How to buy a side of beef

Kris and I grow our own berries. We harvest walnuts from a tree in the yard, and glean hazelnuts from a friend's orchard. We keep fruit trees and a vegetable garden. For city folk, we try to grow as much of our own food as possible. But one thing we cannot grow is our own meat. We've discovered the next best thing, though: we buy beef in bulk from a local rancher. Every year, we pool our money with three other couples to purchase an animal when it's ready to be slaughtered. In early December, we bring home about one hundred pounds of meat.

Buying beef in bulk can be an excellent deal, but not for everyone. Buying a side of beef is a good choice if you like to cook, you eat a lot of meat, you have storage space, and quality is important to you.

The advantages of buying in bulk include:

  • Superior quality meat — Grocery-store meat is aged 5-7 days. Meat purchased from a local source is generally aged 14-21 days. (Note that not everyone prefers the taste of aged meat.)
  • Uniformity of product — Commercial ground beef is often produced using meat from dozens of animals. When you buy a side, the ground beef is produced from a single animal, which minimizes the risk of contamination.
  • Support of local business — I like the fact that buying beef from a local rancher allows me to support him, and to support the meat packer that processes the animal.
  • Constant costing — Because you're buying your meat all at once, it's easy to budget your costs for an extended period.
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store — Plus you no longer have to plan your meals around what's on sale.
  • Meat is packed for freezing — If you buy large quantities at the grocery store, you need to repack the meat to freeze it. When purchase a side of beef, this is done for you.
  • Excellent pricing — Buying a side of beef can save you money over regular grocery store prices. However, it is possible to save more at the grocery store by watching for sales.

The advantages of buying beef at the supermarket are:

  • Less storage space required — When you buy your meat in small quantities, as you need it, you don't need a spare freezer.
  • You can obtain the best possible pricing — If you stock up on your favorite cuts during sales, you can obtain the best possible pricing.
  • You can pick your cuts of meat — If you only use certain cuts of meat, a grocery store is your best option because you can select the cuts you like. When you buy in bulk, you receive a variety of cuts, some of which you may not use.
  • Smaller investment — Purchasing even a quarter of an animal costs about $300. You can go to the grocery store and pick up a pound of hamburger for $2.50 on special.
  • Less work — To buy meat at your grocery store, you simply select it from the refrigerator case. To buy a side of beef, you need to find a source, perhaps find other beef-lovers to split the cost, transport the meat, and find storage space.

The advantages of purchasing a side of beef outweigh the disadvantages for me. You may disagree.

How do you find a source for bulk beef? Ask around. Mention to friends that you're looking. Talk to your local butcher. Contact nearby cattle farms. It shouldn't be difficult to find a good source.

Most places allow customers to purchase meat in a variety of ways. You can buy a whole cow. You can buy a side (which is half a cow). You can buy a quarter. Or you can simply purchase wholesale cuts. Around here, it is common for several families to pool resources to purchase a single animal. For example, we divide the costs with three other couples, and when the beef is ready, we each get a quarter of the meat.

This year, our cow was slaughtered on October 18th. It hung for two weeks, and then was cut and wrapped. The cow dressed out at 560 pounds, or 140 pounds per couple. The meat cost $1.65/lb. The cut and wrap charge was $0.40/lb, and there was a $40 kill fee. (All costs apply to hanging weight, which is different than the actual weight of the meat you take home.) Basically, we paid $300 for our share of the meat, which amounted to roughly 83 pounds divided as follows:

  • 21 packages of ground beef totaling 47 pounds, 14.3 ounces of meat
  • 5 roasts totaling 12 pounds, 4.1 ounces of meat
  • 15 packages of steak totaling 18 pounds, 14.8 ounces of meat
  • 2 miscellaneous cuts totaling 3 pounds, 15.3 ounces of meat

Our net cost was $3.61 per pound. Compare that to the prices listed in this week's circulars:

Safeway

  • London Broil $2.49/lb (regularly $4.59/lb)
  • Sirloin Steak $4.49/lb
  • Chuck Cross Rib Roast $3.99/lb
  • Tri-Tip Roast $5.99/lb
  • Extra Lean (7% fat) Ground Beef $3.49/lb (regularly $3.99/lb)
  • Boneless Rib Roast $8.99/lb (regularly $9.99/lb)

Albertson's

  • Sirloin Steak $2.99/lb (or $4.99/lb for the high-quality stuff)
  • Bone-In Rib Roast $5.99/lb (or $7.99/lb for the high-quality stuff)

In this case, shopping at the supermarket would be more expensive, but not by much. If you watch for sales, supermarket beef will cost even less. Buying in bulk gives you better quality meat, though. It also comforts me to believe that the beef I eat is not mass-produced feedlot stuff. For more information, consult these resources:

Finally, a short cautionary tale. Some friends bought a side of beef in late July. They loaded it into the upright freezer in their garage, but accidentally left the door ajar. When they returned to the garage, they were alarmed to find the beef thawing in the heat. I think they were able to salvage most of it. It's a scary thing, though, to think you've just lost hundreds of dollars of meat!

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Reasonable
Reasonable
13 years ago

The math does not work out for a side of beef. Based on your numbers, you can buy ground beef for $2.49 (hint: ask the butcher to ground your London broil)or 47 pounds for 117, 12 pounds of roast for 48, 18 pound of steak for 6.99 for 126, and 3 misc pounds for, say, total of 9, resulting in exactly 300 cost. The grocery store meat will be fresher (unfrozen), you will not be committed to eating meat whether you like it or not, and will be able to take advantage of good sales . Also, you are paying… Read more »

ND Dave
ND Dave
9 years ago
Reply to  Reasonable

In reality its all about the taste. I grew up on a farm in ND ate a lot of grass fed beef and then moved away at the age of 18. I can definitely taste the difference. If you have never had farm raised grass fed beef you are doing yourself an injustice. Yeah sure you get some sirloin steaks and some stew beef but when you get a 1/4 of a beef around 150 for $375 or $2.50 per pound cut and wrapped your taste buds will thank you for making the right choice. Oh and trust me the… Read more »

REJ1969
REJ1969
8 years ago
Reply to  ND Dave

I have to agree. I grew up on a ranch and the sheer fact that you have to drain fat off of store bought hamburger is disgusting to me. The meat that I get is lean, flavorful, grass fed, free range beef. I just got a half and it cost me $600 for 236# – processed and packaged. I got: 12 strips of short ribs 12 prime steaks (had the prime rib cut into steaks) 6 sirloin tip steaks 6 sirloin steak 16 t-bones 4 porters 6 filets 4 Chuck Roasts 2 Arm Roasts 1 rump roast 1 Pikes Peak… Read more »

Amy
Amy
6 years ago
Reply to  REJ1969

Where do you buy your side of cow? I was going in with some friends but it seems like the two times i have done this the cuts i get are very inconsistent and this last time around i only got 6 small packages of ground beef. I didnt get a lot of steaks or roasts.. it was maybe 60 pounds of meat. i was expecting more i guess and similar cuts to what i received the first time. I feel like in order to get what i think is fair i would need to purchase the whole cow as… Read more »

Mickey
Mickey
7 years ago
Reply to  Reasonable

Yes, it can be cheaper to buy at the grocery store, especially if you buy nothing but hamburger on sale, but the cost depends on where you live. 6.99 a lb for steak? Maybe. It depends on the cut, is it New York striploin cut, or T bone, or Porterhouse? Or is it all sirloin? One of the biggest reasons to buy it, is you might be able to check out the place where it’s cut up and ensure that you get all the meat from the same cow. These days many grocery stores get ground beef already ground from… Read more »

rich
rich
13 years ago

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t necessarily have to know a rancher to take advantage of this kind of thing. Growing up, my parents used to buy a side or hindquarter of beef from the butcher instead of from a farmer — same idea, same packaging, and from what I can tell similar prices. Looking around on the web, I see some butchers who are selling a side for just over $2/lb. You lose about 1/3 of it in preparation, so that comes in just under $3/lb for the packaged meat. The gotcha, of course, is that you get all… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
13 years ago

I’ve been pondering trying this the last few years, and you’ve just about convinced me to give it a whirl as soon as we can find a cheap freezer (and own a house with a garage in which to put said freezer ). Also, I’m impressed that you guys grow most of your veggies–could you tell us more about how you’ve made that happen–how much yard you need, costs involved, time investment, etc.? I’m pondering getting into more of that once we get a house (we currently have an herb garden on the patio, but that’s about all we can… Read more »

Lance Fisher
Lance Fisher
13 years ago

Or you can go shoot an elk or a deer!

William Wallets
William Wallets
13 years ago

It’s not like I could ever pull this off, but I have to say this is pretty neat. Do you have any ideas about how much you’d save over a given period of time?

-William
A Financial Revolution

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

William, I’m not sure there’s any actual cost savings. From what I can tell, it’s basically a wash financially. But by buying a side of beef, you’re generally getting better quality meat. There are other advantages, too, but I’m not going to rehash the list from above. 🙂

jcjohn
jcjohn
13 years ago

I think the most cost effective option is to go vegetarian. 😉

Alexis V
Alexis V
7 years ago
Reply to  jcjohn

True, sometimes going vegetarian could be cheaper, but the human body wasn’t made to be vegetarian. It can’t survive and be TRULY healthy on just vegetables and fruits. The human body NEEDS meats and fish and eggs to thrive. You can “survive” without eating animal products, but you won’t be very healthy for very long. Is meat bad for you? It can be, but not if you eat it in moderation (like everything else in this world). Do animals have feelings? yes. Do animals want to be killed? probably not. But they were put on this earth for us to… Read more »

Casey
Casey
13 years ago

It’s also worth mentioning that if you buy directly from a rancher you KNOW what happened to that cow. My wife and I tend to buy only organic when it comes to meat/poultry/dairy products. We’ve discussed doing this (her parent’s live in NE Oregon and know serveral ranchers) and I forget what the cost would end up being for an hormone free cow and how that would break down per pound. In the case of someone buying only organic beef it might end up being a better deal to buy in bulk like this.

MIchael Langford
MIchael Langford
13 years ago

According to http://www.stretcher.com/stories/05/05feb28a.cfm
their chest freezer costs $8 a month to operate. That’s *easy* to recoup in reduced costs. While raw meat can be easily stored in the freezer, cooked food can too, saving money on nights you just don’t have it in your to cook. If having cooked food around in the freezer is sufficent motivation to avoid going to a resturant, then many people will be better off buying an additional freezer.

–Michael

betamax
betamax
13 years ago

I’m not a vegetarian, but lots of red meat is a factor in colon cancer. Not to mention the excess of protein in meat that your body turns to fat; and obesity in turn is linked to cancer and a myriad of other health problems.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3z2ex

Eat cheap, but eat healthy. The traditional North American is not healthy, which is why we have a slew of common health problems that are practically nonexistent in other (generally poorer) nations. Nobody needs to buy a whole side of beef every year.

Mary
Mary
13 years ago

We’ve started buying organic/traditionally raised meat and free-range eggs from supermarkets and butcher shops, and make up for the additional expense by eating vegetarian more often. I don’t think the two of us would come close to going through a side of beef a year.

BTW, your picture shows Jersey (dairy) cattle instead of beef cattle. They’re pretty, but a milking cow at the end of her life doesn’t make very tender steaks. *g*

Roger
Roger
13 years ago

I think the biggest advantage is that you’re supporting a local farmer (generally–there are cattle within sight of my desk here that you can purchase a share in, this may not be true for an urban dweller) who, in general, probably raises his cattle in a more humane way than a commercial operation…and doesn’t pump it full of antibiotics and feed it ground-up other animals. I expect the cost is a wash, but you can help out your local farmer. Personally, I only eat beef when I have a burger these days, and that’s once a month if that. I… Read more »

Allie
Allie
13 years ago

Another vegetarian here. Look at those cute little cows in that picture!! Poor little cows. 🙁

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago
Reply to  Allie

Why the heck are you even reading an article on buying a side of beef if you are vegetarian?

CJ
CJ
5 years ago
Reply to  Allie

Meat is murder. Tasy, tasty murder…

Roger
Roger
13 years ago

Look at those cute little cows in that picture!

Yes, they look delicious. 😉

Ray
Ray
9 years ago
Reply to  Roger

MMMMMM, Porterhouse, ribeye, tbone. MMMM

Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

Buying meat like that didn’t work well for us for a couple of reasons. I rarely buy the more expensive cuts of meat so though I got better meat I ended up spending the same or more. The other problem was when I had a freezer full of meat we ended up eating more meat. I didn’t try to stretch the meat as far (in casseroles and the like) and didn’t make as many non meat meals. What has worked for us since we moved here is harvesting the deer from our land. Better for you than beef and practically… Read more »

Bryan E
Bryan E
13 years ago

Another risk to whole-cow purchase is that the beef can end up with a very bad flavor depending on how the animal is killed (sorry).

Family members ended up pitching a whole freezer full of beef because the meat tasted terrible due to the cow being killed in a way that scared the animal. Apparently, a calm cow results in better meat.

Who’d have thought of that??

Leo
Leo
13 years ago

I became vegan about 4-5 months ago, and I’ve saved tons of money not buying meat. If you don’t do it for health or compassionate reasons, financial reasons are just as good.

Also note: eggs and milk are just as cruel as meat. Read up on it … you might be surprised.

And yes, meat is extremely unhealthy for you, so you’ll end up paying more in medical costs over the long run.

Becoming vegan is actually very easy, and while you might think you’ll miss the meat, I assure you, after a few weeks, you really won’t.

Charlie Park
Charlie Park
13 years ago

We do this, and the ranch we buy from just instituted “family packs” of 50 pounds, so we didn’t have to get a quarter of a cow (which is what we had done before). I don’t know how the “family pack” worked out, price-wise, but the quarter-of-a-cow was $3.33 / pound — for grass-fed, “free range” cattle from a local farmer. We also, as Lance Fisher (comment 4) commented above, eat deer from our land. A neighbor hunts on our land, and, in payment, gives us deer meat. It’s a sweet deal. Well, a “slightly gamey” deal, but it’s good… Read more »

cribcage
cribcage
13 years ago

Buying in bulk gives you better quality meat… You pointed out one reason why this is a matter of opinion (aging), but I’ll add another: freezing. Frozen meat isn’t as tasty as fresh meat. My family kept a freezer in our basement and ordered groceries in bulk for several years while I was a kid, and I’ve had the opportunity to go from fresh to frozen, and back to fresh – and in my opinion, frozen meat loses something. I buy plenty of groceries in bulk; I’ve got a shelf stacked with paper towels and a cabinet filled with dishwasher… Read more »

donny
donny
13 years ago

Go vegetarian.
A cheaper and more compassionate option. 🙂

downercow
downercow
13 years ago

The problem with going vegetarian is that vegetarians are even more expensive than $3.61/lb—and they taste gamey.

Tim Deniston
Tim Deniston
13 years ago

“Meat is packed for freezing – If you buy large quantities at the grocery store, you need to repack the meat to freeze it. When purchase a side of beef, this is done for you.”

What’s wrong with leaving it in the store’s packaging? What supplies would I need to repack it and what are the proper techniques?

Leo
Leo
13 years ago

@Charlie Park: it’s good to hear that you are trying to reduce the cruelty of eating eggs and milk, although I doubt that it’s completely cruelty free.

The other aspect of eggs and milk, tho, is that they are unhealthy for you. High in cholesterol and saturated fat when you can get the same nutrients they provide from plants, without the bad stuff.

gotrootdude
gotrootdude
13 years ago

I disagree with buying meats in bulk, unless you’re planning to consume it within a week. Here’s why: 1. Meats can generally be found marked down 1/3rd of the price or lower locally on the day of the expiration date. 2. You pay an average of around $15 or more dollars a year for each square foot of storage of anything in your buildings just for the space. Then everything in the space has a temperature cost to heat and cool. 3. The only real reasoning to buying meats in bulk, I can think of, is if you’re using it… Read more »

Beth
Beth
13 years ago

Lance and Stephanie: Another venison fan here! Another thing that you can do if you don’t have the time/resources/etc. for going hunting yourself is to find a butcher who specializes in game animals. Hunters will drop off their kills and then never bother to come pick them up, and – especially toward the end of the hunting season, when their freezers are getting full – the butchers sell it at break-even just to get rid of it. I can routinely get venison, antelope, and elk for $2-$3/lb. (or less – I’ve paid 50 cents a pound in late February/March), and… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
13 years ago

I have a few tips for additional savings preparing food in bulk. Check out http://beyond-cooking.blogspot.com/

Ed
Ed
13 years ago

I have purchased several sides of beef. One was especially tasty, another just decent but better than any store bought. I like the juiciness of the meat, and if you have a hormone free source that certainly adds to the value. I would say that this type of purchase is not for the penny pincher, rather, for those who enjoy beef regularly, want to avoid the chain stores for the sake of quality, and aren’t afraid to spend some money on a product they will enjoy. One suggestion when freezing beef, or anything for that matter, is to not freeze… Read more »

John
John
13 years ago

What’s with you know-it-all vegetarians. Shut up. Do I go to Vegetarian sites and make silly postings about the benefits of eating beef? No.

Nobody cares what you think about eating meat. So how about this – get a life.

Kara
Kara
13 years ago

For general information, if you are going to freeze anything that you want to retain fresh flavor and texture use dry ice. Freeze it with that first and then put it in your deep freezer, it will keep that really fresh texture and flavor for months. Another good advantage to having a nice freezer full of meat is that when you want a nice steak dinner you dont have to run to the store. Handy. By the way, While I fully respect the choice not to eat meat. I find it disrespectful to try to make me do so as… Read more »

mapgirl
mapgirl
13 years ago

Usually if you go to a farmer’s market, there is a rancher with butchered meats. Talk to them about it. If you can’t handle a share in a cow, try buying a spring lamb. I think a whole lamb is only 40lbs. I thought about doing this and splitting it with friends. The ranchers at the farmer’s markets around DC area are open to this sort of thing, so ask around. You might find organic meats, or at least something fresher than expected and perhaps even local pick up at the market instead of driving out to the slaughterhouse/meat packer.

Paul
Paul
13 years ago

We were discussing buying beef by the side last night around the camp fire. Someone brought up the term “tight side” of the beef. He was told that a cow always sits down on the same side and when it gets up, muscles and tendons get torn on that side, and that’s called the “loose side”, the other side of the animal is the tight side. The tight side is supposed to be better. No one ever heard of this and one of the guys worked in a packing house for 20 years. Is this an urban legend or does… Read more »

Bonnie Chandler
Bonnie Chandler
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

Probably the only chance I’ll ever get to pass this on. My father, born 1913, made friends with the owner of a butcher shop in Tyler, TX in the 1960’s. He used to call us to let Dad know when either a tight side or loose side came in the shop. I never knew which was which or why, but my dad made the tastiest BBQ in the neighborhood, i.e. back when nobody knew what “grilling” was – LOL!

John K
John K
13 years ago

Sometimes, the side of beef does make better sense. My employer also owns a ranch/farm and late in the year, separates the best of his cattle from the rest. He takes very special care of these cattle with special feeds. Then around May, he starts sending them to a good local butcher who kills, cuts and wraps the meat. We have to pay the kill and wrap fee, but our employer only charges us $1.35 /lb hanging weight for the side. Considering the time and special feeds, this is a bargain for the high quality meat I couldn’t even buy… Read more »

John K
John K
13 years ago

For the person that asked about the difference in wrapping for store sale and long term freezer storage, the difference is big! When you want to freeze, you want to get as much air out as possible. Most of your “tray packs” from the store are covered only with a very thin layer of cellophane. It traps air inside the package and fails to protect from ice crystals growing inside the package, as these are not vaccumed packed. They have also been exposed to warmer temperatures while waiting to be wrapped and might get contaminated by other meat cuts(your store… Read more »

JohnK
JohnK
13 years ago

I just received my new 1/2 cow and I am excited!!!! The cow was killed sometime during the week of of May 27th, aged about 14 days, and then cut up. I picked it up on June 16th. The half hanging weight was 349 lbs. I figure the waste from this cow at 20%, leaving about 279 lbs of cut meat. I paid 12.50 kill fee for the 1/2 cow, and .45/lb for a cut and vaccuum wrap fee, plus $1.35/lb hanging weight meat cost. Before you continue reading, this is not Choice or Select meat. This is Prime or… Read more »

SavingDiva
SavingDiva
13 years ago

I think this a great post! Any time you can support a local business, I think it’s great. You save the environment from the fuel needed to transport this meat to a supermarket…anyway, this isn’t really an option for me right now (no space in an apartment), but I will definitely keep this in mind in the future.

Dave
Dave
12 years ago

Buy your beef in bulk directly from a farmer. Have the farmer transport the cow ( or hog) to a local butcher live(there are more out there than you think) pay the butcher separately. I worked for a national retail chain of stores. You get all the cuts from one animal with a farmer. Your hamburger isnt made of 45 animals that came in that day and yes, parts you didnt want. You get choice meat. It would be better to get a freezer full if you have a freezer or split it up. Filets, choice cut steaks which can… Read more »

Tom
Tom
12 years ago

Was a vegan for 5-6 years, switched back to full-on red meat after 9/11. Look, don’t let these vegetarians fool you…vegetarianism ain’t cheap. Once you consider that you shop at whole foods and other organic grocers (who just jack up the price) and then you have to eat like 5X at any sitting just to feel like you’ve eaten anything, it all evens out.

Plus, I was raised on a farm, and only a city slicker would have compassion for a cow. They’re just about the dumbest animals that ever walked the face of the earth.

Tom
Tom
12 years ago

Here’s another thing….do you *really* think that what you’re buying at HEB or Randalls is fresh meat???? Come on, most of that stuff was killed months ago and frozen somewhere, then delivered to the stores. You’re just paying for the privilege of using the middle man.

To betamax
To betamax
12 years ago

To betamax:
in response to your comment about no one needing to buy a whole side of beef a year. I think you need to get out of the construct of thinking about the way you live.
Personally I am a bigger person-weigh 260 and am about 8-10% body fat. I eat a lot, and need a lot of calories to keep my body running as good as it can.
To your point about obesity does it have to do more with eating redmeat or not working out?
You might want to rethink your point.
T

Melanie
Melanie
12 years ago

I grew up on a ranch and we always had meat from our own cattle. We were also the only family I know of with two upright freezers in the house! (Dad usually brought home an elk every year too.) It has been hard to adjust to buying meat in a grocery store. If you are lucky, you might be able to buy frozen meat in bulk from your local butcher if you don’t have freezer space for purchasing a whole animal all at once. (we sure don’t)! Many butchers offer ‘package deals’ too, which depending on your tastes are… Read more »

Brian
Brian
12 years ago

I provided sides and quarters from four steers last year. They were all satisfied and will be repeat customers this year. They all commented on the better taste of the meat than what they were used to getting at the store.

Nonion
Nonion
12 years ago

For the poster who said noone needs to buy a side of beef at a time. I am a single parent of five growing children. If I didn’t buy meat in bulk, our budget would be even thinner than it is. I also put up about 700lbs. of fruit and veggies a year. Truth be told, I don’t think I could afford quality food for this crew if I didn’t do that. I also barter quite a bit, being fortunate enough to live near a coastal community. So the effort and time put in to doing things in bulk provides… Read more »

AsgardAcres
AsgardAcres
12 years ago

Part of why my family bought a small farm was because I grew up near a national meat processing plant … and knew what happened there. This company has regular expose’s of their practices, and is still in business. Why? People like to eat meat, and it’s easy to get it from the store. And cheapness counts. Growing up in Ag country, we got the same farm supply catalogs as everyone else. I still get them — and elastrator is an elastrator. I am amazed at the pages of “implants” that are available for cattle. Anabolic steroids and hormone suppressants,… Read more »

brad
brad
12 years ago

Mary, from a few lines up, you have just revealed your ignorance on the subject as most of the beef consumed in the US comes from Holsteins (a dairy cow). You don’t get the milk cow at the end of her life you get a fattened steer. And Jersey is excellent meat, when fed properly.

JohnK
JohnK
12 years ago

Hey Guys, don’t forget the theme was saving money, not attacking others. My rancher knows what cows are good for meat…so does my butcher. I don’t depend on pictures for that.

On that same note, ask your butcher who kills and cleans the animials if he or she knows a good source of other meats. If your butcher can also smoke meats, he or she can be a good source of other meats, such as pork. Fresh, and smoked cuts work great together to fill out that freezer when beef is not always plentiful.

Anne
Anne
12 years ago

What no one seems to know, is when you buy beef from the grocery store, the age is not really known, mostly we go by the color and the date on the package. I read recently that the FDA allows butchers to subject the meat to carbon monoxide to make the “red” color stand out more in beef. Also, most meat from the grocery store is previously frozen, it is not fresh. So the argument about “frozen meat lacks something in taste” isn’t a guaranteed sell either. I just talked to a farmer whom I will be buying a quarter… Read more »

William B
William B
12 years ago

Buying a side of beef is not only economic but more healthy. The economics of it are clear. You cut out the middle man – store. Even though you need to have your beef butchered and packaged, this is still a small price. If you have a freezer, the cost is still small. With the freezer packed the electricity used is very small. No need to run the compressor to cool air. When your freezer runs empty you can store water in the freezer for a variety of uses. Buying your beef allows you to pick how the beef was… Read more »

xx
xx
12 years ago

Oh dear. While I am completely in favor of buying meat from local farmers and ranchers, as a Nebraska farm girl, I must point out that the photo you posted is of a dairy cow, not a beef cow. If you bought a Jersey or Brown Swiss steer, it certainly won’t taste as good as a Hereferd-Angus mix.

Dawn
Dawn
11 years ago

Hi all I grew up butchering on a farm in Louisiana. We recently bought a small place in SC. Between the economy and food scares both here and from China we have recently started raising our own free range organic chickens, goat, lamb and hogs. I will also return to my roots as a hunter which will provide venison, turkey, duck and rabbit. We are debating adding a cow for slaughter as well. We also grown our own organic fruits and veggies. My husband is “city folk” so for the cow I am looking for a local rancher that slaughters.… Read more »

Shannon
Shannon
11 years ago

My neighbor is a cattle farmer who has offered to sell me a steer for $900. The local butcher says it will cost .29/lb for processing. Is this a good deal? I have never done this before, but it sounds like a good idea. I have my husband, myself, and 6 kids to feed. Also, the butcher says that I can’t make the processing appointment, the farmer has to. Why is that? It would be easier if I paid the farmer for the cow and then took the cow to the butcher and paid them. Is there some sort of… Read more »

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