We have nearly finished eating our way through the quarter of a grass-fed cow that we bought last summer. The fact that we buy our beef in quarters is not remarkable, but it is perhaps a bit more unusual considering that I don’t care for the taste of beef.
Why buy a quarter of cow, then? Well, for three main reasons: Jesse enjoys beef; I think it’s important to have variety in our diets; and I believe grass-fed beef is a very healthy food. The result of all this is that I have long been determined to make beef a regular part of our diet.
There is, however, the whole not liking the taste thing. I don’t detest beef, exactly, but the taste of plain beef is not something I’ve ever found appetizing. As a result, I’ve had to come up with methods of preparing beef that make it enjoyable for me (or at the very least, not completely unappetizing). For anyone who’s in the same boat, here’s what works for me.
Use Bold Seasonings
Liberally spicing your beef with herbs and other seasonings can make that beefy flavor barely noticeable. I detest plain ground beef, but once spiced for taco salad or pasta sauce I find it a delicious part of my meal. Dishes with bold seasonings work particularly well.
In cases where you may not want to so completely cover up the beef taste, try offsetting the flavor by using a strongly flavored marinade. I’ve had good success with this for steaks and beef kabobs. Marinades incorporating onions and garlic have worked particularly well.
Distract with Other Flavors
If aggressively seasoning the beef itself isn’t a good option, try to distract from that beefy flavor by serving the beef with other strongly-flavored ingredients. I find that well-sautéed onions are nearly always a good choice for beef. Depending on what you’re serving, you might also try things like avocado, cheese, or tomato. Or, opt for a sauce. I’ve found that beef kabobs, for instance, are excellent as part of a peanut sauce stir-fry.
Vary Your Beef Dishes
We eat beef nearly every day. It doesn’t feel repetitive, though, because I make sure that I’m mixing up how I serve the beef. For example, a typical week might include: meatballs, Mexican-spiced roast on taco salad, steak, ground beef in pasta sauce, pot roast, and stew meat in a soup. Although those are all beef, they feel very different because each dish is distinctive.
Experiment with Different Textures
I hate loose ground beef in soup. I’m not sure why but I find the combination of the beefy taste and texture highly unappetizing. I have no problem with stew meat in soup, however, and ground meat as meatballs or in a sauce doesn’t bother me at all. Weird? Maybe. But I’m all about trying to find what works for you. Experiment with different textures of beef to see what you prefer.
Don’t Overdo Your Less Preferred Dishes
Despite utilizing the above techniques, I find steak and hamburgers to be a little too much on the beefy side for my taste. I’m completely fine eating them for one meal, but repeating that same meal anytime soon has a tendency to make me feel like staying away from beef for a while.
To avoid this, I find it crucial to plan to only occasionally serve these less preferred dishes. Since we’re a family of two, this also means that I have to deliberately plan for using up the leftovers. I usually utilize Jesse for this task. He is very happy taking leftover steak to work as a snack, and when we cook hamburgers he sticks the leftovers in the freezer for future lunches.
Boost Attractiveness of Other Factors
Sometimes I’m willing to put up with an only so-so dish because it boasts other attractive features. It may be absurdly economical, for instance, or maybe it’s something that I can easily cook in bulk ahead of time and then pull out of the freezer for quick meals. Or, maybe it’s something that Jesse’s happy to cook, leaving me free to do other things. When all else fails, attaching one of these reasons to one of your less preferred meals can be helpful in making sure you’re not dreading eating your beef.
Do you like beef? If not, how do you cope?
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