Lately, everyone has been after “grass-fed” meats to introduce into their diet. The term “grass-fed” has been overused and over romanticized in a way that provokes imagery of cows happily grazing on only grass from the moment they are born down to their last meal. I have broken down the difference between grass fed vs grass finished beef so you can make a more informed decision about the kind of meats you purchase for you and your family.
Grass fed makes most people think that the beef on their table had a diet of only grass and nothing else for the entirety of their life. While this may be true, most of the time it is not. Grass fed is accepted in the farming community and the USDA as raising the cattle on grass and other forage before switching them to a grain diet to bulk them up quickly. It can also mean that an animal was raised on a grass only diet but butchered while still in growth before reaching maturity.
Grass-fed beef is generally very lean and contains little fat. While grass-fed is usually superior in health benefits and flavor compared to standard feedlot beef, it does not compare to grass finished beef.
Grass finished beef is what people usually associate with grass feed beef. Grass finished beef means the cattle spent the entirety of its life eating only grass and other pasture. “Finished” meaning that the cattle had reached physical maturity in its skeletal and muscular structure. Finished cattle have more fat content or marbling which contributes to the flavor and tenderness of the beef.
No grain is ever fed to grass finished beef. For this reason, it can take longer for the cattle to reach maturity to the point where they can be taken for harvest. This is the largest contributing factor in the increase of price for grass finished beef. There are, however, many superior health benefits to consuming grass finished beef. Not to mention it tastes so much better than beef that only claims to be grass-fed.
But whether you choose grain-fed, grass fed or grass finished beef, the most important thing is that you are cooking and eating real foods.
Did you know about the difference between grass fed vs grass finished beef?