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Purchasing a side of beef?

tips for purchasing a side of beef

Have you ever purchased a side of beef?  I am really interested to hear if any of you have any experience.  This is something we have considered and I would love to get any feedback that you have?  Thanks so much in advance for any tips, suggestions, lessons learned, average pricing?

Purchasing a cow is something that we have really considered and would like to know your thoughts.



  1. Tabitha Walker says

    If you are going to purchasing a side of beef. The prices of the beef to purchase could vary be area,plus you have to add on the processing fees at the butcher. I live on a farm and fresh ground beef is the way to go as it doesnt have much fat and taste a whole lot better than the stores meat. I would also look into the where to get pork as it is really good also.

  2. Missy says

    We have bought either a side or the whole for the last 3 or 4 years. We haven’t for the last year but only because we moved away from where we got our beef from. It was so worth it! I think after everything (processing and the cost of meat) it usually averaged out to under $2 per pound. And like the lady above me said it is so much leaner than what you find in the store and the taste is amazing! I always hated buying burger from the store because it always seemed that I would bite into a bone or a grissle. We bought a half the first time and it lasted about 6 months. 2 adults and 4 kids. Next time we got a whole and it lasted a year. It was so nice to not have to worry about running to the store for beef. We would always buy one around income tax time because it is such a huge cost up front but so worth the savings in the long run!

  3. says

    Haven’t done it but we’ve considered it too. We figure it could be cheaper in the long run and make good use of our deep freezer…but I don’t really know.

  4. says

    I can’t eat beef but my cousin does this and they love it. It saves time and $. As long as you have a huge freezer to store it, it’s a great idea. I have two friends who do this but split it up because they don’t each wan’t a half.

  5. G says

    I have purchased halves several times. I love to when I have the room, however since couponing I have decreased my freezer space – a catch 22 for me! The beef you get in my opinion is much better quality, you can place your order for what you want – example, our family is growing so I ask for my roasts to be 3 pounds, I ask for stew meat to be cut and placed in 1# packages. Definitely has its advantages and I do miss having it readily available, I need to work on consolidating my coupon stockpile to accomodate my meat order!

  6. DD says

    I wholeheartedly agree with the ladies above. Not only do you save money, but you get a much better product for your family (usually grass/corn fed beef and often hormone/antibiotic free). Just ask around for a local cattle farmer! Less fat, better taste, processed and packaged to your specifications to minimize waste, and the bonus of supporting a local farmer! It is a larger cash outlay at one time, but well worth it. I waited to late to order mine this time, so I am having to supplement by buying beef at the store I can’t believe how much ground beef costs at the grocer…and then I have to drain off 15-30% of it in fat! Rarely is there anything to drain from our farm ground beef after browning it. I’ve even been buying some ground turkey, and it still costs more per pound than my farm raised beef!

    If you don’t have the freezer space to handle a half, ask a friend or family member if they would like to split a half with you. In that case, you’ll both have to agree to have it processed/packaged the same way, but you both will get cuts from both ends of the half. Sometimes farmers (and processors) also have other customers only wanting 1/4 of a beef that they can match you up with.

  7. Amanda says

    My husbands family does this and we split it up between three families. We also did this with a pig and it was so much cheaper. It is around $300 for processing fees and the animal which if you think about it is a HUGE savings!! You can also tell them which cuts you would like!

  8. Olevia says

    How much freezer room does a side of beef take up? We have an extra fridge with overhead freezer (regular size) – would this be big enough?

  9. Leanne says

    We buy a half cow about once a year from a local meat market. The taste is so much better and after the initial payment for the meat, your grocery bill drops considerably and you sometimes dont have to go to the store as often if you keep a stocked pantry and fridge.

  10. Missy says

    A freezer above a fridge would not be big enough. We had a huge chest freezer when we got out whole cow and it filled it to the brim (I had to take everything else out of the freezer) and we had to put some in our freezer in fridge!

  11. Elizabeth says

    I just finished reading an article in this month’s Cooking Light that talks about this in relation to grass fed vs. grain fed beef. It was enlightening because we had bought a quarter of a cow a few years ago and found the steaks & beef tips to be tough. After reading this article, I realize that since the beef was grass fed and allowances (such as adding fat to the cooking process through butter or oil) have to be made when cooking since it is much leaner meat. Preparing it like a grocery store steak dries it out too much, hence the toughness. I reccomend the article.

  12. Kenneth Walcher says

    When I buy a side of beef I always get one that was grass feed not corn(grain) feed or was in a feed lot for a month or two. I agree the processor can give you the meat wrapped so it is good over a year later or it goes bad at 6 months. The price does very and If you can get one from a person who you know and has cows on the farm that is better. It is nice to have all the cuts and you may want to look into splitting the side of beef with a friend as it still is alot to eat. Good luck

  13. Amber says

    Another option is to purchase a beef from a local 4H or FFA fair. The kids keep detail records of their feeding program, so you know the care of the animal. A portion of your purchase, especially if you own a business, can be tax deductible. More importantly, you’re investing in a group of kids who contributed time, sweat, and money to a project that promotes responsibility and husbandry.

  14. Ashley says

    We just bought our first 1/4 of a cow (about 100 lbs) for $320. It is very worth it. The quality of grass fed beef for that price. We will never go back to storebought. It does end up being a lot of ground beef. We have a separate freezer b/c it does take up a lot of space.

  15. Heidi says

    We just went in with a couple of families and purchased angus beef. We got about 100 lbs and it cost us $300. We pattied out about 80 hamburgers, cooked up about 20 lbs of ground with onions and seasonings and froze in quart bags for quick meals, made about 150 meatballs and bagged the rest of the ground in quart bags, we also got some sirloin steaks. We have a large chest freezer. We have done this for a couple of years. We love it, the farmer is not certified organic, but it’s lean, shot free meat, and it’s a deal.

  16. Lisa says

    We raise our own beef and have it processed. I just love having in the freezer and not having to go shop for it. This is the only way to go!!

  17. Hilary says

    I bought our first 1/2 of beef this winter. We usually have game meat, but it was a very bad hunting year. I found that the lean steaks were very comparable to the elk/deer and had to add a little butter to them as someone mentioned above. I also had the butcher cut about 30lbs in jerky slices for my smoker.

  18. Carolyn says

    There is nothing like home grown beef, or even pork, for that matter. I grew up on a farm where we raised and butchered our own meat, even chicken and turkeys. We did use freezer paper back then, but I cringe to think of all the food saver packaging I would use now.

    I started stockpiling this year because we weren’t able to put out my usual veggie garden and my backup source had no luck either. And I have to put out enough to feed the deer who come to visit and wink at me while I watch them devour our efforts. I try to chase them and they stomp the ground and blow at me.

    I want to know where my food comes from and how it is handled. I have been in some stores where I refuse to buy meat unless it’s ham, frozen turkeys or in the freezer section. Kroger had so many recalls on their fresh meat that I wouldn’t even look at it, but, correct me if I’m wrong, I thnk their meat comes prepackaged now. I have my favorite little IGA store here in town that runs a 10# meat sale the first of every month and I use them for my meat. We did wedding receptions, different events, and even cooked for my bil’s campground and all of our meat came from TAndy’s IGA right here in Aurora.

    As you can see, I am really funneeeeeee about meat!

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