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Jun 17, 2008 10:31 AM

Save money on food with a quarter-cow?

Hey yall! First time poster here. Woo Hoo!

I read somewhere recently about saving money by buying a quarter-cow all at once and putting it in the freezer. This seems like a good idea to me. However, there are a few questions:

First, I need a freezer. How big does it need to be? Will a regular stand-up freezer be big enough for a quarter-cow?

Second, how much beef is in a quarter-cow? 100 lbs? 200 lbs?

I read the cost is about $1.25 per pound. Is that still true?

Finally, where can I get one in the Raleigh, NC area? Recommendations anyone?

What else do I need to know?


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  1. It's been a while, but I used to buy front quarters every year or so. Front qtr contains more roasts and that's why I got it instead of the steak-heavy hind qtr. I think we got around 140 - 160 lbs out of a front qtr. $1.25 sounds pretty cheap. I recall paying in the $1.49 range per pound in California in the 80's, Standard upright or chest freezer in the 10-14 cf range is plenty big. Check butcher shops in your area or if you have a grocery store with a good meat section they can hook you up.


      is a good place to start looking. Local beef, all grass fed, good for you.

      You can probably even ask them how much a half a cow is, how much it weights, how much volume to store, etc...

      1. I buy half a cow a year so here are some tips:
        1) Freezer - I have a 17cubuc ft upright and it just holds 1/2 a cow
        2) Weight - You pay on hang weight. This varies. I have bought a half a cow at anywhere from 200 to 350 lbs. You typically pay butcher fees on top of the hang weight cost.
        3) Cost - varies per farmer. I buy an organic grass fed cow that is never put on a truck. They are slaughtered when they are relaxed. There are studies that this actually makes the meat more tender and I think is more humane (if I can say that at this point).
        4) Cooking - If you buy a grass fed be aware there is less fat in these and you have to cook at a lower and longer temperature. If you try to hi-heat sear... you will produce a brick. Grass fed is different and more flavorful but it takes some time to get used to cooking it.

        Good luck.


        1 Reply
        1. re: WineUnleashed


          My wife and I order beef about once a year. We find it VERY economical and totally delicious. Since we found this grower, we've used his beef almost exclusively.

          In fact, we just took delivery of our "half of a half" a couple of weeks ago. Hanging, that weighed 250 pounds.

          We paid $1.49, hanging weight, for the product and about $125 for the processing. All in, we figure the processed per-pound cost is between $4 and $5 per pound average. That's based on the hanging weight of 250 pounds and an expected loss of 50% in processing (fat and bone)

          We like the "half of a half" in that we get some cuts from the front and some from the back.

          We're able to fit 100% of the product in a half-size upright freezer (though we're thinking of an upright to avoid all the digging)

          I recommend this method HIGHLY if you can find the right combination of farmer and processor. We're lucky, here in Wisconsin, to have an abundance of both.

        2. I just purchased half a cow for $2.09 a pound, avereage weight was 410 lbs. I thought it was a great deal considering the prices will soon sky rocket due to the flooding in the midwest.

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