How to Buy a Side of Beef
Updated: July 2, 2017
Buying a side of beef is a very economical way to purchase meats for a family. Depending on what cuts you select, you will end up with about 150 – 200lbs of beef that will last in the freezer for a year or more.
At Monnett Farms, we sell our beef by the hanging weight – which is the weight of a side of beef, hanging in the butcher’s cooler after the head, feet and organs have been removed, but before it’s butchered into the usable cuts. We sell a side of beef for $5.25 per pound (a quarter of beef is $5.50), a side of our grass fed beef weighs approximately 200 – 300lbs.
The yield after butchering the side is usually around 60-70% of the hanging weight, depending on the cuts you select. The weight reduction is the result of lost moisture during the aging process, bone removal and the cuts you requested. Our meats are vacuum packed and sealed for long term freezer storage.
A side of beef feeds our family of four for a year. This will keep in a medium size chest freezer. You’ll need two or three medium/large size coolers to transport it home.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
As mentioned above, at $5.25 per pound, a side of beef will cost between $1,100 and $1,600. You’ll get about 150lbs to 200lbs of meat – so the average cost for the all of your beef cuts will be between $8.00 and $12.00 per pound.
You’ll get a mix of beef cuts – from ground beef, which sells at the market for $8.00 per pound, to premium steaks, which sell at the market for $15 to $28 per pound. When you look at it this way, the savings are obvious.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
When you buy a side of beef, it will be custom cut to your specifications. Once your deposit has been received, we’ll supply you with our Grass Fed Beef Order Form – it’s easy to follow and will walk you through each section of beef. If this is your first time ordering a side of beef, don’t hesitate to call us for help. We’d be happy to make recommendations and help you personalize your order.
BUTCHERS GUIDE TO A SIDE OF BEEF
We use Faquier’s Finest Meat Processing as our USDA butcher. The following guide is for sides of beef – if you are ordering a quarter of beef, please note that there is a standard order. This is due to the fact that the beef needs to be cut the same from each section. Our order form has a list of what cuts you can expect.
There are four specific sections (two of each, one per side) of beef and a few miscellaneous items. Ground beef (hamburger) is always a given just how much is determined by how each section is cut.
Choosing Steak Thickness & Roast Size
- Steak Thickness is to your preference (average is 1”).
- Roasts size in pounds is to your preference as well (average is 3 to 4lbs)
- Ground beef can be packaged in 1lb, 2lb, 6lb and 10lb packs
Sections of Beef
There are seven ribs per side for this section. The butcher can cut Bone In Rib Steaks, Boneless Delmonico/Ribeye Steaks or Rib Roasts.
The Rib Roasts can be done in one of two ways: by the Rib or by the pound. For example, a 3 Rib Roast is heavier in weight than a 3lb roast. For a side of a beef, you can select two of the three cutting options.
The chuck is the largest section on each side of any beef. It is made up of the Arm and the Blade. For this section, you can choose two cutting options from the following:
- Steaks (bone in or boneless)
- Roasts (bone in or debone, rolled & tied for an additional $1.50/lb)
- Stew Meat (for an additional $1.50/lb)
- or Ground Beef
The most popular steaks come out of the loin section. For a side of beef, you can close the have it cut one of two ways:
- Standard Cut – includes Bone In Steaks of T-Bone, Porterhouse and Sirloins (this is how Benson and I personally order our beef)
- Optional Cut – includes Boneless cuts of Filets, NY Strips and Sirloin Strip (top sirloin)
The round section is broken down into four smaller sections:
The Eye Round: The smallest section of the round can be butchered one of three ways:
- Eye Round Roast, a long, tube shaped roast that can be cut in one or two roasts per side depending on the size chosen
- Eye Round Steak, a round medallion size cut
- or Ground
The Top Round: This we can cut one of four ways:
- London Broil (approximately 2” thick and/or 2lbs a piece)
- or Ground
The Bottom Round: This section can be cut one of three ways:
- Cubed (for an additional $1.50/lb)
- or Ground
The Sirloin Tip: This section can be cut one of three ways as well:
- or Ground
The Miscellaneous Items
These items can either be kept as they are specified in the descriptions below or ground to add to Hamburger. In choosing these miscellaneous cuts, you are not losing anything from the above sections.
- Flank Steak, a thin steak from either side of the groin area
- Short Ribs, from the plate of the animal and are cut in 1” wide to 3” long
- Stew Meat (typically 1lb packs), this comes from the whole animal. They are nice meaty sized chucks that are too good to add in with the hamburger
- Brisket, this piece of meat comes from the chest area and is wonderful to put in a smokehouse for a nice long slow cook
- Soup Bones, our butcher makes soup bones from the four shanks starting at the top cutting about 1” thick slices down to the end. The upper portion slices have more meat compared to the lower portion. The meat can be removed, with the bones saved – great for making stock or as dog treats
- Tongue, there is one per cow – please ask us about the tongue if you are interested
- Organs, again, reserved by special request
- Hangar Steak, there is one per cow – we typically reserve this and sell at market, please ask us about this cut if you are interested
- Special Instructions
If there is something specific that is not covered in this cut sheet, please let us know. The butcher can accommodate most special requests. If you would like your Ground Beef made into hamburger patties, please add an additional $0.75 per pound and choose which size: 1/4lb, 1/3lb or 1/2lb patties in 1 or 2lb packs.