I’ll be the first to admit that 100% grass fed beef is not a high priority for me. We purchased a quarter of 100% grass fed beef once, and the taste and texture simply wasn’t worth the price. For us. Don’t forget, friends, this (very long and drawn out ) series is all about exploring real(er) food options and figuring out what works best for you and your family!
While we don’t stress about all pastured, grazing, grass fed beef, we have always purchased our beef in bulk from farmers who take good care of their animals. Just a couple weeks ago I was making hamburger patties from meat that was not ours and was not purchased from a farmer and, well… gaggity gag gag. The fat was clinging to my skin, and I literally had to scrape it off before I could even wash my hands. Ack! That experience was a stark reminder that there really is a difference in meat depending on what the animals are fed and how they are cared for.
Back to my freezer.
Earlier this summer we filled our freezer with a quarter of beef. This beef will likely last our family 7-8 months. I also just got off the phone with the butcher, placing my cutting order for a 1/2 hog that will arrive next week, and I buy whole chickens throughout the year from a local Mennonite farm.
Our beef quarter is 132 pounds of a variety of cuts and cost us $3.19 per pound. I don’t even know what meat costs at a store to know what kind of a “bargain” I’m getting, but remember, that’s $3.19 per pound for roasts and steaks, too!
Here’s how our quarter was packaged:
- 1 large brisket
- 35 1-pound packages of hamburger
- 6 packages soup bones (for homemade beef stock/broth)
- 2 chuck roasts (3 pounds each)
- 1 chuck eye steak (this is new to me!)
- 1 pikes peak roast (3 pounds)
- 3 packages sirloin steak (2 steaks per package)
- 4 packages t-bone steak (2 steaks per package)
- 2 packages stew meat
- 2 packages ribeye steak (2 steaks per package)
- 7 packages round steak
- 1 package beef filets
- 1 arm roast (3 pounds)
Our beef quarter fits nicely in 3 plastic crates and takes up less than 1/2 of our deep freezer space. We have four of those crates stacked in the freezer and then other things packed around them.
Because we know it’s coming, writing the $419.30 check to fill our freezer with beef isn’t too terribly painful, especially considering the convenience of having all different cuts of meat handy for menu planning and menu changes.
Our favorite beef recipes can be found in my Recipe Index, but here are some highlights:
- barbecued beef brisket
- beef and chicken fajitas (use sirloin or round steak)
- roast beef burritos (a favorite use for leftover roast beef)
- chicken fried steak (use round steak)
- hamburger favorites: brown bag burritos, cavatini, taco grande, pizza braid
What questions do you have about buying/using/storing beef in bulk? I’m certainly not an expert but would be happy to answer based on experience!
Grocery catch up! As of July 13: $294.60 (No, I have not figured out how the weeks get away from me!)
- 7/15 Tropical Traditions, $16.21 ~ palm shortening (for frying things), dark chocolate ~ paid shipping only
- 7/17 Dollar Tree, $10.72 ~ 2 packages hot dog buns, 2 packages hamburger buns, 6 loaves bread (Nature’s Own bread at Dollar Tree is one of my all-time favorite convenience buys.)
- 7/17 Aldi, $63.12 ~ birthday food for Miss 6 and lots of staples
- 7/24 Azure, $30.44 ~ flour, yogurt, walnuts, cheese, oats (I am now getting a Drop Manager discount. What a blessing!)
- 7/26 Beef, $327.75 (paid for processing in June)
- 7/27 Dillons, $19.38 ~ crackers, butter, ranch dip, eggs, bananas, peaches, buttermilk, milk
- 7/30 Dillons, $34.82 ~ guacamole, cottage cheese, butter, carrots, milk, spinach, lettuce, sugar, tomatoes, tortilla chips
April Grocery Total: $434.21
May Grocery Total: $456.82
June Grocery Total: $469.84
July Grocery Total: $797.04 (including 1/4 beef)
Four month average: $539.46
I’ve said it before and I’ll stress it again: Please do not gasp in horror about how little or how much I spend on groceries. Our circumstances, abilities, resources, and priorities are all so different that it’s senseless to compare such things! I share these numbers only as a point of reference for my family, not as a guide for yours. Carry on!