how much meat is a quarter of a cow

Once or twice a year, we buy a bulk order of beef from a local farmer. When you get in on an order, they typically require you to buy at least a quarter of a cow. Sometimes they’ll charge you less per pound if you can buy a whole half of a cow, but you’d need an entire chest freezer to store that amount of meat.

A friend of ours just sent one of his steer to butcher, so our freezer is now nicely stocked with 1/4 of a cow. 100% organic, grass-fed beef, just the way we like it. It was a killer deal at $4/lb. The total came up to $405, for cut and packaged meat. It’s an investment that should last us about 8 months or so.

When I first told my sister that we had a quarter of a cow in the freezer she wondered how we managed to get the meat off the bone when we wanted it. She asked, “Do you have to saw off a big chunk or something?” I couldn’t help but laugh. She imagined it like one huge hunk of meat, literally one fourth of the cow like what you’d see hanging in the butcher’s freezer. I explained that it comes nicely packaged by the pound, similar to what you buy in the store.

Of course, total cut weight depends upon the cow as their sizes do vary, but this quarter was about 101 lbs. of beef. If you’ve ever wondered how much meat is a quarter of a cow, this is what was included in our order…

  • 26 lbs. ground beef
  • 24 steaks
  • 1 pack of ribs
  • 11 roasts
  • beef bones for making broth
  • beef liver

We specifically requested the liver. I’ve decided that I really want to start serving my family organ meat pretty regularly, as it’s super good for you when it comes from organic, grass-fed animals. Do any of you have a good liver recipe to share? We made liver and onions last night, but it wasn’t a big hit. I’m planning on mixing the leftovers into our fajitas tonight, hoping to tone-down the flavor by tossing it with strips of steak and peppers.

Anyways, in case you’ve ever wondered, that’s what a quarter of a cow looks like! I love being able to stock up on great quality meat at a great price.

If you are thinking about buying beef in bulk like this, you might want to check out my post on knowing the difference between cut weight and hanging weight, so you know about how much you can expect to pay total. Some farmers tell you the price per pound before processing, which ends up being much more once it has been cut and packaged.

Do you buy meat in bulk from a local farmer? What types of meat do you stock your freezer with?