Before refrigeration was common a different member family would share out a whole beef with other members of the ring every week.The arrangement is described in this audio clip:
I've first heard them mentioned by people with roots in Huronia, certainly not where I grew up in Southern Ontario or from Westen Canada where our family settled.
Were they common elsewhere or were there other arrangements for fresh beef in warm seasons? Google turns up nothing.
My grandmother's family took part in this kind of thing -- with pigs, more so than beef -- both during her childhood in Poland, and after coming to Canada. One family couldn't eat an entire hog, so a few families had a "rotation" -- one family's pig would be slaughtered, shared out, then next time, the next family, and so on.
I imagine it must have been pretty common back then.