Stocking Up: A Guide to Whole, Half and Quarter Beef

Stocking Up: A Guide to Whole, Half and Quarter Beef


Lots of people call and ask me about getting a whole beef or quarter beef or generally stocking up on beef.  It’s getting more and more popular and there are a lot of good reasons why.  The problem is, most people don’t know where to start.  I always do my best to help and over time I have found some really good questions for customers to ask themselves that will help determine how much beef they should or should not buy.

(Yes, I said NOT buy)  

First Question:  How many people are you feeding?

This can also be how many people are in your home? How big is your family?  But the information we need is how many people are eating with you?  How fast are you going to use it?  We recommend getting no more than 6 months at a time.  For a few reasons. 

  1. All the beef is vacuum sealed but if a package or 2 leaks you may end up with some freezer burn.  
  2. Although it is technically safe it may start to taste like the freezer.  We want you to have the best eating experience possible so beef that tastes like an odd combination of old popsicles, Reusable ice packs, cardboard pizza boxes and if you are a hunter: lord only knows.
  3. You're going to get toward the end and if all you have left is hamburger, you might get tired of it.
  4. We plan on still being here so when you’re ready: you can just order again.

Depending on how you answer the first question you may just want to stop there. 

Second Question: How old are your kids?

If you have a big family, but all your kids are under 10 years old that will make a difference for you.  

  1. For example we have teenage boys eating at our house a LOT.  If you have never experienced it; teenage boys will eat anything and everything.  Kind of like the Tasmanian Devil in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons - It's really something.  Also don’t get your hands too close to them when they are eating, you could lose a finger.
  2. Some kids are naturally picky eaters - and that might be ok
  3. Consider young children as a third to a half of an adult for portion sizes. (you know your kids best, so just use this as a guide)

Third Question: How often do you eat (meat) at home?

Be honest.  Do you cook dinner at home a lot?  Or are you mostly having breakfast at home and you eat on the go in the afternoon or evening?  

  1. No judgment here, people are busy.  People with families are really busy.  I know our family is always on the go.  We get it.  So take that into account.
  2. Meal prep is awesome!  Really.  We do that as much as we can and we plan on leftovers.  That helps a lot when you are constantly going between school activities, sports, work and just real life.  If you are doing meal prep on a Sunday (for example) to get ready for the rest of the week, that’s great
  3. If you can cook at home 3 or 4 nights a week (or more) that’s great.  Bulk buying is a really good option.

Fourth Question: Are you Cow-Sharing?

If you can split a large purchase with friends, family, neighbors, friends of neighbors or whatever works for you.  It is a good way to save money and not end up with too much for your needs.

  1. You will have to split it up yourself, so getting together and dividing it up is essential
  2. You may have to engage in cafeteria style food bartering.  That can be good or bad if there are certain cuts you really like or things you don’t really enjoy.
  3. This can get complicated if some people feel like they didn’t benefit from the bulk buy experience as others.  Set-up a draft system like fantasy football.

Fifth Question: Do you have enough storage?

For any large purchase like this a separate freezer is essential.  If you don’t already have a freezer you need to consider that cost as well.

  1. We recommend and use stand up freezers rather than chest freezers.  Stand-up freezers are easier to organize and cuts don’t get lost in the permafrost at the bottom
  2. If you buy a freezer online make sure it has arrived before you order.  If not let us know to not ship your order until your freezer arrives
  3. If you have a new freezer or are using a freezer that has not been plugged in for a while make sure to test it first
  4. Test your freezer by freezing a half water bottle in it for 24 hours before you load it up with beef

Sixth Question: How much do you like to try new recipes?

If you usually get just a few regular cuts and don’t want to try new beef options; this is maybe not a good idea for you.

  1. When you buy in bulk you are getting everything that a cow is made of (mostly).  So if you only like to cook steaks or you don’t like ground beef this could be a problem.
  2. You may have something you never tried.  Search around for new or interesting recipes to try out.  You may be getting to know your new favorite cut of beef.

Obviously every person and situation is different.  These are a few basic things to consider before making a large purchase like a quarter, half or whole beef.  If there is something we didn’t cover or you have a burning question and you need help just drop us a line.  We are always happy to help.

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