By Uncle Dale
We purchase a quarter of a pastured beef from one of my students at the university. When buying beef in bulk, people usually purchase a side of beef, which is one half of a carcass or a mixed quarter. With a mixed quarter you receive a mixture of cuts from the hind quarter (where the preferable cuts are) and the front quarter (where the less desirable cuts are). This was a small steer and as such, the steaks and roasts are also small and lean. Although I prefer big, well-marbled steaks, this will force us to healthier eating. The lean ground beef is packaged in one pound bags which are very convenient. We received 85 pounds of beef – 55 pounds of steaks & roasts and 30 pounds of ground beef. We paid about $425 which calculates to $5 per pound. When you look at the price of beef in the grocery store, this is reasonable and I feel good supporting a student who is trying to pay her way through school, rather than an industrial feed lot in Nebraska. The cuts are shrink-wrapped which extends the freezer life and you can see what you have. With paper wrap, you will have freezer burn by the time you get to the end and the print, which indicates the cut, fades so you don’t know what is inside. You then have to open the package to see what you have. If it is not what you want you have now let more air in to exacerbate freezer burn. We keep our freezer at the coldest setting, -10 F. which helps preserve meat longer. Our freezer also sucks air out like a vacuum when you close the door. This further prevents deterioration of food. In the past we have had chickens and other meat cuts in the freezer for more than a year without any problems. Our freezer is now full with this beef and chicken left over from last year. With only four of us in the house now, I am not sure we are going to raise broilers again this year.