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Buying a half a cow and freezer space

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
How much freezer space do you need for half a cow?
post #2 of 16
We just went through this.

Our half a beef filled 80% of a 14.1 cubic foot upright freezer.
post #3 of 16
You need to ask your farmer that. It really depends on the breed of the cow and what size they tend to be when butchered. Cows can range in size from a couple hundred pounds to almost a thousand pounds depending on breed and feed.
post #4 of 16
We have been buying a side of beef each year for many years. A general rule of thumb is an average of 30lbs. per cubic foot give or take a little. You'll have to know the weight of the animal, and to be more exact, the hanging weight, and to be even more exact, the grade of beef, how it was fed and finished and how long it will be dry-aged. There are many variables. Assuming a typical, run-of-the-mill side of beef from 1,000lb. beef cattle (average... most range from 800lbs. to 1200lbs.), you'll get about 250lbs. of meat, bones (if you want them) and suet from a side of beef. That should take up a minimum of 8 cu.ft. We've never gotten that much. I currently have a side of beef and an entire lamb along with a little bacon, sausage, and 30lbs. of chicken in my 13.1 cu.ft. small freezer.
post #5 of 16
It depends on hanging weight and what you end up taking home. We usually have about 100 lbs of hamburger meat, 10-12 roasts, plus all the various cuts of steaks, etc and also bones. MY last hanging weight was right under 400 lbs and we took home about 300 lbs of meat. It took up almos the entire fridge or 3 large shelves.
post #6 of 16
We got about 250 lb. with our side of beef and it filled 90% of our 9 cu. ft. freezer.
post #7 of 16
150-ish lbs from a "smaller" cow side mostly filled a 7 cu.ft. chest freezer.
post #8 of 16
Just wondering how much does this all cost...I go through a lot of ground beef
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicmom View Post
Just wondering how much does this all cost...I go through a lot of ground beef

Ours was about $520 and we got about 250 lb. But we buy from a friend and he sells us grass-fed beef for $1.80 a lb plus $.40 a lb. processing from the butcher. Normally the beef he sells goes for closer to $5 a pound. www.eightoclockranch.com
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicmom View Post
Just wondering how much does this all cost...I go through a lot of ground beef
It totally depends on where you buy it and what the price is in your area. In my case, I buy it from a friend that raises beef - grass-fed and uncertified organic. She doesn't raise them commercially, just as beef cattle for friends and family. On the day the cattle go into the butcher, whatever the market rate is, that's what she charges. Then I pay a slaughter fee, the processing fees, and a very minimal storage fee until I pick up the meat. In my case, I've never paid more than about $2.75/lb. for the meat after I have paid for everything. The market rate has been around $800 - $850 (for 1000lbs.) the past few years, so I'm starting out paying only about 80 cents per pound for the whole animal. (To clarify... you are first paying "on the hoof" usually, and that means you are paying for a lot of the animal that you will not be taking home.) The processing fees are based off of the hanging weight (the carcass without hide, head, internal organs).

The other thing that affects how much you pay is the size. If you have a smaller animal, it will cost you more. You pay for a lot more bones and get less beef. Another minor addition of cost is if you have them do extra processing... for example if you ask them to cut the T-bones into fillet and sirloin steaks.
post #11 of 16
Thanks for the replies. This is intriging to me.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicmom View Post
Just wondering how much does this all cost...I go through a lot of ground beef
I noticed you need to kind of go thru the "friend of a friend" route to get your side of beef. Where as just a few years ago, people would kind of roll their eyes at you buying a side of beef, now want in on it since there is more reporting on how beef is processed etc plus how many hands touch it before it hits your plate. Ours is from a home that hobby farms. They eat grass, etc.
Its also local to my area which is a priority for us.

My beef comes from another MDC mama's father. We pay him usually about $1.90 a lb of the hanging weight and also pay the butcher to do the cutting etc. All in all, it comes to about $1100 annually and we have factored in freezing it, the tank of gas to go get it, the hanging weight you loose (about 10-30% depending on how you cut, what you bring home etc). So about $90 a month. We will eat the entire side over the year. We entertain, love to cook and try new ways to cook meat.

This year, we blew thru the hamburger meat. Yes its ground, but its called hamburger which means they take all the different cuts and grind up so its not ground round, ground sirlion, ground chuck etc. The taste was incredible.
Next Feb, we are going to prioritze eating the roasts first and then the hambruger. Save the steaks for grilling later on. DH's brothers love a good steak so entertaining is fun because they can choose the cut they want.
The quality is the best meat ever.

We just started this year doing a whole hog. They are smaller so you get about 180 lbs hanging weight but again the meat is awesome.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicmom View Post
Just wondering how much does this all cost...I go through a lot of ground beef
Here is a link to my post and cost outcomes from Country Living -
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1146497

Like someone else mentioned, the ground meat is different then straight chuck, round or whatever.

I mentioned in the above thread that last nights meat loaf turned out incredible.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
I noticed you need to kind of go thru the "friend of a friend" route to get your side of beef. Where as just a few years ago, people would kind of roll their eyes at you buying a side of beef, now want in on it since there is more reporting on how beef is processed etc plus how many hands touch it before it hits your plate. Ours is from a home that hobby farms. They eat grass, etc.
Its also local to my area which is a priority for us.

We just started this year doing a whole hog. They are smaller so you get about 180 lbs hanging weight but again the meat is awesome.
I also found the above to be true.

Growing up, it was very common to get sides and quarters. Then it seemed like people got away from it. Ours also came from a hobby farm, grass fed, and local.

I just got on the waiting list for a hog and I will do chickens and maybe lamb.
post #15 of 16
I buy it from our local CSA. I don't know the people and I pay the full price. My cost is $2.25/pound. That's the hanging weight and the processing is included, which is everything individually cut, labeled, and vacuum sealed. The ground beef was my favorite. I have only 3 pounds left and we don't get the new side of beef until the end of January
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by atobols View Post
I buy it from our local CSA. I don't know the people and I pay the full price. My cost is $2.25/pound. That's the hanging weight and the processing is included, which is everything individually cut, labeled, and vacuum sealed. The ground beef was my favorite. I have only 3 pounds left and we don't get the new side of beef until the end of January
We could start a tribe on "my side of meat is almost gone blues" thread. LOL
I even asked the other 4 mamas who bought sides to see if anyone wanted to trade for some hamburger meat. No one would give it up and/or they didnt have much left! We ate the final hamburger last week and DH put bacon from the hog on ours. He called it the Alfa Omega burger because it was the start of the new hog and end of the side of beef.


Also to OP, after you do your initial purchase, take notes over the year to see what you like and dislike. I was on the phone with the butchers for almost an hour last year getting my order ready. IT should be easier this year because I wont change much. They said that happens with every other side purchaser.

You might even consider buying the side w another family.
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