Author Topic: Bulk Meat Purchasing  (Read 1634 times)

bullpucky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Bulk Meat Purchasing
« on: April 24, 2018, 08:07:03 PM »
Hello All,

First post, so I apologize if this is a repeat, but kindly direct me to other posts if you don't mind.(the search feature does not work when I try on my Chromebook)

My wife and I try to make the most of bulk meat purchases using a vacuum sealer, and have been very happy with the results so far.(3 years)

Does anyone have any advice or tips that would help us expand our bulk meat purchasing?

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2440
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 08:32:07 PM »
Not exactly sure what you are looking for.

My Hub and I purchase 35 lbs of sausage from this place in Rhode Island every year. It is Italian and spicy. It comes in very long lengths and we have to cut it to size. Like 8 inch links. We put around 5 or 6 in a vacuum bag and seal them. We seem to get a years worth from this purchase. It is pretty costly because the guy has to ship it overnight. But in the end, with shipping and cost of the sausage it works out to $7.15 per lb. This is the best hot spicy sausage we have ever eaten.

What exactly are you looking for?

We buy hamburger on sale and cook it up with onions then put it into vac seal bags for spag sauce and other stuff. Use it for taco's, nacho's, stuffed peppers...so many things!

Foodsaver has some new (to me) bags that are expandable and can fit a turkey and casseroles! I just purchased some. I have never seen them so this should be interesting! In December we try to buy Prime rib on sale. Last year we bought a giant one and it wouldn't fit in a vac bag. I just bought a new vac sealer and they sent an accessory book and one of the items was an expandable bag. This should be very handy with big cuts of meat!

sparkytheop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 846
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 09:41:37 PM »
Are you in an area where you can purchase beef straight off a farm?  It is a lot to front at once, but you can get some great cuts of meat (and even lean ground beef is so expensive in the store now, that I probably even save money on that).  I buy 1/4 to 1/2 cow from my brother each year.

Do you have a Cash and Carry or similar restaurant supply store in the area?  You can buy some big chunks of beef and then butcher and bag them yourself.  In addition to the cow we buy, I'll sometimes get more through C&C.  Then I'll watch a youtube video (or a few) of a butcher walking you through the cutting process.  I got petite sirloin, "baseball steaks" and stew meat all cut just the right thickness for about $1.50/lb by doing it myself.  They also have pork for an incredible deal, I put one chunk in the freezer for later and cook up some kalua pork with the other chunk.

Zaycon Foods is another good option.  The deliveries can be a pain in the ass (sometimes they will change the delivery day or time), but if you can be flexible there, it can be well worth it.  I just got bacon for $2.99/lb and boneless, skinless chicken for $1.29/lb.  The chicken is not trimmed, so you do that yourself, but it's not so bad.  They're large breasts, so I usually cut them in half and then bag them with three or four pieces per bag.  We also pressure can it every now and then.

The chicken can also be handy if you cube it and add the ingredients for "crock pot meals" (I use a dutch oven though, prefer the taste and texture).  Bag it all up and freeze.  You can partially freeze it first if your bag will suck the liquid out while sealing (mine can put a seal, without vacuum, so I can seal it, freeze it, then break the seal and vacuum pack it once it's frozen).

Cooking ground beef and then freezing it into sizes for meals can be a good way to make faster meals too (use the ground beef in spaghetti, tacos, chili, shepherd's pie, etc).


Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2440
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 05:02:36 AM »
I typically put a sheet pan in the freezer to lay the unfrozen pouches flat while they are freezing. That way the various vac packed things can lay on top of each other to conserve space.

For some reason we have been unable to find foot long hot dog rolls and all of a sudden we are seeing them on the shelves in the stores. I bought 4 packages and cut the rolls loose. Then wrapped two rolls at a time with a piece of parchment paper and put them back in the bag. Then vac packed the package/froze. I hope this will keep them fresh. I think I will buy more too so we can have them during the winter. Not sure why we never see them in the stores in the winter!

bullpucky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 07:05:20 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. I realize I was vague in my original post.

I have a couple questions:
1. What is a good way to look at the energy costs of keeping a lot of food frozen vs. the cost savings of buying in a bigger bulk?(I live in coastal VA, so no basement for deep-freezer, and no garage unfortunately)
2. I have been avoiding BPA for vacuum sealing, primarily because I use the same plastic for sous vide sealing. Anything else I should be checking the plastic for when buying the rolls for sealing?
3. Any tips on freezing bacon? It is just my wife and I, and typically we don't cook bacon but once a week. (we do save the fat for cooking later...I personally recommend steaming green beans, then sauteing them in the bacon fat...yum!)

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4008
  • Age: 28
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 07:38:37 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. I realize I was vague in my original post.

I have a couple questions:
1. What is a good way to look at the energy costs of keeping a lot of food frozen vs. the cost savings of buying in a bigger bulk?(I live in coastal VA, so no basement for deep-freezer, and no garage unfortunately)
2. I have been avoiding BPA for vacuum sealing, primarily because I use the same plastic for sous vide sealing. Anything else I should be checking the plastic for when buying the rolls for sealing?
3. Any tips on freezing bacon? It is just my wife and I, and typically we don't cook bacon but once a week. (we do save the fat for cooking later...I personally recommend steaming green beans, then sauteing them in the bacon fat...yum!)
1. Freezers are actually rather power-efficient, as long as they're full or close to full.  I have three (yep) ~7ft^3 chest freezers in my house, and they probably add about $10/mo total to my electric bill (I haven't measured it).
2. Don't know - I don't vacuum seal anything myself.
3. I just throw bacon in the freezer (1lb packages), and thaw it when needed.  I don't get the fancy bacon from the farm though, just the normal boring Costco stuff.

sparkytheop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 846
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2018, 08:15:35 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. I realize I was vague in my original post.

I have a couple questions:
1. What is a good way to look at the energy costs of keeping a lot of food frozen vs. the cost savings of buying in a bigger bulk?(I live in coastal VA, so no basement for deep-freezer, and no garage unfortunately)
2. I have been avoiding BPA for vacuum sealing, primarily because I use the same plastic for sous vide sealing. Anything else I should be checking the plastic for when buying the rolls for sealing?
3. Any tips on freezing bacon? It is just my wife and I, and typically we don't cook bacon but once a week. (we do save the fat for cooking later...I personally recommend steaming green beans, then sauteing them in the bacon fat...yum!)
1. Freezers are actually rather power-efficient, as long as they're full or close to full.  I have three (yep) ~7ft^3 chest freezers in my house, and they probably add about $10/mo total to my electric bill (I haven't measured it).
2. Don't know - I don't vacuum seal anything myself.
3. I just throw bacon in the freezer (1lb packages), and thaw it when needed.  I don't get the fancy bacon from the farm though, just the normal boring Costco stuff.

1. I live in the PNW and power is cheap.  I have two freezers (a small chest size and a larger one).  Power use is negligible.  My electric bill is around $40 in winter (most of that are fees you can't eliminate) and highest is $120 in summer (AC running non-stop on 110 degree + days for weeks).  I've had a few weeks where I wasn't using one or the other freezer and noticed no change in my bill.
2. I don't like to cook in plastic so can't really tell you what to look for.  For the most part that's where the issue would come in (when being heated) rather than when frozen.
3.  I just put the package of bacon in the freezer.  My parents use less, so they cut it in half, then either vacuum pack or store in freezer bags (the bacon we get is already frozen).  You could just wrap the amount you will use in butcher paper and then store in one larger bag, just pulling out what you need when you need it.

The bags (food saver or ziplock) do add an expense, but it's still much cheaper than buying as-needed from a grocery store.


nurseart

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2018, 09:41:22 AM »
Since you are in VA I wanted to mention polyface. They have a buyers club where you can pickup once a month. https://polyfaceyum.com/polyface-love/ has discounted stuff. I just got 20 lbs of their bulk sausage 50% off.

We recently got a chest freezer and were impressed when researching the operating cost. I believe it has already paid for itself in terms of being able to take advantage of good deals. It has also really decreased temptation to go out because "oh well no food in the house" is no longer an excuse.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 09:43:17 AM by nurseart »

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3262
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2018, 02:04:59 PM »
For those who have purchased 1/2 or 1/4 of a cow, how did it come about?  I'd love to do it for our family, but don't even know who I'd talk to or where to look in order to get in on such a transaction.

katsiki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1445
  • Age: 39
  • Location: La.
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2018, 02:13:03 PM »
You may be interested in Zaycon.  I am picking up my first order next month so I cannot comment yet.  There were a couple of threads here about it with some experiences.  Lots out there in a google search.  Hard to determine good or bad from what is online, so I did a test order (chicken).

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2440
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2018, 03:56:28 PM »
We bought maybe 1/4-1/3rd  cow years ago. First of all it tasted terrible! For some reason the beef tasted like fish! We had to crock pot all of it. I am assuming they didn't feed the cow correctly. Then, when they butchered the cow, we got cheated out of certain cuts. Someone got the better cuts. So, I would be careful where you buy your cow and who butchers it. We never did it again.

I live in CT and we have Stew Leonard's. They sell beef by the section if you wish to purchase that way. Today, for example, we bought NY Strip steaks. The hunk o meat was 18 lbs and was around $110. We had the butcher cut it up into 1 1/4" steaks. They are beauties! We vac packed them all. We got 14 out of it. Worked out to $7.91 per steak. Probably would have been a $25 dinner if bought in a restaurant. The steaks are pretty large too! We are looking forward to Filet Mignon to go on sale and get a section of that too. Their meat is outstanding! Maybe you could talk to your butcher in one of your local supermarkets and see what they offer if you buy a hunk o meat!

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1867
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2018, 04:03:05 PM »
I've bought from this farmer, and per this older article, he doesn't recommend buying a cow share, and gives his reasons (some of which may not apply, depending on where you live).  Just one farmer's opinion.

AMandM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 914
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2018, 05:13:15 PM »
For those who have purchased 1/2 or 1/4 of a cow, how did it come about?  I'd love to do it for our family, but don't even know who I'd talk to or where to look in order to get in on such a transaction.

All the bulk meat I've bought from the farm has come to me, as it were. Usually an email appears on our neighbourhood listserve from someone who knows a farmer.  If you don't have such a listserv, or it doesn't include crunchy agrarian types, I would try asking at your local farmer's market.

I buy meat that way primarily because of how the animals are raised, but a big plus has been getting cuts I wouldn't normally buy.  The average net price of the bulk beef, for instance, is about the same as grassfed ground beef from the grocery store, but it includes steaks (which I never buy otherwise) and organ meat (which is hard to come by in the grocery store).

sparkytheop

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 846
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2018, 06:33:42 PM »
For those who have purchased 1/2 or 1/4 of a cow, how did it come about?  I'd love to do it for our family, but don't even know who I'd talk to or where to look in order to get in on such a transaction.

I "cowpool" with my parents to buy the beef from my brother, who raises a few cows every year.  So, my experience is different than those who deal with more "unknowns".

First, I know my brother raises some yummy cows.  He finishes with grain, the marbling is perfect, and it tastes really, really good.  (A former coworker once bought a cow all grass fed and threw it all away because he thought it was spoiled.  It wasn't; grass fed just tastes different.  And man, the butcher paper from grass fed beef can stink up your kitchen in a few hours.  I don't care for it myself.)

Second, I know he uses a great butcher.  A good butcher is key.  Another former coworker used a butcher that was not near as good, and the meat ended up having an "off" taste.

Third, we request the cuts straight from the butcher so we know we're getting the cuts we want.  I also have the bones cut for stew meat. (When I had a dog, the butcher would sometimes send a full-sized leg bone someone else didn't want.  For the dog.  She was happy for hours gnawing on that thing!)

Forth, because I "cowpool" with my family, we get the whole thing and then divide the meat when it shows up.  That way if there is an odd number of packages for different cuts, we can split them up the way we like.

As far as finding a place, I've seen others ask around and find people from coworkers, from facebook, from farmer's markets, and from butchers (I know that my brother's butcher buys his meat, and recommends his beef to others.  You want to buy from the same guy the butcher buys from if you can.)

I had less than stellar results when I bought pork from a coworker.  I'd had some of their pork before, and it was good, but then they changed butchers.  I didn't buy meat from him again.  My brother lives 5 hours away, so it's not like the coworker could just use this trusted butcher, he had to go with what was near him.

bullpucky

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2018, 06:36:15 PM »
I've bought from this farmer, and per this older article, he doesn't recommend buying a cow share, and gives his reasons (some of which may not apply, depending on where you live).  Just one farmer's opinion.

This is really interesting!

McStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 170
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2018, 07:08:35 PM »
My Hub and I purchase 35 lbs of sausage from this place in Rhode Island every year. It is Italian and spicy. It comes in very long lengths and we have to cut it to size. Like 8 inch links. We put around 5 or 6 in a vacuum bag and seal them. We seem to get a years worth from this purchase. It is pretty costly because the guy has to ship it overnight. But in the end, with shipping and cost of the sausage it works out to $7.15 per lb. This is the best hot spicy sausage we have ever eaten.

If you don't mind sharing, what is the name of the place in RI? That's my general neighborhood and I love a good spicy italian sausage.

Roadrunner53

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2440
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2018, 07:38:36 PM »
This is the place in Rhode Island. The Italian Sausage is hot and not greasy at all. We love it and Mike is a great guy!

http://www.supri.com/

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8897
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Bulk Meat Purchasing
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2018, 08:58:32 PM »
I found my rancher through craigslist, actually. An ad they put on there. But the reason I went with them (vs others listed on there) was that they supply a lot of local restaurants. Plus, they use the butcher we get our game animals processed at when we don't do them ourselves. So I called the shop and asked them if the meat comes in clean and fresh and good. They spoke really highly of the people.

We're putting in our third order this week.

I will say, if you've never had 100% grass fed beef, don't start with a 1/4 or 1/2 cow. Go buy some lean cuts of grass fed steak and see if you like the flavor. It's easy for us since we eat a lot of game, I way prefer the flavor. But I've heard some people aren't big fans.

Oh, and I like to visit the farm before I pick up my animal. Gives you a good idea of their diet, their care, etc. Not sure how useful this is for someone who didn't grow up rural though?