As promised last week, here’s a better look at the actual cuts we get for our quarter of beef.
First though, I cannot recommend enough that you use crates or some other organizing system when you have a full freezer. It is so nice to lift a crate and get to the bottom, rather than digging through three feet of frozen goods to find something. We can fit four crates in our freezer (two are shown, the other two stack on top). A quarter of beef fills three of them*. I use the fourth for chicken, turkey, or other frozen meat.
*Keep in mind that the actual weight and number of packages in a quarter of beef can vary greatly, depending on the size of the animal.
Please excuse the mess. I dumped the beef out of one crate to give you a better picture of the volume of a quarter.
Because our beef this time was a Christmas gift, it wasn’t cut quite like we usually do it, but hey… no one’s complaining! Here’s what our quarter looks like.
- 43 (about one pound each) packages of hamburger
- 3 packages of KC Strip (two in each pack)
- 3 packages of ribeye steaks (two in each pack)
- 2 packages of fillets (two in each pack)
- 2 packages of sirloin (two in each pack)
- 3 chuck roasts (about 5 pounds each)
- 1 pikes peak roast (about 5 pounds)
- 1 arm roast (about 5 pounds)
- 1 brisket (about 5 pounds)
- 11 packages of round steak (about 2 pounds each)
If you do the math you’ll find that my numbers don’t quite add up to the 164 pounds that we should have. No worries. I’m just guesstimating the size of each package. Plus, while we were careful to give everyone the same number of packages of each cut when we divided up the whole order (as best we could), we did not take the time to weigh each package. We could easily be “off” 10 pounds.
When ordering beef this way, there is a lot of flexibility in how it is packaged. Here’s a little of what we do and why we do it. If any of you order bulk beef, but have yours cut differently, I’d love to learn from you! Again, I order the cuts differently than my parents do, so some of my suggestions will contradict what I have in my freezer now.
- We always have our hamburger packaged in one-pound bags. It can be done in 2 or even 3 pound bags, but I don’t often need that much at once and when I do, I find it easier and faster to thaw a few small bags rather than a large one.
- I never have my hamburger made into patties for grilling. It costs extra, and I figure that’s something I can do on my own. Patties would be nice for feeding a crowd, though!
- I order 3-pound roasts. That is plenty for a roast and potatoes meal for our family, plus leftovers for one or two of my favorite roastbeef redos.
- I have all of my chuck ground into hamburger. I find it fatty and tough… but since I have 3 large chuck roasts in this quarter, my mom has assured me that they will be just fine if I use her baking method! She’s a pro and I’ve never once eaten anything less than excellent from her kitchen, so I’m going to learn a thing or two! I also had a few readers comment that they love chuck roast. Maybe I’ve just been doing it “wrong.”
- We are used to ordering T-bone steaks instead of KC strip. It’s my understanding that the KC strip is the big part of the T-bone, without the bone. We have dogs, and they like the bones.
- I believe I order all of my steaks cut 1 inch thick. We get them two to a package. We could eat more than that for a meal (My five year old daughter can eat more steak than me in one sitting, maybe because I craved steak throughout my pregnancy with her?!?) but that wouldn’t be the most frugal use of our meat.
- We have a lot (11 packages) of round steak in our Christmas order. I generally have 1/4 of my round steak ground into hamburger, and 1/2 of what’s left made into chicken fries. I think they add about 5 cents for each chicken fry, but OH MY they are fall-apart tender! This year we’ll use our round steak to cut and tenderize our own chicken fries. And I’ll get to experiment with some new round steak recipes!
- Stew meat is missing from our order this year. I like to use it for stew (ya don’t say!), beef and noodles, and stroganoff, but we’ll make do just fine by substituting round steak and chuck roast in those meals.
- We also made bbq beef ribs for the first time tonight. The meat was good, but the verdict is still out… I don’t know if they are worth the trouble.
- While I don’t have nightmares about my mom’s liver ‘n onions meals (anything was palatable with mom’s delicious gravy!), that is one cut of beef that I avoid. Every once in a while I’ll have them include the liver so we can use it when we go fishing. Other than that, the only time I’ve cooked liver was a total newlywed-rookie goof that deserves its own post. Maybe someday…
So, what do I do with all that beef? Give me a week and I’ll share some of what we do with the different cuts, how we like it prepared, and I might even scrounge up a recipe or two! Any way you slice it, or cut it… $2.36 per pound bulk beef is a great frugal purchase for our family.
Please let me know if you have any questions. If I don’t know the answers, I’ll ask my “expert” family members!
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