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Offline Fanny

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Eating good meat does not have to be expensive
« on: May 23, 2018, 03:36:21 PM »
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  • I was asked to start this thread.  It seems appropriate due to all the threads on similar topics recently.
    Good beef (totally pastured, no hormones, no antibiotics) from the store is expensive.  But what if you and some friends or neighbors bought and entire cow and split the meat?  Overwhelming?  Maybe the first time but, like anything, there is always a learning curve.  It's actually quite easy to do and you support your local farmer/rancher as well as teaching your children where their meat comes from.
    Where i live total cost will be about $3 per lb of meat you get back.  the ground is the same price as the filet mignon.  Price does vary depending upon the type of cow purchased (Waygu, Angus, jersey, etc).
    And you can get the organs (for you or your dog), bones (for you or your dog), and excess fat (for tallow Or soap making), free with the processing.
    So there is no real excuse for the average family not to have good beef.
    I knew nothing about it a few years ago, but it's easy to learn.  there are charts online of what cuts come from which area of a side of beef.  And a good local butcher will help you.
    And if it's that overwhelming, just get the cuts you use.  It's all the same price in the  end.  
    Step 1 - find people to join, unless your family can eat a whole cow in a year.
    Step 2 - find the cow
    Several times I have purchased cows from ads on craigslist.  
    Beef is beef.  Unless you are a beef connoisseur you will not be able to tell the difference between the breeds.
    DO NOT BUY AN INTACT (Not neutered) BULL.  It will taste terrible.
    The only thing to be cautious of is age of the animal.  I learned the hard way.  Beef over 2.5 years old has pretty tough steaks.  Over 4 years old and even the roasts are tough.  You can get ground out of even a 25 year old cow, which is fine, as long as you are aware that is all you will get.
    the first time you buy from a rancher, go to the farm/ranch and see how his animals live.
    Negotiate with the rancher.  Where i live prices range from $1 lb live weight to $3 lb live weight, depending on breed of cow, age of cow, and how badly they want the animal gone.  I try to find $1 lb or less.  Also negotiate price to deliver to the butcher (typically $1 per mile, but most do it free).  
    Try your best to examine the cow.  If it has any of these traits, forget it:
    Goopy nose, eyes or mouth
    Obvious Infection anywhere
    I try to negotiate to pay rancher upon delivery to butcher (I meet rancher at butcher ).  This way the butcher can tell you if the animal is healthy looking.
    Step 3 - find a butcher
    the first time you use a butcher, tour his facility to make sure it is clean
    Ask about prices.  You want to know what you're getting into.  I never get anything special done.  No jerky, no sausage, no tenderizing, because I can do all that myself much cheaper.  When all is said and done, I pay about $1 per pound of the meat I get back, depending upon the size of the cow.
    Step 4 - make an appointment for the cow to be delivered to the butcher and get it done.  Pay the rancher.
    Step 5 - buy a freezer
    Step 6 - pay butcher, pick up meat, and distribute to people who purchased with you.
    As for the meat by-products, I used to not take them.  Little by little I learned what to do with them so I now I have very little waste.
    Any questions, I would be happy to answer.
    Yes, it takes time in the beginning, but it is very worth it both for your body and for your pocketbook.
    Seems a little cattle lingo might be in order:
    Beef = any cow destined for the freezer
    Cattle = cows on the range
    Bull = daddy (no good to eat)
    Steer = neutered daddy 
    Cow = female that has previously had a baby
    Heifer = female that has never had a baby
    Calf = any cow under 1 year old (where veal comes from)

    Size of adult cattle vary depending on breed and sex, anywhere from 500 lbs to 3,000 lbs.  I look for about 1,000 lbs.  This will give you about 400 lbs of meat +-, depending on the cuts of meat you choose.

    On average, a family of 8 eats about 250 lbs of beef a year.


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