If your meat-eating family members has ever before been ~ above a budget, doubtless did you do it asked you yourself “How much does a cow cost?” every joking aside, you can be on come something. Does it actually save money to buy a fifty percent or a 4 minutes 1 of a cow and stow the cow cut away in an extra freezer, utilizing them periodically transparent the year?

Since my family members does live ~ above a budget, I set out to discover how I have the right to save the most when buying meat. Here’s what i learned:

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1. When it involves beef price per pound, intend to pay $4.45 – $6 per lb (hanging weight).


When friend buy a fifty percent cow, you’ll get a next of the cow, break-up right under the midline, not a former or earlier end. A 4 minutes 1 cow is more of a crapshoot and also in many cases, you’ll acquire less an option when girlfriend go the route. So, a quarter cow acquisition is no for girlfriend if you want guaranteed cut of meat.

So, what’s “hanging weight” and why does it matter when we talk about buying a cow?

When she shopping because that a cow, the price per pound you check out on a farm’s website is based upon the hanging weight, which refers to the unfinished cuts of meat top top a cow. That method that all the stuff on the cow you don’t eat, favor entrails, hooves, etc. Is quiet factored right into the price.

So, stop talk about calculating prices based on hanging weight and also fees. Your neighborhood farm will set these prices; they will vary based upon a lot of factors, therefore these room approximations:

Half- or full-cow prices: $3.95 – $5.50 per poundProcessing fee: $0.50 per poundKill fee: $50

How to calculation the hanging load price for a complete 460 lb cow:

Step 1: $3.95 price per lb + $0.50 every pound handling fee = $4.45 every poundStep 2: $4.45 per lb x 460 pounds = $2,047 hanging weight priceStep 3: include $50 kill feeStep 4: full fee: $2,097Step 5: Divide total fee by 460 poundsStep 6: final Price: $4.55 per lb hanging weight


2. Expect to pay an median price the $6.36 for finished cuts of beef.


“Finished cuts” room the actual processed and also packaged beef that you eat. Through this number, you can compare prices through what you’d buy in ~ the grocery store.

I’ve discovered that you’ll acquire an median of 60 – 80% of the hanging weight in her finished cuts. This means you’ll lose 20 – 40% the the cow (and no one is crying too hard about this — it’s the head and entrails).

More math — stay with me. Making use of 30% together an average loss amount, here’s how to calculate her hanging weight complete price against your new, reduced quantity of meat.

Calculating the finished cut weight:

Step 1: 460 pounds hanging load x .30 loss = 322 pounds finished reduced weightStep 2: division $2,047 hanging weight complete fee from over by 322 pounds: $6.36 per pound finished reduced weight

The price per pound, $6.36, is the number you’ll compare v grocery keep prices. Speak of which…


3. Just compare her cow price through organic, grass fed grocery save beef. (Or dry-aged!)


When friend buy a cow, you’ll gain grass-fed, organic, and local meat. Therefore you have actually to produce an apples-to-apples comparison. (Yes, you can likewise buy a grain-fed cow, and also yep, it’s cheaper. But since most neighborhood ranches sell grass-fed cows, we’ll only look at that.)

Purchasing grass-fed or essential beef in ~ the grocery store is expensive, i beg your pardon is why you’re below reading about how to buy a fifty percent cow or more! now let’s look in ~ half-cow finished reduced prices contrasted to grocery save prices ~ above organic, grass fed beef. I’ve likewise included a comparison v retail price on dry-aged grass fed beef:

Ground beef:

Half-cow perfect cut: $6.36 – $8.57 per poundKroger: $6.99 – $7.99 every poundDry-aged: $9.45 per pound


Half-cow perfect cut: $6.36 – $8.57 per poundWhole Foods: $9.99 every poundDry-aged: $9.58 every pound

Ribeye steak:

Half-cow perfect cut: $6.36 – $8.57 every poundKroger: $19.18 per poundDry-aged: $21.88 every pound

Strip steak:

Half-cow perfect cut: $6.36 – $8.57 every poundKroger: $20.78 per poundDry-aged: $26.68 per pound

Filet Mignon:

Half-cow finished cut: $6.36 – $8.57 every poundWalmart: $20.82 per pound (for serial fed)Dry-aged: $29.23 every pound

I hope you’re see a trend! The much more expensive meats space the exact same price every pound as the cheaper meats once you purchase a cow!


4. Pay an median of $7 per lb for expensive cut of meat choose filet mignon (that’s $14.42 per pound in savings!).


While floor beef prices space in the very same ballpark together grocery store prices, cuts favor steaks and also roasts offer large savings as soon as you to buy a cow.

Why? because ranchers market a lump amount price on the hanging load of the cow or half-cow.

When you rest it under by price every pound, you nothing differentiate in between different cut of meat. An interpretation you’re getting roughly $7 per pound for ground beef, i beg your pardon is about the very same price together at the grocery store, but you’re also getting $7 per pound for piece steak, which is $14.42 less than the grocery store price!

So if you a steak or roast eater, purchase a cow is absolutely precious the savings.


5. To buy a whole cow or fifty percent a cow (not a quarter cow) will obtain you the ideal deal.


When it comes to buying a cow, wherein you live affects the price you’ll pay because that a cow and “local” isn’t automatically the cheapest.

According come the U.S.D.A. Nationwide Monthly Grass Fed Beef Report, if friend live in the main U.S., you’ll pay the most. Why? The cost reflects the initiative it take away to produce grass fed beef. In the midwest, flat areas of land space prioritized for plants like corn. Compare this through the topography of the west U.S., i beg your pardon is an ext mountainous, restricting what species of crops can grow. In the west, ranchers deserve to graze cows top top hills or land that otherwise no useful, agriculturally speaking.

Additionally, a cow friend buy in the central regions the the U.S., also if that is grass fed, will more than likely be finished on serial to do it an ext economical (cheaper for ranchers). This isn’t necessarily bad, but you should understand what you’re getting.

The great news is you can have options. Consider buying her cow indigenous a less expensive an ar if friend live in the main U.S. Of course, you’ll need to calculate the expense of steering to choose it up, however in some instances you might save money. It’s worth calling roughly outside her locale to check out what prices are like!


7. You won’t get a guarantee on the lean fat portion of your ground beef.

Most farms will not offer you a an option of lean fat percent in your ground beef, because a promise like that calls for a verification procedure that numerous smaller outfits just aren’t interested in.

Your soil beef will hover about the 70/30 – 80/20 mark. If you desire your beef closer to the 70/30 ratio, questioning the butcher not to trim the fat turn off the cuts of meat as much as they would otherwise. If you want leaner soil beef, ask for a closer trim. Realize, though, the you might pay slightly an ext for the time it’ll take it them come trim more carefully.

Another option can be to just request the butcher not throw the fat ago into the soil beef when they go to grind it. Talk to your butcher to check out what your choices are.


8. Save your next of beef in the freezer for as much as one year.

Make certain you’re up for eating every this low-priced, grass-fed, humanely raised beef before it goes bad!

You’ll have actually one year come consume that if it’s vacuum-sealed and also put in a chest freezer. Number out exactly how much meat you’ll need to eat in a week based on your family’s dimension to decide exactly how much you will do it need.

If a half-cow averages 240 pounds of hanging meat, that’s 144 – 185 pounds that finished cut of meat. This way a family of 4 would must eat about 3 – 4 pounds that beef every main in order to gain through all the meat in one year.


9. Be ready to eat all cut of meat in bespeak to do buying a cow worth your while.

If you buying a totality cow, she buying the whole cow rather literally, and also different components of the cow yield various kinds that meat.

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So, if you recognize you’ll just barbecue T-bone steaks, or you only use ground beef, to buy a next of beef isn’t for you. A half-cow purchase commonly includes:

Tenderloin Steaks (Filet Mignon)Ribeye SteaksNY piece SteaksSirloin SteaksLondon Broil SteaksFlank, skirt & Hanger SteaksShort RibsShoulder / Rump RoastsChuck RoastsBrisketsShanks (soup bones)LiverStew MeatGround BeefTop & Bottom round Roasts


10. Don’t have the freezer an are for a totality or fifty percent cow? Get select cuts the beef straight from a farm.