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Old 06-17-2006, 05:30 PM   #1
Tony Ferous
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I asked my local butcher yesterday about GF beef vs organic vs the usual rubbish...he gave me a great tip, which may well have been noted here previously, but it bears repeating.

The fat on any GF beef should be yellow, not pure white, due to the high levels of carotinoids present, its very noticable when you compare the 2 products side by side...

Which makes me think, is lamb always grass fed?

What about pork? I guess pigs are fed grain as opposed to what they evolved on eating


Wild pigs will eat practically anything, but their primary diet is leaves and grasses, roots, fruits and flowers. They will eat insects and dead carcasses and strip bark off trees. There are stories of swine killing snakes and such, but I have not actually seen that.
Domestic pigs are usually fed a diet of processed pellet feed. They seem to like it, even pigs with access to grazing areas and free time to forage just love their dinner pellets.


Beta carotene is an anti-oxidant and vitamin C precursor, and gives grass fed beef a rich yellow colored fat rather than Crisco-white colored fat. Grass fed beef contains up to 5.5 times more beta carotene compared to grain finished beef and cattle fed fresh growing grass contained up to 11 times more than cattle fed dried forages. In fact, the levels of beta carotene can decline dramatically during grain feeding (97%; from 10.2 ug carotene/ml blood plasma to 1.7ug/ml). (Short-term Grain Feeding and its Effect on Carcass and Meat Quality. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association 1997. 57:275-277. FROM the EATWILD web site.)
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:43 AM   #2
Kevin McKay
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Funny you mention that. The other day I discovered the place I buy my grass fed meat uses meat that is “finished” with grass K what kinda is that. So I just looked at the fat and it is pretty white.
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Old 06-18-2006, 05:53 PM   #3
Ben Kaminski
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Finishing is the process of feeding the animals up to the time of slaughter. All animals are grass fed when young and growing. When they are ready for slaughter they are either grain finished or grass finished. Thus, grass finished is usually the same as grass fed, unless the animals were fed grain in between somewhere, which I have never heard of.

I have seen grass fed meat on farms and in Wild Oats, and to be honest I have not noticed a significant color difference in the fat. I'll pay a little closer attention next time. The grass-fed lard I buy is pretty white also, I wonder if beta-carotene is altered in its processing...

(Message edited by ssf on June 18, 2006)
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:14 AM   #4
Marc Moffett
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Kevin, grass finished is best. As Ben said, it garauntees that there was no fattening up with grains just prior to slaughter.

One thing to note, in my experience with game animals, it is the fat that makes the game taste the "gamiest". (At least, if the meat was well taken care of in the field.) I try to be pretty careful about cutting it out because it turns so many people off. However, I do add a little bit into my homemade sausage, where I can cover up the taste a little better.
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Old 06-19-2006, 08:41 AM   #5
Chris Jordan
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It is interesting what you said about meat tasting "gamiest" because of the fat. When I think of that flavor I think of deer...but our deer in Illinois are well fed on corn and beans for 4 or 5 months prior to hunting season. I'm willing to bet they're eating sweet corn right now. I thought that flavor was more a result of muscles being used running and jumping as opposed to cattle standing and chewing their cud.

I suppose the flavor could come in part from the acorns, persimmons, etc. that deer eat near harvest but I'm telling you, the majority of the herd's diet comes from dad's corn field. Wanna find a deer this afternoon? Take a walk in the corn field. I really think the flavor is from activity. I could be wrong.

I'm really kind of frustrated by the grainfed issue. Grassfed beef takes 2 years longer to get to market weight. I suppose I could buy a steer near market weight in the spring and put him to pasture for 6 months then slaughter it in the fall. Maybe that would help. I like deer but since I can't fence them out of the cornfield I suspect I'm only marginally ahead of grainfed beef finished on grass. Weighted by overall health of the animal, deer is the clear winner. By diet alone, I'm not so sure.

Concerning yellow fat here's a leaflet that discusses grain type vs. fat color: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/ansci/beefreports/asl1775.pdf

(Message edited by moreuglythanyou on June 19, 2006)
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:21 AM   #6
Garrett Smith
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I've heard the yellow fat thing before. In all of the grass-finished meat I've ever bought, not once have I ever seen yellow fat. Maybe the types of grasses used (quick-growing?) don't have as many carotenoids (NOT just beta-carotene, this is a whole food here, beta-carotene only exists in isolation in laboratories and bad supplements) or maybe the soils are depleted enough that the grasses have trouble producing as many carotenoids as previously.
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:26 PM   #7
Marc Moffett
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Chris, I doubt the flavor of game meat is due to any single factor. After all, I shoot elk, deer and antelope all in approximately the same local and they taste very different from one another. Part of "gamey" taste purportedly derives from the higher concentration of 03s. You can also get some really funky bad flavors if the meat isn't well-cared for: you can get rumen contents on the meat, or hair (especially bad during the rut), or dirt, or ... . A lot of people age their game meat (often incorrectly) and that can give you a stronger flavor as well. But in my experience, if you cook the meat with too much fat on it, it is not particularly tastey.
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Old 06-19-2006, 06:25 PM   #8
Chris Jordan
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Marc,
You're probably right about it not being a single factor. I was thinking about it today and it seems that goat has a "gamey" taste to it.

It may all be in the preparation. I can't imagine butchering a whole cow myself (a hog maybe). What would I do with it all!?!? I don't even know what you do with a whole elk! Hats off to you, brother.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:22 AM   #9
Scott Spencer
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Grassfed butter is also called "high yellow" butter. Actually its even more yellow when the cattle are eating young, growing grass in the spring time. So there is a link between grass eating and a yellow color of the fat/butter. And the more yellow the butter the more healthy. More CLA, minerals and nutrients.
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:12 AM   #10
Chris Jordan
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I'll be darned.

"Excess b -carotene is stored in fat, giving rise to a yellow-coloured fat. Grass is the major source of carotenoid pigments."
http://www.rhhall.ie/print/issue4_1999.html
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