GRASS FED BEEF
“Grass fed” can be confusing. To us, it means that the individual cow spends its whole life on a pasture, eating prairie grasses and growing. This means that we do not feed any grain to these particular cattle. They eat only grass. It is important to note here that beef from a grass fed cow will be leaner and have little if any marbling. The meat therefore will cook up drier than the grain finished cow.
We do not call our beef “grass fed,” because the USDA has given a legal definition for that term that the cow can only have grass (forage) and its mother’s milk to eat for its entire life. This is very hard to do in Oklahoma. Our cattle are raised on grass pasture.
Some people really like the lean meat, and that is certainly fine with us. However, more care must be taken in the cooking of the grass fed beef as it does not have much natural fat to help in the cooking.
GRAIN FINISHED BEEF
We get more orders for the grain finished beef than we do for the grass fed only beef. When the cow is fed grain during the last several months, we call it “grain finished beef.” The grain puts on more weight for the cow and it adds fat to the meat. This meat fat is called marbling. It is the white fat you see on the edge of a steak in the meat section of the grocery store.
The marbling is important to make the meat tender and juicy. The steak grills up nicely and most people say tastes better than the purely grass fed meat.
There is no difference in price for you between grain finished and grass fed.
CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF
The American Angus Association set up the “Certified Angus Beef” program in 1978. The reason for this was to promote an idea that Angus cattle produce a higher quality meat. The American Angus Association has spent millions of dollars in advertising and has done a pretty good job of convincing the average American that Angus beef is better than all other breeds of beef cattle.
Now, let us look at what is required to be a Certified Angus Beef cow. The cow needs to meet only two requirements:
So, to be Certified Angus Beef, the cow does not even need to be Angus. Cattle of any breed are included in the Certified Angus Beef so long as they look like they have some Angus blood in them and are black in color over at least 51% of their body. So black Simmental, black Herefords, etc. and any cow that is black over 51% of its body and looks like it has some Angus blood in it can qualify as Certified Angus Beef. Since 2007, the United States Department of Agriculture meat graders have to say that the meat must also meet ten other very general requirements, such as modest degree of marbling, less than one inch fat, no large hump on the neck, etc.
All of our cattle are raised on grass pastures. We take good care of them and see to it that they are well fed, well cared for and healthy. Should a cow become sick, we remove that individual from the herd and doctor it under a veterinarian’s directions so that it can be returned to the herd. Strict records are maintained for each individual cow as to medications received, health, etc.
We do not implant any growth producing or other hormones into our cattle. They graze on grass pastures and grow. When the animal is ready to be harvested, we take it to the processing plant.
We do also finish some cattle on grain feed. There is no difference in the price of grain finished and grass fed beef.
NO ANTIBIOTICS ?
We are very careful to ensure that none of the beef we sell comes from cattle that were treated with antibiotics. We are most concerned with the welfare of our cattle, so when a cow becomes sick, we call a veterinarian and give it the best medical care possible, including antibiotics when recommended by the veterinarian. When that happens, we take the cow out of our natural meat program.
We do NOT sell organic foods. It is very difficult to qualify as raising truly organic foods. While there are a very few ranches that qualify as organic, we have not tried to be one of them. Les Nunn attended a grass fed beef conference at Texas A & M last summer. The instructors told us that they knew of only two officially certified organic ranches in the entire state of Texas.
As indicated in other areas of this website, we do not inject our cattle with any growth hormones. We work under the close direction of veterinarians who guide us in the proper health care of our livestock on Bar Nunn Ranch.