What’s the Difference Between Grass-Fed and Grain-Fed Beef?

When you want to put premium, healthy meat on the table, order your steaks online from Designer beef, a local Dallas farm.

When shopping for meat, you’ve probably run across packages with a few labels that read grass-fed, grain-fed, no nitrates, or no growth hormones. These labels were meant to sway consumers to choose the right meat for them. The problem is, many consumers don’t know what these terms mean. Oftentimes, companies use misleading marketing terminology which further confuses consumers. Whether grass-fed, grain-fed or a mix of both, what cows eat affects the texture and taste of the meat. That’s why it’s important to know what these terms mean the next time you’re browsing steak shops online or in person. 

In this article, we’ll go through how to choose between a grass-fed and grain-fed beef so you can choose your perfect steak when you purchase your Designer Beef cow.


Grass-fed beef is more nutritious.

If you’re trying to watch your cholesterol and weight, grass-fed cows have lower fat content and calories. Most grass fed beef is tougher, but Designer Beef offers dry-aged beef, so it’s still juicy and tasty. The fat on the meat is healthier and contains less monounsaturated fat than grain-fed (think using olive oil vs. lard). With grass-fed cows, you’ll be consuming a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs), both of which are linked to health benefits. 

Grass-fed beef also has a wild or gamey flavor. Most consumers are not accustomed to the flavor of grass-fed beef the first time they taste it. This could be because so much of the food we eat does not have the level of healthy Omega-3 benefits found in grass-fed beef.


Grain-fed beef is tastier but fattier. 

Grain-fed cows typically start off grazing on grass but are later fed mostly corn and soy. If you like your steaks tender and juicy, you should choose a cow that’s been grain-fed. Grain-fed cows have the highest level of marbling, giving it more flavor. 

Grain-fed beef has the necessary Omega-3s and CLAs but not as much as grass-fed beef. However, because Designer Beef has a special feed program, your beef has even more nutrients than cows fed a standard diet. Although some may say it is the best tasting, grain-fed beef contains more calories because of the extra fat it has. It also costs more to feed the cow which makes the meat more expensive to buy.


We recommend beef with a combined diet of grass and grain. 

For a balanced mix of flavor and health benefits, we recommend choosing a cow on a grass and grain diet. A mixed ration yields the health benefits of grass and the juicy flavor of marbling from grain. Your steak will have the best balance of fat on the meat and the vitamins and nutrients of both grass-fed and grain-fed beef. The resulting steak will be juicy and tender instead of just gamey and dry. 

A grass and grain diet is also the most economical for cow feed because cows will be able to gain more weight while eating less, so the savings will be passed on to you. 


Which feed is best for your cow? 

Whether you want healthier meat, a more tender and juicy meat, or a balance of both, you can have your pick when you order from Designer Beef. Our expert nutritionist ensures that the cows are eating nutritious food, and gives them supplements and additional nutrients to help keep the cows happy and healthy. The cows stick to the meal plan you choose for them and we make sure we produce your perfect-tasting steak. 

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