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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman

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DISCLOSURE AND DISCLAIMER

I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

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I Confess—I Am a Grassfed Beefophile

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Great grass fed hamburger  like the one shown here can be like a fine wine to a grass fed beefophile like me.

Great grassfed hamburger can be like a fine wine to a grassfed beefophile like me.

I think it is time to admit to something. My name is Stanley, and I am a grassfed beefophile.

Many people are familiar with oenophiles, who are people who deeply appreciate wines and have great knowledge and appreciation of them.

With respect, I could care less about wine. But grassfed beef is something else entirely. I love it, in many of its endless variations. I love the endless variety of flavors, caused by the different configurations of meadow plants from pastures all over the world. I love the way it makes me feel—renewed and strong after eating it. I love the wonderful aromas that delight my nose as it cooks. There is no use denying it. I am a grassfed beefophile.

 

How I Discovered my Obsession

I came to realize this yesterday, after I picked up a package of grassfed ground beef from Uruguay. I noted the deep red color, rich with promise. Even the way the meat was ground caught my attention. I was excited about knowing that this beef had come from cattle who ate grass all year round, as there is no winter there. I wondered what wonderful taste would come from the rich grass eaten by these cattle, on some of the most nutrient-dense soil on earth. I could not wait to get home and cook it!

Seriously, folks. Who gets excited about hamburger?

All the way home, I kept thinking about how I would cook it. I know dozens of ways of making hamburger, and I am not exaggerating. I was torn between my desire to add some spices to enhance the flavor, and my fear of masking the wonderful natural taste. Should the burger be thick, thin, or in between? Should I fry it, or barbecue it, or broil it?

Should I cook it until grey, as the government advises for safety, or should I make it less done, to make it more nutritious and enjoy more of the natural flavor?

So many decisions, so many thoughts. So hard to decide.

Again, I ask you—who torments themselves over the best way to cook a hamburger?

I finally decided to use some flavors from the region, trusting that the traditional flavors would not ruin the meat, or mask the flavors. I added a touch of oregano, a mere hint of garlic, a dollop of olive oil. I sautéed it gently in a pan rubbed with a small amount of olive oil. I cooked it rare, at my own risk, trusting that good grassfed beef would be alright, and knowing that I personally have never had a problem after eating it.

O my gosh, it was WONDERFUL! The meat had a unique, beefy, slightly sweet flavor. There were hints of something I did not recognize, but it was pleasant. It made me feel better with every bite. I enjoyed the lovely aroma, the very mouth feel of the burger, and the sensation of strength and renewal as I swallowed it. I was torn by the desire to wolf it down and the desire to appreciate the eating experience, to savor it, to pay careful attention to it, which could only be done by chewing slowly, and pausing from time to time.

It was a struggle, but the art of tasting won out over ravenous hunger, and I savored this wonderful meat.

Seriously, who gets this kind of deep experience and joy from eating a hamburger?

A grassfed beefophile, that is who.

 

The Benefits of Being a Grassfed Beefophile

Now that I have admitted to what I am, I must discuss the benefits. Unlike factory meat, which tastes about the same, bland, blah, and boring, has horrible mouth feel, mushy texture, and never makes me feel good—grassfed beef has endless variations in taste.

Most of these variations are good, and many great, if the meat is properly cooked. I always get a different taste by eating grassfed meat from different ranches. Even grassfed meat from the same ranch will taste different at various times of the year, because the forage changes with the seasons. I enjoy grassfed meat in the form of hamburgers, steaks, roasts, stir-fries, pot roasts, pan roasts, stews, and soups. My cookbook Tender Grassfed Meat has many delicious variations of all these forms of grassfed beef, bison, and lamb. I fry it, broil it, barbecue it, stew it, sauté it, simmer it, and often combine these techniques. I use traditional flavor combinations from all over the world, and create my own. My newest cookbook Tender Grassfed Barbecue also has many different flavor combinations for grassfed ground meat.

I eat almost every variety of cut, from nearly every part of the animal. The variety is endless, the taste wonderful, and the nutrition fantastic.

Grassfed beef is far more nutritious than factory beef. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

If I were to make an analogy to a wine connoisseur, my personal opinion is that factory beef is like the cheap, sweet wine favored by people who just want to get drunk, while grassfed beef is like a variety of fine wines, that are drunk to be savored and enjoyed.

There is some grassfed beef I would not recommend, just as there are some fancy wines a true oenophile would not recommend. But properly cooked grassfed beef, from a good ranch, is a true joy. And since the beef from each ranch is different, I never get tired of it.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Cooking—The Most Important Skill

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Click on this photo to see photos of home-cooked recipes from Tender Grassfed Meat.

Your first reaction to the title of this post might be, “What!? Cooking is important?”

That is typical of a culture that no longer values cooking, one of the oldest and most vital human skills. In fact, two-thirds of American adults know almost nothing about cooking, and never cook. To these folks, cooking means heating up an already prepared product in the microwave, or warming up takeout that has gotten cold.

Suppose you had the power to create an almost magical medicine that had no side effects, yet gave you strong bones, powerful muscles, strength, stamina, great vision and hearing, a happy optimistic viewpoint, a clear mind that can focus on anything, a great memory, an immune system so strong that you almost never get sick?

Suppose this power and this medicine brought great happiness and pleasure to all who used it?

Would you want this power?

Well, you can learn this power, and make that medicine.

The power is cooking, and the “medicine” is real food.

 

The Power of Real Food

Nothing affects the health of our bodies as much as the food we eat. Our bodies are made of the food we eat. Our bodies use the food we eat to repair themselves, to run the natural functions of the body, and to get energy. We need the right kinds of food, and enough of it. If people do not have enough food, they die. If people do not get enough good real food, their health deteriorates and they become vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.

Doctors and hospitals can be very good for traumatic injuries, and some very serious conditions, yet their drugs and surgeries and radiation cannot keep our bodies healthy.

Only food can do that.

Hippocrates, the most famous of doctors, said it best:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

In ancient times, and actually until the twentieth century, most food was real, and grown and produced in accordance with the laws of nature. Countless generations of humans had eaten this kind of food, and our bodies adapted to using it. The main problem was getting enough of it, and obtaining certain foods that could be hard to get.

In modern America today, most of the food has been raised with chemicals, and has been altered. Fruits and vegetables are grown in poor soil with the use of chemical fertilizers. Produce has been altered to have a longer shelf life and better appearance, at the cost of taste and nutrition. Meat animals are fed substances unnatural to them, that cause the very composition of their fat and meat to change. Antibiotics, growth hormones, and other drugs are used to cause meat animals to grow faster.

Humans have never eaten this kind of modified food before the twentieth century.

Real food is the unmodified food of our ancestors, grown in good soil, or grazed on good grass, without the use of chemicals. It is what our bodies know how to process, and we thrive on it. But it is not enough to just buy real food. You have to know how to cook it.

 

The Magic of Cooking

The art of cooking transforms produce and meat into almost magical creations that give our bodies the nutrition they so desperately need, and create great pleasure for the people who eat a well cooked meal. You cannot get this kind of food in a can or microwavable container. You can almost never get it in a restaurant. But you can learn how to cook it. You can create the magical “medicine” advocated by Hippocrates, which can keep your body healthy and functioning perfectly.

Our ancestors knew this, and knew what foods to eat, and how to combine foods to sustain life and health. Much of this knowledge has been lost, yet much has been preserved. My major motive in writing my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, has been to rediscover and preserve some knowledge of how to cook grassfed meat, perhaps the oldest and most valued food of humanity. Learning how to cook and eat this meat and other real foods healed all the problems that modern medicine could not help me with.

I am an attorney, yet cooking real food is my most valuable skill, without a doubt.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

 

Fat Meat, Lean Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Grass fed picanha with a nutrient-dense fat cap.

Grassfed picanha with a nutrient-dense fat cap.

We are told to only eat lean meat, and avoid fatty meat. This is part of our culture’s fear of animal fat, due to intensive marketing of this view. The mistaken belief that lean meat is healthier has resulted in farm animals being bred to produce lean meat, and many animals are even given drugs to make their meat leaner. Butchers compound the problem by trimming off as much fat as possible.

The result is tough, often tasteless meat, with American factory pork being a great example.

Our ancestors would have been shocked by this preference, as they preferred meat with fat, the fatter the better. Our ancestors believed fatty meat was healthier and tastier, and would add large amounts of fat to meat that was too lean. Some even threw the lean meat to their dogs, while keeping the fatty portions for themselves.

When it comes to grassfed and pastured meats, this is how I see it:

The fatter, the better.

 

Traditional Animal Fats Contain Vital Nutrients

Contrary to popular belief, traditional animal fats have many vital nutrients that are important for human health and development. This is what our ancestors believed throughout most of history, and their belief has been vindicated by research. See The Skinny on Fats.

 

Factory Fat Is Different than Traditional Fat

It is important to know that the modern way of raising most meat animals, which is dependent on processed grains and other foods that are unnatural for these animals, changes the very composition of their fat. Grassfed animals, which humans have eaten for most of history, have a perfect balance of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. Animals fed in modern feedlots and CAFOs have a huge imbalance of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products. An oversupply of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked to many illnesses. Other vital nutrients are also much higher in traditionally fed meat.

 

Paleolithic and Traditional People Ate Animal Fat

While nobody truly knows what Paleolithic people ate, we do know some of what they ate. In fact, every cave dwelling that is believed to have been occupied by Paleolithic people had a pile of bones, which had been cracked open for the marrow. Bone marrow is almost completely fat.

We also know that traditional hunting peoples prized the fat of the animals they killed, and this fact was verified by the extensive on site research of Dr. Weston A. Price. Because the meat of wild animals is often lean, some believe that only lean meat was eaten by Paleolithic peoples. But nearly all wild animals store fat, but it usually located on the back, rather than in the meat. This back fat was often eaten by itself, and mixed with the leaner meat , which was never eaten without animal fat. For example, Pemmican, the famous survival food of the Native Americans who lived on the great plains, was one third bison fat. Organ meats, which are very fatty, were prized by all of these traditional peoples.

 

Traditional Cuisines Call For Fat, Fat, and More Fat, when Cooking Meat

A review of older cookbooks and histories reveal the fact that meat-eating cultures, such as European cultures, greatly prized animal fat as a food and as a cooking medium. Fatty meat and organ meats were the prized cuts, and meat was always cooked with fat, usually animal fat. Fatty meat was valued in most of the rest of the world, with fatty pork being the most prized meat in traditional Chinese cuisine.

Our ancestors agreed, both in their words and actions, that fatty meat from grassfed and pastured animals is best.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday blog carnivals.

Study Does Not Prove that Grassfed Red Meat Increases Diabetes Risk

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Healthy grass fed steak.

Healthy grassfed steak.

Every few weeks or so, someone publishes a study “proving” that eating red meat does something horrible to us. I consider all these studies to be invalid, especially when it comes to eating grassfed meat.

Because none of them, not even one of them, ever considers the immense difference between eating grassfed meat, the natural food of nature, and factory meat, which comes from animals eating an unnatural diet. Factory animals have been made to grow at an unnaturally fast rate by growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other unnatural methods.

All studies on the effect of eating red meat which do not differentiate between grassfed meat and factory meat are invalid, as to grassfed meat. The latest study purporting to show that red meat is bad for us has many flaws, and proves nothing.

 

Grassfed Meat Is Very Different than Factory Meat

Grassfed Meat is perhaps the oldest food of humankind, and is ideal for our bodies. This is the meat you get from herbivorous animals eating nothing but their natural food, green living grass, though they may need to eat hay, which is dried grass, in the winter.

Factory meat is the meat you get from animals who start out on grass, but are finished with a stay in the feedlot, a stay that usually lasts at least 120 days. While in the feedlot, the animals eat no grass and do not graze. They are fed grains like GMO corn and GMO soy. Neither one of these substances are the natural feed of cattle. Other items are often fed to these cattle, including candy bars, restaurant plate waste, bakery waste, the sludge left over from making alcohol and ethanol, and many other substances which are not the natural food of cattle. In addition to the unnatural feed, factory cattle are usually given growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and other chemicals which cause them to grow much faster than normal.

The difference in diet creates a great difference in the meat. Grassfed meat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, but these nutrients are reduced by each day spent in the feedlot. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

 

The meat of grassfed animals is much less watery than factory meat, and should be cooked differently, as described in my cookbook, Tender Grassfed Meat.

Well over 98% of the meat sold in this country is factory meat.

Because of these differences, no study that does not differentiate between grassfed meat and factory meat means anything, when it comes to the effect of grassfed meat.

 

This Study Does Not Prove that Eating More Red Meat Increases the Risk of Diabetes

First of all, the author of the study admits that it does not prove that eating more red meat increases the risk of diabetes! (Eating Red Meat Tied to Higher Diabetes Risk)

Second, the study has many flaws:

  1. It only cover doctors and nurses, not the general public.
  2. It asks the participants to remember how much red meat they ate over several four year periods. This is very unreliable. Do you remember each time you ate red meat over the last four years and what the size of the serving was? Of course not.
  3. The difference found by this questionable data was insignificant, and means nothing.
    1. 2 in 300 of the participants who reported increasing their consumption of red meat got Type 2 Diabetes.
    2. 1 in 300 of the participants who reported not increasing their consumption of red meat got Type2 Diabetes.
    3. The risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes for those who reported increasing red meat consumption was 2/3rds of one percent.
    4. The risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes for those who did not report increasing red meat consumption was 1/3 of one percent.
    5. The difference was an increase in risk of 1/3 of one percent. This is the real, absolute risk.
    6. By the rules of statistics, this difference is so far within the margin of error that it means nothing.
  4. The study did not differentiate between grassfed and factory meat.
  5. So contrary to the news headlines, this study does not prove that increasing red meat consumption increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Especially when it comes to grassfed meat.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday blog carnivals.

Meaty Bones, the Best Paleo Food

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

The big bone at the center of this magnificent Porterhouse steak is great to chew on.

Chewing on bones is not considered cool. In fact, it is considered to be bad manners in many cultures. Yet one thing has been found in just about every place where Paleolithic people used to live—a big pile of bones, cracked open.

In addition to this, every meat eating animal chews on bones. Since animals never do anything without a reason, and know how to get great nutrition from their natural food, I thought there must be something to this. So I put my inhibitions away and did the natural thing. I chewed on the bone of a rare, barbecued, grassfed, Porterhouse steak.

Was it good? No. It was great. It was fantastic. It was satisfying. It tasted so good. It made me happy. And, when I was done, I had a huge, wonderful, comfortable feeling of satisfaction, in a way that was new, yet felt so familiar.

 

The Blessings of Bones

Meaty bones are full of nutrients. Not only is there the bone itself, full of minerals, there is the meat that is right next to the bone. That meat is saturated with nutrients from the bone, and has unbelievable taste, texture, and flavor. There is an old saying, “The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.” That saying is true. I tasted it.

There is also the fat next to the bone, which is rich, tasty, and so satisfying. The fat from grassfed animals is very nutritious, containing vital nutrients such as the perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a known cancer fighter that also promotes muscle growth and burns fat. Both omega-3s and CLA diminish to almost nothing after the typical stay in the feedlot, which is why grassfed meat is by far our best source of them. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

And there is the bone marrow. It is almost universally accepted that all those bones found in piles at Paleo sites were cracked open for the bone marrow, one of the most nutritious substances known.

When you chew on the bones, your teeth and saliva cause minerals to enter your mouth from the chewing process, and this is the tastiest way I know to get vital minerals.

Any way you look at it, the bones of grassfed animals are nutrient-dense, to say the least.

 

The Chewing of the Bone

Just before I started chewing on the Porterhouse bone, I was wondering if there was a right or wrong way to do it. Not to worry. My mouth and teeth knew exactly what to do. I gently bit off and chewed the delicious morsels of rare meat, white fat, and everything else that would come of the bone. My teeth gently chewed on the bone itself. The taste and satisfaction was so wonderful it is hard to describe. A wonderful feeling of contentment came over me as I chewed on the bone, enjoying the taste and nutrition it gave. The glorious flavor of hot bone marrow permeated the meat and fat, giving it a fantastic, satisfying taste. I chewed slowly, savoring every magnificent morsel. It felt so right, so natural. So familiar. I finally understood why the dogs I used to have were so happy to have a real bone.

It took awhile. When I was finally done, I felt healthy, satiated, and utterly satisfied. I also felt very happy.

Why is bone chewing considered bad manners? My guess is that the custom was created to stop people from fighting over the bones, since there often would not be enough to go around.

Chewing on bones is a good thing, for nutrition, taste, and the sheer pleasure of it. I cannot think of a more Paleo way to eat.

This post is part of  Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Cattle Should Eat Grass, Not Garbage

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Meadow Cattle, Strumpshaw Fen
Creative Commons License photo credit: spencer77

Cattle have eaten grass and meadow plants for most of human history. These plants are the natural diet of cattle, and they thrive on it. Cattle eating their natural diet of grass (or eating hay in the winter when forage is scarce or impractical) produce the most nutritious and oldest food of humankind—grassfed meat.

Meat from cattle fed their natural diet of grass and meadow plants is full of nutrients that our bodies have adapted to use over the long years. Why would anyone want to mess with this perfect food?

The answer is simple—money. Producers can save a lot of time and money by using chemicals and drugs to increase the growth rate of cattle, and by feeding them grains and industrial byproducts.

Industrial byproducts that would otherwise be thrown out—as garbage.

Cattle should eat grass, not garbage.

 

The Prevalent Use of Industrial Byproducts in Feed

While all cattle start out eating grass, they are finished in different ways, usually in a feedlot. This period is usually at least ninety days, and often more. There is no grazing in a feedlot, and no living grass.

Most Americans are totally unaware of what is fed to finish most cattle. They are told that conventional beef is “corn fed”. This is only partly true. What is also largely unknown is the fact that corn and other grains are not the natural food of cattle, and cause the composition of their meat to be different than that of grassfed cattle. What is not publicized is the other things fed to conventional cattle.

These include substances which are industrial byproducts of the food industry. This includes the sludge left over from making soybean oil, the sludge left over from making canola oil, in fact the many sludges left over from making almost any vegetable oil. It includes the sludge left over from making beer and whisky, and other distilled beverages. These sludges, which used to be thrown out as garbage, are used to make feed for cattle, and sometimes food for humans, in the case of soy sludge. Most of these sludges contain chemical residues from processing, and most of them are GMO. In addition to this industrial sludge, cattle are often fed expired candy bars and bakery goods, loaded with sugar and other sweeteners, and chemicals. These expired goods are often served to the cattle when still in their plastic wrappers. Another product used to make feed for cattle is restaurant plate waste, which would otherwise also be thrown out as garbage.

The government says it is safe to feed these substances to cattle, so it must be safe. But safe does not mean ideal, or even desirable.

In my opinion, garbage should be thrown out, not fed to cattle.

 

The Blessings of Grass Feeding

Cattle have been fed grass and meadow plants, and dried grass, for most of human history. Eating rich, living grass gives many beneficial qualities to the meat and fat of cattle, providing invaluable nutrients including an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, CLA, and many others. These advantages diminish with each day in the feedlot, as the cattle are fed substances which are not their natural diet. See Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.

Science has not discovered everything about nutrition, and new things are constantly being discovered. I believe that there are other nutrients in grassfed cattle which have not been discovered yet, which are also beneficial. What I do know is that humankind ate cattle raised on grass and meadow plants for most of history, and found the meat and fat of these grassfed animals to be a wonderful food.

I know from my own experience that nothing energizes and restores me like grassfed meat and fat, the favorite food of our ancestors.

Grassfed meat is also much tastier than industrial meat, if it is cooked properly. I know how to cook it, and it is my favorite food, for taste, nutrition, and feeling satisfied after eating.

Which is why I say that cattle should be fed grass, not garbage.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday blog carnivals.

Why Grassfed Meat Costs More and Is Worth It

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Humboldt Grassfed Beef cattle grazing

My local source for grassfed beef: Humboldt Grassfed Beef.

If you buy grassfed meat, you know that the price is rising. Every producer I know has raised their prices. If an Internet producer charges you the price of shipping, that cost has increased as well.

Nobody likes to pay higher prices, especially in a tough economy. But in this case, I am going to continue to buy just as much grassfed meat as ever, and even more when I can. Why?

Because I want to be able to get grassfed meat, now and in the future. If I want to have the unique health benefits of grassfed meat for my family, I am going to have to support the ranchers who raise it, even in these tough times. And I invite you to join me. Because if we do not support them, grassfed meat could no longer be available.

 

Why the Grassfed Industry Is in Danger

There are a number of reasons that have worked together to cause the rise in prices. The rise in prices threatens the very existence of the grassfed meat industry, as will be shown.

The Increasing Cost of Fuel

Everyone knows how much the price of fuel has risen. This means that the cost to ship feed, cattle, and meat have increased enormously. In fact, the cost to ship ANYTHING is much more expensive. Shipping costs are a big expense for every rancher, and they continue to go up.

The Increasing Cost of Soy and Corn

The cost of soy and corn  has greatly increased. Soy and corn are used to feed factory cattle. You might ask, “What does the cost of soy and corn have to do with grassfed cattle?” After all, the grass is free. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. With soy and corn being so valuable, a number of farmers that used to raise cattle have decided they can make more money raising soy or corn, and have sold their herds, converting their pasture to cropland. It is much easier to grow seasonal crops than to nursemaid a herd of cattle 365 days a year. Less cattle being raised has created the most crucial part of the problem—a greatly reduced supply of feeder cattle.

The Shortage of Feeder Cattle

Feeder cattle are steers that are old enough and large enough to go to the feedlot. Again, you may ask, what do feedlot cattle have to do with the price of grassfed beef? Quite a lot, unfortunately. Because the high cost of feed has changed what the feedlots are looking for. The feedlots now want cattle to be kept on pasture longer, so the feedlot needs less feed to bring them up to slaughter weight.

For example, in one area, the feedlots would only buy a steer at the weight of 500 pounds. Today, the price of feed is so high that the feedlots want to buy steers at 1000 pounds—twice the weight. That greatly reduces the amount of feed the feedlots will have to buy to bring the steer to market weight. This situation makes the pasture that the steer eats to reach 1000 pounds very valuable. Obviously the steer sold at 1000 pounds will raise a lot more money than the 500-pound steer.

Steers destined for feedlots are competing for pasture with grass-finished steers. The shortage of feeder cattle has caused the price to rise to the point where a grassfed farmer will not make much more money for raising a grassfed and grass-finished steer. It takes about twice as long to finish a steer on grass as it does on feedlot feed, and requires much more work and effort from the rancher, for not very much more money.

In other words, selling cattle to a feedlot has become much more attractive financially. Selling more cattle to feedlots reduces the supply of grassfed meat, and causes the price to rise.

The Danger

And this is the great danger. If more and more grassfed farmers give up on raising grassfed beef and sell to the feedlots, the supply of grassfed beef will be reduced. The price will continue to rise to the point that only the truly rich can afford grassfed meat. If that happens, the movement is dead. The best way we can keep this from happening is to pay the prices charged by the quality grassfed producers who charge the least, so they can stay in business and thrive.

We are lucky that there are many grassfed ranchers who are doing their best to keep the price down, because they want people to be able to afford this wonderful food.

We need not sacrifice quality to do this. In fact, most of the best meat is raised by those small ranchers who try to make their meat affordable for most people, rather than focusing on catering to the super rich. All of these dedicated farmers have had to raise their prices, and I will pay them, because I know what is at stake. Grassfed meat is one of the healthiest foods we can eat, and is irreplaceable, in my opinion. Health Benefits of Grassfed Meat

Careful Shopping Can Help

Comparison shopping can help reduce the cost of grassfed meat. There is a huge difference in price among various producers and retailers.

For my area, the best buys I have found are these:

I buy all of my local grassfed meat from Humboldt Grassfed Beef, which sells its wonderful grassfed meat at Lunardi’s markets, an eight-store chain in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to other retailers in California. Their meat costs much less than the meat carried by Whole Foods, for example, and tastes much better.

When I shop on the Internet, I buy most of my meat from U.S. Wellness Meats, which charges only $7.50 for shipping and handling for most orders, has many of the lowest prices on the Internet, a huge selection of wonderful grassfed meat, regular sales, and a number of ways to save.

You can also save a lot of money by buying a whole steer, a half steer, or a quarter steer from a local farmer, though you will need a lot of freezer space. Eatwild.com has a list of such farmers, by state.

I am going to continue to buy just as much grassfed meat as ever, even at the higher prices, because I want to preserve the availability of humanity’s oldest and most valuable food. And because I love to eat it!

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Freaky Friday blog carnivals.