall, beef is an amazing source of several nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, and E, as well as antioxidants.
When it comes to grass-fed vs grain-fed beef and fat, the nutritional content is different and contains up to fives time as many omega-3 fatty acids as grain-fed beef.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and treat many diseases, including autoimmune diseases and heart disease.
When it comes to building a healthier body, grass-fed beef can help you build and maintain muscle mass as well as improve muscle function.
Lastly, grass-fed beef is rich in iron that can be easily absorbed into the human body. This can help with issues such as fatigue and anemia.
How to Choose a Grass-Fed Beef Cut
To be honest, choosing a grass-fed beef cut is exactly the same as choosing any other cut of beef!
But to help you out, let’s look at the different cuts and their characteristics:
- Chuck Primal: This section of the cow is located at the shoulder and produces rich cuts such as chuck roast, arm roast, and flat iron steak.
- Rib Primal: Located around the ribs, these cuts of beef contain lots of marbling that provides an abundance of taste. The rib primal includes cuts such as ribeye steak, prime rib, and short ribs.
- Short Loin Primal: This tender cut is found next to the ribs, but the meat tends to be leaner. This is where New York strip steak and T-bone steaks come from.
- Tenderloin Primal: The next section of the cow provides lean and tender meat such as filet mignon.
- Sirloin Primal: Close to the round of the cow, this area produces cuts such as sirloin steak, tri-tip, and bavette steak.
- Round Primal: Near the back legs, the round primal yields delicious and lean meat such as round roasts, top round steak, and tenderized cube steak.
These cuts primarily come from the top of the cow. You will find cuts like flank steak and skirt steak underneath the cow.
Are There Grass-Fed Beef Grades?
When it comes to grain-fed beef, Canada has a grading system that classifies the quality and texture of the meat.
However, because grass-fed beef has different characteristics due to the cows’ more natural diet, it’s hard to compare the two.
The fat streaks in grass-fed vs grain-fed beef are less visible, therefore making it difficult to apply this grading system to grass-fed meat.
However, this doesn’t mean spotting a good cut of grass-fed beef is impossible!
Instead of worrying about the marbling of the meat, pay attention to its tenderness and your own personal preferences.
You can always start with a small sample order of premium cuts to determine which grade and cut of grass-fed beef tickle your tastebuds!
Overall, to ensure that you end up with an amazing cut of grass-fed beef, it’s important to cook the meat very carefully:
How to Cook Grass-Fed Beef
When it comes to grass-fed beef, there is a difference when it comes to cooking it compared to grain-fed beef!
Grass-fed beef is leaner meat that needs to be cooked gently in order to maximize its flavor.
This type of beef should be seared and allowed to finish cooking at 325F. This will allow the natural sugars in the meat to caramelize and maintain a juicy and savory texture.
Here are the steps to cooking the perfect cut of grass-fed beef:
- Cook at a lower temperature (at least by 50F) than grain-fed beef.
- Use a meat thermometer. Because grass-fed beef is leaner, it’s harder to eyeball its doneness. The internal temperatures for grass-fed beef are Rare (120F), Medium Rare (125F), Medium (130F), Medium Well (135F), and Well (140F).
- Before you check the internal temperature, remove the meat when it’s around 10 degrees lower than the temperature you want. This will allow the residual heat to cook it perfectly while it rests.
- Cook your beef at room temperature. This will allow for more gentle cooking while maintaining juiciness.
- Don’t poke or flip your meat too much.
- Let your meat rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Here are some amazing grass-fed beef recipes you can try!
Grass-Fed Beef Burgers
For this recipe, you will need 1 ½ lb of grass-fed beef, garlic, hot sauce, bacon, onion, and Cheddar cheese. The burgers are mixed with garlic and hot sauce and stuffed with cheese, onion, and bacon.
Wild Mushroom and Grass-Fed Beef Meatballs
This recipe combines rich and savory wild mushrooms with grass-fed ground beef. Mix the ingredients and bake for 15 minutes. So easy!
Seared Grass-Fed Ribeye Steak
Making this seared grass-fed ribeye steak is easy and results in a mouth-watering piece of meat. Pair it with your favorite vegetables, and you have a delicious meal!
Grass-Fed Beef Mac and Cheese
Why not upgrade an old classic with some nutritious and tender grass-fed beef? This nostalgic recipe is perfect for the kiddos.
Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef in Edmonton
If you’re looking for “grass-fed beef near me,” you’ve come to the right place!
D’Arcy’s Meat Market is dedicated to supporting local producers who use humane and environmentally friendly practices on their cattle farms.
For this reason, we can readily offer you the highest quality grass-fed beef in Alberta! Our beef is Mother Nature-approved, better for Bessy, and richer in taste.
Take advantage of our expertise by giving us a shout or coming to visit our shop in St. Albert, Alberta or off the Whitemud in Edmonton