Buying beef in bulk can be the most economical way to maintain a regular supply of high quality meat. The process usually involves purchasing a fraction of an animal and specifying how you want it butchered before storing it in your freezer. Bulk beef transactions usually take place between the person who raises the animal and the consumer. This cuts out the middleman, assuring a fair price for both parties. The consumer also has considerably more information about the quality of the meat and the animal's quality of life.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Research the prices and terms for buying meat in bulk among beef producers in your area. Ask where you can buy their meat in smaller quantities, so you can sample some before committing to buying in bulk. Ask about their grazing and feeding practices if this is important to you. If you have strong feelings about how long you want your meat aged and the size and shape of the pieces you want butchered, ask whether you will have any input into these processes. Ask about additional charges that will affect cost, such as a kill fee or a price per pound for butchering.
Familiarise yourself with the different options for buying bulk meat. If you buy a side of beef, which is half of the animal, you will get a variety of cuts and a relatively low price per pound. If you buy a quarter, you will need to choose between the hind quarter, which is more expensive but includes more steaks and roasts, and the forequarter, which is less expensive but includes tougher cuts and a higher proportion of stew meat.
Make plans for how you will store your meat. You can choose to split the purchase with other families if the thought of storing and using an entire quarter seems daunting. Make space in a chest freezer for your purchase.
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