Suggestions For Buying 1/2 Cow & Whole Pig?

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Old 01-31-2012, 07:41 PM
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Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

Our Tax refund is going to be a little larger than we anticipated so we are thinking of buying a 1/2 cow & maybe a whole pig to stock our freezer. I have 2 fears regarding this.

1) We will get a lot of cuts that we don't want or know how to cook
2) We will end up with a huge amount of hamburger meat/ground pork and no real savings.

Other than shopping around & making sure we are buying from a reputable butcher, what do I need to look for? How do I make certain that we get the best deal for our money.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:46 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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I think this really is dependent on how much and what kind of animal you get (i.e. Black Angus) and the cost of the butchering. Obviously, hams and such cost more because of the extra things done verses having it made into burger. With that said, no matter what you do, unless you want breakfast sausages or slim jims made you do end up with a lot of burger. For us, that is fine because with smaller kids, sloppy joes, tacos and hamburgers are what they like. And, you have to put a price on the difference knowing you have a grass feed animal that had no hormone shots, etc. If you buy one of these, you may pay more, but you are getting something better at the same time. Make sure to weigh the prices in the store against what you pay and not the cheaper meat which is not what you would be getting (i.e. 75/25 burger).

We always seem to save money on the pig (but DH is related to pig farmers so we get the pig at cost of what the market is and not marked up). The 1/2 cow we got this fall, after we factored everything out, was just a little less than the price per pound as if I went out and bought that much meat and quality cuts in the stores. But, I am sure this is different in each area of the country regarding the going prices.

If you plan on getting hams, etc. that seasonings are added to, see if the butcher(s) have a sample for you to taste. We have gone to three or four different butchers, but one makes them taste (to us) so much better that they are the ones we go to all the time now when we get a pig.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:50 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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We get a 1/4 cow every 9 months and LOVE it! Not only does it taste better than the store meats but the cost, for us, is much cheaper (comes out to just over $2 lb).

Also, ask the butcher about hanging weight. I'm pretty sure (as this was related to me through about 10 different people like the Telephone Game) that hanging weight is what you pay for. Hanging weight is what the cow weighs before the butchering occurs. Then, they butcher the animal and you get the cuts that remain.

We asked our butcher about it and he seemed surprised we knew. He decided to give us a slight discount to make up for some of the difference.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:59 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Debb831 is exactly right. The quality of the meat depends on the type of cattle and what they eat. I have had terrible luck butchering as well as wonderful luck. Personally, you can get better deals pricewise at your local markets if you stock up when its on sale and then you get to pick exactly the cuts you want.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:25 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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We have raised our own for years and when we do we also raise one to sell. When we have had to buy it from someone else tho it is still a huge savings. You will pay a price per pound for the cow and then processing at the butcher. For us we would take the cow to the butcher we use and then you would call in and tell them how you wanted your meat packaged. We recently did our cow and we had the entire thing, got 170 lbs of hamburger the rest was all steaks and roasts and ribs. If you do a half of a cow you will get all the different cuts that come from a cow. It does come out to an average price of 2.00 to 2.50 a pound for the cow, Here even getting good hamburger for that price is hard and steaks even harder.

As for the pig, I don't have costs but for us it is way worth it and we have missed having it as well. It has saved us a lot of money over the years of not buying from the store and getting it locally from a farmer.

Another that we do is raise chickens and take them in to be butchered as well. This isn't a huge savings over the cost of a whole chicken in the store but I know that ours are not going to shrink up as they have not been soaked in water prior to us getting them and we are not paying for or loosing the water weight.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:00 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z and G's Mom View Post
We get a 1/4 cow every 9 months and LOVE it! Not only does it taste better than the store meats but the cost, for us, is much cheaper (comes out to just over $2 lb).

Also, ask the butcher about hanging weight. I'm pretty sure (as this was related to me through about 10 different people like the Telephone Game) that hanging weight is what you pay for. Hanging weight is what the cow weighs before the butchering occurs. Then, they butcher the animal and you get the cuts that remain.

We asked our butcher about it and he seemed surprised we knew. He decided to give us a slight discount to make up for some of the difference.

Thanks for the tips. How many people in your family? I'm asking because we are trying to decide between 1/4 cow & 1/2 cow. There are 3 of us so if you have the same or more & it lasts 9 months, then 1/4 may be enough for us as well.

We had already done some research & found out about the "hanging weight" thing, but I appreciate the info. It confirms what we have already seen & makes me a little more confident that we will be able to do this successfully.

Also, can you give me a rough idea of the cuts that you would typically get with just a 1/4 cow?
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:12 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deneisetorres View Post
Our Tax refund is going to be a little larger than we anticipated so we are thinking of buying a 1/2 cow & maybe a whole pig to stock our freezer. I have 2 fears regarding this.

1) We will get a lot of cuts that we don't want or know how to cook
2) We will end up with a huge amount of hamburger meat/ground pork and no real savings.

Other than shopping around & making sure we are buying from a reputable butcher, what do I need to look for? How do I make certain that we get the best deal for our money.
Just a little note, we bought a half pig a while back and we only got 9 - 10 lbs of ground pork, so I'm guessing you could safely get 20 lbs (depending on the size of the pig). You can get that in either breakfast links and/or italian type loose sausage for recipes like spag. We always get the italian type and the two butchers who've done it for us do an AWESOME job and I literally have to tell myself not to eat it after I cook it, to save it for the recipe. Along with that we got 6 lbs bacon, many pkgs of chops, babyback & spare ribs, some ham steaks (cured like ham but thin sliced, easy to fry and eat) and of course the hams. We have a small fam so the hams were cut in half. So you can see we get WAY more other cuts than just ground pork.

Another thing to think about is, if you buy the beef (not cow, you don't want nasty old cow meat, that's only good for hamburger or stew you can have them combine some of the ground pork with the ground beef for a summer sausage/kielbasa type stuff.

I don't know the ratios of hamburger vs steaks/roasts etc cuz my in-laws store that at their house and we just take what we want whenever but you don't have to get all the excess ground, you can request stew meat. The stew meat can either be frozen or canned (looks like nasty dog food, takes awesome on a buttermilk biscuit).

I'm not a good one to compare costs cuz I don't know the last time I actually bought meat, have no idea what it costs. But you do get a MUCH better tasting product and you can control some of the outcome such as steak/chop thickness (thicker is better) and package sizing. WE go for smaller amount in each package so that if we want more we just grab more packages.

As far as the cooking, there are TONS of good recipes on the internet. I watched the PBS channel to find a good bbq technique for babyback ribs that are just to die for. My next thing to tackle is prime rib.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:56 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Ok, we ordered everything on Tuesday & picked it up on Thursday. I think that we got a good deal considering everything. We ordered 1/2 of a cow, a whole pig & 40 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Once everything was packaged we ended up with over 400 lbs of meat and we paid $1023.00. That comes to about $2.55 per lb.
The list includes:
60 Lbs Hamburger meat (approx)
10 Chuck Steak
4 Chuck Roasts
18 Rib eye Steaks
16 T-Bone Steaks
6 Sirloin Steaks
7 Sirloin Tip Steaks
3 Beef Brisket
4 London Broil
2 Eye of Round
2 pkgs Beef Stir Fry
6 pkgs Cube Steak
22 pkgs pork sausage
30 pork Chops
3 pkgs pork Ribs
8 Pork Steaks
1 Ham ~ 20+ lbs
Over 50 Chicken Breasts

I'm really hoping that this will keep us going for at least 6 months!
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:55 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Ya done good, kid!

We have been buying a quarter of a steer every fall for the past few years. These are Angus and the quality of the meat was stellar! The cost was also pretty darned good. Unfortunately, last year and this, the woman we were buying from quit raising cattle. I'm seriously bummed out!
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Old 02-10-2012, 03:11 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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I am so sorry Deneisetorres! I didn't see your question until just now but it looks like you did an AMAZING job at getting hooked up with a whole bunch of meat.

Just FYI - it's me, my DH and two boys ages 6 and 3. They don't eat much but we make up for it by bringing back a few packages to my parents every time we visit. So the 1/4 lasts us the 9 months.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:50 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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I have to say that so far, the meat is AWESOME. We had some of the sausage last night & the pork chops tonight. Really really fresh meat is just so much better than what you get at the grocery store. I just wish that we had thought to do this years ago.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:19 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Now that you've had it, you won't want to eat grocery store meat!! We always buy a side of beef every couple months (we have a lot of kids to feed, including 3 teenage boys) but we ran out of money our last time around. soooo we are suffering through til income tax refund comes in. We buy a half from a local farmer and can even stop in and check out their operation at any time. I like knowing what my food has been eating or more importantly NOT eating
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:26 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Do you buy meat from one place and then take it to the butcher?
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:41 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Do you buy meat from one place and then take it to the butcher?
You can, but we didn't.

We contacted a local butcher shop who buys from local farmers. He has a regular store front where he sells cuts just like a grocery store, but he specializes in larger orders. We told him what we wanted & he called us 2 days later to come get it. He gets the beef sent to him in quarters and the pig sent whole, then he cuts it from there.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:20 PM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Thank you, when we ordered the whole pig, they only cut it in half and then my df butchered it.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:08 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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Sorry it took me so long to get back ....anyway, we order our beef from the farm and they send it to the butcher. When it's ready, we go to the butcher and pick up the nicely wrapped meat (my kids are amazed that humans know how to wrap packages so neatly??? they swear that it's a machine ...noooooo it's a real human, guys!). We pay the butcher for processing fees and stop on the way home to pay the farmer. We know them personally or we would be required to pay in full before the cow left their farm. And, we actually got a phone call this morning from our farmer in two weeks, I will have a nice freezer full of beef! yay! no more yucky grocery store stuff!
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:37 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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We did the same thing as Mrs262, but we bartered for our pig. At that time pork prices were at an all time low. We traded a large covered dog kennel that we no longer needed. They raised the pig and sent it into market with theirs. All we paid were the butchering prices. I can say around here, it makes a huge difference which meat market it is sent into. There are a couple we will not go to because the way it was cured (ham and bacon) tasted way to salty for me. Also, they use different seasonings for the pork sausage. Pork has been cheap enough here that we just buy from the store (We can usually buy for about .99lb). The chicken we pay about .49 - 99lb. Depending on what we are getting. Beef on the other hand is outrageous. About 2.99 - 3.99 a lb and I'm not talking for steaks. I think you did a great job on your pricing.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:42 AM

RE: Suggestions for buying 1/2 Cow & whole pig?

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You could also try calling your local locker. They may be able to put you in contact with a farmer if you don't have a source.

Always specifically ask the farmer if he/she uses hormones. I was shocked to find out a local farmer dropped hormone pellets in his cattle's ear. The cow will absorbed the hormone over a period of time and feed out in a fraction of the time.

The half cow we recently picked up was 366 lbs at a processed cost of $950.
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