How to buy a whole cow for meat explained (2023)

So you're trying to offset the rising cost of beef by buying a whole cow for beef.

Buying meat in bulk can be a significant money saver, provided you have the forethought to plan ahead and the space in your freezer. It also gives you the ability to control what kind of meat you eat - you can get grass-fed beef or grain-fed beef, and you know how it was raised.

Many farms and meat processing plants offer consumers the option to place an order for beef to purchase a whole, half, or quarter cow.

The pricing of purchasing a whole beef cow is that you are charged a dollar amount for each pound of "hanging weight" which is the weight of the animal before it is aged and processed.

However, some butchers base the price on the weight of the cow while alive (rather than the hanging weight in pounds), so you'll need to check with your butcher before ordering.

The butcher takes care of all the processing and packaging, so all you have to do is place your order and collect your meat once it's been prepared. From order to collection, the process usually takes one to three weeks, depending on the season and availability.

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Where to buy a whole cow for meat

Buying a whole cow for meat is a bit tricky. Therefore fewer people do it compared to those who take the more convenient routebuy his meatin small amounts in thefood market. You can also just search to get onebeef sidethe cow quarter.

For those determined to buy a whole cow for beef, the rewards are lower costs and fewer trips to market.

That being said, however, buying a whole cow for meat has its challenges, and you may need to get creative and get off the beaten path to find a source to buy cows from.

If you haven't already, asking is a good place to startclose friends and familyif they have ever bought a whole cow from a nearby farm. Then ask about their experiences - there's no better way to learn about a local business than by talking to a real customer.

When in doubt, find yourslocal options on the internet. Try searches like "Buy whole cow + your region' in the search engine of your choice. The results should give you a range of at least a few options to choose from.

then search oneEmail address or phone number to call. Do not hesitate to call the farmer and ask him personally if you have any questions. The farmer will tell you how long you have to wait for collection. Buying a whole cow is not (yet) a click-click online purchase.

(Video) Buying a Whole Cow - Freezer Beef - Questions answered!

Another option for finding a source to buy a whole cow is to search for oneButcher shop on your property. In other words, not the butcher at the local supermarket. A butcher can tell you who the local farmers are and give you their contact information.

Another source worth investigating isarelocal farmers market.At the farmer's market you can usually only buy pre-cut meat. Still, it also opens up the opportunity to meet every farmer/grower/butcher who comes to the market.

When you start a conversation you can ask if they would be willing to sell you a whole cow or even breed a cow for you and you can arrange to make you pay for it.

Once you have found a rancher or farmer, it's usually a fairly simple process to pick it up as long as you have a decent clearance vehicle. Load your boxes into your car and drive to the address. The meat of a whole cow can be transported in a truck or SUV.

Available cuts

How to buy a whole cow for meat explained (1)

One of the benefits of buying a whole cow for beef is the hassleall kinds of cutsthe cow available to you.

Prepare ahead of time by doing your research and considering what your family likes to eat: more steaks or more roasts, for example.

Would you like more ribs or more burgers? Would you like more hamburgers or more meat for casseroles? How do you want to cook your steaks?

The meat you receive can be trimmed of excess fat and nicely marbled, depending on your taste. Know what you want ahead of time so you can tell the butcher if you want to cut off a lot of the fat or most of it.

vacuum sealed tubescontain ground beef whilevacuum bagscontain the other cuts. As a result, you are likely to end up with a finished product that weighs just over half the total weight hung.

The answers to these questions will point you in the right direction as to what you think the butcher should prioritize.

You have a lot of control over how your meat is processed when you buy it this way.

For example, the processor can customize the thickness of the steak and the number of cuts or pounds of meat in each package.

In other words, if you find that your family usually needs half a pound or an extra pound of ground beef for dinner, or if you know that a one-pound packet is often too much for you and your household, you can count on your groceries vote avoid waste.

Advantages of buying a whole cow for meat

Someone who has never bought a whole cow for beef might give you crazy looks if you tell them you're thinking about it. However, there are several advantages to buying a whole cow for beef. These are just some of them.

(Video) How To Butcher An Entire Cow: Every Cut Of Meat Explained | Bon Appetit

  • You'll save a lot of money on your meals if you eat a lot of beef.
  • Once you have a whole butchered cow in your freezer, you won't have to make as many trips to the market.
  • You have more control over each individual cut of meat (and end up with expensive cuts such aslanguagejRockÖbeef knuckle).
  • You have the option to purchase just a grass-fed cow, which is morenatural and healthythan meat from typical grain-fed cows.
  • You can load up your freezer with meat from a cowwandered through lush meadowsand gained organic weight while eating weed. Compare this to cattle taken from their mothers at a young age, housed in cowsheds, fed corn, unnatural supplements, antibiotics and growth hormone.
  • You have the opportunity to support local small farmers and ranchers.

What to ask yourself, the ranchers and butchers

  • Wie lange, glauben Sie, wird Ihre Familie brauchen, um eine ganze Kuh zu verzehren?
  • Need a bigger freezer?
  • How far do you have to travel to collect the meat?
  • How long does beef stay healthy after freezing?
  • What will the price of meat be per pound?
  • Does my payment depend on the hanging weight or the weight of the disassembled end product?
  • Is there an additional charge for processing the meat?
  • When is meat allowed to be taken from the farm?
  • Which coin would you like to buy?
  • Is it a mixed quarter or just the front or back quarter?

Cost of slaughtering a cow

How much should you pay for a whole cow? When a cow is bought for meat it is customary to give a "stock price."Most often ranchers will give you an estimate of how much the hanging weight will be so you can determine how much it's going to cost.

The price you pay per pound covers everything from ground beef to steaks, which you would probably pay over $10 a pound if you bought them separately. So, one of the benefits of buying wholesale is thatYou save money.

On average, you can expect to pay about $5.60 a pound, which is slightly cheaper than buying store-bought beef, which costs about $7.40 a pound.

So that's a 25% savings. That's an even bigger saving compared to the high quality beef you might find at an online retailer likeamount of cows,way of the goalkeeperÖSnake River Farm.For 750 pounds of beef from a 1,200 pound cow, that's $4,200.

Note that you can also ask the butcher to include the bones,Mark, Herz,language,Ochsenschwanz, and liver which have many uses, from making your own soups and even soaps.

Buying a whole cow allows you to use the entire animal and cut the cost of things you would have already bought, like soap or broth.

how to weigh a cow

Unless you bought a whole cow directly from a farmer, you might be at a loss for a few terms. Cows are weighed in a number of ways that you need to consider to get a better idea of ​​the total cost.

First-time customers need to understand that even if an average cow weighs 1,200 pounds during its lifetime, you won't get that much meat.

It is common for processorsdry agethe meat for several days, reducing the moisture present in the meat and thus reducing the weight.

Unwanted bones and organs are removed from the carcass during the trimming process, reducing overall weight. If you wish, you can of course include these parts. Depending on various circumstances, you can expect to see about 750 pounds of meat from an average 1200 pound cow.

live weight

As the term suggests, live weight refers to how much the cow weighs while alive. You can expect a live cow to weigh around 900 pounds between the ages of 1-2.5 years.

hanging weight

The hanging weight is the weight of the cow after it has been killed, skinned and eviscerated. In most cases, this is the weight at which frozen meat is typically sold.

take the weight home with you

Take-away weight is the weight of the meat you take home after it has been cut and/or ground to your liking. Depending on the cuts chosen, you should expect this to account for around 60% of the total hanging weight.

(Video) Beef 101: Every Cut of Meat, Explained.

required space in the freezer

How to buy a whole cow for meat explained (2)

Chances are you need more space than your kitchen already has. Because there's a lot of meat involved (even if it's everythingin tubesand packaging), the ideal solution is to install a dedicated freezer for storage in a garage or basement.

Prices for freezers that can store beef range from a few hundred dollars for a model that can hold a quarter cow to over a thousand dollars for larger versions with more storage space.

A quarter of a cow will fit in a freezer of about 4 cubic feet. A fully slaughtered cow will most likely require a freezer of about 16 cubic feet.

When you return home with your marbled treasure, the beef will keep in the freezer for 9 to 12 months.

That's a long time, but keep this in mindIt's a lot of meat, so it's a good idea to consider your household's current monthly beef consumption so you don't buy more than you need. If you don't think your household would use a whole cow in that time period, or you're not sure, you can always start with half or quarter cows and then reassess.

Storage temperatures are between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and meat is removed from the freezer a day or two before use. Avoid repeated heating and cooling of meat to avoid spoilage.

Frequently asked questions about buying a whole cow

Here are some frequently asked questions about buying a whole cow.

Is it worth buying a whole cow?

A whole cow is worth buying if you eat a lot of beef, care about where the meat comes from, want to save a lot of money, and have enough storage space to store your meat while you eat it.

How much meat do you get from a 1200 lb cow?

You can expect to see around 750 pounds of meat from a 1,200 pound cow after you've removed the organs and moisture, depending on various circumstances.

How much meat do you get from a 1000 pound cow?

You can expect to see about 625 pounds of meat from a 1000 pound cow after you remove the organs and moisture, depending on various circumstances.

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How much meat do you get from an 800 pound cow?

You can expect to see about 500 pounds of meat from an 800 pound cow after removing the organs and moisture, depending on various circumstances.

How long does it take to raise a cow for slaughter?

If the average daily weight gain for a 500 pound calf is 1.5 pounds per day, it will take about a year (367 days) to grow to 1000 pounds.fuente.

How much does a whole cow cost?

It depends on the market rate, but at $5.60/lb meat from a whole cow would cost $4,200.

How much can half a cow cost?

Depends on market price, but at $5.60/lb meat from half a cow would cost $2,100.

How much is 1/4 cow?

Depends on market price, but at $5.60/lb half a cow's meat would cost $1,050.

What do you get when you buy a whole cow?

You really get what you want from the farmer and butcher. Most butchers exclude organs anddry ageMeat to remove most of the moisture.

final thoughts

Depending on where you source your meat, you may also benefit from developing a personal relationship with the rancher who raised the cow so you can get a better picture of where and how the animal was raised. The same goes for your relationship with the butcher, who can work with you to figure out what types of cuts you like best and how much fat to keep.

Buying a whole cow for beef is a complicated process that's far less convenient than simply picking up a few steaks here and there at your local grocery store. However, the end result will be a freezer full of beef you can eat for up to a year, less incentive to shop and a whole lot saved on your grocery bill.

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What comes with buying a whole cow? ›

With a whole cow you would get approximately 440 pounds of beef. It will be approximately 200 pounds of ground beef, and the other 220 pounds are in cuts like steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, tenderloin, etc.

How much does an entire cow of meat cost? ›

A typical hanging weight is between 400 and 500 lbs, and the butchering costs average out to about $1.00/lb HW. You also have the option of picking up at the farm or having it delivered (with an additional delivery fee). So you can expect a total cost between $2,300 – $2,900.

What cuts of meat do you get from a whole cow? ›

What are the Best Cuts of Meat From a Cow?
  • Chuck roast.
  • Bone-in ribs.
  • Flat iron steak.
  • Ribeye roast.
  • Ribeye steak.
  • Tenderloin (also called filet mignon)
  • Sirloin steak.
  • Skirt steak.
Jun 26, 2020

How does it work when you buy half a cow? ›

When you buy half a cow, you'll get approximately 75 -100 lbs of ground beef, and the rest will be roasts, steaks, and other cuts like brisket, ribs, stew meat, soup bones, and organ meats (liver, heart and tongue.)

Is it cheaper to raise a cow or buy meat? ›

Price-While the cost of feed can be a lot up front, the cost of natural grass fed beef is much cheaper to raise than to buy in the store. Our local butcher charges a $55 kill fee (divided by how much of the beef you purchase) and $. 50 per lb cut and wrap.

How long will a butchered cow last in the freezer? ›

Information. Frozen beef will be safe indefinitely. However, for best quality, use uncooked steaks, roasts, or chops within four to 12 months, uncooked ground beef within four months, and cooked beef within two to three months.

How much meat is a 1200 lb cow? ›

A 1200-pound beef animal will yield a hot carcass weight of approximately 750 pounds. Once cooled, the carcass weight will be approximately 730 pounds. When de-boned and trimmed, there will be approximately 500 pounds of trimmed and de- boned meat for wrapping and freezing.

Is buying half a cow worth it? ›

Buying half a cow is definitely worth it in the long run. The meat lasts up to 2-3 years if it's not defrosted or if the vacuum-sealed package is not punctured or compromised.

How much meat do you get from a 1500 lb cow? ›

From that you will get about 65% of the carcass weight, or roughly 490 pounds, as boneless, trimmed beef. If you look at that as a percentage of the live weight of the steer you started with, it is approximately 40% of the live weight.

How much meat will I get from a 1000 lb cow? ›

In summary, a steer weighing 1,000 pounds on the hoof will average around 430 pounds of retail cuts (steaks, roasts, ground beef, stew beef, etc.).

What do you get when you buy 1/8 of a cow? ›

You should expect to get approximately 50 lbs of meat from your 1/8 of a cow.

How much meat do you get from a 750 lb cow? ›

The 750 pound carcass yields approximately: 490 pounds boneless trimmed beef. 150 pounds fat trim.

Is it OK to have 1 cow? ›

Can I have just one cow or do I need a whole herd? Cows are definitely herd animals and enjoy the companionship of other cattle. However, there have been various times on our homestead when we've only had one cow, and they still seemed happy to hang out with the goats or horses for companionship.


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