Ordering a quarter of beef

We prefer grass-fed beef to grain-fed because it tastes better, is leaner, and is better for you in a variety of ways. Plus, cows love grass, so I’m sure they are happier.  The husband of someone whom I went to high school with raises cattle for beef and I bought ground beef from them before and really liked it.  She recently contacted me about having a 1/4 available from a small cow that was about to be processed.  I asked my parents if they wanted to split it, so we’re splitting an 89 lb quarter of beef with them for about $2.50/lb.  The packaged weight will be less, so I think it’ll end up costing about $3.45/lb packages – which is awesome for grass-fed beef.  I love to buy meat in bulk and just thaw what we want, so I’m happy to have a great source now!

beef cuts

I had to talk to the butcher to tell them how I want the cuts and I had no idea what to order!  We aren’t big steak eaters – and neither are my parents – so we intended to have most steaks ground into beef.  I should have googled “how to buy a quarter of beef”, but I didn’t think of that before someone at the butcher’s called.  She was talking so fast and I was asking questions and she seemed annoyed – it was stressful!  I ended up getting the roasts and pretty much everything else ground (some formed into patties because my mom likes those).  Now that I searched online and found this order form (for a different farm), I realized how stupid that was.  I should have got the roasts, and instead of grinding everything else, I should have ordered the brisket, some sort of steak, and had the round steak cut into stew meat (which she may have offered, but again, I was so confused and rushed)!  It’s all the same price, so there’s no sense not getting a few different cuts.

I called back and asked if the order was being processed yet and if I could change the order.  This guy was a little more patient with me, but he was still judgy sounding because I didn’t want all of the steaks. We just aren’t “large pieces of beef” eaters. We rarely order steaks in restaurants and that’s only partially because they are so overpriced.  He guided me a little more with some of my choices and advised to not get the brisket like I thought I wanted – he said the cow is very small (which I knew) and I wouldn’t like it.  I don’t know what that really meant – I wouldn’t like the size, or I wouldn’t like the taste/texture?  I just went with his suggestion.  My order didn’t change a ton, but I got boneless sirloin steaks (and after doing even more research, I should have gone with the rib steaks because they are “better”, even though they sound gross), roasts, ground beef, and stew beef.  My order isn’t much different, but the stew beef and sirloin will change it up so we don’t have 40 lbs of ground (to split).  Or maybe it will be 40 lbs.  I don’t know…it’s so confusing.

You think I’d have the slightest idea of how this worked…while I was growing up, my dad raised cattle for beef as a “hobby”. Sure he didn’t butcher them himself, but he sent them to be processed and we always had a huge freezer stocked with beef.  I didn’t buy beef at the grocery until I moved to Columbus!

Now we have been trying to eat from the freezer so we have room for the beef when we pick it up from my parent’s.  Our freezer is going to be all beef and breast milk!  All of us can eat!  I even had them include some beef bones, though I don’t think we’ll give them to Boof because the vet recommended that we don’t when I emailed to ask.

The moral of the story is that you should do a little research if you are going to buy a part of a cow because apparently there isn’t just a standard way to package beef!

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