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Great Taste Beef's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
  • How much will butchering cost? How much meat will one steer bring after it is butchered?
  • Why do you no longer charge a flat cost of $600 per steer?
  • How may I compare your cost to someone else's?
  • Do you have a butcher available?
  • Where in New Mexico are you located?
  • Do I need to attend the 'Meet Your Meat' gathering to buy a steer?
  • Do you also sell heifers and cows?
  • May I buy a live steer?
  • How much freezer space do I need?
  • What is the best way to contact you?
Hoof
Weight
Approximate
Hanging
Weight
(50% Light
Frame)
500 lb 250 lb
525 lb 263 lb
550 lb 275 lb
575 lb 288 lb
600 lb 300 lb
625 lb 313 lb
650 lb 325 lb
How much will butchering cost? How much meat will one steer bring after it is butchered?

The following explains how to estimate the total cost in buying a steer and having it butchered and "freezer ready."

The cost of the steer depends upon its final weight in the fall, based upon its "hanging weight" (which is paid to Gallina Canyon Ranch) and based upon what the butcher charges to kill and process the steer.

The expected "hanging weight" of the steer is from 50% to 60% of the steer's live weight. The chart on the right shows the lowest expected hanging weight from a "light frame" steer (50%): the average will be higher. So if the steer weighed 550 pounds on the hoof, the lowest expected hanging weight will be about 275 pounds. A 600 pound steer will be about 300 pounds lowest expected hanging weight. The actual hanging weight will be different: the example of 50% gives you an idea of what the steer will cost.

There is then an additional loss of weight when the steer is butchered to your specifications and instructions to the butcher: from about 50% to 60% depending on how you want the butcher to process the steer--- bones or no bones, for example. You must talk with the butcher regarding his fees to kill, butcher, and package your meat.

Unfortunately we cannot determine before butchering how much actual meat there will be from any given steer.

Hanging
Weight
Estimated
Butcher
Fee
$0.55/lb
50% of
Hanging
Weight
60% of
Hanging
Weight
250 lb $137.50 125 lb 150 lb
263 lb $144.38 131 lb 158 lb
275 lb $151.25 138 lb 165 lb
288 lb $58.13 144 lb 173 lb
300 lb $165.00 150 lb 180 lb
313 lb $171.88 156 lb 188 lb
325 lb $178.75 163 lb 195 lb

In our example butcher cost grid to the right, we used a butcher fee of 55 cents per pound hanging weight to butcher and package the meat. For example, if the hanging weight is around 275 pounds, the "in the freezer" expected weight will be roughly 138 to 165 pounds.

Note that the cost per pound stays the same regardless of how much meat there is: add the cost of the steer (paid to Gallina Canyon Ranch) to the cost of butchering and packaging (paid to the butcher), and divide by the estimated package weight of 50% to 60% and you will have a rough idea what the meat cost per pound.

Why do you no longer charge a flat cost of $600 per steer?

Steers all have different "on the hoof" weights in the fall, and different "hanging" weights after being gutted: it is therefore not fair to buyers to charge a flat cost per steer. The much fairer way is to charge a cost per pound hanging weight: that way, all buyers pay the same rate regardless of how much the steer weighs: the price per pound of packaged meat, if cut and packaged identically (depending on what the buyer tells the butcher to do), would therefore be the same for every customer.

How may I compare your cost to someone else's?
www.grassfedtraditions.com
Premium Steak Package: 10.25 pounds
(Rib Eye, New York Strip, Sirloin)
$14.63/lb on sale
$24.68/lb retail
Steak Package: 11.75 pounds
(Top Sirloin, Sirloin Tip,
Top Round, Bottom Round)
$7.66/lb on sale
$12.51/lb retail
Roast Package: 27 pounds of roasts
(Chuck, Round, Rump, Shank)
$5.85/lb on sale
$8.07/lb retail
Ground Beef $6.00/lb on sale
$8.16/lb retail
www.hearstranch.com
Rib Eye Steak $22 for 3/4th pound
New York Strip Steak $25 for 3/4th pound
Boneless Rib Roast $30/lb
Ground Beef $8/lb
www.damarfarms.com
Rib Eye Steak $15.88 for 13 ounces
New York Strip Steak $14.88 for 13 ounces
Top Sirloin Steak $7.38 for 12 ounces
Ground Beef $6.68/lb

When comparing prices of "freezer ready" meat, there are several variables to consider. If it were merely a matter of comparing already-packaged lean grass-fed beef, such as sold by Whole Foods®, it would be a simple comparison.

Butchers do not like being pinned down to giving an answer to the question "How much meat can I expect from a steer?" They cannot know for sure until after the steer has been butchered. This is why we have prepared this FAQ, and have provided to you ESTIMATES to help you make your decision to buy: few, if any, other people providing a similar service do this, so comparing their cost to ours will not be simple.

Comparisons you make will have to depend upon the same product (lean, grass-fed, no antibiotics, no steroids, not "finished" with corn, etc.) and how it is cut and packaged.

You will probably find that buying a steer from Gallina Canyon Ranch and having a local butcher process the steer will cost considerably less than elsewhere. Our goal is to have you end up with an assortment of meat cuts (which you must discuss with the butcher) for under $6 a pound regardless of cut.

Do you have a butcher available?

Our most popular butcher, whom we also trust the most, is Ismael Vigil (505-753-2453) at San Pedro. People who buy steers from us must contact the butcher before the steer is delivered in the fall to tell the butcher how the meat is to be cut and packaged, and discuss with the butcher his fee. Ismael Vigil charges a different fee for how the steer is butchered and packaged: double wrapped paper, for example, costs a bit more; hamburger costs a bit less than otherwise; sausage costs more than otherwise.

Where in New Mexico are you located?

Gallina Canyon Ranch is located north of Abiquiu, about an hour's drive from Abiquiu and two and a half hours from Santa Fe. Please see our Directions Page.

Do I need to attend the 'Meet Your Meat' gathering to buy a steer?

You do not need to visit the ranch in the spring or fall. We have two bring-you-own picnics for people who buy steers: one in the spring to select their steers, and one in the fall to see their steers before the steers are delivered to the butcher. People who buy steers from us do not need to attend either event: upon receipt of your deposit we will reserve your steer, and later discuss with you where and when to pick up the meat. You will still need to talk with the butcher about his fees before we deliver the steer to the butcher.

Do you also sell heifers and cows?

In the fall there might be heifers (young female calves) for sale; typically we do not sell the older cows.

May I buy a live steer?

Yes. If you wish to buy a live steer, you may come to the ranch in the fall with a trailer and we will load him for you.

How much freezer space do I need?

Since entire steers are being sold, and since the final package weight varies between steers, unfortunatly it is not possible to estimate with high accuracy just how much packaged meat will result from any given steer. (Note that regardless of if 125 pounds or 160 pounds of packaged meat comes from your steer, the cost per pound stays the same: you pay by the weight, not by the steer.) Occasionally one of our larger steers can yield 180 pounds or more of meat.

We did a survey of on-line meat providers, and here is what we have found regarding how much freezer space packaged beef requires:

According to Johansing Farms, for every one hundred pounds of beef one needs 5 cubic feet in the freezer. This is the largest estimate we have seen: most estimates are about 1 cubic foot per 35 pounds of beef. For example, Third Day Beef says "You will need at least 1 cubic foot of freezer space for every 35 lbs. of meat." Chicama Run Farm says "For 1/4 of a cow you would need approximately 5 cubic feet of freezer space." Their average weight for a finished steer is 530 pounds of meat, so that is about 130 pounds in five cubic feet. The University of Kentucky states "Most freezers will hold between 30 to 40 pounds of meat per cubic feet."

What is the best way to contact you?

The best way to contact us is via email, since we do not have readily available telephone service at the ranch. You may contact us via horseys@hughes.net