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Buying whole or half cow (Ottawa)

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[OP]
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Nov 30, 2003
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Buying whole or half cow (Ottawa)

Anyone here recently buy a cow in Ottawa? Beef prices are so expensive so I'm looking to see if I can save money buy buying half a cow or something like that.
I"m in Ottawa so looking for something local enough to drive to to pick up or one that will deliver.

Looking for suggestions from others. There are a lot of companies but not sure if one is better than the other.

Thanks
19 replies
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May 10, 2005
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Did this way back.
While it sounds like you are beating the high price of beef, the fact is you are not. You are paying for the beef all in one price and yes, you may get that tenderloin and prime rib roast cheaper but, you pay a huge amount for the rest, including many cuts you would never buy (so you turn them into hamburger and pay double what is in the grocery store).
Other thing to think about is usage. Some cuts of beef have longer shelf (freezer) life that others. ground beef has the lowest shelf life and if you want it all vacuum packed, there is a pretty significant upcharge.
Lastly, when you buy a 1000 lb side, you get about 60 to 70% yield out of it. You pay for 1000but only get 6 to 7 hundred (increasing the cost per pound). Plus, there may be a butchering and packaging fee (also increasing the cost per pound). You also need to know what cuts you want and how many of each of those.
lastly, when we did it, we sure ate better but I do not think we saved and if if anything, I believe it cost us more.
I know the voices in my head aren't real..... but sometimes their ideas are just absolutely awesome! Anonymous
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We have done this before, although the farm I buy from doesn't deliver to Ottawa so I'm not too much help. Happy to get higher quality meat - and thankfully my mother takes the liver off our hands ;)
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Apr 25th, 2016 10:40 am
You are paying for the beef all in one price and yes, you may get that tenderloin and prime rib roast cheaper but, you pay a huge amount for the rest, including many cuts you would never buy (so you turn them into hamburger and pay double what is in the grocery store).
Yup. Considering that the entire round is basically a writeoff and takes up half the cow damn near it's a terrible investment IMO.
While I can do things with the round, I prefer not to. Unless I have a very specific use case I'll never go near it. It's not good for anything.
Same idea with tenderloin. I might be able to sell it and recoup some of my investment but I won't get THAT much for it relatively speaking.
Other thing to think about is usage. Some cuts of beef have longer shelf (freezer) life that others. ground beef has the lowest shelf life and if you want it all vacuum packed, there is a pretty significant upcharge.
*plugs Chamber sealer*
Although you'll be doing it all day if you do it yourself.
I can easily see why there's an upcharge as it's a good bit of work.
Lastly, when you buy a 1000 lb side, you get about 60 to 70% yield out of it. You pay for 1000but only get 6 to 7 hundred (increasing the cost per pound). Plus, there may be a butchering and packaging fee (also increasing the cost per pound). You also need to know what cuts you want and how many of each of those.
Yup. Unless you have some wicked butchering skills you're going to have to at least get primals.
Then there's a bunch of time breaking down primals. If you want it all cut and wrapped it's pretty expensive.
Beef bones aren't cheap but I don't an average person wants 300lbs of it. Plus they're really not THAT expensive.
Expensive to store though as you basically need another freezer just to store bones.
lastly, when we did it, we sure ate better but I do not think we saved and if if anything, I believe it cost us more.
Lastly 2? :P
It's hit or miss what you get too. Quality of meat might be better but I would think that grading is hit or miss.
If you get an animal that graded poorly you're stuck with 700lbs worth of meat.
wirebound wrote:
Apr 25th, 2016 10:58 am
Happy to get higher quality meat - and thankfully my mother takes the liver off our hands ;)
I'd take the offal all day long.
I'd be fighting to get the tongue, tails, liver, heart, kidneys, cheeks, stomachs, etc.
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death_hawk wrote:
Apr 25th, 2016 3:30 pm

I'd take the offal all day long.
I'd be fighting to get the tongue, tails, liver, heart, kidneys, cheeks, stomachs, etc.
What did you do with the cow's head? Did you get the cheek meat and what about the brain? How bad was removing the entrails and making sure it doesn't contaminate the rest of the meat?
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rageking wrote:
Apr 25th, 2016 9:22 pm
What did you do with the cow's head? Did you get the cheek meat and what about the brain? How bad was removing the entrails and making sure it doesn't contaminate the rest of the meat?
When you buy a side or quarter, you do not get the head.
Offal is not head either.
The butcher does the work. It is not like you bring the cow home and hang it in your garage and cut off chunks as you need them.
Do you know what you are talking about? Clearly not??
I know the voices in my head aren't real..... but sometimes their ideas are just absolutely awesome! Anonymous
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Some butchers or farmers will sell a front quarter. It is more desirable than the half, with brisket, cheeks, hanger steak, flank, rib and chuck roasts. All good, but a premium price.
...



Packard
Ask the man who owns one!
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Pete_Coach wrote:
Apr 26th, 2016 7:51 am
It is not like you bring the cow home and hang it in your garage and cut off chunks as you need them.
True. But that would be awesome.

"I feel like a steak"

/lights BBQ
//starts chainsaw
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Apr 23, 2009
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Most local butchers sell hind quarters or sides where you can specify the cuts you want. Start calling around. I remember my mother getting some from Aubrey's on the market, many years ago. There's a butcher there in the same location but not sure what it's called now.
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Jul 22, 2014
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OP, find a farmer that will do good price on a whole and I'll split it with you.
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Oct 13, 2014
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Somewhere, ON
Knowing how much per pound you are willing to spend would help, it would give us an idea of your expectations. Presently beef "On the hoof" at the Ottawa Auction starts at approximately $115.00 per hundred weight, this would be for a medium steer, that would run you to about $1150.00 per steer. You would only be getting about 700 lbs of meat off that steer. As others have noted very little would be prime.

This week art Zehrs (S.Ont) but controlled by Loblaws Sirloin Tip is at $3.99/lb; that is 400 lbs of medium quality (read consumer choice of cut) for the same price. That is a good year's supply of beef for a family of four, considering other meats in the diet.

Buy in bulk the exact cuts you want and you should be happy.

As for having a farmer butcher for you I am not sure of the regulations concerning that aspect, I believe you would have to be present and assisting to avoid Inspection Regulations, etc. As for butchering yourself, that is a big job, even if the carcass is already skinned and dressed. It would take a good eight hours for two of us to butcher and package a moose, best done in very cool/cold weather (garage in winter).
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Apr 22, 2014
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rcmpvet wrote:
Apr 28th, 2016 2:30 pm
As for having a farmer butcher for you I am not sure of the regulations concerning that aspect, I believe you would have to be present and assisting to avoid Inspection Regulations, etc. As for butchering yourself, that is a big job, even if the carcass is already skinned and dressed. It would take a good eight hours for two of us to butcher and package a moose, best done in very cool/cold weather (garage in winter).
The farmer sends it elsewhere to butcher. I've bought quarters and half pig and cow before and picked the meat up from a butcher after paying the farmer.
Process: order/pay/wait/arrange pickup time/pickup.
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^^^^^ Good to know, I was still old school and did the whole shebang myself.
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eldeejay wrote:
Apr 29th, 2016 1:05 pm
The farmer sends it elsewhere to butcher. I've bought quarters and half pig and cow before and picked the meat up from a butcher after paying the farmer.
Process: order/pay/wait/arrange pickup time/pickup.
rcmpvet wrote:
Apr 29th, 2016 6:16 pm
^^^^^ Good to know, I was still old school and did the whole shebang myself.
Apparently, a farmer can butcher for himself but not give or sell to others.
I worked with a Military major that had a run in with the authorities. 2 years later, the MNR later dropped the charges. Don't know if the laws were changed though.
http://www.torontosun.com/news/ottawa/2 ... 57596.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ch ... e-1.977271
I know the voices in my head aren't real..... but sometimes their ideas are just absolutely awesome! Anonymous

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