Purchasing a Side of Beef

Before buying a 1/4 cow or side of beef there are several points to consider. Are you comfortable preparing or experimenting with different cuts of meat? As nice as it would be, cows are not walking filet mignon. There are tougher parts (sirloin tip), there are tender parts (filet), there are

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  1. #1
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    Default Purchasing a Side of Beef

    Before buying a 1/4 cow or side of beef there are several points to consider.

    Are you comfortable preparing or experimenting with different cuts of meat? As nice as it would be, cows are not walking filet mignon. There are tougher parts (sirloin tip), there are tender parts (filet), there are parts that arenít in every recipe book (sometimes organ are included).

    Do you mind the taste or texture of frozen meat? Personally, it doesnít bother me in the least, but some insist on fresh only.

    Do you have adequate storage space? It really is a LOT of meat.

    Do you eat out often? If the answer is yes, it may be difficult to consume the quantity of meat in a reasonable length of time.

    If you have a small family, consider asking others and divvy up the cost through a joint purchase. If you take that route, you will need to decide before hand how the cuts will be divided. Once the meat has been cut it needs to be frozen as soon as possible.

    If you still believe a side of beef is the choice for you, first you will need to locate a source. Word of mouth, LocalHarvest.org, Eat Wild, and your state universityís agriculture extension offices are all great resources for finding high quality meat.

    Most sales are based on the hanging weight, this is the weight before it is cut into pieces. Some bone and some fat is included in this price that will go to waste. Also before determining your final cost ask if there are any additional fees for butchering, cutting, and wrapping.

    Call the ranch, farmer, or butcher and ask about how they handle beef orders.

    * Do they need to be placed well ahead of time, perhaps only during a specific time of year?
    * Where is the animal raised? If you arenít squeamish, can you see the animal?
    * Where is the animal butchered?

    * How long is the meat aged?
    * Is it processed on site or at a separate facility? Is the facility licensed?
    * Will you as the customer need to be present when the meat is cut and wrapped?
    * Will the butcher walk you through your options when choosing cuts?



    Source: Home-ec101

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    We raise our own beef. And for some who are think about raising your own or just buying it from a butcher, these are some great points to consider. You know who your getting it from, and are they well known. Do your homework before you raise one or buy one. But I do have to say, it is well worth raising your own, if you can. So much more fresher than whats in the stores.
    Tonia

    Wisdom is doing now what you will be happy with later on.

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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    I wish I could raise my own. That would be a great homeschooling project. But, on the other hand, the children might become attached to the animal which would be slaughtered on day for food. They don't like to see the ladybugs die. They know where the meat comes from, but they have never had a 1st degree relationship with the animal. We do not have the space anyway. We live in a suburb.

    Do you have any more advice for a person looking to purchase meat from an independent farmer? What type of "homework" is needed.
    April
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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    Well I don't home school. So I'm not really sure what kind of homework you are looking for. I can give you information that I know on my end. People that raise their own beef will choice which kind of cow they would like to raise. We choice a Holtsten, I know it's a dairy cow. But the meat is very lean, so that's why we choice that breed. Angus is usually one that most choose. But each to their own on this. If you do some research on it, you'll find that there are other ones to choice from, so many of them. He was grain fed, and did not receive any steriods at all. Only shots that we gave were to keep him from getting dieases, so that when he was butchered we didn't consume bad meat. And we also neutered him (if that's what you want to call it). So that his hormones didn't take over. We kept him in a lot away from everything else, it wasn't to big or to small. Wish I could help you more, but that's really all I have. Another thing that we did to keep the kids from getting to attached, we keep him at my DH's uncles place. So the only time they saw him was when we brought over the grain. We bought grain weekly, and would pour it in the grain bin and kept it full. We have other farm animals at our place, and this also kept him alway from them. We eat some this weekend, and it was the best beef we've ever had. It did have a little bet stronger taste to it, but not bad at all. Ours hung for 14 days at the butcher shop before it was processed. The longer it hangs the better it is. We could have let it hang longer, but we were out and needed it done. This isn't for everyone, some people feel it's cruel, but for those who do it meat it's worth it. We bought our cow for 0.00, and then the cost of the shots and the grain. Then the cost of processing it. So I'm not saying that it's cheap, but considering that we won't have to buy any beef for several months, for us it's worth the cost and hard work put into it. And we know that it's all natural, compared to what you may buy. I hope this helps you some with the homework. Might need to look up some stuff on the internet to see what you can find.
    Last edited by tsgal; 02-09-2009 at 07:15 AM. Reason: misspelled word
    Tonia

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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    Thanks for the info, Tonia! You helped a lot!

    As far as homeschooling is concerned, I was looking at owning an animal which produces food in a 4-H type of way. You could learn biology & veterinary science, math, nutrition, etc. So many ways to go with teaching when raising your own food. I would have had my 13yo do something with this. I could still have him do some internet research for raising livestock.

    I wish I knew somewhere I could board one for cheap, but alas I do not know many people around here and the ones I know are not farmers.
    April
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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    You might check with area farmers to see if any are willing to work with your home schooler's! We've worked out a deal with several farmers in our area and we have about 30 home schooler's that participate each year. They have a day they spend out planting crops in the Spring time. In the fall they spend a day harvesting crops (my daughters love running the harvesters in the huge corn fields!) They spend a day in winter helping run a huge dairy farm. they spend a day with the Amish learning about horses and how they grow their crops and a day a a huge Indian Horse farm (My daughter was just hired there to train horses!) they spend a day in spring time at a huge green house farm site that raises herbs. They spend a day at the big hog operations and a day at a sheep farm and learn to shear, ect. We get a few others every year and our kids learn about anything farming! You'll be surprised how many farms will open up to teach your home school kids about farming! Our high Schoolers get to work a day in the local meat processing plant also.

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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    What a marvelous idea! Thank you. It does make sense, though because they have free help and the children get the education and experience from it. A win-win situation. I will check with some soon.
    April
    http://www.budget101.com/groups/homeschoolers.html
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
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    Default Re: Purchasing a Side of Beef

    Thank you for this information. I have been talking with my Husband about switching from grocery store beef to buying a half of a grass fed cow once a year to give us plenty of meat. I am pretty ignorant about the subject, but am interested in not only supporting local farmers, but also improving what we eat. We just need to get a freezer first.

 

 
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