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Unread 10-20-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
boatnut
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Default 1/2 a beef question

I have a line on a half of a beef Black steer...should be "choice". estimated hanging weight for the half is 375 to 400 lbs. Price is 1.54/lb plus approx .43 lb processing fee. I've been told to expect 20 to 30 % waste. In doing the math, it seems like it comes out to around 2.75/lb plus or minus.

Seems like a good deal for locally grown/raised beef. The guy seems pretty conciencious about what he feeds his beef etc.

I keep thinking about how best to have it cut up? I'm thinking, brisket, tenderloin , steaks, naturally a lot of burger, but how much burger can I expect vs. roasts/steaks?

Any thoughts on processing or overall "deal" would be appreciated.
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Unread 10-20-2010, 08:59 PM   #2
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Just keep in mind if it is great then you have a few hundred pounds of Great meat. If it's no so good what do you have? I tried it a few times got a really good one the first the second was no so great. So I just buy what I need/want now.
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Unread 10-20-2010, 09:04 PM   #3
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It's been years since I was involved in purchasing a side of beef, but I recall about 35-40% hamburger, ~30% chuck and round, >~30% steaks. Those estimates are very very rough, but it's about what I remember.
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Unread 10-20-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
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Years ago, my daddy was advised by a meat man to "watch ur sales" & load up when the prices were right. I've followed that advice and, frankly, I've never been disappointed. The truth is, you will be disappointed from time to time, but largely I've purchased when the price was right, loaded up and never looked back. Today, I bought whole chickens @ .77 cents a pound & a whole boneless strip @ $3.88 a #.

I don't know how you can beat that, but I'm a tight SOB when it comes to buying bef! Chickn! Pork!
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Unread 10-20-2010, 11:32 PM   #5
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I raise my own beef, I would go with the 40% burger amd 30% steaks and 30%chuck/stew I have never been dissopointed but i go to the same slaughter house everytime and its the only 1 i can ever remember going to after we quit doing it ourselves you cant buy meat at a market and touch what comes out of my freezer jmho
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Unread 10-21-2010, 01:10 AM   #6
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^^^^^ What he said!
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Unread 10-21-2010, 02:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Country View Post
I raise my own beef, I would go with the 40% burger amd 30% steaks and 30%chuck/stew I have never been dissopointed but i go to the same slaughter house everytime and its the only 1 i can ever remember going to after we quit doing it ourselves you cant buy meat at a market and touch what comes out of my freezer jmho
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Unread 10-21-2010, 06:38 AM   #8
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I'd go for it Mike. Once you have had homegrown burger and steaks you're spoiled rotten. Store bought beef will taste like chit! The more roasts, shanks, short ribs, etc. you order, the less burger you're going to get. You're doing good by reserching what you can get. A good butcher will follow your cutting instuctions to the T. You must be very specific if you want certain cuts, otherwise you'll just get what ever is easier to cut and a lot of burger.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. I talked to a friend this morning that was a butcher and he gave me some good advise on cuts etc. I'm headed over to the processor in a bit to talk to them. We probably eat more pork/chicken/fish around here than beef. I'm just thinking that locally raised and processed might be better then the stuff from large "CAFO's". (confined animal feeding operations) Now if I can just find me a good source for some heritage breed hogs!
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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatnut View Post
I've been told to expect 20 to 30 % waste.
Over the years I have seen up to 40% waste depending on marbling and bone mass. Out of the 5 sides I have gotten over the years I had one that was less than stellar. You will get a chit load of burger.

It’s a tough choice when you open the freezer for dinner and thing will it be rib eye, T-bone, or porter house for dinner. Unless you specify that you want tenderloin pulled and cut it will end up cut with the T-bones and PH steaks.

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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:55 AM   #11
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We have raised our own beef and we have bought locally grown, grass fed beef as well. The portions that have been posted above are accurate. You have the right idea of going and talking with the butcher. He will look at the side while it is hanging and be able to tell you what cuts will work out best.
There is NO comparison between locally grown beef with that you get in the store.
The price you are quoted is right along with what we just paid for a side here in VT.
I would say go for it - you won't be disappointed.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokedinvt View Post
We have raised our own beef and we have bought locally grown, grass fed beef as well. The portions that have been posted above are accurate. You have the right idea of going and talking with the butcher. He will look at the side while it is hanging and be able to tell you what cuts will work out best.
There is NO comparison between locally grown beef with that you get in the store.
The price you are quoted is right along with what we just paid for a side here in VT.
I would say go for it - you won't be disappointed.
^^^ what he said as I also purchase home grown beef & pork from a farmer friend.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:23 AM   #13
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This is my take on it! Do your home work! Get to know the farmer ask all the right questions. Here are some of them:

The Farmer

Legally what they do is sell live weight. Its the law they can't sell you a dead animal. Then for us we take it to the processor and it is the responsibility of the buyer to tell the processor how they want it processed. Most all farmers only take cash! (Yeah that is the scary part) Just as much as you need to build a trust with them they need to build a trust with you.

Example: Our Steer would yield $1665.00. No credit cards and a farmer doesn't want to loose that amount on a bounced check. That why CASH speaks!

Are they grass fed?
How do you finish them (Usually 6months before slaughter is corn or corn mix)
Do you use growth hormones? (Touchy question to some farmers)
Who do you recommend for processing or Where do YOU take your cattle for processing? (Most farmers don't process and rather take it to a certified federal processor.)
How old is this Steer? You only want steer! No more than 18 months (NO DAIRY COWS)
Has the one your buying have all the legal shots?
Has the one your buying have any antibiotics? and Why? Not really a big deal but your buying the steer! You want to know all the health issues of it if there are any.
If they advertise be weary! Rather word of mouth because most farmers don't want to bother and they rather take them to a sale barn. Word of mouth also could be considered a recommendation as well. I only have two processors I use for beef and one for pork.

The processor

Tour the processing facility (If they do not allow that RUNNNNNNNNN!)
How clean is it!
What Days do they process pork and what days do the process beef! Leagally they have to go through a cleaning for the proccesing area before they can switch aminals and will only process one kind of animal per day.

Example Rule of thumb around our parts is Beef on Tuesdays and Pork on Thursday.
Payment again Cash is king but some will take Checks if they know you and CC not usually.
Beef should hang for at least two weeks before butchering. (if you get three weeks all the better (Rocky mod)

Oh if it is deer season the processor will be booked and wont take anything but deer.

Do they do VAC SUCK? Last a lot longer!

The meat will taste different but better!

Example our Steer hung two weeks (You then know kill date) Processed on Tuesday we had it on Sat. Now I could have picked it up Wed. but didn't have time.

By all means after you made your purchase give feedback to the farmer about his products and about your whole experience including the processor.

That it for now! Feel free to PM me and ask more questions. I will add more as I think about it. We have been doing this along time so my comfort zone is great with the processor ect.

Oh Also buy the whole cow and split with family/Friends. Farmers rather sell a whol one than a half or quater then they have to find somebody. It is also cheaper per lb to get it processed.



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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:51 AM   #14
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Do it. I found a guy that grows GREAT beef and a processor I like and I get incredible beef. Used to buy a half, next time I am buying two steers because everyone want some.

Note: you'll have to tell him to save the hanger, skirt, flank, and cheeks if he is anything like my guy. Country folks some times think hamburger is the ticket, but we know better.

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Unread 10-21-2010, 09:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashmont View Post
How old is this Steer? You only want steer! No more than 18 months (NO DAIRY COWS)
This is not my experience. I would take a retired milker any day. Just not one that has been "hot milked" (Only had one calf and milked straight into retirement). These will be less than ten, normally 5, years old.

Give me a 13 year old Bessie any day. The tenderness of the meat comes from putting on weight. They just have to be fed out right.
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