A side of beef is just that, one side of the cow. We have the animal humanely processed, then we leave the side of beef to hang, just like the photo to the right, so that it will "dry age" in a cooler, that is about 33 degrees Fahrenheit, so that all the access liquids will drain and evaporate, and an enzyme action will take place to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Depending on the size of the side, it typically hangs for approximately 14 days.
Like said on the previous page about our beef, the dry aging process is one thing that makes the Law Ranch beef better. Most do not take the dry aging as seriously as we do. We feel that this process really adds to our beef. Most meat in the store is "wet aged" which means that it is immediately cut and packaged, then "aged" while in transit to the store. While this may "age" the meat, it surely doesn't allow the meat to dry, or the enzyme action to take place.
After the dry aging, we have the meat for your side of beef cut to fit your family's needs and vacuum packed. It is then flash frozen to assure freshness for at least one year, if it stays frozen.
We process the meat when the animal is a bit smaller than average feedlots, which keeps it more tender, so the steer usually have a live weigh of about 900-1100 pounds, dress about 550-700 pounds, and a side is usually about 275-350 pounds. So, at $4.25/pound on the dressed weight, expect to pay between $1,200-$1,400. Quarters are $4.75 a pound on the dressed weight. You will lose at least 35% of the dressed weight (carcass) to the take home weight (packaged meat) as the chart to the right shows.
You may request your side to be cut however you wish, and packaged however you wish. We have an order form to make it easy. Look for the on-line order form page in the navigation for this website. Refer here to the charts of cuts you may get from your side. Keep scrolling down for more information.
As you can see, there are many ways to cut up a side of beef. We have an order form that will walk you through it, below.
The next question we get is, how big of a freezer do we need? The answer is, The biggest freezer you have the space for. You can squeeze a side in the smallest stand alone freezers, but once you have a freezer, you will want space for more than beef, so try to get at least a 16 cubic foot. We highly recommend a 21 or 23 cubic foot freezer. You can find excellent deals for freezers on Craigslist, Sears, Lowes and Home Depot scratch and dent, and other appliance stores. Just look around. We even purchased one at Sam's Warehouse once.
right click to download this jpeg form here:
Order a side of beef, and pretty soon your freezer will be full like this. If you have an upright freezer, consider organizing bins to make it easier to find everything fast. It really helps us. This is a full sized 23 cubic foot upright. This is what we started with as newly weds. Actually the very first thing we purchased together. It stayed in the tiny dining room of our one bedroom apartment. We now have many more deep freezers, so if you have questions, please feel free to ask.