Monday, May 23, 2011

On Buying a Quarter Cow

By Diana Hsieh

I've bought two 1/4 cows from Colorado's Best Beef. On occasion, I get asked about the amount of freezer space required for that, and since I just looked it up, I thought I'd blog it.

Here's the chest freezer that I have: GE 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer (FCM7SUWW). On the outside, the freezer is 22 in deep, 37 inches wide, and 33 inches high. It fits easily in a corner of our laundry room. It's not frost-free, because that creates freezer-burn. It builds up ice very slowly, however, so that's not a hassle. It has 7 cubic feet of interior space. The whole 1/4 cow fits in that, with a tiny bit of room to spare. In the pictures below, the main space on the left is completely filled with the new 1/4 cow, while the small compartment on the left contains some other meats.



And here's a closer photo of the meat, meat, and more more meat.



As you might imagine, eating all that beef takes a little while, particularly with just the two of us. But I've never noticed any degradation from meat stored in the chest freezer. Our first quarter cow took us about 18 months to eat, and we'll be done with our current cow soon, in about 12 months total. I love having so much beef available at home -- and I've really gained in my cooking skills by cooking cuts that I'd never even heard of before. Plus, the taste of the beef is like that of Whole Foods, if not better.

Finally, each quarter cow costs us within a few dollars of $800. That's $3.60 per pound of hanging weight or $5.25 per pound of delivered cuts. Given the quality of the beef -- and the stellar mix of ordinary and fancy cuts -- that's a great price.

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