Sunday, May 19, 2013

A quarter-ton of beef

On Friday, I went down to pick up the meat from the two animals we had butchered a couple weeks ago. We have about 650 lbs. of beef coming to us, only 150 lbs. of which we'll be keeping.

The drive down to Potlatch is always so pretty this time of year. The Palouse is almost impossibly green with early winter wheat beginning to grow. And the isolated farms look story-book picturesque.

The butchers keep their facility squeaky-clean.

Here's the freezer unit. Each customer's meat is kept in labeled trays.

Here's the cooler unit, where they hang carcasses for a week or ten days, which tenderizes the meat.

Here's some of the regular as well as specialty services these butchers offer.

Anyway, I loaded my car to groaning with packaged beef, and drove home.

Next step: clean out the freezer!

In order to fit everything in, we had to be brutal in selecting what stays and what goes. Don made some wooden partitions to help keep things sorted and organized.

We inventoried as we packed the freezer so we would know what we have.

A lot of people from our church are interested in the meat, so the freezer won't be this way for long.

It took a lot of creative maneuvering and clever packing, but we finally got almost everything in; though forty-seven pounds of overflow ground beef are being stored in a neighbor's freezer.

With butchering costs, the price of this beef (organic and grass-fed!) is about $1/lb. Of course that doesn't take into effect feed costs, which I'm estimating adds another ten cents per pound.

We haven't bought beef in so many years that I haven't paid attention to beef prices. So last week when I was in Costco (whose beef is, presumably, among the cheapest available), I wrote down some costs. And oh. My. Goodness. I was horrified. When did beef prices skyrocket like this? Who on earth can afford to pay $12 a pound for ribeye steak? No wonder folks are interested in our meat! Raising our own beef is definitely worth it.

And what are having for tonight's neighborhood potluck dinner? Why, pot roast of course!


  1. Costco beef is not the cheapest meat available. It is definitely high quality, although they do needle all the cuts.

    Trading Company in Post Falls matches the quality, but since they are grocery store, they do have sales which means much lower costs than Costco. Most of the Trading Company beef comes from the Double RR ranch in Loomis, Wa and is primarily grass fed. It's very good.

    I used to buy all my meat from Costco, but now I take advantage of the sales at Trading Co.

    Disclaimer: I worked for Costco for about 9 years and I now work at Trading Company. I love Costco and I love Trading Company, too. Feel free to call me biased. ;-)

    One thing neither of them can do is beat $1.20 a pound. Sigh...

  2. I am fascinated by this stuff. I know I can't ever do anything like this due to space constraints but that is such an amazing price for beef when we pay 6-7 dollars per lb at the Natural Grocers locally and that is just for ground beef, and I stalk the expiration dates and try to catch it for 3.5 per lb....Roasts are no where in our price range. Cheers to you though!

  3. We had a bad drought in Texas 2 years ago. Ranchers sold off a lot of cattle rather than let them die. Beef prices were very cheap last year. Now, the herds are depleted and it will take some time to replenish them. Supply, meet demand.

  4. Patrice;
    We have raised our beef since I was 11yrs old, and supermarkets can not meet the taste of home raise beef, yum!
    Your price for butchering, cutting and wraping make me want to cry. We pay nearly 3 times that amount, but it is one of the few shops that I know is clean and you get your beef back.

    Have a question for you I can locate the posting of the "farm sign" that spoke about animal smells and noises you posted a while back. I lost it in my save file, if you could give me and others who are looking for it a heads up, would apprecite it.

    Love the new baby heifer on the photos.

    1. Try this link:

      - Patrice

    2. That is the one I am looking for, thank you.

    3. Thank you that is what I was looking for.

  5. Outstanding.

    I appreciate having the prices and costs to compare to.

    Yer makin' me hungry!


  6. Patrice,

    I would love to be able to pack my freezer with some fabulous beef like you have. Yes, meat is on the increase at the stores. Our gas is now $4.02 a gallon here for regular unleaded 100 percent gas.

    Enjoy your potluck dinner!

  7. Try the prices in San Jose, CA!! Higher than what you just quoted. But, wages are much higher here, also. Most prices are about a dollar a pound higher unless it is on sale. We are both working and the Lord is blessing us so I can't complain. It is shocking though when you see how things have gone up.

  8. just goes to show what the corporate farms and those "middlemen" in business are doing to line their pockets...prices of all meats,poultry,and even fresh veggies are outrageous these days. and the managers specials have slim pickings these days too.

  9. Pot roast recipe, please????

    1. Very simple recipe. In a crockpot (slow cooker), add:

      - Meat
      - Water (according to however much gravy you want)
      - Brown gravy mix (I buy this bulk from Cash & Carry)
      - Onion powder (my older daughter doesn't like fresh onions but likes the taste of onion powder; otherwise I'd use fresh onions)(some people use a packet of onion soup mix, which works fine)
      - Ranch dressing mix (again, purchased in bulk from Cash & Carry)
      - Rosemary and thyme to taste

      You can also add carrots, potatoes, or other veggies.

      I usually put this in the crockpot in the morning so it's ready to eat by dinner. The advantage of crockpots or slow cookers is it leaves the meat fork-tender.

      - Patrice

  10. Lived on the Palouse for close to 11 years, love the pics of that area, I miss it! The butcher you go to is amazing too, all my friends up in the Moscow area would have them butcher their livestock and many would take their game animals there as well, great guys!

  11. Nothing better than range beef! We purchase one of the 4H winners every year. Although the initial outlay is spendy the meat quality can't be beat and overall cost is much cheaper.

  12. I pay 5 to 6 dollars a pound for a mixed quarter of grass fed beef in Michigan. I think that is hanging weight. The same beef in the local co-op is $10 a pound.

  13. That farm is beautiful! We bought a 1/2 of a cow last year from a friend - the meat is almost gone. He will not be putting up a cow this year - he raises them and then sells them but does not butcher them himself. I love the meat. It cost about $2.50/lb which I think is great! Totally wishing I lived near you. :D

  14. I pay around 7 bucks a pound for ribeye at Shady Maple Farm Market in Lancaster County. I am lucky to live in an area where there are lots of local farms.

  15. There's a cattle farmer that lives about 30 miles away from us that will raise, butcher, package and sell you beef in quarters, halves and wholes. Because there is nobody between you and him, he is able to sell the beef at about 2.50 a pound. It's a win-win deal. He's actually making money and you're getting pastured beef, humanely raised with no chemicals.

  16. We don't buy much beef. We eat 3 deer a year . Generally 1 buck and 2 doe. I butcher them , so that's "free" Except for time spent in the tree stand, we eat free as far as red meat, well license and doe permits cost, but very little. We are also raising chickens again.Thinking about pigs.