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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Bulk Meat Purchases

I have mentioned several times on this blog that we buy beef and pork on the hoof. This means we buy the cow or pig usually when young from one of the farmer's we know. When the cow or pig is mature enough for slaughtering the farmer transports it to an abattoir. There are several advantages to buying meat this way. One of the biggest ones is a cost savings. Last year we paid a total of $2.49/lb; this year we paid total of $2.35/lb. Meat prices always fluctuate but what this means is instead of paying $4.99/lb or more for certain cuts of beef we paid $2.35. but cutting and packaging was 15¢ per pound cheaper so that was the real difference. I've noticed that lean ground beef is now going for about $2/lb so our ground beef is just a little higher but overall buying beef this way is considerably cheaper than even buying beef on sale in the grocery store. The second biggest advantage is knowing exactly where the beef/pork comes from and the farmer's animal husbandry practices. In short we know the farmer so we are assured of getting meat raised humanely that is hormone free! At the same time we are supporting our community by buying locally.

The Beef

Pictured is the quarter of beef we took down to the kids. We split the cow into quarters between 4 of us but this time instead of splitting into front and back we split into sides from front to back. Then we divided the halves so each person received a bit of the front quarter and a bit of the back quarter. Last year we ended up with 205 lb but this year the cow was a bit smaller so only got 175 lb each.

We have always dealt with the same abattoir with the exception of the last bulk beef purchase. Our relationship with them goes back to just after we were newlyweds. They know exactly how we want the meat cut and packaged. This just takes a lot headaches away from buying meat in bulk. What this kind of buying falls under is good will and trust.

The Abattoir

It is very important to both know and trust your abattoir and butcher shop! I love going to both because there is always great deals on fresh meats! An abattoir differs from a butcher shop in that they slaughter and dress the meat. However, most abattoirs also sell meat packages or meat per pound much like a butcher shop. Most abattoirs have at least one refrigerated counter where you can buy what you want (lower left). Larger abattoirs and that is rather an oxymoron because abattoirs tend to be small scale operations tend to have a bank or two of freezer cabinets (upper left). Here you can pick and choose what you want.

Abattoirs are the perfect source for meat per pound and cured meats (far right). Meats are cured on site so you are assured of fresh sausages and hams. The price per pound is generally cheaper than a butcher shop or the grocery store. While they do have pre-cut meats they will also custom cut meats for you much like a butcher shop.

Pork Chops

We normally buy a whole pig but with little room left in the freezer decided to wait until later in the season. Our kids asked us to pick up a bit of pork for them when we picked up their portion of the beef. Just take a look at these pork chops! The cost was $2.50/lb so just pricing in at $52 but look at how low fat they are. Any extra fat has been trimmed away resulting in a nice lean pork chop. They are cut to 1-inch thick but there is a reason for this. First one chop will feed two people and second the chop stays nice and moist when cooking because of the thickness. Second, these chops can be cured much the same as pea meal bacon. Once cured you can barbeque the chops for a culinary delight!

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