Beef Carcass Breakdown-What to expect

You want to buy beef, in bulk, direct from a farmer.  What should you expect?  Here is a link to beef carcass cutout charts

A carcass is cut in half and then can be further divided into front and rear quarters.  The front quarter has more hamburger and roasts.  The rear quarter has more of your higher value steaks and will cost more per pound.

There is a better way to divide a beef carcass, though.  Ask for a half of a half.  You’re still buying a quarter, but you are buying half of the front quarter and half of the rear quarter.  That way you get some of all the cuts. 

I will detail the breakdown of a quarter I sold to my sister recently.  The steer weighed 925 lbs.  His hot carcass weight was 500 lbs.  The hot carcass weight is what is left after skinning and the head and guts are removed.  This is the weight we use to figure our price.  We charge $2 per lb. so that makes the steer worth $1000.

My sister received a half of a half or a quarter.  This is what she received in individual cuts:  33 lbs. hamburger, 4 lbs. rolled rump roast, 2 lbs. liver, 5 lbs. tenderized round steak, 6 lbs. sirloin steak, 5 lbs. cube steak, 6 lbs. chuck roast, 6 lbs. arm roast, 8 lbs. t-bone steak, 6 lbs. rib steak.  Total weight of packaged meat equals 81 lbs.

This is a typical cutting order for beef.  Our butcher charged $83 for this quarter.  There are many variations and different cuts that could have been requested.  It is an asset to have an experienced butcher in our community.

The total cost for the quarter is $333.  $83 to the butcher and $250 to the farmer.  My sister received 81 lbs. in packaged meat, so her cost per lb. is $4.11.

If you have any questions, please comment or email.

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