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    denasqu's Avatar
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    The Big Chill

    I found a farm on eatwild.com that's only couple hours drive away from me and they sell pastured Berkshire hogs and grass fed cows. So I'm kicking around the cost/benefits of getting a half hog and a quarter cow.

    I figured out the rough average costs for actual meat at about $9.50 per pound. It's hard to estimate because they price it based on the hanging carcass instead of the finished cuts. But assuming I get a an 8 cubic foot freezer for a couple hundred bucks and get a couple hundred pounds of meat for $1900. That's a pretty big investment but probably not entirely out of line. Hell, I spent $100 on meat just last week.

    But I've got a number of concerns before plopping down that kind of money for my years supply of meat.

    I'm not sure how long it would take me to eat 200lbs of meat... maybe a year? ...maybe less? Hard to figure, but if I had a freezer full of it I would probably eat more!

    I've got a generator so I'm not too concerned about extended power outages, in hurricane season, spoiling my $1900 worth of meat.

    I'm not so sure $9.50 per pound is such a great deal when I'm getting mixed cuts of meat but there is obviously a premium on getting the best meat I can get.

    I've always been told you shouldn't re-freeze meat. Since I'm solo and I like to make up stews and such and re-freeze them later. So what happens if I thaw out a roast, make a stew, and refreeze it into individual portions. Will it be no good?

    Finally, how do you avoid freezer burn? Seems to me that meets wrapped tightly in paper seem to last a good long time without freezer burn. Is that the secret? Or does it have something to do with the freezer?
    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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    You can refreeze the meat once it has been made into a stew or whatever else. The biggest problem with refreezing raw meat is the texture will be terrible. The secret to prevent freezer burn is to block out as much air as possible. Consider a vacuum sealer, or layers of plastic wrap and paper. As for the price of the meats, 9.50 per lb sounds typical maybe a little high for what your getting. Maybe check around some other farmers, you can sometimes find significant price differences. Their are some farmers here in az that only charge the same wholesale rate they get at auction. They are able to make better money at it, cause they aren't doing any processing for you. Maybe you can find someone like that in Florida.
    Last edited by workinprogress; 03-13-2012 at 09:07 AM. Reason: made an error.

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    denasqu's Avatar
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    Thanks. I guess I'll shop around a bit more and maybe try and figure out what I'm actually spending on beef and pork. Since I mix up my purchases with the best ground meats, bacon, and steaks my gut tells me I'm probably averaging about $9.50 per pound anyway so there probably isn't a big savings at this particular farm. Plus now I'm getting fresh meat, not frozen. If I was going to go to all this trouble I would expect to save 50% over what I pay at Whole Foods.
    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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    Quote Originally Posted by workinprogress View Post
    Consider a vacuum sealer, or layers of plastic wrap and paper.
    I heard an interesting interview with Steve Rinella (the host of a hunting show called Wild Within) where he shared a lot of knowledge on game meat and freezing practices.

    The reason I mention this here was that he talked about how vacuum sealing is great for meat in theory, but the fact that you will be rummaging through your freezer all year means that you will inevitably puncture a lot of the packages which will lead to freezer burn. I don't have any experience with this, but he seemed very knowledgeable.

    Instead, he recommends wrapping meat in freezer paper and then bagging it.

    If you are interested, you can watch or listen to the entire interview at

    PODCAST #176 – Steven Rinella, Brian Redban « The Joe Rogan Experience

    (by it's nature, this show is kind of rough, so it's not for the easily offended)

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    Denasqu, which farm are you looking at?

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    denasqu's Avatar
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    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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    Some things to consider:
    You will have the freezer for a number of years, so that's an investment you will not be making again for a while. You may be able to save significant $$ by buying a used freezer or a scratch-and-dent one.

    Regarding how long it will take you to eat 200 lbs of meat--doing the math gives you about 4 lbs of meat per week to eat it in a year (don't think you want to freeze it any longer than that, from what I see online). That's roughly a half lb per day. Is that in line w/your consumption? Also, factor in how often you will eat meat OTHER THAN the cow and pig--do you eat much chicken or seafood? How about sausages?

    My husband and I are looking into exactly this situation also. We live in Wisconsin, and the best price we found for a 1/4 cow is just over half the price you found, so I would agree w/the poster who said to shop around a bit. Our cow will not be available until November, but the half pig only requires about a month's notice, so we are going to shoot to empty our freezer as much as possible in the next few weeks and then go ahead and get the half pig. It's less meat than the cow, so it'll give us a chance to hone our wrapping and freezing techniques before we move on to the cow. We also eat seafood, chicken and sausages, so we're a little concerned about having too much meat from the cow and pig, but I believe we're going to go ahead and give this a shot anyway. If it becomes apparent we won't be able to finish in a year, I'll volunteer to supply meat for some of the family functions and get caught up that way, I guess.

    Good luck finding all your info and making your final decision!

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    That's too expensive in my opinion for bulk pricing unless you rarely eat meat (2-3 times a week).

    For comparison I rarely pay more than $5 per lb on grass fed anything. $9 per lb would bring the cost of a homecooked dinner around $12 for me alone which (for me) is too expensive to eat 365 days a year.

    But cost aside it is definitely an awesome product and if I had more money I wouldn't feel bad about spending it on that.
    I plan on hunting antelope, deer and elk this year to help offset the cost of grass fed animals. pastured bacon sounds freaking amazing though.
    ad astra per aspera

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    denasqu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWPrimate View Post
    Instead, he recommends wrapping meat in freezer paper and then bagging it.
    That's what I do just because it just seems to work better. The paper must provide insulation that prevents the burn because there is plenty of air inside the paper.
    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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    denasqu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFastCat View Post
    That's too expensive in my opinion for bulk pricing unless you rarely eat meat (2-3 times a week).
    That's what I thought. The website lists a low price/pound but when I read the fine print it was based on hanging weight, not processed weight. Oh well. Too good to be true. Unless there's a significant cost savings I might as well buy meat at local butcher and meat department.

    Hunting is another idea. The deer around here are pretty scrawny but he the boar are nice and tasty. And of course there's always gator.
    "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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