Is Buying Beef in Bulk Puzzling to You?
January 1, 2022
You have decided its time to fill your freezer with locally grown beef. But, you don't know what to expect.
I hear you! When our family decided to quit purchasing meat in the grocery store and have a butcher process our home-raised animals for our freezer I was a bit confused, I didn't know what to expect. This was 30+ years ago and many beef have passed through our freezers since that time. Even the original butcher has changed. We now do all our own processing.
Now that I have been processing beef for twelve years I know what to expect from a carcass. I hope I can pass this on to you so that you know what to expect when you make a bulk beef purchase.
Let's Get Started
This is the part that most of us don't want to think about. But, to change a live animal into an edible meat product, we must convert it into a carcass. The hide, head and entails are removed . After this, approximately 60% of the live animal's weight remains. This is called the "dressing percentage." There are many factors that affect the dressing percentage; hide thickness, if the animal was grass-fed or grain fed, if feed was withheld in the 12 hours prior to harvesting and even if the animal had horns. At this point, the carcass is weighed and that weight is recorded. This weight will be what you are charged for. It is called the "hot hanging weight."
The carcass is now ready for "aging". There are two types of aging; wet and dry-aging. In our on-farm butcher shop we dry-age all the beef. After the carcass is chilled the aging period begins. We will age a carcass for a minimum of 14 days up to 28 days depending on how much of a fat cover the carcass has. The aging process develops flavour and tenderness. During this time anywhere between 10 to 18% of the hot hanging weight will be lost due to evaporation.
The carcass is now ready to be broken down into steaks, roasts, stewing cubes and ground. Each part of the carcass will yield a certain percentage of the cuts. This is where you as the customer will choose what cuts you want. A good butcher will have what is called a cut sheet. They will guide you through the process of making your custom choices. Most butchers will not ask you if you want the bones for making nutrient dense broths, any inedible trim or the organ meats. At Harmonys Way Family Farm we believe that you are paying for these things, so you should be able to receive them with the rest of your order. We always give you the opportunity to receive the bones, the inedible trim ground into pet food or the organ meats (tongue, heart, liver and kidneys).
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the product weight I get back less than the hot hanging weight?
There are three reasons that the numbers don't match. Shrinking of the carcass during aging, separation of inedible from edible parts and not asking for your bones and inedible trim returned to you.
Why don't you charge for only the product I receive back?
As farmers, it is out of our control to know what an individual animal will weigh after it is all cut and wrapped. Just like any business we need to be able to make a profit in order to stay in business to serve our customers. Unfortunately, once an animal leaves our care and moves into the hands of the butcher, we have lost control of how much shrink we will have and how they will breakdown the carcass and can't financially plan accordingly. Therefore, when we set our price it is on hot hanging weight.
With a new year in front of us we are launching a new item to our online store.
Say hello to our 1/8 Beef Bundle! Buy one bundle and save $21.39, two bundles $74.14, etc. You get the idea.
These bulk bundles are a great way to stock your freezer with delicious Harmonys Way Family Farm grassfed, grass -finished beef and save money!
You'll get to enjoy a selection of steaks, roasts, stewing cubes, ground beef, sausages and soup bones.
Great Beef! No hidden costs.