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The main difference between the two comes from the diet the cattle are fed. First, let’s start by identifying the two:
Grass Fed Beef means the cattle have only ever been fed grass and other foraged foods like alfalfa. Grain Fed Beef means the cattle might have been grass-fed at some point in it’s life, but it has also had a diet consisting of grains such as corn.
Think of it this way, Grass Fed cattle live a life of essentially only eating salads made of grass, whereas Grain Fed cattle will also have sweeter food like corn and oats. For this reason, Grass Fed cows tend to have leaner muscles and not as much fat marbled in the meat. Grass Fed cattle also tend to have more access to pastures to graze (this is certainly true of our Grass-Fed cows) which also contributes to the leaner beef.
For this reason, Biltong made with Grass Fed beef tends to be a little leaner and thus a little drier than its Grain Fed counterpart. Grain Fed Beef tends to have more fat marbling and thus will stay more moist during the Biltong drying process.
When it comes to the taste and flavor of Droewors, we believe that they both taste very similar and nearly indistinguishable. Some of our customers have said that they prefer the flavor of Grass Fed Droewors due to the fat being more ‘buttery’.
Less Fat. As mentioned above, Grass Fed Cattle have a leaner diet and typically more room to graze, both of which leads to less fat.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids. About 50% more than Grain Fed Beef.
Key Nutrients. According to Health.com, Grass-Fed Beef has more key nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and beneficial fat called CLA (conjugated lionleic acid). We should note that in general all beef (regardless of diet) is a great source of protein, zinc, vitamin B12 and more.
Using the information above, you should be able to decide for yourself what is more important, the slightly more tender taste of the Grain Fed Biltong, or the additional benefits of Grass Fed Beef.