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Grain- vs Grass-Fed Boneless Sirloins in NYC


Vinotas
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Last Saturday we did a taste test of grain- vs grass-fed boneless sirloins. Both had been dry-aged 28 days, the grass was acquired at a butcher shop in Rhinebeck, Fleischer's, and the grain-fed was purchased at Grace's, here in NYC.

I had been told to pan-sear the grass-fed for 2 minutes on each side, then again for 2 minutes on each side, for black and blue (my preference). The grain was also cooked to black and blue in a stainless pan using a healthy mix of olive oil, butter and duck fat. Needless to say, the place got pretty smoky pretty fast...

That said, it was an interesting comparison.

The grass-fed was subtler and chewier than the grain-fed, which exhibited some powerful beef notes. The crust on the grass-fed was crunchier and darker, however, and while it was cooking I detected notes of grass in the smoke rising from the pan.

I liked both, so I can't say whether one is better than the other, they're just completely different beasts. I think it will depend on one's mood, really. Interestingly, the next day, the grass-fed had a better taste than the grain-fed (yes, we had leftovers, 4 lbs for 4 people is too much for us).

Considering the poor showing of the wines, we were quite relieved to eat well.

Cheers! :cool:

Edited by Vinotas (log)
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I had a medium-rare grass fed strip at Cookshop this weekend.  It was pretty disappointing.  In brief, it simply was not succulent.

That about sums it up, I believe. The grass-fed was good, it was more subtle and more complex but the grain-fed really stood out for its in-your-face beefiness. And the term "succulent" is the right one, I think.

BTW, there's a picture of the two cuts HERE.

Cheers! :cool:

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Interesting, though of course there are so many variables not being held fixed... Ideally we'd want two identical twin cattle raised in the same environment and processed identically, the only difference being feed. :smile:

I've yet to be wowed by a grass-fed steak, and I'd love to hear where the best example can be had in nyc or elsewhere. I ordered an Alderspring ranch steak a while ago and while it was good I didn't notice anything very distinctive about it.

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INteresting post. I work at Fleischer's in Rhinebeck, so I eat a fair amount of the meat there, to say the least. That's the first time I've heard someone refer to the smell of the cooking meat as "grassy". Although, I definately know what you're talking about. It's definately has a subtle earthy-ness to it. I've never had anything like it.

The chewiness is do to the fact that the meat is leaner because of the fact that it only eats grass. Leaner diet, leaner meat. Feeding with grain creates a dramatic difference in the fat content of the meat.

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Yeah, I'll agree that grain fed beef tends to be more succulent than grass fed. I still tend to buy grass fed beef almost exclusively. For one, Fleischer's is my closest meat market. but more importantly, grass fed beef just feels better from an environmental point of view. The cows eat food for which their bodies were designed, and aren't packed into feedlots. The pollution, sick animals, and higher potential for e-coli getting into my meat make feedlot beef a second choice.

I must admit to ignoring all of those negatives for the occasional prime grade strip from a grain fed steer. I'm such a hypocrite..

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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INteresting post. I work at Fleischer's in Rhinebeck, so I eat a fair amount of the meat there, to say the least. That's the first time I've heard someone refer to the smell of the cooking meat as "grassy". Although, I definately know what you're talking about. It's definately has a subtle earthy-ness to it. I've never had anything like it.

The chewiness is do to the fact that the meat is leaner because of the fact that it only eats grass. Leaner diet, leaner meat. Feeding with grain creates a dramatic difference in the fat content of the meat.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, just different. More subtle and complex, while the grain-fed beef really shouted its presence on the palate. Comparing them was an interesting exercise, and I think I would choose one or the other based on my moods and the wines I was drinking (grass= Burgundy/lighter Bordeaux/Italian, grain= heavier Bordeaux/Rhone/CA).

Still, we had a fun time, despite how bad the wines showed that night.

Cheers! :cool:

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Like you mentioned earlier, they are a different beast.

I'm kind of obsessed with my environmental impact so, taste aside, grass-fed is my #1 choice. I do think the taste is pretty exceptional though.

On a somewhat related note: I'm going to be returning to Seattle over the holidays and without knowing where to find any kind of proper meat there, I am seriously considering going vegan or vegetarian while I'm there. Working at Fleischer's have left me spoiled to the point that I find it hard to impossible to consider eating anything else.

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