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Bought half a steer, now what ?

  • t

So I bought half a steer, and will be getting a call from the butcher in a week or so to discuss how I want it cut...

I know I'll want the ternderloin seperated from the new yorks, (no t-bone/porterhouse) I'll want flap steak and Flat iorns, I'll want bones for stock & dog use... any other tips on things I should ask for ???

Thanks !


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  1. Which half did you get, the front or back?????? Just kidding.

    There's hamburger meat, Chuck steaks for pot roasts, short ribs, prime rib or rib-eye steaks.

    1. >>I'll want bones for stock & dog use<<

      If your "stock" are cows, I'd strongly recommend you don't give it to them (i.e. Madcow disease).

      1 Reply
      1. re: dhedges53

        I think by "stock," the OP means homemade beef broth for soup and sauces :-).

      2. What about the tougher, more flavourful cuts like flank steak, blade steak, and oxtail? And steak cuts like sirloin?

        The January 2007 issue of Bon Appetit had an article called "Butcher's Secret Cuts"- if you have it, I suggest taking a look for more ideas.

        1. This jogged my memory of the ratlesnake thread a few summers ago...classic :)

          1 Reply
          1. re: enbell

            Get a braising cook book, you will need it!

          2. Start collecting ground beef recipes...


            1. Don't let them keep the half ox tail, cheek, tongue or shanks. Ask for thick cut steaks or they may be too thin.
              Get as much dry hanging time as you can, two to three weeks if they'll do it. You lose a bit of water weight, which you pay for.
              If they have curing and smoking, you can get the tongue, brisket and flank areas corned, and possibly lightly smoked. Otherwise, home curing is an option, or braising a la Molly!

              1. I went in with some friends on buying beef this way (I took an eight of a side, not having much freezer space at the time, but next time I'll probably go for more), and if the beef is good, I highly recommend it.

                Make stock right away, because it takes up less space than bones. I figure anything I don't care for can go into the stock. The heart adds a lot of richness to the stock, if you don't like things like stuffed beef heart.

                You might end up with some odds and ends and creative cuts. I got something labeled "cross rib london broil." The cross rib roast is usually braised, but I suspect this was just a spare piece that was too small to call a roast. I made it as a london broil, and it was okay, but it would have been better braised like short ribs.

                Make sure you get the skirt steak.

                2 Replies
                1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                  It depends on how the crossrib is cut. It used to be just a length of one round muscle, the extension of the muscle you get in a rib steak. Lately there seems to be a lot of other muscle attached. If you get the one round muscle it is a great rotisserie item. A simple recipe for that is pop it into a plastic bag with a little Italian salad dressing and let it marinate for a couple hours, or longer, and pop it onto a rotisserie. Great for dinner and you can't beat the leftovers, sliced very thin, for sandwiches.

                  1. re: The Old Gal

                    Butchers don't all cut a beef up the same way -- their training is different country to country and region to region. (Same for pork, lamb, etc.) Usually they can provide you a diagram of the animal with the cuts they usually do. If you want something different, you may need to show them on the diagram what you're wanting. For example, many American butchers don't know "hangar steak" because it's a French cut and not many Americans ever knew about, much less used it.

                2. if you don't mind me asking, how much does half a steer cost? lol

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bw2082

                    Just under $1000 at the place I use in the Bay Area...of course, it varies a bit depending on the actual size of the cow!

                  2. We split a whole cow 3-ways last year with some neighbors,as it turned out the steaks were very thin. The meat was gewat but we didn't care for how thin everything came out.We did have a ton of ground beef so I made a lot of taco's alot of meat balls and a lot of bugers.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Analisas mom

                      You can get some steaks cut into chip steaks, and don't forget the liver and kidneys! :)

                      Here's a great link...


                      We went from a half to a whole this year to make sure we get everything..I love marrow bones for gourmet treats, and my dogs..they love them better than Kongs. Get the marrow bones cut short, and stuff them with peanut butter or liverwurst.

                      And to the poster who suggested madcow...Um, he wouldn't be eating the beef at all than, lol.

                      I personally ask for 1/2 steaks in some cuts, 1in in others, because I like thin steaks. I can flash them on the grill, and get them rare.

                      I pay 1.80 .lb for a whole beef, plus .25 or maybe a little more for a cutting/wrapping fee per pound. I haven't picked it up yet, but they called and I was around 813 hanging weight, and they cut this week. So I believe the rule is 60-70% you take home of that?

                    2. Well, unless you want the tenderloin whole, such as for a beef Wellington, then I would go for the porterhouse and T-bones. If you are opting for the whole tenderlooin, then I would specify that I want the strips on the bone. The old saying of the closer the bone the sweeter the meat is certainly true of steaks! Of course, you could just go straight for a standing ribs of beef! My favorite Christmas dinner!

                      I would also ask that all ball joints be cut in half for high-gelatinous stock (and let the dog eat Alpo!) and that marrow bones be cut in sections. And don't forget to insist on your half of the tail! Oh, if you like any of the Asian variations on cross cut short ribs, they would require special instructions. Liver? Heart? Kidneys? But unless they butcher on the premises, they probably never even see them. But it never hurst to ask, if you like them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Ask for a hanger steak, but you might have to negotiate with your partner because there will only be one