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Understanding the math behind the meat Making the decision to purchase a large bulk order of beef for your family can be a bit confusing if you do not understand the language or processes used in the cattle industry. The most common way that ranchers direct market their beef to consumers is by the "hanging half", but what does this mean? Simply put, after an animal is processed, the carcass is hung up on a rail and split into two equal portions because it is easier to handle and cut that way, hence a “hanging half”. In addition, this beef is usually sold by the “hot hanging weight” or “rail weight” this is the weight of the half taken right after processing while it is still warm and hanging on the rail. Ranchers sell beef this way so that they are paid for the carcass before it naturally shrinks during the dry aging process which can be about 8%.
Dry Aging After weighing, the half is then moved into a cooler and left to dry age (hang) for 7 to 21 days. This process allows the beef to dry and relax, adding tenderness and flavour to the final product. When the half has finished dry aging, the butcher will usually call and ask for “cutting instructions” — how you want it cut up — which can be puzzling at best if you don't know where certain cuts come from. Canada Beef has a great interactive web program to help consumers better understand the anatomy of a beef carcass, and this is a good place to start. You will also be asked what portions you would like so it's worth thinking about how much you and your family consume at one meal. The beef is then cut and wrapped in brown butcher paper, boxed and frozen. It's important to note that dry-aging is very rare these days, almost all beef in grocery stores is wet aged which is a completely different process where the beef is aged in a vacuum bag.
It's important to understand that a carcass consists of about 35% waste — bones, gristle and fat — that is discarded. So while you might have paid for a 400 pound half, the meat that actually goes into your freezer is significantly less. To determine how much beef you will actually receive takes a little math, but it's relatively simple — add the shrink of 8% to the waste of 35% and you get 43%. Multiply this by the “hot hanging weight” of the half — we will use 400 pounds — and you get 228 pounds. This is called the “lean meat yield” — what actually goes into your freezer and is based on everything you receive being boneless. The math might change a bit if you like T-Bone steaks or standing Prime Rib Roasts that have bones in them, but the final numbers will be close. At this point most ranchers ask you to drive to the processing plant to pick up your meat and, in most circumstances, you will be paying the cutting and wrapping charges too. These charges are also based on the “hot hanging weight” and are about $1.10 per pound here in Alberta.
When we sell our customers a TK Ranch Dry Aged Beef Half, we keep it simple. We charge a flat price which includes cutting and vacuum packaging. This way you don't have to worry about the math. Our halves consist of individually portioned steaks and family-sized roasts. All of our cuts are well trimmed and our ground beef and stew are at least 85% lean. Everything is vacuum packaged to extend freezer life — this makes thawing simple and mess-free. All of our cuts are also individually labeled.
You will receive approximately 225 lbs or 102 kgs of beef which is the best choice economically for a family. You will need approximately a 15 cubic foot freezer for a half (with room to spare), so be prepared!
This package offers a 10% savings, or $300, over buying the cuts individually.
AVAILABILITY We only process a few cattle every week. Once our inventory is aged, cut and packaged, some is allocated for our bulk beef packages and the rest for those people who prefer to buy individual cuts. As a result of this limited supply, we can only allocate a few halves, quarters and eighths every week and they sell very quickly — so if they are out of stock, please check back soon as our stock rotates quickly.
|Item Name (boneless unless ribs)||Number of Pkgs |
Included in a Half
|Items Per |
|Tenderloin Steaks, 150g||8||1|
|Striploin Steaks, 325g||8||1|
|Ribeye Steaks, 325g||8||1|
|Top Sirloin Steaks, 275g||6||1|
|Blade (Chuck) Steaks, 425g||4||1|
|Round Steaks, 275g||8||1|
|Minute Steaks, 300g||2||2|
|Inside Round Roasts, 1.4 kg||2||1|
|Sirloin Tip Roasts, 1.4 kg||3||1|
|Cross Rib Roasts, 1.4 kg||3||1|
|Chuck Roasts, 1.4 kg||3||1|
|Eye of Round Roast, 1.0 kg||2||1|
|Sirloin Cap "Picanha" Rst, 1.2 kg||1||1|
|Brisket, 1.4 kg||2||1|
|Short Ribs, 500g||2||3-4 ribs|
|Short Ribs, Korean Cut, 500g||2||~|
|Stewing Beef, 454g||8||~|
|Sirloin Kabobs, 454g||2||~|
|Soup (Meaty) Bones, 300g||8||1|
|Marrow Bones, 500g||1||3-5 bones|
|Knuckle Bone, 800g||2||1|
|Patties, 6 oz Plain||8||2|
|Lean Ground Beef, 454g||120||~|