Buying the BeefIt’s a high priority for our family to eat pasture raised beef for lots of reasons. We believe in the humane treatment of animals, being as low impact as possible, and that grassfed beef is more nutritious. But store prices put it out of financial reach. We started buying beef in bulk a quarter of a cow at a time due to limited freezer space. Buying that much meat at a time worked out pretty well for a while, until the kids got less picky and started putting it away as fast as we could serve it up. Finding a farmer to buy the beef from and two or three other people to split it with became tedious and time consuming. We found ourselves heading to New Seasons and spending $6.29/lb for “cheap” cuts! Our budget couldn’t take it. So this year, we decided to add freezer space and go for a whole cow, all at once. Kelsy found an ad on Craigslist for 100% grassfed beef, called the guy up, grilled him with questions, was satisfied, and sent off a check. The beef was $2/lb hang weight, which is the weight of the cow after it has been killed, bled, and gutted. Hang weight includes the head, hooves, and all bones. This was just a yearling beef, so its hang weight was only 422 lb. We paid $844 for the beef, $60 for the kill fee, and $235.88 for the cut & wrap, for a total of $1139.88.
The hang weight of the beef was 422 lb, of which 322.5 lb was usable (this includes heart, liver, suet, and tongue). Thus, we paid $3.43/lb for the whole beef. Had we chosen not to get the aforementioned variety meats, we would have gotten 310.5 lb and paid $3.67/lb.
|Total Pounds||Percent of Beef||Store Price||Our Price|
|Ground||109 lbs||32.8 %||$4.99/lb: $543.91||$373.87|
|Steaks||66.5 lbs||20.0 %||Avg $13.99/lb: $930.34||$228.10|
|Roasts||57 lbs||17.1 %||Avg $6.29/lb: $358.53||$195.51|
|Round Steak||38 lbs||11.4 %||$4.99/lb: $189.62||$130.34|
|Bones & Stew Meat||22 lbs||6.62 %||Avg $4.75/lb: $104.50||$75.46|
|Variety (organs, tail, tongue)||22 lbs||6.62 %||Avg $4.79: $105.38||$75.46|
|Short Ribs||18 lbs||5.41 %||$6.99/lb: $125.82||$61.74|
|Store Price: $2358.10||Our Price: $1140.48||Total Savings:||$1217.62|
There are slight discrepancies in price reported in this table due to rounding and averaging. If you find bigger errors please let us know in the comments!
Storing the BeefWe picked up our beef cut and wrapped for the freezer. Each piece is stamped with the name of the cut, and the processor’s number and not for resale warning.
Since we had just bought a new, bigger freezer for the garage, Kelsy emptied out and defrosted the old one and we moved it inside. Unfortunately this means that as much beef as possible went straight into the freezer that’s inside the house. At the moment The 8.8 cu ft inside freezer is crammed full of 270.5 lb of beef, and the remaining 62 lbs is in our second freezer. We need to get in there and rearrange so that we have some food other than beef in the house!
I do want to share a small caveat. If we were buying beef only from the grocery store, we would eat A LOT more ground beef and a lot less steak (as in less than once a month). So the money savings, while still quite significant, would be diminished. However… Getting to eat steak and roasts when you’re sick of ground beef is PRICELESS!
Here are a few recipes we enjoy:
- Rosemary Pot Roast
- Meatball Soup
- Beef Stew
- Make Ahead Meatloaf
- Hidden Onion and Turnip Borscht
- Round Steak in Rhubarbecue Sauce
- Pepper & Garlic Broiled Rib Steak
- Transforming Leftovers: Beef & Broccoli
- Beef Jerky