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Buying Beef In Bulk
"Beef Hanging" weight versus "Take Home Weight"
The following are some definitions and a basic description of the butchering process as it afects the quantity of beef you’ll receive. There are three different weights of which customers should be aware. The first is “live” weight. This is what the animal wieiged when it was alive. The live weight of our Black Angus steers usually averages around 1300 lbs.
The next weight is “hanging” weight. This is the weight that the butcher gives us after the animal has been taken back to the butcher shop to hang. The loss to hanging weight is usually about 40%-50% of the live weight. This is the weight we base our per lb charges on. The butcher also charges cut/wrap fees based on the weight, plus extra if a customer has request4ed additional bones or organ meats.
The last weight is “take-home” weight. This weight is usually about 60-65% of the hanging weight. The weight is lost in 2 ways. About 4% is water weight lost during the 10-14-day period that the
carcass is hung (or “aged”). Then about anothers 30-35% is lost during the cutting process. Also, the more boneless cuts requested by the customer, the lower the final weight. (Note that the lower weight doesn’t mean that you are receiving less meat – rather, you are receiving fewer bones).
What does this mean as fas as actually per lb costs? It depends on the per pound price and the cuts that the customer has requested. A 180 lb quarter share of beef from us would range from $6.60-$8/lb (for final weight). This is about 40-60% less than what you would pay if you purchased grass-fed beef by the cut from retail outlets.
So, How is Price Determined?
Traditionally, when you buy meat in this way the price is set based on hanging weight. This is because as noted above the actual final weight can vary significantly due to of a number of factors which are not a function of the animal being sold. We look for a butcher who gives us back a good percentage of hanging weight and our particular butcher last year did a good job in this department as we averaged a bit over 60% yield on a sample of the animals that we had processed.
What Cut is What?
Not all pork chops are created equal, so, depending on what you are making, you may want to select one cut over another. Here are the major players:
Most pork chops come from the hog’s loin. Starting from the shoulder are the Blade Chops, which contain the most marbled fat (i.e., loads of deep flavor and connective tissue of any chop, which means they need marinades and/or longer cooking to get them nice and tender.
Next comes the three types of chops found in the “Center Cut” of the loin. Rib Chops, from around the ribs. Next to these are the T-Bone Chops, then the Porterhouse Chop, which contains a bit of extremely tender meat from the tenderloin.
Finally, Sirloin Chops come from the area around the lower hips. All of the above are on the bone.
But you might also see Top Loin Cops, sometimes called center cut chops, which are boneless, and can come from anywhere within the center cut of the loin. Butterfly Chops are thick chops that have been butterflied-sliced horizontally almost all the way, and opened like a book.