It's that time of year out here on our farm. The cows are getting fat, and I am on Facebook asking my friends if they would like some grain-fed beef in their freezer. When I do that, I get a lot of interesting questions, so I thought I would address some of those.
1. How much does it cost? This is actually a tricky question. The simple answer is $1.25 a pound from us right now. The tricky part is that the price is subject to change based on market prices.
2. What did you buy? The WHOLE cow., meat, hoof, hide, horns if they have them, and all. There is another way to buy it called "rail weight," which is based on the weight of the cow once all the uneatable parts are removed, but we just weigh ours as they come off the farm and go with that price. The rail weight is a higher price, not sure, though, what the current rail weight is for cattle.
3. What part of the cow do I get? We usually sell our cattle by the whole, half, or quarter. Some people have bought an 1/8 of a cow, but the cutting and the sharing gets a bit complicated, so I always hope and pray that the two parties involved are easy going. When you work with 1/2 and 1/4s, everyone gets a share of ALL CUTS OF MEAT. No one gets the left hind end of a cow if you are getting a 1/4. The steaks, roasts, hamburgers, and other cuts are all equally divided.
4. How should I get my meat cut? This is a very personal question. We supply the cow and deliver it to usually one of two processing plants. I let these businesses take it from there, BUT I will say that 3/4 inch steaks work pretty well. Here is a sample of a Cut sheet:
Cuts of Beef in a Half
Swiss Roast: 4 Yes or No
Chuck Roast: 5 or 6 Yes or No
Soup Bones: 6 Yes or No
Boiling Beef: 4 or 5 Yes or NO
Short Ribs: 4 or 5 Yes or No
Stew Meat: 4 or 5 Yes or NO
Rib-Eye Steak or Rib Steak: 8 –10 Yes or NO How thick?
T-Bone Steaks: 10 – 12 Yes or No How thick?:
Sirloin Steak: 9 Yes or No How thick?
Round Steak: Yes or No Tenderized or Regular? 10 – 12
Rump Roast: 2 Yes or No
Flank Steak: 1 Yes or No
Hamburger: Patties or Bulk How much in each bulk?
Heart: Yes or No
Tongue: Yes or No
Liver: Yes or No
Processing: .52 @ lb.
Patties: .42 @ lb
Tenderize: .42 @ lb
Rolling: .57 @ lb
1 lb pkgs: .25 @
Seasoning: .20 @ lb
Now, on your T-bone Steaks, we get ours cut in half so that you have two steaks: the fillet and a New York Strip.
Whatever cuts you do not want, usually go into hamburger, unless it is the heart, liver, or tongue. Please send your tongues to Steve and the girls! ;-) Boiling Beef and Shortribs have lots of fat and very little meat. If you like beef and noodles, and do not mind separating the meat from the fat, these cuts are good for you. Some just use roast meat for the noodles.
You don't have to get all of your roasts. You can opt for 2-3, and put the rest into hamburger.
The other big question is how to package your hamburger. Think about how you would use it at home. I can get 5 patties out of a pound and a half of hamburger, but we are happier if I just make four. How much do you use for taco meat or spaghetti? Can you be patient and make your own patties, or do you need some quick patties for emergency meals?
Tenderized Round Steak is also called cubed steak. I pulled a package out of that out of the freezer this weekend. You can do a lot with this versatile cut. The most popular choice is a baked or Swiss steak in the crock pot covered with mushroom soup. I like to make fajita meat out of it because it comes apart so easily. I also use round steak, but that can sometimes result in you looking like a dog with a chew toy trying to bite your piece of meat from the fajita without pulling the whole mess out of the tortilla!
So, if you are close to the Benton County/Tippecanoe County/Newton County area (in Indiana) and would like some incredible freezer beef, now is the time to let us know. We have had people come up from Indy, and we have had people run it out to North Carolina. When it's that good, it's worth the effort!