I've tried it several times. It has an "off" flavor for me. I like grass fed lamb, but I've tried the beef a few times (e.g. from different locations) and it was off putting.
Anyone else experience this? Do you eat industrial beef like me?
The thing with grass-fed beef is that we, as a culture, have become accustomed to the "bland" taste of meat that is essentially fed the same bland blend no matter where you go -- no variation for climate, season, etc. -- so when our meat has 'flavor' we curl up our noses at it.
I went through the same thing when I first made the transition -- and for a while, I went back to getting commercial meat, because it bothered me that much.... then, I realized that there was such a significant difference in my body's response to the two types of meat that I was going to have to suck it up and treat grass-fed meat like 'medicine' until I got used to it. (Turns out that I'm sensitive enough to corn, soy, and wheat that cows and chickens that are FED corn, soy, and wheat cause me to react as well!!)
Now, 3 years later, I can't eat commercial meat -- it all tastes like cardboard (or ground cardboard) to me -- tasteless, soggy, and strange... not to mention leaving me feeling residually "blech" and bloated.
Grass-fed meat is going to taste different depending on where you live and the season, and what the animals have been feeding on (cows grazing on sawgrass or bluegrass taste different than cows who have been grazing on, say, alfalfa or clover)... and all of them will taste more "wild" than cows who have been fed mashed up grains.
Stew your meats -- long, slow, moist cooking is the best for grass-fed meat.
Don't overcook. Well-done meat will mean that your grass-fed beef tastes more gamey and ends up dry and tough.
Use salt judiciously, near the end of the cooking time, and experiment with herbs and spices to change the flavor of your meat dishes (in particular, rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, chili, and coconut vinegar).
Buy your meat in different seasons, to see if seasonal changes make the meat more or less palatable to you -- then purchase in bulk during the seasons that are most tasty to you.
I think you're crazy. ;) I was raised on corn-fed beef from Nebraska, and I had no trouble switching over to grass fed.
I try to eat mostly bison, which is also grass fed. I've had no issues with it falling apart or tasting gamey. I love it in burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, roast beef, fajitas...I could go on and on.
I've noticed with the grass-fed beef around here, that there seems to be some variation. Probably depending on breed, weather, time of year, feed (for example, they have to supplement with hay in the winter), etc.
But I have to quibble about something. Properly raised meat is not "expensive". Nasty feedlot garbage is too "cheap". Nobody should be able to get a burger for $1. It's indicative of what's wrong with the whole system.
I have found certain ground grass fed I like...about 3 different kinds...Springer Hill from Texas, (it is delicious) Lasater Ranch in Colorado and Whole Foods brand which I believe is Kiowa Farms in my area.
But...after I ate my first grass fed steak I have not attempted again. It. was. disgusting. I've got to chalk up to my cooking disability and probably that ranch--since I did not like their grass fed ground beef either. The steak was gamey and I had to purchase it frozen. I'm not giving up my quest though...eventually I'll order from U.S. Wellness or something and try to cook it well. I feel like I'll be handling gold and can't screw it up.
For now I buy supermarket rib-eyes, roasts and bacon. I cut off the oxidized fat.
I do buy pastured chickens, turkeys, butter and eggs though...i don't like chicken that much and I can really tell the taste difference.
I struggle with this a bit too. I like and refuse to buy anything but grassfed ground beef unless we're talking hamburger patties, but any solid form of grassfed beef is still a turn off for me. Where I live, most grassfed farmers and stores are in a co-op though, so buying from different farms and vendors may just be an illusion. I've noticed some identical products in various venues. I can stomach it, but my very CW husband absolutely can't stand it. So, we compromise by buying anti-biotic and hormone free steaks and roasts. The quality is much higher than what I see in the main meat department at the grocery store, so I just cross my fingers and hope.
I used to buy the chicken equivalent at the store when it went on sale because I couldn't justify the high price of pastured poultry. But, lately, it doesn't go on sale, and the price of that chicken is actually HIGHER than the price of pastured chicken at the farm I usually shop at unless it's on sale- so now I just go straight to the farm for chicken (except the bag of individually sealed chicken breast in perfect portion sizes- I buy that and keep frozen for emergencies). And I'm spoiled and can't stand conventional pork any more (I get pastured heritage pork now- expensive, so it's a treat).
But, yeah, we're not big fans of grassfed beef's flavor. At least, not the local stuff. I'm thinking along the lines of BaconHealsChic- save up and order from US Wellness, and then see what I think.
Grass fed ground beef is available nearly everywhere in San Diego. To me, it tastes excellent every time, from multiple brands. It's so versatile too.
Grass fed roasts and big hunks of meat (like a nice lamb leg) are a piece of cake in the crockpot. It's so easy it's almost laughable. Put the meat in there. Add your ingredients. Turn it on low for 8 hours and walk away. It's pretty difficult to mess it up.
Grass fed steaks are more tricky to get right. Just as Firestorm mentions in his/her answer, people have become accustomed to the grain fed meats. Grass fed meats taste different because the pasture content has a big influence on flavor profile of the meat.
Here's a taste test from a couple years back that explains the differences pretty well and seemed to be very unbiased. The winner might surprise you!
A few years ago my husband and I travelled to Brazil where I believe most of the beef is grass fed. Neither of us liked it as it did taste "gamey" off, kinda dead-like. I like bison very much although it was an acquired taste. Most bison is grass-fed. We eat beef from Kroger and Whole Foods. We mix up our meals maybe eating beef twice a week, fish a couple of times a week, duck, turkey, shellfish, pork (I don't like chicken at all.) You are not alone.
What region are you in? Are the different farmers really very different? I noticed in the Midwest that farming was more consistant and the grass-fed beef was consistently not to my liking. I'm in NYC now and working with some farmers who have very different farming philosophies and farm on very different land. And their meat really is very diverse.
I've grown up with it so it's all I know for beef.. and I like it!
I did try some beef from a local farmer that was 'artisanally raised' whatever that means and it did taste 'off' tasting so maybe it has something to do with the way small operations do things.
I know pastured chicken doesn't taste as good as the intensively raised kind so maybe it's what you grow up with.
This is so bizarre! In Australia its all grass-fed and we have to pay extra to get "special grain fed" varieties of beef - I tried a cut once out of curiosity and it was awful - so bland!
The best way to have grass fed tender beef steak is to cook it no more than medium rare. Yum.
One of my girlfriends doesn't like it- she's tried several different cuts from different sources and says the taste and smell turns her stomach. I myself have had a grassfed chuck steak that tasted a bit lamb-ish but other than that, I don't notice a difference.