We picked up our half a cow this afternoon from Morris Grassfed Beef. You can see the pictures over on the right in my flickr photostream. We got about 70 pounds of ground beef, and 101 pounds of steaks, ribs, etc. from this particular beeve. I didn't realize I'd be getting that much ground beef, proportionally, but I'm not complaining—no need to run out for burgers for a long time, plus there's plenty for chilis, too.
I was impressed with the packaging they did. Each cut was individually vacuum sealed in heavy plastic and labeled, and the ground beef was separated into one-pound packages. This will make it really easy to find a particular cut, and the one-pound packages of ground beef are very convenient.
It was all thoroughly frozen and loaded into four brown boxes with cut-outs for easy lifting. I brought a couple of coolers along with me since I didn't know how the beef would be packaged, but it turns out they weren't needed after all.
(One humorous sight when I arrived at the truck to pickup my beef: It looks like a couple families were splitting an order, as there were several open boxes under the shade of a tree, with packages of beef spread all around in little piles.)
This is the first time I've ever bought beef in quantity before; Michelle's family apparently used to do it yearly when she was younger. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts us and whether we get sick of beef anytime soon. Being the carnivore I am I seriously doubt I'll get sick of it, but the girls aren't quite as enthusiastic. (Heh, more for me. :)
There are also some cuts I don't have a lot of experience with (flatirons, chuck roasts, shanks), so they'll be fun to try out. They might be a great excuse to get a smoker, as all I have is a gas grill right now. The several pounds of stew meat should cook up nicely in a slow cooker come fall and winter, too.
Oh, and why buy meat in bulk? Well, it's the easiest way to get quality grass-fed beef. There are a lot of health benefits to eating beef that grows up on its natural, traditional diet of grass. Most cows these days are at least "finished" on grains, meaning the bulk up on grain in a feed lot prior to slaughter. While the grains do promote faster muscle growth and more marbling, the cows have to get a lot of antibiotics and hormones to counteract the negative effects of the grains on a cow's digestive system. Beeves that eat only grass are much less stressed and the resulting meat is much higher in omega three, CLA, and other healthy acids. The flavor's a little different, too; more "subtle" is the word I'd use to describe it. I don't mean it's bland, but it is a little different. Plus, it's nice to support local farms and small farmers who are good land stewards.
Now, if only that big ribeye would thaw a little faster…