Why my kids were eating ice cream at 11:00 this morning

(also: why I may go WAY over my grocery budget this month)

This morning we got to pick up our beef from the butcher, 618 pounds of it, for which we paid the butcher $408.  Factor in $250 for the steer at auction and $250 or so in hay, and I figure we probably spent less than $1.50/lb. Not bad.  Here’s what it looked like in the back of the van.

Next question:  would it all fit into our freezers? I’m kinda spoiled in that I have both a fridge and a 20cf freezer out in the garage.  Last time we butchered a steer, I still had to borrow freezer space from my dear mother in law for a few months.  But this time around I had the freezers fairly empty and was pleased to find that it actually all fit in.  We did end up reorganizing both freezers and also had to eat the last of a gallon of ice cream to make room.  (Oh, the sadness!) But it all fit!

Now the only question is if we can make it two weeks on the $62 I have left in the grocery fund for the month.  I can shift money from future months if needed– the beef I bought should last til next summer, after all.  But it would be kinda cool if we could make it the rest of the month without going over budget.  And with a freezer and pantry as full as mine, how hard could it be?


  1. AllieZirkle says:

    I love this! Too cool!

  2. As clever as you are – no problemo – you might eat a few things which aren’t first choice on the menu – and need to find someone with late garden surplus (or good apple trees?) but I have confidence in you. You are a rough parent though – making those poor children eat ice cream – I mean really -who wants ice cream at 11 in the morning (besides me that would mbe)

  3. wow looks great, never a wrong time for ice cream in my opinion..lol

    WHere would I start to find who sells whole cow in my area?

  4. graceling says:

    Can you tell us how much of what cuts of meat you got from a whole steer? I am not actually in the market to buy a steer, but I find it very interesting and in the future hope that this might be something we could pursue. I don’t normally buy beef because it is so expensive, so this might be something that would work for us once we have a bit more space.

    • I always request lots of hamburger, since that is most economical for large numbers of people. I got burger in 3-lb packs– enough to fill two shelves, so probably 120+ pounds of ground beef. I got about ten 6-lb roasts, about 50 lbs of burger formed into patties ($13 extra for that convenience!). I got about 10 packs of cube steaks (6 in a pack) made from some of the tougher cuts of meat. Then there’s maybe half a dozen 6-packs each of t-bones, sirloin steak, and tenderloin. Probably half a dozen 3-lb packages of stew meat and some soup bones too. They leave quite a bit of meat on their soup bones so a pot of soup has enough meat just with cooking the meat off the bones.
      I’m probably forgetting something, but that is the majority of what I’m remembering right now. Lots of good meat!

      • That explains it! We always buy a side of beef (which is now in my freezer) and what was in the back of your van looked like a lot fewer packages than what I had and I couldn’t figure it out. All my ground beef is in 1 lb packages, so there’s the difference. It never occurred to me to have the butcher wrap it any differently. Thanks for the tip. As it is, anyone who opens the freezer at the moment takes their life in their hands; it’s like playing pick-up sticks with frozen meat.

        • Elizabeth, you may find that requesting larger packages of ground beef costs less in processing — at our locker it is a discount, albeit small.

      • Susan B-A says:

        I learned from my math teacher mother to always ask for packages of chops and steaks in 2 and 3 to a pack. That way, you could put together any number of steaks/chops (other than 1!) that you’d need without wasting anything. 2+2+3= dinner for 7 3+3+2= dinner for 8, etc. It worked great for planning and we were never charged more for extra packaging.

  5. I am really looking forward to seeing what you do with that $62 challenge. If anyone can do it, you can!

    I second the previous poster’s question about what cuts of meat you got and how much of each.

    Looks like a great reason for eating ice cream in the morning!!!

  6. I just picked up a quarter of a cow, but it wasn’t nearly as much as what you’ve got there! lol

  7. I remember when I discovered our freezer had quit working and we have an inpromptu ice cream party. The kids love that memory. That beef looks great!

  8. Thanks for breaking down the cost of everything. I’ve always wondered about that. Sounds like a great deal!

  9. Good luck. And I think you can do it. I’ve seen your pantry.

  10. Yum! We buy sirloin tips when they go under $2 a lb and offer free custom cutting. I buy 10 or so at a time. Speaking of which, really hoping the sale comes on soon, I’m getting to the bottom of everything!