Tips for Purchasing a Side of Beef
Here are some Tips for Purchasing a Side of Beef. Have you been considering purchasing a side of beef? If so, you’ll quickly find it is a big undertaking but well worth the quality beef and money saved. Ordering a side of beef is a bit overwhelming for a first-time buyer, so we have compiled a few basic tips to make sure you have everything you need to know on hand when you head out for your first purchase.
Tips For Purchasing a Side of Beef
Get recommendations. When purchasing something this large and expensive all at once, you really want to make sure you get the best quality. I always recommend checking with others in your area that have made a purchase of a side of beef. They can definitely tell you about their preferred vendor and the quality you can expect. This will give you a place to begin when looking for a quality and reputable vendor to purchase from.
Ask about what the beef is fed. It is more and more important to us to eat grass fed beef. Purchasing a side of beef can not only save you money, but also provide you with a healthier beef to feed your family. This means you are not ingesting as many unwanted hormones or chemicals along with the beef.
Visit the farm if possible. Instead of blindly purchasing a side of beef, take the time to stop by the vendor farm you are buying from. I am an advocate for making sure that the beef is not only being fed well but treated with respect. I much prefer seeing the care up front, so I know I am not buying beef that has been raised inhumanely.
Compare prices. While purchasing a side of beef is going to be a large up-front cost, you can easily see savings if you compare the cost of your average beef prices elsewhere. To make sure it really is going to be a good investment for your family, take the time to go over the prices you would typically pay for various types of beef. Usually, a side of beef will be priced per pound and not a price per pound for select pieces. While the per pound price may be a bit higher than you pay for hamburger, it would be much less than what you would pay for beef roasts, steaks, and other pieces.
Prepare for storage. This is the biggest and most important tip for purchasing a side of beef. You must be ready to store it properly. Depending on who you purchase from, most of the time you will find the beef separated into portion sized packages. Sometimes however, you will find a place that sells only in larger sections, and you have to separate this yourself. Find out in advance so you know what to expect.
If you have to separate and package the beef yourself, you’ll want a clean workstation ready for when you get home with the meat. You’ll need a Food Saver or other freezer storage bags and a great labeling system. You’ll also probably want some paper towels and sanitizer on hand for cleaning up your workstation after you get everything prepared and labeled.
Another consideration when preparing for storage of your side of beef is having enough freezer space. You may not fully understand the amount of beef you are purchasing. Take the time to talk to your vendor for an idea of how much space you will need for storage. For some, this means investing in a small deep freezer to house the extra meat in until time to prepare it.
If you are considering purchasing a side of beef, these tips will help you to make the most of your time and money spent!
Melissa is a football and soccer mom who has been married to her best friend for 24 years. She loves sharing recipes, travel reviews and tips that focus on helping busy families make memories.
If you are going to purchasing a side of beef. The prices of the beef to purchase could vary be area,plus you have to add on the processing fees at the butcher. I live on a farm and fresh ground beef is the way to go as it doesnt have much fat and taste a whole lot better than the stores meat. I would also look into the where to get pork as it is really good also.
We have bought either a side or the whole for the last 3 or 4 years. We haven’t for the last year but only because we moved away from where we got our beef from. It was so worth it! I think after everything (processing and the cost of meat) it usually averaged out to under $2 per pound. And like the lady above me said it is so much leaner than what you find in the store and the taste is amazing! I always hated buying burger from the store because it always seemed that I would bite into a bone or a grissle. We bought a half the first time and it lasted about 6 months. 2 adults and 4 kids. Next time we got a whole and it lasted a year. It was so nice to not have to worry about running to the store for beef. We would always buy one around income tax time because it is such a huge cost up front but so worth the savings in the long run!
Haven’t done it but we’ve considered it too. We figure it could be cheaper in the long run and make good use of our deep freezer…but I don’t really know.
I can’t eat beef but my cousin does this and they love it. It saves time and $. As long as you have a huge freezer to store it, it’s a great idea. I have two friends who do this but split it up because they don’t each wan’t a half.
I have purchased halves several times. I love to when I have the room, however since couponing I have decreased my freezer space – a catch 22 for me! The beef you get in my opinion is much better quality, you can place your order for what you want – example, our family is growing so I ask for my roasts to be 3 pounds, I ask for stew meat to be cut and placed in 1# packages. Definitely has its advantages and I do miss having it readily available, I need to work on consolidating my coupon stockpile to accomodate my meat order!
I wholeheartedly agree with the ladies above. Not only do you save money, but you get a much better product for your family (usually grass/corn fed beef and often hormone/antibiotic free). Just ask around for a local cattle farmer! Less fat, better taste, processed and packaged to your specifications to minimize waste, and the bonus of supporting a local farmer! It is a larger cash outlay at one time, but well worth it. I waited to late to order mine this time, so I am having to supplement by buying beef at the store I can’t believe how much ground beef costs at the grocer…and then I have to drain off 15-30% of it in fat! Rarely is there anything to drain from our farm ground beef after browning it. I’ve even been buying some ground turkey, and it still costs more per pound than my farm raised beef!
If you don’t have the freezer space to handle a half, ask a friend or family member if they would like to split a half with you. In that case, you’ll both have to agree to have it processed/packaged the same way, but you both will get cuts from both ends of the half. Sometimes farmers (and processors) also have other customers only wanting 1/4 of a beef that they can match you up with.
My husbands family does this and we split it up between three families. We also did this with a pig and it was so much cheaper. It is around $300 for processing fees and the animal which if you think about it is a HUGE savings!! You can also tell them which cuts you would like!
How much freezer room does a side of beef take up? We have an extra fridge with overhead freezer (regular size) – would this be big enough?
We buy a half cow about once a year from a local meat market. The taste is so much better and after the initial payment for the meat, your grocery bill drops considerably and you sometimes dont have to go to the store as often if you keep a stocked pantry and fridge.
A freezer above a fridge would not be big enough. We had a huge chest freezer when we got out whole cow and it filled it to the brim (I had to take everything else out of the freezer) and we had to put some in our freezer in fridge!
I just finished reading an article in this month’s Cooking Light that talks about this in relation to grass fed vs. grain fed beef. It was enlightening because we had bought a quarter of a cow a few years ago and found the steaks & beef tips to be tough. After reading this article, I realize that since the beef was grass fed and allowances (such as adding fat to the cooking process through butter or oil) have to be made when cooking since it is much leaner meat. Preparing it like a grocery store steak dries it out too much, hence the toughness. I reccomend the article.
When I buy a side of beef I always get one that was grass feed not corn(grain) feed or was in a feed lot for a month or two. I agree the processor can give you the meat wrapped so it is good over a year later or it goes bad at 6 months. The price does very and If you can get one from a person who you know and has cows on the farm that is better. It is nice to have all the cuts and you may want to look into splitting the side of beef with a friend as it still is alot to eat. Good luck
Another option is to purchase a beef from a local 4H or FFA fair. The kids keep detail records of their feeding program, so you know the care of the animal. A portion of your purchase, especially if you own a business, can be tax deductible. More importantly, you’re investing in a group of kids who contributed time, sweat, and money to a project that promotes responsibility and husbandry.
We just bought our first 1/4 of a cow (about 100 lbs) for $320. It is very worth it. The quality of grass fed beef for that price. We will never go back to storebought. It does end up being a lot of ground beef. We have a separate freezer b/c it does take up a lot of space.
We just went in with a couple of families and purchased angus beef. We got about 100 lbs and it cost us $300. We pattied out about 80 hamburgers, cooked up about 20 lbs of ground with onions and seasonings and froze in quart bags for quick meals, made about 150 meatballs and bagged the rest of the ground in quart bags, we also got some sirloin steaks. We have a large chest freezer. We have done this for a couple of years. We love it, the farmer is not certified organic, but it’s lean, shot free meat, and it’s a deal.
We raise our own beef and have it processed. I just love having in the freezer and not having to go shop for it. This is the only way to go!!
I bought our first 1/2 of beef this winter. We usually have game meat, but it was a very bad hunting year. I found that the lean steaks were very comparable to the elk/deer and had to add a little butter to them as someone mentioned above. I also had the butcher cut about 30lbs in jerky slices for my smoker.
I am ready to purchase a pig/cow! Thanks so much for all your help and suggestions!
There is nothing like home grown beef, or even pork, for that matter. I grew up on a farm where we raised and butchered our own meat, even chicken and turkeys. We did use freezer paper back then, but I cringe to think of all the food saver packaging I would use now.
I started stockpiling this year because we weren’t able to put out my usual veggie garden and my backup source had no luck either. And I have to put out enough to feed the deer who come to visit and wink at me while I watch them devour our efforts. I try to chase them and they stomp the ground and blow at me.
I want to know where my food comes from and how it is handled. I have been in some stores where I refuse to buy meat unless it’s ham, frozen turkeys or in the freezer section. Kroger had so many recalls on their fresh meat that I wouldn’t even look at it, but, correct me if I’m wrong, I thnk their meat comes prepackaged now. I have my favorite little IGA store here in town that runs a 10# meat sale the first of every month and I use them for my meat. We did wedding receptions, different events, and even cooked for my bil’s campground and all of our meat came from TAndy’s IGA right here in Aurora.
As you can see, I am really funneeeeeee about meat!