Decoding Beef Terms: It Can Get Tricky

Decoding Beef Terms: It Can Get Tricky

In the world of beef, not all ranches, cuts, and flavor quality are created equal. We're here to help you decode the top 5 beef marketing terms you’ve seen or heard to help you have clarity for your next purchase.

Navigating the meat aisle can be daunting, with a wide array of terms shouting for your attention. To make an informed choice, familiarize yourself with these top 5 beef terms:


Cattle primarily fed on grass, promoting better health and natural growth.

This term can be misleading as many companies include 'Grass-Fed' but don't include the details on the finishing ration for the cattle. 

More clear verbiage is Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished and Grass-Fed, Grain Finished. This too has some nuance to it. When you hear 'grain finished' one might assume, they are only receiving grain. Typically, it's a mixed ration that includes hay, grass of some type and grain.  

For 85% of the life of Thomas Cattle Company beef, they graze feed in the Owyhee Mountains and our ranches in southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon. The cows and calves head up the mountains in March and then in October and November of each year, we are moving them back down the mountains to our homeplace in Oreana, ID. 


Certified organic beef comes from cattle raised without synthetic hormones, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Thomas Cattle Company does not claim our beef as organic or non-GMO because not all of the farmers who provide our cattle’s finishing grain are classified as organic or non-GMO, we can guarantee our Angus herd is at the heart of everything we do. We believe that the better care we take of our cattle, the better they will serve our end customer in their quality and product consistency. We take pride in our attention to detail in animal husbandry practices.


Contrary to popular belief, grain finished cattle are not fed a diet of grain their whole life. In fact, most of their life is spent consuming grass in pastures and mountain rangelands.  Instead these cattle receive a ration of grass hays, and grains in the period just before harvest. 

For the last 120-150 days of their life, our cattle are fed a ration of grass and alfalfa hay, with a side of grain, all grown in our local valley. Finishing with grain provides superior marbling, tenderness and rich taste in TCC premium all natural beef. Your purchase of TCC beef is not only supporting our ranch family but also the farm families that raise the feed we finish our all-natural beef on.


Cattle have access to outdoor spaces, ensuring a more natural and less stressful environment.

Thomas Cattle Company cattle are fortunate to graze most of their lives in wide open spaces in 10,000 - 15,000-acre allotments in the Owyhee Mountains of Idaho.  With elevations that run from 2,700 feet up to 7,200 feet, there is a wide expanse of terrain for the herd to roam free, for most of the year.

Thomas Cattle Company regularly partners with agencies such as the USDA and NRCS to implement programs to improve the range ground for our herd as well as other native species. TCC was featured in a 2017 BEEF magazine article, "Thomas Brothers make the ground better in Idaho's Owyhee Mountains." We believe that the better we care for our ranch land, the better we will leave it for children's future and all those who use it.


Beef labeled as "natural" contains no artificial ingredients or added colors, and it is minimally processed. Our certification also means there are no added hormones and no antibiotics given to the animal, ever. 

At Thomas Cattle Company, when we say you’re eating premium all natural Angus beef, we mean you’re eating premium all natural Angus beef with everything you need and nothing you don’t. We work with third party auditors to meet their stringent standards each year and are recertified as All Natural each year.  

There you have it, choosing grass-fed beef is a step towards a healthier lifestyle and a sustainable future. At Thomas Cattle Company, we take pride in offering you the very best, ensuring the meals you serve around the table are nothing short of exceptional. So, the next time you're feeding and fueling your family with TCC beef, know that you're indulging in a choice that benefits both you and your local Idaho community. 

Experience the Thomas Cattle Company difference today. Buy individual cuts, bundles or beef shares from our website. We offer nationwide shipping every Monday, Home Delivery in the Treasure Valley every Thursday and Friday, and free monthly pickups at select locations in the Treasure Valley and in Mountain Home, Idaho.

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