Custom or Bulk Beef is the cheapest way to buy grassfed beef and the added bonus is that it is always in your freezer! Also known as buying a whole cow, half cow, and cow pooling. It can seem overwhelming at first, but it's actually really easy.
Custom Availability: We harvest animals in the early fall and late spring, depending on the weather and pasture quality.
Get on the list for Spring 2018. Email us at email@example.com for availability
WHOLE: $4.25/lb Half: $4.50/lb Quarter: $4.75/lb
*these prices are on the "hanging weight" (after slaughter but before packaging)
**If you and friends/family want to share a whole cow, we give you the whole cow price if you're doing all the organizing/decisions amongst yourselves and just have one person from the group contact us. If you want to get on the waiting list for a quarter and have us arrange individually with you, then it costs more since more time is involved for us. We are here to help out in any way we can, so don't hesitate to give us a call!
FAQ's and how does custom cow processing work?
- 1) First, decide how much beef you are interested in buying. Many families share a cow between 2 or 3 families, but our cows are smaller, so you don't necessarily have to do that. If you don't know anyone, contact us and we'll get you on the list. When enough people have ordered to make a whole, we send the animal to process.
- Our heritage Pineywoods breed tends to run on the smaller side than modern breeds. A whole animal (packaged, take home) weight is about 250-350lb depending on the animal, a half is about 130-175lb, and a quarter 60lb-85lb. We will estimate as close as possible at the beginning, but please remember that the final weights will vary and we can't give you an exact number until the butcher calls your order is ready.
- 2) Get a freezer- this is a one-time expense. You might even have one already, or know someone who is not really using theirs. Defrost that sucker! Expect to need about 1cu. ft of freezer space for each 25lb of beef. A normal freezer on top of a refrigerator can just hold a quarter cow, but don't expect to fit that gallon of ice cream back in there.
- Cost of custom beef:
*these prices are on the "hanging weight" (after slaughter but before processing and packaging)
- Hanging weight is the weight of the animal after the slaughter process which removes the head, internal organs, hooves, hide. You can expect a "take home" weight in packaged meat of about 60%-70% of the hanging weight, depending on how much of the animal you choose to put to use (bones, organs, etc).
- For example: Animal weighs 500lb hanging weight. After dry-aging for about two weeks in the processor's coolers, the carcass is cut into your cuts which you specified on your "cut sheet" . At processing, weight is lost by removing bone, trimming gristle off, and the dry aging process. Processor calls in the final weight of packaged product at 325lb. The math: 325/500= .65 = 65% yield.
- 3) Your custom cuts: You will submit a "cut sheet" to us with your instructions for processing.
- An average whole breaks down to about 30% ground beef, 20% stew and stir fry, 20% steaks, and 20% roasts, and 10% misc like brisket, liver, oxtail, etc. The % yield will go up the more of the animal you put to use, for example, choosing to use the shin bones, marrow bones, soup bones, etc.
- 4) Place your order with us (see contact information below) and get to work on your cut sheet (find the pdf at the bottom of this page or request me to email or mail it to you). The butcher needs this when we haul the cow to him. (you have about a week to do this, and I'm happy to walk you through it)
- Dry aging process- your animal will dry age in the processor's coolers at about 34F for 14-21 days.
- 5) Pick-Up date: We will let you know when your beef is ready to be picked up. You need to be ready to get it within a couple days since the butcher's cooler space is limited and it's very expensive for him to keep the shelves full. We will give you as much notice as we can and let you know the estimated pick up day as soon as the butcher calls in the hanging weights.
What is my end cost?
You will always come out cheaper buying bulk beef than buying retail packages. On average, we estimate the cost per pound of beef to be between $6.00/lb-$7.50/lb depending on purchase of quarter, half, or whole and which cuts you choose. The following chart shows a detailed breakdown of cost:
- Tips for Pick-up:
- Bring helpers!
- DO NOT arrive at different times if you are sharing a whole cow. The processor has a full schedule. Make sure everyone arrives at the same time or has someone come for them.
- COOLERS: When picking up at the butcher, expect to need 30 quarts cooler space per 25lbs (or 1 cu ft). If your order is 85lbs, for example, you'll need 103 quarts of cooler space. ALWAYS bring an extra cooler, even if it's just a soft sided cooler, since some of the cuts are bulky and can take up room. We recommend at least one large cooler around 100 quarts since some of the cuts are too big (like the brisket) to fit in a 30qt cooler. Usually you can bribe a friend to borrow one if you don't have one!
- You don't usually need to put ice in the coolers. Just don't stop at a yard sale on the way home!
Ready to order? Have more questions? Give us a call!