Save Money Buying Local:Buying Half a Cow

This post is not for the weak of stomach so turn away from the screen if that is the case! 😀

The thing that ties with saving money for my affections is feeding my family healthy foods. These of course come right below my love of God and Family 😉  When both of my loves collide watch out because I’m about to do the happy dance which makes me look like maybe I have to pee pee! This is the case when it came to buying half a cow this week. My neighbor who I will call Quiltie (because she Quilts for a living and I don’t want to use her real name) and I decided that we would go in halvesies on a half a cow because that would be enough red meat for both of our families for the year. In case math is not your strong suit (and I am so with you there) a 1/4 of a cow is enough to feed my family red meat once a week for 54 weeks.

The best part of our cow ,which I loving refer to as Rocky, was that he was Pasture fed and lived a Pasture life, not corn fed like a Feed Lot cow. If you have no idea why a Feed Lot life and eating corn is such a no no for cows might I suggest this book, written by Michael Pollan (as seen on Oprah). Many thanks to Quiltie for loaning me this book to read:

http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Natural-History-Meals/dp/0143038583/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268617697&sr=8-1

or perhaps this documentary which is based on the book above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKYyD14d_0

Another big plus to Rocky was that he was never given hormones or antibiotics. The final HUGE selling point on this healthy cow was that he was going to give me red meat dinners for 54 weeks at $4 per meal. This was $4 for T-Bone Steaks,Sirloin Steaks, Roasts, Stew Meat ,Ground Meat and enough Bones and Misc. to make enough Beef Broth for at least 6 months (once again many thanks to Quiltie for doing all the work on that). What a great deal! Anyone who has done a grocery budget know that you can’t feed four people steak for a total of $4 from the grocery store.

Quiltie and I drove to the local farm that was going to butcher Rocky for us. Being rather curious and perhaps gluttons for punishment we requested to watch our cow butchered. When we arrived at the place we were ushered into an area protected by glass so that we could view the butchering. The first thing to happen was that Rocky ,or at least half of Rocky, was pulled on a hook, from a giant freezer into the room where he would be cut up.

Once again last warning for the weak of stomach because pics follow…

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The butchers walked over to Rocky and began disassembling him…

There were four people working on him to make him look like something you would find wrapped in a grocery store meat department. One worked on a huge saw show in this picture….

You can also see the table where they placed his ribs which were stripped of meat and turned into stew meat.

To the left of this picture which you can not see were 2 other identical tables where a man made Salsbury Steaks and Ground Meat. He was also responsible for cutting of steaks. Now here is a little aside and a Nah Nah Nah to my Facebook Friends who told me I would become a full out Vegetarian which I had been contemplating for some time from “Meeting my Meat”… I actually got hungry watching the guy cut off the steaks! Yes the reaction surprised me but was there none the less. These were the most beautiful steaks you could have laid eyes on. The fact that Rocky was Pasture fed meant that he was a lean cow and didn’t have the marbling (aka intramuscular fat) that most cows sold in the USA have. I could not wait to get home and throw these on the grill!

Anyway the 3rd table had a 4th worker which was a woman and she was responsible for packaging our meat and labeling it. It was amazing to us that they could hand her a hunk of meat and she knew exactly what it was,where it came from and what it was called. She wrapped all cuts, except for ground, in white freezer paper and stamped it with what it was. The ground beef was put in little plastic freezer bags. All of them were packaged in a way that they would keep a year or over in our freezers.

Below is a little chart that gives you a small idea of what’s what and where on the cow. I’m impressed that the lady had it all memorized and knew it just from looking at it.

Quiltie and I left the farm and took our beef home and promptly put it in our freezers with one small exception for me… I left out T-Bone Steaks to grill that night.

They were SSSOOO delicious. That night at dinner we prayed as we always do and made a point to thank God for the Cow who died so that we could have sustenance.

Rocky lived a very great Pasture Life (not a Feedlot Life) and sure looks delicious on our plate doesn’t he 🙂  At $4 a meal no less 😉

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11 Responses to “Save Money Buying Local:Buying Half a Cow”

  1. amy Says:

    Our “Rocky” is going to be butchered today– I’m not nearly as brave as you.

    Beef- its whats for dinner! lol

    amy

    • littlefrugalista Says:

      Amy I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t as gory as I was expecting. The whole process was rather fascinating. It really changes the way you look at food to be so informed about exactly what you are eating.

      Will you just show up to pick up your Rocky already packaged and boxed up? I would definatly suggest that for the weak of stomach lol

  2. Indy Says:

    I was wondering where you get your “Rocky” from…We would love to find a place more local and possibly cheaper.

  3. amy Says:

    Yes we will pick up our meat next week- hubby picked out the cuts we wanted yesterday lol

  4. amy Says:

    Ok we had our first Rocky meal last night, sirloin steaks, and they were soooo tasty and extremely tender! Just touching the raw meat was like putting your finger in soft butter.

    Please share your best beef recipes in upcoming posts!! I’ve got some short ribs and I’ve never made them and if you have, I’d love any hints and tips!

    Happy Easter!

    • littlefrugalista Says:

      I’m glad your cow was as good as mine!
      I will make sure to post any good beef recipes I have. Thus far I’ve only cooked it as steaks, cubed steak with gravy (cream of mushroom soup,chopped onions and milk in the crock pot), taco meat and Sheppard’s Pie (season salt,onion powder,powdered garlic and chopped onions covered in mashed potatoes).

  5. taraleegrant Says:

    Awesome post! I misunderstood and thought you actually witnessed Rocky being killed. I don’t think I would have any problems either with watching the carcass being cut up. It looks like meat at that point. Yummy meat.
    I don’t know if I’ll actually kill my turkeys myself. I’m planning on it, but you never know…

  6. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce « Littlefrugalista's Blog Says:

    […] can also be made with ground Venison and in fact the pictures shown are 1/2 Rocky Ground Beef and 1/2 Venison. I cooked a 2 lb batch of 1/2 and 1/2 last week for Mexican Dinner night and froze […]

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