Big Meat!

by Wendy Copley on May 27, 2010

Prather Ranch Meat

I just brought home 50 pounds of meat!

50 pounds of meat??

Yes, ma’am! 50 pounds! Here’s how that came about:

A couple of months ago, I read a book called The Butcher and the Vegetarian by Tara Austen Weaver. Zach and I picked it up because there is a whole chapter in it about our friend, Guy Prince (a.k.a Biggles) of the web site Meathenge. The basic premise of the book is that Tara, a life-long vegetarian, is directed to eat meat by one of her doctors. For the first time in her life she starts to navigate the meat-eating world. As you can imagine, she has quite a bit of trepidation about this and so she approaches this new terrain carefully and thoughtfully. One chapter that particularly stuck out for me was the one where Tara visits Prather Ranch. The cattle on Prather Ranch are raised in a humane way with a closed herd that is pasture fed. From their web site:

The philosophy that drives this operation is “a deep understanding of the importance of low stress cattle handling, responsible stewardship of the land and a desire to provide a stable and satisfying life for those who work on the ranch.” This creates a “win-win-win” situation – the cattle live in an ideal environment, the ranch practices ecologically progressive and sustainable farming and ranching methods, and the customers are guaranteed they are receiving the most wholesome beef available.

If you’re going to eat beef, this is probably the best way to do it for the animal, for the earth and for yourself.

Prather Ranch Meat

I told my sister-in-law about Prather Ranch over lunch one day (we were eating salads, not burgers) and she thought it was interesting enough that she and her husband looked into buying a share of a Prather Ranch cow. The smallest share you can buy is a quarter cow which ends up being about 100 lbs. That’s a lot of meat for a couple to go through by themselves, so they asked us if we were interested in splitting it up.


We ended up bringing home 25 lbs. of hamburger and another 25 lbs. of assorted steaks, roasts and cuts of meat we’ve never heard of before. Have you ever had chuck steaks? How about mock tender steaks? I just found out what they were by looking them up online. Thank God for the internet, right? The average price per pound for all of this was about $6.00 which is a crazy good bargain when you consider that a pound of organic hamburger goes for about $7.00 in our area. So we’re already saving money on the hamburger and when you throw in the steaks and what not the deal gets even better. Get this: the price per pound listed on the filet mignons we got was $39.99! Holy cow! Honestly — that’s just nuts.

Prather Ranch Meat

I’m not too worried about getting through 50 pounds of meat in the next six months, but I’ll admit that seeing it all laid out on the table was a bit intimidating. We have been trying to reduce our family’s meat intake so we don’t want to over-do it. Anyone have any interesting ground beef recipes they want to share? I’ve got a pretty good recipe for meatloaf and I can also make shepherd’s pie. We’ll stir it into pasta sauce and make burgers too of course. Got any other brilliant ideas?

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  • Test! Comments! Why aren’t you working??

  • Wendy, we did this. I can't remember when, but we have been working our way through it. It's terrific, but a LOT of meat. Woohoo!

  • One more thing. In a fit of nerdtastic enthusiasm, I sat down with my meat and a calculator to figure out how much I was saving by buying so dang much meat at once. Thrilling.

  • siduri

    “Holy cow!” HAR HAR HAR.

    If you find that 50 lbs is too much, Sam and I would be willing to do a three-way split with y'all on the next cow share…

  • shaeirving

    Prather Ranch is great, and I really want to do this. We have to work out the storage issue first. A question (forgive me if I wasn't a careful reader and missed it): Why do you have to eat it all in six months? Should you not keep it frozen for longer than that? Or is that when the next cow comes in? I look forward to an update about how this goes for you guys.

  • Oh cool! We'll keep that in mind.

  • I'm hardly a food safety expert, but from what I understand, you generally shouldn't eat much of anything that's been frozen in a home freezer longer than 6 months. The meat comes vacuum sealed, which I'm sure helps preserve it's quality longer and we're keeping it in a deep freeze which freezes colder than a regular freezer too, so I'm guessing if we ate some of this stuff at 7 or 8 months we'd be fine. That being said, my main concern is that the quality of the meat will suffer if we freeze it much longer than 6 months.

  • How gross am I that the sight of all that frozen meat makes me hungry? 😛

    We use ground beef in our house for tacos, enchiladas, chili, taco soup, and (of course), burgers. I think that covers it….

    Any tri tip? Lordy what I would do for some good tri tip in TN…. *que violins*

  • Dude! Zach and I saw all that meat laying out on our coffee table and we were all, “I want steak RIGHT NOW!” It's really frozen though, so we have to wait for it to thaw. 🙁

  • amanda

    i'd love to be able to do that but my DH doesnt really like steaks.

    we do eat lots of ground beef here tho. what about lasanga, tacos, meatballs, meatball subs, taco salad, chilli?

  • ~M~

    Here's what I do. I use ground meat and cook with taco seasoning (I use cumin and chili powder, basically whatever you like ot make it taste like chili meat). Then I cook a package of hot dogs. (I'm in Chicago where we take our hot dogs seriously so I buy Vienna all beef hot dogs.) Then I get some shredded cheddar cheese (are you still with me). Then I get some refrigerated pizza dough, spread it out, and cut it into 8 rectangular pieces.

    Then on each piece I put a hot dog, a dosing of chili meat, and a good handful of cheddar cheese. Roll it all up. Bake t until the dough is cooked (according to the directions).

    Then I wrap the extras up and put them in the fridge for lunches the whole week… after I have devoured quite a few. mmmmm.

    Frankly I don't think a woman who buys organic and gives her son tofu for lunch will enjoy this recipe but basically, it's all I got off the top of my head.

  • Connie Buckley

    Stuffed shells, stuffed peppers… I usually use ground beef and sausage in them.

  • That sounds like the world's best pig-in-a-blanket! Yum!

  • great ideas! My husband loves stuffed peppers, but neither of us ever thinks to make them.

  • Gretchen

    sloppy joes/stuffed peppers/cheese burger pie/burritos/chili/meatballs~I love ground beef 😉

  • Yum! We make “Hamburger Assistant,” which is basically homemade Hamburger Helper but with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. You can add tomatoes, onions, pasta, rice, cheese, spices, etc. It freezes well too. And don't forget meatballs!

  • Katie

    We really like “Amazing Beef” it uses a roast like pot roast. Place a 2-3 lb. roast in crock pot. Cut slits and stuff with 6-7 garlic cloves into meat or just add it chopped. Pour in a 1 jar (24 to 32 ounces) sliced pepperoncini peppers. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Meat just falls apart. Serve on pita or roll or over rice or mashed potatoes. Leftovers also make great beef quesadillas.

  • ryan

    testcomment #ryan

  • Victoria

    Wow! That's a LOT of meat!!! One of my Dad's friends was a butcher and whenever he'd visit, he'd bring tons of meat with him and our freezer would be STOCKED!!!

  • We always buy a cow from our pastor, it's cheaper, not as greasy and we know he doesn't inject them with antibiotics and other crap! It feeds 9 people all year long with some left over! And if you have a deep freeze it really doesn't affect the quality of meat…at the end of the year, it still tastes just the same for us.

  • Oh thanks! That's great to hear about the deep freeze. Takes some of the pressure off!

  • ChloeB

    I love Tara Austin Weaver's blog too, definitely worth a look for foodies.

  • We make meatballs with quinoa in them. I also put that (quinoa) in my meatloaf. My dad raises cows, and each year, he raises one specifically for eating. We eat a lot of beef, but when it's free, you can't help but to eat it.

  • meg

    A friend of mine just off loaded some ground beef on me because they got a 1/4 of a cow too. Burgers, burgers, burgers, but I make bi bim bop with ground beef too. And there is a kid's book (with a recipe) to go along with it. here:

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