Author Topic: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?  (Read 2288 times)

ender

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Last year we purchased a quarter beef from a local agriculture extension at a community college nearby. It felt like the flavor of the ground beef was much better than the normal store bought beef.

We recently ran out of that ground beef and are back to the store bought ground beef - it absolutely feels like it tastes worse. Previously, with the quarter beef, having something like tacos or burgers where we generally just use ground beef without seasoning I thought it tasted great. Tonight we had tacos with store bought ground beef and I distinctly thought the flavor was missing.

Is this what other people experience or is this all in my head?

katscratch

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 06:07:10 PM »
Oh gosh yes, no question.

You can get a little closer with store bought beef by buying grass-fed varieties. But it's still not close IMO.

NV Teacher

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 09:49:29 AM »
I havenít had store bought meat in years.  I buy a half beef from a grower every couple of years.  Fantastic flavor and around $2.75 a pound for everything, hamburger, steak, roast, filet mignon, etc.

FireAnt

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 12:22:02 PM »
I buy a quarter of a cow every year- year and half. Love it. I won't go back! :) Do it! I found our farmer through Craigslist 5 years ago or so which is SO WEIRD but it worked out well for us. I've seen it on FB marketplace and inquiring at local farmer's markets.

Fishindude

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 01:01:40 PM »
When we had kids at home we used to buy beef quarters, but just two of us now so it doesn't make sense.  I've had good and bad experiences going this route, some of the beef was awesome and some average at best.   Best stuff was from a buddies dad that raised Angus beef, we knew exactly what we were getting.  Buying quarters and halves is not the most economical way to buy beef.  You get expensive burger, cheap steaks and a bunch of stuff you might never buy so you have to find ways to use it.

We eat mostly venison for red meat, but when we want some beef we buy select steaks or get some lean burger such as ground chuck.  You can tell a lot about the quality of burger by just looking at it.   The good lean stuff is much more red.    I wouldn't waste money on any of the so called "grass fed" beef unless you personally know the grower, otherwise you still don't know what you are getting.

Cranky

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2019, 03:01:29 PM »
No, I really don't notice much difference, but we mostly eat beef as ground beef in things, so I'm not all that concerned. But I do notice that different stores grind differently - my local IGA's ground chuck is a lot leaner than the big grocery store's.

nereo

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 05:56:16 AM »
I've noticed a big difference between grass-fed and corn-fed beef, and even cows that were 'grass-finished'.  Some people don't like the taste of grass-fed, as they find it too 'beefy,' and grew nup on the more mild corn-fed mass-market cows.  When we've bought portions of a whole cow (e.g. 1/4 or 1/2 cow) we've always which farm it was coming from and how it was raised.

The other big difference I noticed is when we switched from pre-ground to grinding meat ourselves.  Burgers come out so much more flavorful now (particularly when we can mix up different cuts). Regardless of whether you go the 1/4 cow route I strongly encourage grinding your own.

Fishindude

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2019, 07:48:15 AM »
My wife is a regular at yoga and the girl that runs the place has some sort of deal going where a so called "organic" farm drops off vegetables and "grass fed" beef for customers to purchase.  It's a real scam in my opinion, they pay about double the price and buy a bunch of stuff we wind up not using, but that's a whole different story.   

I made chili yesterday so got a pound of that wonderful grass fed hamburger out.  The stuff looked like the cheapest, most light colored, fatty hamburger you can buy, kind of like that 10 LB plastic tube stuff you can buy at Sams or Gordon Foods.  Didn't smell the best browning it in the skillet either, too much fat.  I'm guessing these grass fed beef were old, spent dairy cows?  Good lean ground beef is quite red, the color of a good steak.

FIRE@50

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2019, 07:56:33 AM »
I have bought grass fed beef from a local dutch/amish market and I thought it tasted noticeably better. I'm usually pretty skeptical about something like that too. I would absolutely buy it again. I would not pay double the price as some have mentioned though. 15-20% more? Sure.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2019, 08:04:06 AM »
Nope.


To be fair though, I typically use ground beef as more of a flavouring when cooking.  I add it to more than twice the amount of fried mushrooms/onions/garlic, grated carrots, peppers, and a whole bunch of spices for pasta sauce.  When I make burgers, it's cut about 30% with oats and then eggs breadcrumbs, fried mushrooms/onions, oil, and a whole bunch of spices are added.  So, it's not that there's no difference in quality . . . it's that the difference doesn't matter for the way we usually use it.  (Actually, the crappier cuts tend to have more fat in them which I like better for both applications.)

As an aside, I make chili with either shredded chili or pulled slow cooked beef . . . and both are infinitely better than using any quality level of ground beef simply because of the satisfying meaty texture of the long strands of meat.  Try it, you'll never go back.  Especially if you roast some potatoes in some oil, rosemary, and oregano in the oven and then slop the chili over the hot roasted potatoes.  Dammit, now I want chili.

NotJen

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2019, 09:05:49 AM »
I havenít bought beef, pork, or chicken from the grocery store in several years, since I started visiting the local farmers market.  I love the taste of the beef/pork from my meat guy, and can definitely tell a difference (grass-fed/grass-finished for the beef).

I can tell less of a difference with the chickens (especially since my favorite family left the market), but I like that they are more ethically raised.

I pay an ass-ton of money for it though - as a single with limited freezer space, I buy piecemeal.  Someday Iíll probably have to go back to the cheap stuff, but enjoying the fancy meat while Iím still employed.

nereo

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 09:49:25 AM »
I pay an ass-ton of money for it though - as a single with limited freezer space, I buy piecemeal.  Someday Iíll probably have to go back to the cheap stuff, but enjoying the fancy meat while Iím still employed.
What's an "ass-ton" in your neck of the woods? 
At least where I am I wind up paying $2-4 more per pound depending on cut, but since most of our recipes use between 2oz - 8oz per serving the price difference is only a dollar or two more per meal. 
So as a percentage it's a huge increase... as an absolute dollar amount it's barely noticable to us

*of course it matters how you use meat, and how often and in what quantities.  We probably have meat in 3-4 meals per week.  With my parents its probably closer to 15, and they're far more likely to consume larger meat portions.

katscratch

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2019, 12:05:45 PM »
It's interesting to see the difference in cost. The last quarter cow I bought was grass-fed, corn-finished, and was $3/lb including processing. Best ribeye I've ever eaten. The ground beef was bright red, lean, and sooooo tasty.

NotJen

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Re: Ground beef - do you find quality differences between various types?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2019, 12:08:10 PM »
What's an "ass-ton" in your neck of the woods?
...
Fair point.  I donít use a ton of meat, but itís definitely a component of 9-12 meals a week.  I have no clue what grocery store meat goes for these days. Just that all my food-quality choices add up to big grocery spend, and eventually Iíll have to make changes.  Just not now.

Ground beef is $8/lb (could be 4 servings of hamburgers, or 8 servings of pocket sandwich filling).  Brisket and skirt steak are $12/lb (I donít usually do steak steaks).  A pack of pork chops ($9/lb) was $19.75 for 4 (will be 5 ďservingsĒ).  Pork tenderloin is $12/lb.  Boston butt is $8/lb.  Whole chicken is $4.50/lb from the new farm (a big $25 chicken will provide dinner of chicken pieces, breast meat for salad toppings, shredded chicken for soups/stews, and 6-8 cups chicken stock).

One benefit that I hadnít yet considered is the 9% sales tax my dang state charges on all food.  The prices above either include (or are exempt from) that sales tax.