As if omnivores didn’t already have enough reasons to be picky about their protein sources, recent reports indicate that conventional meat companies routinely inject their products with salt, sugar, water, and other schmutz to “enhance” taste, since livestock today are bred for leanness at the expense of deliciousness. Consumers pay extra for these “enhancers,” which add weight to every hunk of chuck purchased (and may be worth their salt — the enhanced products have up to four times more sodium than the meat would otherwise contain).
It’s enough to make you want to stock your fridge with grass-fed meat and never leave the house. Livestock raised on pasture generally have a meatier natural flavor — no salt injections needed —than their corn-fed kin, even though grass-fed beasts are leaner. Granted, after watching some dear, dutiful friends choke down the grass-fed beef brisket I made in my new meat smoker a few weeks ago, I resolved to stop preaching the health and environmental benefits of pasture-raised protein until I could actually cook the stuff. But come on, what meat-eater can resist the idea of beef terroir?!
Purveyors of pastured meats swear that the subtle flavors of different grasses and the composition of the soil are reflected in the taste of the meat. Some taste-tests suggest that the differences are quite noticeable. What’s your experience?