buying a side of grass fed beef

Q&A

Buying a side of beef (half a steer) can be an economical way for a family or group of friends to stock up on quality meat. But it can get confusing calculating what it actually means to take a steer from field to freezer. To demystify your meat venture, we've compiled some common questions that come our way.

Q: How much does a side of beef cost?

The price for sides (halves) and quarters is $7.75/lb based on the hanging weight. The hanging weight is the weight of a side of beef, hanging in the butcher's cooler after the head, feet, and organs have been removed, but before it's been dry aged and cut into steaks and roasts, etc. Hanging weights vary depending on the size and build of the animal, but a side of beef 'on the hook' generally weighs ~250-325lbs, putting the cost of a side at roughly ~$2,000-2,500. A split side - a quarter of an animal by weight that includes a balance of cuts from the fore and hind quarters - will cost roughly ~$1,000-1,250.

Q: How much meat will I get?

A side will yield roughly ~175-200lbs of meat that will last in the freezer for a year or more. Again, sizes will vary, but the yield after butchering is usually around 60-70% of the hanging weight, depending on the cuts you select. Weight is lost to moisture during the aging process, and to bone and trim removed during the cutting process. For storage, you'll need a medium sized chest or stand-up freezer.

Q: What cuts will I get?

When you buy a side of beef, it will be custom cut to your specifications based on a list of cutting options we'll provide. If you're new to the whole buying a side of beef thing, don't worry - we're happy to answer any questions you may have, or even connect you directly to our pro butcher, John Post. Or, if you just want the beef already (!) and don't feel like making a bunch of decisions, we can take care of that part for you. Here's a sample list of what you'd get:

Flat Iron Steak / Chuck Blade Steak / Chuck Roast / Rib Eye Steak / Prime Rib Steak / Cross Rib Steak / Rib Bones / Strip Loin Steak / Tenderloin Steak / Top Sirloin Steak / Sirloin Tip Steak / Sirloin Tip Roast / Tri-Tip Steak/Roast / Eye Round Steak / Inside Round Steak / Inside Round Roast / Flank Steak / Shank Steak / Brisket Point Roast / Organs and Bones / Short Ribs / Stew Beef / Lean Ground

Q: I'm ready to buy a side! How does it work?

To get on the wait list, you can RESERVE A SIDE OR QUARTER ONLINE. If you're reserving a side online, you'll have the option of filling out your cutting instructions for the butcher at the time of paying the reservation fee. Or, you can return later once you've had a chance to talk things over, and fill out the cutting form, which you'll find in the shop.

We can also take reservations by phone or email, and accept e-transfer, or cheque, cash, or credit card at the market.