This past September I had decided that I wanted to purchase half a pig and the hind end of a cow to see how it would cut back on the cost of groceries. As a family I know every time I went to Costco or another grocery store I was buying meat, and I often felt like 1/2 my bill was just on meat alone. I found that the fluctuating prices were being felt in my wallet.
I have friends and family that have purchased meat from local butchers, they get the meat packaged into appropriate sizes for their family and it seems to last them a long time. I thought why not give it a shot and keep track of it to see if it is really worth it.
My father in law and his father have been buying Turkey's and various other meats from a local shop here in Calgary area called Red Deer Lake Meats. They are a smaller local business that has been open for over 25 years. I know when we eat turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are so full of flavour and come from the Hutterite communities. I can tell right away that they are not injected with salt water to plump them up like a conventional grocery store does.
I had called them up and they directed me to their break down forms on their sites and gave me a few suggestions on how big of roasts, chops, ground beef and other packages I would need for my little family of 4. What I loved as well is that all of their meat is raised here in Alberta or close by, so I know I am putting money into the local economy in many ways. I am a big fan of supporting local ranchers, farmers and businesses. I find it so important to put my money into the local economy when I can.
After I figured out what I wanted out of the Hind end of a cow and half a pig, I sent in my order and it took about 2 weeks for me to get it all.
Suggestions I have for break down for a family of four are:
Ground beef into 1 pound packages
Stewing meat into 1 pound packages
Roasts into 4 to 5 pound cuts
Steaks into 8 to 10 ounce cuts, 1/2 inch thick, 2 in a pack
Keep the marrow bones and some fat
Bacon cured and sliced into 1 pound packs
Ground Pork 1 pound packs
Pork chops into 8 ounce chops that are 1/2 inch thick, 3 in a pack
Pork butt roasts 5 pound cuts
Keep some of the fat
I would strongly suggest spending the extra money on the smoking and curing of your pork. The bacon and ham were some of the best I have ever had. They will cut and wrap all your meat for you into butchers paper that in lined so you can keep it as is and place in your freezer, it is also frozen solid for you for when you pick it up.
You do need to make a deposit on the meat, just so they don't lose out on all the time and meat that they prepared and have to try and sell it somewhere to make up the costs. The deposit I made was $350.00. In total when everything was cut and weighed it cost me another $656.35, total cost was $1006.35.
Below I will break down for you everything I got in amounts of the packages and then give you an estimate of what each package broke down to cost wise.
Ground Prok 7
Pork Chops 7
Pork and neck bones 1
Pork Feet 1
Spare Ribs 1
Sirloin Tip Roast 5
Round Steak Roast 3
Tenderloin Steak 6
Stew Meat 7
Marrow Bones 1
Ground Beef 32
New York Steak 7
Sirloin Tip Steak 7
Bottom Round Roast 3
Eye Round Roast 2
As you can see I got a lot out of it. What is pretty amazing to me is that I purchased this all 6 months ago and I have only slightly made a dent in my freezer. The meat has such flavour and tastes amazing, we have been enjoying all of it. My husband was especially happy with all the steaks we got.
All together I received 107 packages, 3 boxes of beef and 2 of Pork. When I broke it down:
$1006.35/107= $9.40 per package.
When I looked at it that way my jaw almost hit the floor, you can't buy beef tenderloin steaks for a package of 3 for $9. Roast beef alone is $25 to $90 for a nice sized roast. In the long run this has been saving us money on our weekly grocery bills. I still purchase chicken or fish sometimes when I shop, but I no longer have to worry about the majority of the protein. Now when I shop I focus on all the fresh produce and pantry staple items. When I looked at past receipts from shopping I on average have been saving $80 to $135 per bill, after 6 months with lots more in the freezer the cost/benefit analysis is well worth it to me.
If you have been looking at some ways to simplify your life, cut back on grocery costs and help focus your meal plans, then I strongly suggest looking up a local butcher shop that specializes in locally raised animals and give this a go. In a few months I am wanting to buy the front end of the cow so we can have brisket and some prime rib steaks and such for the summer. I will keep you posted with that!
A little about me
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