How to Make Grass Fed Ground Beef Taste Better

Grass fed ground beef has risen in popularity due to its numerous health benefits over conventional grain fed beef. However, many find the taste of grass fed beef to be more gamey and less fatty than what they are accustomed to. This can make cooking with grass fed ground beef an adjustment. With the right techniques and ingredients though, you can make your grass fed ground beef dishes just as flavorful and tender. Here are some tips on how to make grass fed ground beef taste better.

Understand the Difference in Taste

First, it helps to understand why grass fed beef tastes different than conventional beef. Grass fed cows are allowed to graze on open pastures and eat their natural diet of grass and other forages. This diet influences the flavor of the meat. Grass fed beef has a richer taste that some describe as mineral-like or gamey. The meat also has a chewier texture and less marbling fat due to the leaner diet.

Grain fed cows on the other hand are fed a grain based diet of corn, soy and wheat to fatten them up. This results in a milder flavored beef with more marbling fat. Many people are just accustomed to the taste of corn fed beef. So when switching to grass fed, the bolder taste can be surprising. But with the right preparation, you can bring out the best flavors in grass fed beef.

Choose High Quality Ground Beef

Be choosy about your source for grass fed ground beef. The diet and genetics of the cattle produces variations in flavor. Higher quality beef comes from cows that are 100% grass fed and pasture raised in a sustainable way. Organic, local beef is ideal. The beef should have good marbling and be ground fresh, not frozen. Poor quality grass fed beef is more likely to taste gamey. So start with the best quality ground beef you can find from a trusted supplier. This will make a big difference in flavor.

Use Strong Seasonings and Herbs

One of the best ways to improve the taste of grass fed ground beef is to season it boldly with spices, herbs and flavorings. As the beef itself has a stronger taste, it can stand up well next to assertive seasonings. For ground beef, you want to penetrate throughout the meat with flavor.

  • Garlic is a great choice for boosting flavor. It adds a savory, aromatic quality. Mix minced garlic into ground beef or rub patties with it.

  • Onion is another good choice. It provides a sweetness that balances the earthy flavor of grass fed beef. Saute onions with the ground beef or mix in onion powder.

  • Soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, mustard and tomato paste all add umami savoriness. A small amount mixed into ground beef packs a flavor punch.

  • Spice blends like cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, italian seasoning or bbq rub give bold flavor. Meat tenderizer also helps mellow chewiness.

  • Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary brighten up the stronger taste of grass fed beef.

Experiment with different herb and spice combinations to find your favorite way to season ground beef. The bolder the seasonings, the more it will enhance the flavor.

Cook with Added Fats

Fat equals flavor, so cooking grass fed ground beef in added fat is key. Grass fed beef is naturally leaner, so fat needs to be added during the cooking process. Adding some oil or butter to the pan when cooking ground beef boosts juiciness and flavor.

  • Butter – Grass fed butter adds its own richness along with a creamy quality. Compound butters flavored with herbs and garlic are also delicious.

  • Beef tallow – Rendered grass fed beef fat has a meaty depth that complements the flavor of the beef beautifully.

  • Bacon grease – Leftover bacon drippings add a smoky, salty pork flavor that enhances beef.

  • Extra virgin olive oil – The fruitiness of good olive oil lifts up the flavor of beef.

  • Duck fat or schmaltz – For the most luscious texture, try duck fat or rendered chicken skin.

The added fats conduct heat evenly while providing more dissolved flavor compounds. Cook ground beef in a liberal amount of fat for a tender and juicy final product.

Mix in Other Ground Meats

In addition to fat, mixing other ground meats into grass fed beef can improve moisture and flavor. Try using half grass fed beef and half another meat like pork or lamb. The other meat contributes its own flavor notes and fat to balance the lean beef.

Some good ground meat combos include:

  • 50% grass fed beef, 50% ground pork – Pork adds tenderness and a hint of sweetness
  • 50% grass fed beef, 50% ground lamb – Lamb provides a richness that complements beef
  • 75% grass fed beef, 25% ground bacon – Smoky, salty bacon fat infuses flavor
  • 50% grass fed beef, 50% ground veal – Veal is tender and delicately flavored

When cooking recipes like meatballs, burgers, meatloaf, chili or bolognese sauce, experiment with using a blend of meats for the best texture and taste.

Add Lots of Aromatic Vegetables

For dishes like meatballs, chili, tacos or pasta sauce with ground beef, be generous with aromatic vegetables. Onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini all add moisture and flavors that enhance ground beef. Saute the vegetables until softened before adding the beef. Or mix them raw into ground beef mixtures.

Roasting vegetables like onions, carrots or bell peppers before adding to ground beef heightens their sweetness. In wet cooking methods like chili or bolognese sauce, opt for tomato products like crushed tomatoes, tomato paste or sun dried tomatoes for savory depth. The more vegetables, the more their flavors come through rather than just the plain beef.

Cook Low and Slow

To avoid tough, chewy grass fed ground beef, don’t cook it over high heat. The lean meat dries out quickly. Slow cooking at low heat allows the fat time to melt into the meat for tenderness.

For crumbles, gently sauté ground beef over medium low heat until cooked through. Scramble ground beef with eggs over gentle heat. For meatballs or burgers, bake them in the oven at 325°F until done instead of frying over high heat. For chili or bolognese sauce, simmer gently on the stove for 1-2 hours.

Slow cooking takes a little longer, but keeps the ground beef moist and tender, boosting juiciness and flavor. You get the health benefits of grass fed without the chewiness.

Finish with Flavor Boosters

After cooking ground beef, finish it off with a flavor booster to balance and round out the taste. A small amount sprinkled on at the end makes a difference. Try finishing with one of these:

  • Grated parmesan – Adds a savory, salty accent
  • Balsamic glaze – Provides a sweet tanginess
  • Fresh lemon juice – Brightens with acidity
  • Hot sauce or salsa – Gives a spike of heat and flavor
  • Chopped fresh herbs – Offers a pop of brightness

A simple final flourish like a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice can also make the flavors of grass fed really shine. Don’t be afraid to finish with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper too.

Disguise It inrobustly Seasoned Dishes

If you just can’t get on board with the stronger taste of grass fed beef, disguise it in dishes with lots of other robust flavors. Chili, meat sauce for pasta, tacos with lots of toppings, and casseroles are all great choices. Load them up with aromatic spices, chiles, tomatoes, beans, cheese, etc. This allows you to get the benefits of grass fed beef without the dominant flavor.

Some highly seasoned recipes that work well:

  • Chili – Packed with spices like chili powder, cumin, and garlic
  • Bolognese meat sauce – Slow simmered tomatoes, wine, herbs
  • Taco meat – Strong seasonings like chili powder, cumin, garlic
  • Shepherd’s pie or pot pie – Lots of vegetables in gravy
  • Lasagna or moussaka – Tomato sauce and cheese overpower beef
  • Stuffed peppers – Filled with rice, veggies, cheese
  • Enchiladas – Smothered in enchilada sauce and cheese

The more a dish relies on other ingredients besides the beef, the more it covers up the grass fed taste. You still get the nutritional benefits without the strong flavor.

Don’t Overcook It

A common mistake is to cook grass fed ground beef until well done, just because it looks leaner. But overcooking draws out moisture and makes it taste even more plain. For the most flavorful ground beef, cook just until browned throughout with no pink spots left. For burgers, cook to medium or medium rare for the best texture. Monitor cooking closely and stop as soon as the beef loses pinkness.

Grass fed ground beef has such great health advantages over conventional beef. With the right cooking methods, you can make dishes that showcase its deeper, richer taste. Use generous seasonings, slow cooking, and added fats to make your grass fed ground beef meals as delicious as they are nutritious. Which tips do you find most helpful for enhancing flavor? Let us know!

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How do you get the gamey taste out of grass fed ground beef?

The distinct game flavor of either birds or animals will be milder after soaking the meat overnight in the refrigerator in either a salt or vinegar solution.

How to season grass fed ground beef?

Start Small with Seasoning Remember, one of the huge benefits of grass-fed is that it tastes so good. So you want to start small when it comes to seasoning. A little salt and pepper might be all you need to serve up a delicious grass-fed steak. Marinades are okay, as long as they don’t overpower the flavor of the meat.

Why does my grass-fed beef taste bad?

That’s because grass-fed beef is leaner and chewier. Though the fat helps give the steak its rich flavor and helps make the steak juicier, many steak eaters don’t enjoy the fatty taste.

What is the secret to cooking grass-fed beef?

Always pre-heat the oven, pan, or grill before cooking grassfed beef. Grassfed beef cooks about 30 percent faster than grain fed beef. Use a thermometer to test for doneness and watch the temperature carefully. You can go from perfectly cooked to overdone in less than a minute.

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