Grass Vs. Grain: How it Affects the Cow

This is honestly probably the most interesting post I’ve written so far. There was a time when I didn’t give any thought to any of this and frankly didn’t care what I ate. I love when things fall into place, when things just make sense, and that’s what this article is about today. The best part is you don’t need a science degree to understand it! I started out thinking I’ll talk about cow digestion. If you didn’t know it’s actually quite interesting. But I want to expand on it more. We’ve covered why grass-fed beef is better for humans, but how does eating grass vs. grain affect cows? So I did more research than what I already knew. You guys, it’s about to get real.

The Digestion

First, let me briefly explain the basics of cow digestion. Cows basically have four stomachs. Frankly, this can be hard to “stomach.” I won’t lie. It’s a pretty gross process to think about. Cows are ruminants like sheep, goats, deer, even giraffes which means they have a rumen, a part of the stomach that allows them to take grass and convert it into protein. They eat a lot of grass, not chewing it very much, swallow it and it gets stored in the rumen. This is the biggest part of their stomach. They then lay down somewhere, sort of regurgitate the previously eaten grass (another part of the stomach called the reticulum contracts to push it back into the rumen), “chew their cud,” and swallow it again (are you feeling queasy yet?). From there it goes through the omasum and abomasum, where further digestion and nutrient absorption take place, before it goes into the small intestine, etc. similar to human digestion. You can read a more detailed explanation on the FDA’s Website. They have the awesome ability to digest grass and anything left over from grain harvesting and extract the nutrients that humans and other animals can’t!

So, the BIG question is why do we feed cows something they’re not naturally meant to eat and digest when they have the tools to do something most animals, and definitely humans, do not?

Grain Digestion

Obviously, cows do have the ability to digest grain but it is an entirely different process. You see, when eating grass, cows can eat and digest all parts of it from stalk and stem to seed. They are not really equipped with the proper teeth to break into the few seeds they may eat so these simply pass through, and the manure acts as a fertilizer causing the seeds to grow again. It’s a perfect cycle. When grass fully sprouts into seed, however, the nutrients are leached from the grass into these seeds leaving no nutrient value in that grass anymore. The cows do have enzymes that can digest these grains, but it involves the stomach creating more acid in order to break these grains down and retrieve the few nutrients the grain now has. The stomach has to “switch” to a completely different way of digesting food. It is definitely more complicated than just this. You can read more about it in Comparing Grassfed and Grainfed Beef, and Why it Should Matter to You. This process is simply an “evolutionary back-up plan” for the cow’s survival in instances where their natural food source is scarce. The article goes on to explain how these two affect the actual beef differently, mainly how it impacts the type of fat produced by the cow and how it in turn greatly affects our diet. On a personal note, as someone who is a supporter of Keto and other low-carb diets, I found the following paragraph extremely interesting:

“Grain fed beef typically has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1, which at first glance would seem to be the ideal ratio. But that’s not the only thing we eat. With grain fed beef already at a 4:1 ratio, there is no room for any grains (bread, rice, oatmeal, etc…) in your diet if you want to avoid the unhealthy side-effects of eating too much omega-6’s.

Small wonder then that doctor’s often recommend cutting beef from the diets of cancer patients…

Grassfed beef, on the other hand, has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2:1. This leaves ample room on the dinner plate for some carbohydrates made from grains without the overall ratio of our diet exceeding the magic 4:1 ratio.

Which begs the question, what if doctors recommended that their cancer patients eat lots of grassfed beef, but cut the grains, breads, and cereals instead?”

Of course all of this can be debatable, but I do believe it makes sense that a lot of our health problems today don’t stem from beef, but rather the type of beef along with the increase of processed foods, how all of our food is prepared, and the imbalance we’ve gotten so used to in an American diet.

Further Down the Grain Path

So at this point in my research I was already somewhat unsurprised by what I found as far as how this affects humans, but I found the digestion difference and its effect on cows thought-provoking. Little did I know it was about to get a whole lot better. I found an interview PBS conducted with Michael Pollan, an author that examines how nature and culture collide and affect the systems we have in place. You can read the interview here. It’s a long read but I HIGHLY encourage that you take some time to check it out. He goes through each point, one thing affecting the other, like a cascading waterfall of logic. It just made sense. I found myself getting more and more excited as I caught on to what he was saying, almost beating him to the punch in my head.

He starts out by also marveling at this ability cows and other ruminants have but then goes on to explain why this natural process is interrupted. What it boils down to is the economic and financial benefits of the common commercial cow industry process. Grain (corn) is cheap and easy to grow. It fattens cows at a much higher rate and quantity than grass which means faster turnover in beef production along with higher profit.  How do local independent farmers compete? As I briefly mentioned in Cost: Is Grass-fed Beef Worth it? bigger companies have the resources to quickly push cattle through from calf to meat. They have an easier time meeting the demand and they can offer cheaper prices. What people don’t realize however is there is way more risk involved, and it is not only affecting our present but could be detrimental to our future.

Physical Impact

By now, you already know how we feel about the treatment of animals. There is an ethical way to raise and slaughter cows for meat and we abide by that. As much as we obviously support pasture-raised and free-grazing cows, we don’t think feedlots are evil. They saw an opportunity to speed up the beef production process, making it cheaper and more efficient, just at the expense of the calf. The fact is though cows aren’t meant to live in that environment or eat that type of food. The life expectancy of a cow living in a pasture is easily over ten years, close to twenty. They say the life expectancy of a cow on grain would only be a year or so after the point they would usually be slaughtered.

Remember what I said about a cow’s digestion of grain and the switch from grass-eating microbes to grain-eating microbes? It causes a higher acidity level in a cow’s stomach in order to soften those grains for digestion. This can lead to heartburn and bloat. They are not burping and releasing those gasses like they would normally. This, among other effects of this grain digestion, can have serious impacts on their health. Pollan explains this further and discusses how it can lead to liver abscesses. If the cow wasn’t going to be slaughtered soon anyway, this would certainly lead to eventual death. But we don’t worry about that, understandably. I can’t help but tie this in to what we always say about stress in animals and the effects on meat. If you suffer from frequent acid reflux *raises hand*, you get it.

The interview goes on to discuss in further detail why we started feeding cows grain in the first place, mostly due to economic gain. He talks about the antibiotics used, which I will summarize in a minute, the health problems we are facing, physical differences between the look of a cow in a pasture and a feedlot cow, his experience with his own cow, and just about every aspect of the beef industry. I couldn’t possibly reiterate everything he said without 1) plagiarizing, and 2) turning this into a novel. He is so thorough in his explanations but I also love that he tries to stay away from making too many assumptions, he gives people and companies the benefit of the doubt, and doesn’t point fingers or blame anyone for the potential mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. He understands the rationale behind the systems people have put in place.

If anything, his main point of his interview is we’ve implemented so many steps just to fix previous steps taken. Feedlots became the norm because of faster and cheaper production, however changing a cows eating pattern suddenly mixed with crowding them in a pen caused more illness than they would ever experience in a pasture, which created the need for antibiotics. A cow living on pasture doesn’t get infected with diseases such as E. Coli, but a cow on a grain diet has high stomach acidity in which E. Coli thrives. The antibiotics are not used as a treatment but instead a preventative measure. These antibiotics are in our food and water causing bacteria to be antibiotic-resistant. In turn, scientists and doctors are constantly working to develop newer and more effective antibiotics, but Pollan says it best when he says, “Nature will outwit any technology. This is what evolution has been doing for billions of years — figuring out ways to outwit threats to a given population.”

When you really stop to think about it, it’s dumb that we are, as Pollan puts it, using “band-aids” to fix the problems that literally occur ONLY because we disrupted the natural cycle. Had we kept things the way they were we likely wouldn’t have run into nearly as many problems with food-borne illness and antibiotic resistance. As I said before, and what I think Pollan touches on, is this all started with good intentions: cheaper and more available meat. However the cost saved is only being used to fix what came of that. Is cheaper meat really worth it? He believes we should go back to the system that was already in place. A system that worked. The question is, can we do this? Returning to a grazing-only method means a slower, longer and essentially more expensive process.

Of course there will be pros and cons to everything and going back to this old system wouldn’t fix everything, but it could help. Farmers are using rotational grazing patterns to help the environment, they are saying no to hormones and preventative antibiotics, and they are thinking about the future. Please, please, PLEASE go read Pollan’s interview and you too will be saying “Wow, IT JUST MAKES SENSE!”

Recipe of the Month: Chicken Fried Steak

The amazing thing about purchasing a whole/half/quarter cow is the order is so customizable! You get to choose, within reason of course, what cuts you get, how much fat is trimmed, how thick you want your steaks, if you’d rather have more ground beef, etc. It can be overwhelming at first, which is why we want to help as much as we can. We are always available for ideas, tips, and suggestions. If you’re anything like me before I got into this, you have probably had to google what kind of meat to use for a recipe. What’s the difference between certain cuts? Is a Porterhouse and T-Bone steak the same thing?

Did you know you can get your grass-fed round roasts cut into tenderized fillets instead of individual roasts? This opens up many recipe options like the all-time favorite Chicken Fried Steak! Others include philly cheese steaks, pepper steak and rice, fajitas, and grilled round steak. These tenderized fillets are ideal because they require no additional tenderization from the cook (think pounding with a meat mallet – although a great stress release after a bad day). These fillets have been cross-cut tenderized at the butcher and then packaged in groups of two or four steaks. They have great flavor by themselves and are very lean.

Preparation of the Chicken Fried Steaks is easy! Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tenderized round roast fillets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 Cups of seasoned flour (I season with salt, mild paprika or a little cayenne pepper, and lots of pepper)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Canola Oil

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To Prepare:

  • Beat the two eggs in a shallow, wide bowl (you are going to dredge the steaks in these bowls so they should be large enough to fit the steak in them) with milk until very well mixed.
  • In a second shallow, wide bowl add the seasoned flour (Instead I used a ziplock baggie to use the good ol’ shake and bake method. This is not recommended, however, as the steaks are thin and flexible and fold in on themselves. I ended up having to work with it a bit)
  • Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and then season generously with salt and pepper (What’s your preference? More pepper or more salt?)
  • Take the seasoned steak and dredge it in the flour bowl, forcing flour into the meat with your fingers.
  • Remove the steak from the flour bowl and then soak it in the egg mixture.
  • Repeat the flour coating one more time. This is important to get that good thick breading we all like.
  • Put the steak on a rack and repeat this process for all the steaks.
  • Pre-heat a cast iron skillet with approximately 1/2 inch of oil covering the bottom of the skillet.

The Cooking:

  • Once the oil is hot, add a steak or steaks to the frying pan. Be careful not to crowd the steaks, there should be space between each steak in the skillet.
  • Fry over high heat for approximately 2 to 5 minutes per side until the coating is golden brown – be careful not to burn the coating by leaving the steak too long. Flip the steak and cook for half the amount of time on the second side or until golden brown.
  • Remove the steaks to a plate and place in a warmer until ready to eat.
  • These chicken fried steaks should be medium rare to medium. If you want them more well-done then you can place them back in the skillet, and then put the skillet in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 to 30 minutes.

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Grass-Fed Chicken Fried Steak is a great way to serve round steak and it is very fast to prepare once you have mastered the recipe. These steaks are great served alone with mashed potatoes and a salad, This time I went completely southern with it and paired the steak with mashed potatoes/gravy and fried okra and squash. They make great steak sandwiches. We like to have ours on a large hamburger bun, with mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce. Yum!

Let us know what you think below! Also, share your recipes using round roast fillets.

Cow Appreciation: Treat ’em right!

HAPPY COW APPRECIATION DAY!!!

We definitely appreciate our cows at Grant Creek Ranch. Beef is arguably the best meat out there…at least it’s my favorite.

Cows sacrifice a lot for us and in return we treat ours with the best care.

  • We do not inject our cows with hormones. Again, our main goal is not to produce giant animals. Our goal is to produce healthy, flavorful meat.
  • Our cows roam freely.  Feedlots are usually a stressful environment for an animal. If a cow is stressed it will produce adrenaline and other hormones that will affect the meat. Remember, we don’t want extra hormones.
  • We are a closed herd. We are not bringing cows in from just anywhere. We are careful in our selections. Doing this drastically reduces diseases and illness that can develop and be easily spread in a herd raised with less discretion.
  • We do not use unnecessary antibiotics. Feedlots are usually crowded, which leads to more sickness and disease, which leads to the need for antibiotics, which affects the meat. If we do not use these methods, it would make sense that we do not need unnecessary antibiotics, and frankly why would we waste the money on them just to be proactive? Now, just like if you are sick, sometimes it is a necessity to ensure the health of our cows, but we try to keep this to minimum.
  • We are never cruel. If a cow is in a stressful environment, it’d be natural to associate humans with that emotion meaning they are not as receptive to humans. Our cows are only handled a few times a year. What exposure they do have to us is always pleasant, therefore they are not scared and are very tame. Connect this to the points above and you can come to the conclusion that they will produce much more tender meat.

If you noticed, all of these points lead to another. Not all beef is the same and every aspect of their care absolutely has an impact on the product you are buying.

Plain and simple, it just makes sense this way.

 

Recipe of the Month: Smoked Whiskey Bacon Burgers

Happy July! The month of patriotism, fireworks, and summer. Naturally, for this month we’re sticking to a 4th of July classic: Burgers. Perfect for your family gathering before you blow stuff up. This recipe combines good ol’ grass-fed beef with whiskey and bacon…’Merica!

I had actually come across a video from the BBQ Pit Boys a few times and decided to try my own take of their whiskey burger. This was just used as inspiration. I left out and added quite a bit, strayed from their method, and as much as I would’ve liked to be doing this in the woods with the perfect smoker like they do, I stayed on my front porch with my average, tiny smoker (Can you guess what’ll be on my Christmas list this year?). But you know what? There’s nothing whiskey, bacon, and cheese can’t make better.

Ingredients:

  • Seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
    • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
    • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (love the smell of this!)
    • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Pounds Grant Creek Ranch grass-fed beef (Makes 4 burgers)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • Crispy onion strings (Store-bought or make your own!)
  • 1/2 Cup Whiskey
  • 8 Slices Bacon
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese

*Disclaimer – These measurements are an estimate. I eye-balled most of it. There’s lots of freedom (pun totally intended) with this recipe.

Make It!

  • First, mix all the seasoning ingredients together. This recipe actually makes quite a bit and you can use as much or as little as you like. I had a lot left over to use for future recipes.
  • Mix some of the seasoning mixture into each 1/2 pound of beef along with a 1/4 of Worcestershire sauce each, and then form your patties. Because grass-fed is leaner, it sometimes helps to add that extra moisture you get from the Worcestershire, even if you can’t pronounce it.
  • If you have rings you can form the patties in, that’s great. If not, you can make one out of aluminum foil, although this step isn’t completely necessary. It just helps to hold everything together, especially when you pour the whiskey on top.
  • Poke holes in your patties and put a layer of brown sugar on top. You can also use more of the seasoning mixture above. I personally would use more brown sugar than I did next time.

Prepped Patties(Please ignore the poor quality of my photos. We’re in a remodeling process and my lighting is not the best)

  • Drizzle a tablespoon of BBQ sauce over each patty. (I forgot this step)
  • Pour a tablespoon of whiskey over each patty.
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • This is the time I used to get my charcoal going for the smoker, fry up some bacon, and make my crispy onion strings.
  • When your smoker is ready to go, put the patties on, close the lid, and wait. Then, go ahead and sneak that shot of whiskey and slice of bacon. No judgement here.
  • I smoked my burgers for about an hour. When I got them out they looked smoky, glazed and beautiful.

Smoked Patties

  • Next, build your burger however you like and pair with your favorite BBQ sides (which I was lacking at the moment).

Smoked Whiskey Bacon Burger

Overall, I thought this burger was pretty delicious and had a very deep smoky flavor. Very moist and cooked perfectly, I will definitely be making this again!

Let me know if you gave it a try in the comments below!

Update on Beef Sales

2018 Grass Fed Beef Sales – Tulsa Area

Our beef will be ready to be picked up from the processor in late December 2018.  The hanging weight should still be the same as discussed in the sales page and the price will still be $3.99/lb hanging weight plus processing. We still have some beef left to sell, so if you are interested in beef for 2018 please take a look at the sales page for details on reserving your beef. There is a form that you can fill out to get in touch with us. We will get in touch with everyone who has reserved beef in about a month to discuss payment of your deposit which will guarantee your beef for 2018.

2019 Grass Fed Beef Sales – Tulsa Area

We are already planning for 2019 beef sales and if there is enough interest we may have beef sales in July 2019 and November 2019. Our normal beef sales time is late in the year, but we understand that some people may want beef before this date. If you are interested in beef for either date in 2019 then please fill out the form on the sales page and in the comments section let us know that you are interested in either summer or winter 2019 beef purchase.

Update on Calf Purchases – Oklahoma City Area

We have for sale 1 year old weaned calves that have had one round of shots and are eating out of a trough. These calves are located at our Carney, Oklahoma pre-conditioning facility and may be delivered from here if you are interested. If you are interested in purchasing these calves please fill out the form on the sales page and let us know. We will then be in touch with you to arrange a time for you to take a look at the calves and to discuss pricing and delivery of the calves.

Calves for Purchase

 

May is Beef Month!

Happy Beef Month, everybody!

We are excited to be really focusing on getting the word out about our grass-fed beef this year. We stand behind our practices 100% and believe we sell a great product. In doing some reading this morning I came across Don’t Forget You Are Eating An Animal a great article that perfectly sums up a lot of our thoughts.

Certain diets have been mentioned on our website a few times recently, especially in our post about Bone up on Health: Grass-fed Beef and the Diets of Today. Grant Creek Ranch actually has no stance on any particular way of eating, however we are definitely behind the overall benefits of consuming wholesome, unprocessed grass-fed beef.

We’ve talked extensively about why you should make the switch to grass-fed.

  • Health: Not just the nutritional aspects, but the animal itself. The way we raise our cows results in less disease, stress, and other unpleasantness that can sometimes come from cows raised in feed-lots.
  • Treatment: Like the article mentions, humane treatment of our animals is one of our responsibilities as a calf-cow operation and we believe it truly makes a difference in the quality of meat you’re getting. Honestly, it’s even simpler than that. Where is the sense in mistreating our cows? What does it get us?
  • Cost: We’ve talked about why cost is a huge factor. It can get complicated, but in reality you’re saving so much by buying in bulk up front, having that meat ready to go at any given time rather than eating out, and not wasting money on questionable quality.

So, in celebration of Beef Month go grill up a beautiful, medium-rare steak slathered in garlic butter and thank a local farmer. Don’t forget to also start making plans for our beef sales later this year! Contact us if interested!

Cost: Is Grass-Fed Beef Worth it?

The first concern most have when they think of grass-fed beef is…you guessed it: Price. You’ve heard it’s better for you and love the thought of feeding your family the best, but does it really make THAT much of a difference? Is it really worth taking that leap?

The short answer: Absolutely.

For this article I’m going to step away from behind the scenes. My name is Jess and I am admittedly new to this whole thing.  It has been so fun working with Grant Creek Ranch because I have learned a great deal about cows in general and how they do things on the farm, which has caused me to further my own personal research and make decisions affecting my food purchases. I, like probably many of you reading this, am in that part of life where I’m doing responsible things like buying/remodeling a house, planning for my future, and trying to improve my overall health. Budget is always on my mind. I always strive to find that balance between the best products and not breaking the bank. I can honestly say that I do believe grass-fed is worth it.  It’s what makes it so easy to talk about and share.

To be completely honest, it all comes down to priorities. Being realistic, this will not apply to every person out there. If you eat as cheap as humanly possible, eating almost no red meat least of all steaks or roasts, and do not care at all where your food comes from then this probably isn’t going to change your mind. However, if you are teetering with the idea of eating better food and weighing the pros and cons of grass-fed beef while maintaining a modest budget then please read on. There are many things to consider when purchasing grass-fed beef, whether from the ranch or the grocery store, and I am going to explain them all right now.

The Cost Breakdown

First, I’m going to get to the point of what you want to know. Straight up, grass-fed is going to cost you a little more, but how much? Keep in mind that it is near impossible to come up with an example that fits perfectly due to varying factors that come into play such as cut choices, but here is a general example:

A ½ cow, which can feed a family of 4 for approximately a year, weighs about 400lbs. This is the hanging weight (HW), the carcass after removal of all the unnecessary parts. We charge $3.99/lb (HW) which equals $1,596. You add to that the processing fee of about $0.76/lb ($304) and you end up paying $1,900 (Multiply or divide by 2 to get the price of whole and ¼). Now, you are ending up with about 250lbs of cut weight (CW), what you are taking home in the form of roasts, steaks, etc. If we take $1,900 / 250, you are basically paying $7.60 per pound. Compare this to the grocery store. It might be on the high end for ground beef, although not by much for grass-fed, but only a third of your order is ground. The rest will be steaks and roast. $7.60/lb for steak is a great price when you consider you would be paying upwards of $10-12/lb at the store, and that’s not even for the good grass-fed stuff. Using US averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of “normal” store-bought beef I came up with a total of $1,418. I tried to add up an approximate ½ cow order from a local grocery chain (Reasors) and came up with a cost of $1,666, among several other total prices.

Pros and Cons

Did that number seem shocking to you? It’s going to at first. How often do you go to the store and buy 250 pounds of beef to last you an entire year? Chances are, not often, but I guarantee you’d be surprised too if you added up what you spend on meat in a year going to the grocery store and out to eat. One of the few cons to buying in bulk is the cost is paid upfront.  The only other downside I can think of is meat isn’t always readily available. Currently we are not ready to sell. This is one of the many reasons commercial beef can be cheaper. Due to their resources, they are able to raise and put out beef at a much quicker rate. Most of the grass-fed market is still coming from small local farms. However, as long as you get a deep freezer and buy the right amount for you and your family it’ll last you until it’s time to buy a new cow!

1) Humane Treatment

So, diving more into why grass-fed is worth the extra cost let’s go back to the beginning. How were the cows raised? If you have taken the time to explore our site you know that our calves are raised in a pasture with their happy cow-moms, living happy, free lives. We feed our cows native and Bermuda grass, only supplementing with protein cubes in the winter when the grass is unable to provide all the appropriate nutrients they need. Some people wonder why all this matters. They’re just being bred to provide food anyway, right? Well, let’s think about that. Unfortunately, sometimes cows are mistreated, especially if finishing their lives in a feed-lot where they’re fattened up more quickly. The calves are raised being scared of humans and the treatment they associate with them. They know what being shoved in that pen means. Using people as an example, when you are stressed it affects you not only emotionally but physically as well. You are tired, achy, and possibly even malnourished. It makes sense that if cows are raised in a harsh stressful environment it will affect their bodies as they produce adrenaline and other hormones, ultimately affecting the quality of our meat. And remember, we are what we eat.

2) The Dry-Aged Difference

Next, how the meat is processed. We’ve quickly mentioned the difference between dry and wet-aged processing. So how does this affect you, the consumer? To refresh, dry-aging involves hanging the meat for a period of time in a refrigerator. During this time, the meat begins to breakdown. Some liquids leave the meat while some absorb into it. This is how the meat tenderizes. It does cause a lot of weight loss, around 20% actually, but results in beautiful flavorful meat. We like that.

In wet-aging, the meat is placed in vacuum-sealed bags which also allows the meat to breakdown but in a shorter time, allowing for faster transfer from butcher to plate. Cha-ching for the big guys. What this affects, and what this all boils down to really, is flavor. Dry-aged beef will have a robust flavor while wet-aged is going to have a more metallic taste. Honestly, if you are used to store-bought meat then this is probably what you are more familiar with and making the switch might be strange at first.

I conducted my own taste test when I was first introduced to the world of grass-fed and while it was unable to be a blind test on my part, my husband was completely clueless. I purchased the normal cheap ground beef I would usually buy from the store. The first thing I noticed was the rich red color of the grass-fed beef compared to the dull pink I was used to seeing. I cooked both for the same amount of time with no seasoning. During the cooking process I noticed that the store-bought did lose more moisture, rendered more fat and shrunk in size while the grass-fed did very little. We both agreed that while not a super noticeable difference and I can’t really explain exactly what, there was something we both liked slightly more about the dry-aged taste. It was just better.

3) Meat Quality

So what is so bad about store-bought? Nothing! You can absolutely get excellent cuts and flavors either way. Some stores even have a section of dry-aged beef on display along with grass-fed and other options, but again, I’m going to bring in that little word we all know too well: Cost. Say you go to the store and find the cheapest ground beef possible. This beef will be fattier and likely have had moisture added back to it during the grounding process. This is replacing weight of meat, and weight is what you are being charged for. It also isn’t as good of quality as you could be getting.

If you haven’t yet, go read my previous post Bone up on Health. It references some benefits found in switching to grass-fed beef that affect our bodies. This is personally my number one, and almost only, reason for making the switch. Another aspect of the health reason is the actual obvious condition of the meat. When you purchase meat from the grocery store it consists of several cows, increasing the odds that you are getting some questionable content or infections. Higher quantity of cows means it ups the chances that one of them had an infection and now it’s mixed in with all your meat. But when you are purchasing one cow from one place you know its condition and you know that nothing else (aka other cow meat) can compromise that. You get what you see.

I just love the idea of knowing exactly where my cow grew up, what it ate, and that I am getting that cow solely instead of a mixing pot of whatever is out there.

Still Need Convincing?

Here are other things to consider and ask yourself:

  • You will be getting all sorts of cuts that you probably steer clear of at the store due to higher prices.
  • How often are you going to go out to eat when you have 250lbs of meat in your freezer ready to be cooked? This alone would save most families probably thousands of dollars over the year.
  • You know what you are getting is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. No sneaky labels.
  • You’re getting lean high-quality meat as opposed to what you may have to compromise for at the store.
  • A big reason why commercial meat is cheaper in some aspects is they have the giant farms, equipment, employees. They have all these resources that go through the process much faster. They have cows all year long. With grass-fed you’re dealing with things on a much smaller scale: Small farms and ranches, and limited resources and time. You are supporting a local business.

I cannot stress enough that we do not believe this is the only tried and true way to raise/eat/buy beef. Feedlots are not inherently bad. Grocery store beef is not always low quality. Commercial beef companies are not all evil! With everything, there will be those few bad eggs that ruin it for everyone. We just prefer knowing exactly what is going on with our food and deal with less of the “unknown.” Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons, consider your priorities and decide what you think is the best decision for you and your family, but I for one cannot wait for the next order time.

Next time you go shopping, take a look at prices, do your own math, break out the research and you’ll see that it pays to feed you and your family the best. Now go invest in that deep freezer!

For another good read, check out Why Grass-Fed Beef?

Why Grass-Fed Beef?

What makes Grant Creek Ranch Beef better than what you can get in the grocery store? There are many differences and we will discuss a few of the them in this post. Grant Creek Ranch Beef is from Angus cross cattle.  These cattle have been specifically bred to produce great taste from grass-fed animals.  This cross breed also produces cuts of meat that are restaurant quality; cuts of meat that you would be proud to serve to your dinner guests.  These animals are raised in a sustainable fashion: born in a pasture and allowed to roam freely until weaning time.  They are weaned at our preconditioning facility in Carney, Oklahoma.  Here they can be observed on a daily basis to make sure they are not under any undue stress.  Once weaned they are turned out onto our pastures in Oklahoma where they eat a mix of native and Bermuda grass.  During the winter they are supplemented with native or Bermuda grass hay and protein cubes, as they continue to forage in a pasture unconfined, through to the finishing process.

At Grant Creek Ranch our cow herd is a closed herd.  We are not bringing in new cows unless we are sure they are disease-free.  Because our herd is closed, the animal health is excellent and disease is held to a minimum. As a result we are only handling the cattle a couple of times a year (spring and summer) and the rest of the time they are busy grazing away on our pastures.

We are not interested in rapid weight gain or incredible size, therefore neither growth hormones nor steroids are ever used. This is because our customers want and expect naturally-raised, high-quality beef worth every penny.

To sum this up in one simple word: Flavor. Our grass-fed process results in some of the most tender and flavorful meat on the market. Why would you want anything else?

We are currently delivering sides of beef for no charge in the Tulsa area.  It is also for sale in the Wichita, Oklahoma City, Bartlesville, and Stillwater Areas (Delivery available for a small fee). Please check out our For Sale page for more information.

Once your try our meat you will never want to buy store-bought beef again!

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