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Old 08-05-2009, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default Buying beef in bulk

In order to not derail SpanishCasteAle's burger thread I took his suggestion and fired up a new thread on bulk beef buys.

For me it works like this. My brother works for a grain elevator and consequently has numerous farmer friends. One in particular raises beef cattle and whenever he's taking a couple steers to market he'll ask my brother if any of us are interested in getting some beef. Between my various siblings we usually end up splitting one steer. He usually goes to market twice a year and we'll split a 1/4 steer each time with one of my other brothers or buy a full 1/4 one time.

1/4 of a steer tends to give us 100-150lbs. of beef which I've found will fill the entire freezer of a standard refrigerator. I would only plan to use such a freezer if you have a spare one that is mostly empty and is used only rarely. Constantly opening and closing the freezer door isn't good for the meat.

The processor cuts the meat to our specifications. They have a list of all the various roast and steak cuts and you tell them how big to make the roasts and how thick to cut the steaks. If there's a particular roast or steak you don't want they'll toss that into what will be ground for hamburger. For the 1/4 we got here recently we ended up with 6-9 strip steaks, 4 tenderloins (filet mignon), 6 ribeye, 2 huge sirloins, 2-3 round steaks, probably 9-12 different roasts (arm, chuck, rump, etc.) and at least 30lbs. of ground beef.

In our setup the farmer will set a price per pound for the meat and the processor will tack on a processing fee per pound. In the end it usually comes out to around $2 a pound which is averge for ground beef in our area and a steal for roasts and steak. Not to mention the quality blows anything else I've ever had right out of the water.

If you don't have a farmer friend I think you can still get beef in this manner by contacting the processing facility. From what I've heard, many times farmers will take more steers to market than what they have buyers for and the processor handles finding people to take the rest. The downside to this is you don't know exactly where your beef came from. If you know the farmer than you know exactly which steer your beef is coming from and I can tell you from first hand experience there's a difference between corn fed black angus and grass feed holstein or hereford.

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Old 08-05-2009, 04:56 PM   #2
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We do the same, but I've found that if you contact your local meat cutter they may do something similar to this as well.

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Old 08-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #3
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My sister in law has horses but they are boarded free at the riding school, and are used for other's classes, which is good for the horses as they get outside and ridden more. My SIL has been riding for many years but is there to get her daughters to learn how to ride. The lady running the ranch had a bunch of beef cows, and my SIL bought two at $1/lb., giving us a quarter, all we had to do was pay for cutting and go get it-$55. I tried to pay her but she said she got a good deal and not to worry about it.

I have always wanted to buy beef by the half or quarter, but never got around to it, as I always bargain shop the sales. This has sold me on the process, and I can't wait until we need more meat.

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Old 08-05-2009, 05:27 PM   #4
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Wow that's awesome. Have you thought about trying to dry or wet age any of the cuts?

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Old 08-05-2009, 06:06 PM   #5
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My parents have done this for as long as I can remember. They get a half every year still, even with both kids out of the house. This year, now that I have my own place, I got a half of a half (quarters are usually front or rear, this is a mixture of both front and rear cuts) and think I'll get a whole half next year. The hanging weight was 150lbs and I brought home 100lbs. Worked out to be $3.40 a lb (that I brought home) after processing fees and everything.

My parents just bought a farm and next year they are going to start raising Angus beef. Just enough that everyone in the family get a half. All I have to do is help out when needed and I get a freezer full of meat...for FREE!

To me...there's no better way to go than bulk. We do pork as well...but that's another thread

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Old 08-05-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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my farmer takes his into the butcher and the butcher is the one that hangs it for aging, bulk aging of course rocks, we too pay about $2/lb hanging weight. we also get a butchers box of bones for the dogs

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Old 08-05-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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My dad has raised cattle his whole life and so I have grown up with freezers full beef that was a steer just a few feet away in prior months.

I have grown up and not been around this mentality for quite a while but had a friend buy a 1/4 steer this year and he brought over a couple of T bones last weekend and man were they good.

I just make have to go in and buy a portion next year but will need the freezer space.

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Old 08-05-2009, 07:17 PM   #8
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How do you package to freeze? Do you keep it in the butcher paper or foodsave it or something else?

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:16 PM   #9
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The processor has it wrapped tightly in plastic and then butcher paper and they actually freeze it before I even get it. The have one of those super-cold, super-fast freezers. The guy told me one time how quickly they can freeze 100lbs. of fresh meat and while I don't recall the numbers I remember it being REALLY fast.

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #10
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Oh that works nicely, I hope one near me would do the same thing. I was just sitting here thinking about using either dry ice or, if I could get some, liquid nitrogen to freeze it.

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