Cheeseburgers

I couldn’t wait to eat the first of my beef.  I wanted to try it in a simple way so I could really taste it.  I thawed it out and opened it up.

I cut it into four chunks

and shaped them into thick patties.

I decided to only cook two of them since I had heard that grassfed beef can be drier and I didn’t think it would reheat in burger form very well.  Since it’s dry, you also need to start it with some fat in the pan.  Here I used bacon grease.  I used my cast iron pan since I wanted to sear the meat very quickly on the outside and leave the inside rarer and therefore juicier.

As soon as I put the patties down, things got crazy and smoky–when you have a pan that hot, things go FAST.

Flipped

and pulled off the heat.

You can see that they’re still juicy in the middle–and it was awesome.  I don’t normally feel safe doing that with grocery store meat, but I felt totally comfortable with it here. And I definitely enjoyed eating it.

And now, a kitchen hack.  I decided at the last minute that I wanted cheese on these lovely burgers.  Too late for the cheese to really melt.  I was going to be left with this:

Which would be delicious, but not as delicious as a reaaaaal melty oozy cheeseburger.  So I…

put a pot on top to try to hold in the heat.  And it kind of worked!  These were delicious with no bread, no condiments, even cold the next day for lunch.  I declare buying 25 pounds of meat to be awesome.

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Beef Delivery!

On Sunday Paine Family Farms delivered 25 pounds of beef, plus a beef tongue, direct to my kitchen.  I bought it as a bulk pack, so I didn’t know what the exact cuts of beef would be.

Here’s what I wound up with:

  • Round roast

  • Sirloin steaks
  • NY strip steaks
  • Rib steak
  • Chuck roast
  • Round stew meat
  • T-bone steaks
  • Tongue
  • 11 pounds of ground beef

 

The beef came in tubes like bulk breakfast sausage normally would.  Everything is packed for the freezer and labeled with the place that did the processing, Johnson’s Sausage in Rio, WI.

 

To give you a better idea of how much space 25 pounds of beef takes up, here are some (sometimes blurry) pictures of my freezer before:

and after:

I can’t wait to try it!

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Buying Bulk Beef

I’ve been talking about buying 25-50 pounds of beef for a while and am finally getting ready to take the plunge.

Here’s how I figured out where I wanted to buy my beef from.  I used Eat Wild as a kind of phone book for grass-fed meat products in Wisconsin.  I found a few farms that offered grass-fed beef in my area and had beef available, then looked at their pricing and what kind of meat I would be getting to make my final decision.  I decided on getting 25 pounds of beef from Paine Family Farm near Columbus, WI, which is about 30 miles from my house.  I liked their pricing, packages, and that they would deliver to my house.  They seem committed to the business of grass-fed beef and even post pictures of their calves.

Gavin and my friends had a few questions that I’ll try to answer:

  • How much space does 50 pounds of beef take up? Paine Family Farms told me it would fit in four large grocery bags and that it would fill a standard freezer with nothing else in it.  That’s why I decided to go with 25 pounds–I am planning on having a lot of other stuff in my freezer very soon.
  • Isn’t that really expensive? Actually, buying grass-fed beef in bulk is pretty affordable.  My farm sells it for about $4.80 a pound when you buy 50 pounds at a time or $5 when you buy 25 pounds at a time.  If you compare it to the cost of commercial ground beef, it’s not too far off–except you are paying that price per pound for ground beef, roasts, and steaks.  You can also buy organ meats for around $3 a pound.  Plus the beef is great quality!
  • How long does beef keep in the freezer? Looking at different University extension programs gives different answers, in the same ballpark.  Kansas State University says that roasts and steaks will last 6-12 months and ground beef will last 3-4 months.  Purdue University says ground beef, roasts, and steaks will all last 6 months.  Again, this helped me decide to only get 25 pounds.
  • Are you going to get stuck with terrible cuts? You should get an idea of the cuts you’ll be getting when you buy your beef.  They’re not all things I would buy by themselves, but I look it at like a CSA box–you are getting pushed out of your comfort zone.  This has the added benefit of teaching you new things, expanding your cooking skills, and knowing you are using more of the animal.
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