Buying a whole or half beef is a great way to fill your freezer up with quality meat for your family. Finding a local farmer to buy from is the only way you will truly know how and where your food was grown.
Trying to figure out how much meat you will get from a whole or half cow can be somewhat confusing. Here is a breakdown to help.
Your carcass will only weigh approximately 60% of its live weight after slaughter. This is a result of the animals blood, hide, head, hooves and organs being removed.
Now you have your hanging weight or carcass weight. This will also decrease as you remove trimmings and moisture from dry aging. After this removal your final weight will be approximately 70% of your carcass weight.
Live Weight x 60% = Carcass Weight
Carcass Weight x 70% = Total Pounds of Meat
Example of a 1350 lb. Cow
1350 x 60% = 810 lbs Carcass Weight
810 x 70% = 567 lbs of Meat, Soup Bones, and Offal
Please keep in mind that this is all approximate. There are many factors that determine the final amount of meat such as the build of your cow, your butcher, the cuts that you choose…..
The usable meat from the carcass will usually be spilt at approximately:
50% to ground beef
50% for steaks, chuck, shank, brisket, etc.
When choosing your cuts from the butcher you will be able to decide how much fat you would like to remain on your meat, whether you want bones left in or taken out, how many pounds of ground beef in a package, what thickness of steaks, how many steaks per package, and what size of roasts..
Bones & Offal
Chuck - 27%
Rib - 9%
Short Loin - 8%
Sirloin - 9%
Round - 24%
Shank - 2%
Flank - 5%
Short Plate - 9%
Fore Shank - 1%
You will need one cubic foot for every 35 to 40 pounds of meat. Take in to consideration that some cuts take up more room than others. An oddly shaped roast will take up more room than steaks that lay flat on top of each other. A chest style freezer will hold more than an upright style, but it is also less convenient than an upright when trying to find what you are looking for inside.
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Meat
According to foodsafety.gov, you can keep fresh beef, pork, and poultry frozen for up to one year. Vacuum sealed packaging rather than butcher paper, will help meat last longer in the freezer.