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Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken and Beef

by Uncle Dale

We grow 50-100 broilers each year for our table. It’s not economical. It costs us over $1.50 per pound and that doesn’t account for our labor. http://backyardfarming.blogspot.com/2010/06/cornish-cross-versus-freedom-rangers.html But it’s my hobby and I enjoy producing some of my own meat. They are pasture raised and I know what goes into them although I am not opposed to industrial produced broilers. I know the broiler industry well and I have friends who own contract broiler houses. Their mortality is less than mine. My palette is not discerning enough to tell if my chicken taste any better than industrial produced chicken. I am opposed to caged layers which is why I keep my own layers. http://backyardfarming.blogspot.com/2008/09/liberate-layers.html

So we eat a lot of chicken in our home. Chicken is less fattening and supposedly a healthier option than pork or beef. But boy do I like beef! Every few years we buy a side or quarter of beef but usually we just buy what is on the reduced rack. Beef on the reduced rack is one of the best deals in the grocery store. Beef industry marketing campaigns have convinced people that fresh beef is the best. But years ago people paid premium prices for “aged” beef. The carcass was allowed to hang much longer in the cooler. This process allows moisture to evaporate from the muscle concentrating the flavor and the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef. But aging beef is expensive because of the extra time spent in the cooler and loss of moisture means less weight to sell to the customer. So the industry convinced consumers that fresh beef is better. Beef on the reduced rack has had a little more time for the enzymes to start working and it costs less! So I go for the premium aged, reduced rack beef at a bargain price. 

We haven’t purchased a side of beef for several years. The other day one of my students in my course at the University came up and asked if I wanted part of beef that she raised this past summer. Well she has heard my lecture on growing your food, knowing your food, buying local, and buying directly from farmers. So I was trapped. But that is okay. We are buying a mixed quarter from her. We will get about 125 pounds of steaks, roasts, hamburger, soup bones, etc. for about $3.50 per pound. So move over chicken. We have to make room for beef.

 Move over chicken, the beef is coming.

 The guy on the right side of the photo is named Filet. He will be in our freezer in a few weeks. 


Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Chicken sells for about $2.29/# in the store here, so I'd jump up and down for $1.50/# and call it a great sale! I raised my own this summer (my first time) and it cost me about the same as the store. I think I can do better next time because I learned a few things from feed mistakes I made. BUT, no doubt about it... it's some of the best chicken we've ever had!!

I buy half a cow from a gal who raises grass fed pastured beef each year and we try to get some venison or wild boar as well. And growing up, we ate quail and dove. (We fished as well) Several friends are also starting to raise sheep or rabbits for meat - I'd really like to try some and see if it's for us. I think variety is good.

K-Koira said...

Man, my dogs wish my freezer looked like that...

Raw feeding dogs means I buy a lot of meat. Most of what I buy is mark down and discounted meats, and I even get people's freezer burned meats for free, which the dogs don't mind at all.

Alice said...

$1.50/pound is very economical if you compare it the the $16/bird that a local farm charges for their pasture raised chickens. :)