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  • Bobbi Smith

Have A Cow: Buying Beef in Bulk


Many years ago, mom would buy a half a side of beef and put it in the freezer. Nowadays, the art of buying in bulk is not as common yet it is economical and convenient. So how does this purchase of beef happen in todays day of convenience?

Well, first you must understand a few terms and backwards plan your yearly beef requirement. Note that the new packaging allows fresh frozen beef to remain delicious for two years. But you will probably consume more once you experience the wonderful taste of real grass fed Angus beef.

Now for the backwards planning piece. Lets say you consume 3 lbs of beef in 7 days, and you have a household of two which equals to 6 lbs in one week. Following this word problem, then 24 lbs of beef in the form of tacos, stews, hamburgers, fajitas, steaks are eaten in one month by two people. Therefore, a household of two would consume half a cow in less than 8 months. Read the following paragraphs to understand what a half a processed cow actually equates to in finished cuts of beef.

Ok, what is a side of beef? It is half of the cow carcass divided from the tail to the nose of the cow. For example, say a cow weighs 1000 lbs , then half a cow would be 500 lbs,- right.! Well, kind of. Actually, half a cow is determined by hanging weight. This is the weight after the skin, horns and hooves have been removed. So, half of 1,000 lb cow hanging on the hook, with a yield of 60% (600 lbs )in reality, is approximately 300 lbs. It is the hanging weight that you are purchasing and paying the butcher/processor cut into the packages your choice. There is only one additional cost that will be charged, a flat rate which is the kill fee per cow, usually around 40-50 dollars. As part of the my field to your table service, the cow, you have purchased will be driven to a nearby processor for you. Since cows are whole, you will purchase half of the cow with another customer unless you desire to purchase the whole cow.

The packaged cuts can be as simple as only steaks and hamburger or various traditional cuts of steak, brisket, roasts etc. You simply call the processor and they will guide you through the basic amounts of each selection. The hanging weight of 300 lbs will be reduced by the trimming, boning, aging and processing of the cuts and will roughly equal 180 lbs of finished cuts.

As a rule of thumb, 30 lbs of package beef will require a freezer space of 1 cubic foot; therefore, 180 lbs will require a freezer with at least a 6 cubic foot capacity. Simply as that!

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