New to Grass-Fed,
Can you tell us the city and state where the grassfed beef was raised? When did you purchase the beef, was it recently or in some years past? Beef is not cheap to produce and not cheap to process, so a side of beef is a significant investment for both the producer and the customer. I feel like a producer should not try to sell something that their customer would not be happy with. Did you contact the beef producer and ask them if you could return the beef that you did not use? If they feel that they have produced a good product and they have a large group of customers that purchase their product, they should not have a problem finding someone else that is interested in purchasing the beef and refunding your money.
My own opinion is that if you do not have a medical condition that prevents you from eating grain fed beef, then all-natural grass pastured grain fed beef (finished on grass and grain with no hormones, antibiotics, or ionophores) will give you the best flavor for a very good value.
I have been studying the subject of grass-fed beef some more. The American Grassfed Association has a published list of standards for grassfed and grass pastured beef. The most important standards are:
"3.1.1 All livestock production must be pasture/grass/forage based."
"3.1.2 Grass and forage, shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g. legumes, Brassicas), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state."
"3.1.4 Animals cannot be fed grain."
"3.1.5 Animals must have continuous access to pasture and forage appropriate to the species."
"3.1.6 Forage is defined as any herbaceous plant material that can be grazed or harvested for feeding, with the exception of grain."
What this means is that grassfed cattle can be fed almost any plant material, except for grain. The most significant health benefit of grassfed beef is that it can be eaten by people who have celiac disease, wheat allergies, or corn allergies.
Since grassfed beef is not strictly limited to eating only grass, but can also be fed forage, anyone with a knowledge of the nutritional content of common forages and the nutritional requirements of beef cattle should be able to select a diet that would greatly improve the taste, tenderness, and marbling of grassfed beef (make it much better than feedlot beef). I'm going to go as far to say that someone could produce a bright red muscle/white fat, extremely tender, choice to prime, market ready carcass at 16 months of age if they feed a British breed (Angus or Hereford) steer. Assuming that a forage based diet costs twice as much as a grain based diet, an average cost of $5.50 per pound of carcass weight, or $8.40 per pound of retail product for all cuts (steaks, roasts, ground beef, cut and wrapped) would not be out of line. Which all means that if the beef is fed properly, in a little over a year's time you could be eating grassfed beef that makes you say "I have never had beef this good before in my entire life".