Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who Wants Half a Cookie?

I know many of you are waiting with bated breath to find out how our bathroom vanity update turned out but Andy is heading up to "the big city" (Rochester, MN which is a two hour round-trip drive) tonight to pick up our new hardwood floors for the playroom and master bedroom so he won't have time to blog tonight.  Alas, the vanity will wait but the cow in our basement will not.

If you have been reading our posts, you might not notice a huge difference from our previous suburban life to our new one in the country- generally a continuous stream of home improvement projects.  Well, the state of our freezer will tell you otherwise.  It all started one day while Andy was at work.  Across the cubical forest, he hears, "Who wants half a cookie?"  Andy's head pops over his "wall" as he yells, "I DO!"  He heads over to a co-worker's desk and asks, "Where's the cookie?"  Looking confused, his co-worker replies, "Do you want half of my cow, Cookie?"  Andy replies, "Sure!  But now I also need an actual cookie.  Seriously.  Right now."

Prior to our big move, all our meat came from the grocery store.  If we were feeling really fancy, we would head to a local butcher for chicken breast or steaks (oh Imbodens, I miss you so).  When we first moved last summer, we quickly learned that most people around here get their meat from local farmers.  Last summer, we got a quarter of a cow (from the same co-worker) as well as several of her chickens (butchered and cleaned by a local Amish family). We were surprised at how obvious the difference is in the quality and taste of the meat.  So, this year we decided to go for half the cow and so entered "Cookie" the cow.

I love to cook, but the typical (I think) suburbanite I am, I really have no idea what cuts come from what part of the cow and how many cuts there are in a cow.  Enter a quick Google search to get a general idea of how much and what type of meat we could expect from half a cow.  Surprisingly, in this case, the internet was not super helpful but luckily the butcher in charge of "Cookie" was clearly used to dealing with newbies.  He asked basic questions and I answered (to the best of my little knowledge):

"How many steaks in a package?"--"2"
"Do you want the brisket?"--"Yes"
"How many pounds of ground beef in a package?"--"1 lb"
"How many pounds a roast?"--"3ish?" (He confirmed this was a typical poundage for roasts)
"Do you want ribs?"--"Yes"
"Do you want soup bones?"--"Sure?"
"Do you want the offal?"--"NO"

And so on.  I checked the percentage of the ground beef- at least 90% and when the cow would be finished-in a few days and that was it.  Pretty painless!  Three days later, the call came in and we headed to the processor to pick up our cow.  The meat comes frozen; steaks and roasts packaged in brown, butcher paper and ground beef in tubs, all labeled with the date and cut.  Half of a cow filled up 4 coolers!
2 Cooler Full of Just Ground Beef!

For anyone interested in what cuts half of a cow consists of, this is what we got: (I counted steak packages; each package has 2 steaks in it)
8 Beef Roasts
3 Rump Roasts
1 Brisket
126 lbs Ground Beef
7 Minute Steaks
8 Rib Eye Steaks
7 Round Steaks
5 Sirloin Steaks
5 T-Bone Steaks
9 lbs Soup Bones
2 packages Ribs (2 lbs each)

We pay the owners of the cow for the hanging weight which was 422 lbs- we got a total of 242 lbs of meat from the cow once it was processed.  We also pay a processing fee to the butcher which we think is really reasonable- $223.  So, in the end, the beef came out to $4.14 a pound.  Last year, I calculated what we got verses grocery prices and it came out pretty even.  Obviously steaks are usually much more that $4 a pound but ground beef is often cheaper so it evens out in the end.  Regardless, this is SO much better quality than any store-bought beef I have ever had.  Several of our family members have claimed meat so in the end, we will keep 60 lbs total.  Unfortunately, though, we will not be able to drop-off meat for a few more weeks so our freezer is currently PACKED between the cow and 7 chickens that are waiting for homes.
Stuff stacked on top of the cooler to make sure it is completely closed

What half a cow plus 7 chickens looks like! (Actually minus 50 lbs of beef my sister already took)

We have already used 4 lbs of delicious ground beef from "Cookie" for chili and burgers but the moral of the story is: Always question before immediately answering, "Yes! I want half a cookie!" so you aren't left with a cow and still hungry for a cookie.

No comments:

Post a Comment