Last week we ordered a side of beef from the Delta Meat & Sausage Company in Delta Junction, Alaska. They’re about two hours south of Fairbanks and raise their own beef without antibiotics or growth hormones. I’m not sure what percentage of their diet comes from grass, but since the farm doesn’t use antibiotics, corn must not be a very large part of their diet (cows aren’t designed to eat corn, so corn-fed beef require loads of antibiotics to keep their guts functional). Relatively speaking, it’s a local business, so significantly less petroleum was consumed getting our meat to us that would be required for the meat trucked up from the lower 48 to service our local megajumbomarket. It's a good thing.
Delta Meat butchers the meat into a “supermarket” cut, which means the labels conform to what you’d expect to see at the meat counter. Before our steer was cut up, we talked to the butcher about what what we wanted done with it. We found that we used the ground meat more quickly than anything else on the moose I shot a few years ago so we geared our cuts toward producing more hamburger meat.
We picked up the side at the Sears parking lot. Five boxes.
Here’s what she wrote on the receipt regarding the cuts and whether we wanted them or not:
- Arm—No (I'm not sure what this is)
- Chuck roast—Yes
- Chuck steak—Yes
- Short ribs—Yes
- Stew meat—No
- Rib steak—Yes
- Round steak—No
- London broil—Yes
- Bottom round roast—Yes
- Rump roast—Yes
- Tip roast—No
- Cube steaks—No
Anything listed as “No” was turned into hamburger meat. Keeping the brisket whole was the only thing we asked for that unusual enough that they didn't have a sticker for it on the package. We're going to turn some of the brisket into corned beef, and Andrea will cook the rest using a family recipe.
The “standing side weight” was 291.5 pounds, and the cost is based on that weight. We paid $2.65 / pound, or $772.48 for the whole thing.
Here’s what we got:
|2 pound packages||59||118.0|
|Boneless sirloin steak||6||7.8|
In total, that's 212.5 pounds of meat, for an average cost of $3.64 / pound. Cheap, and I believe it is much better quality meat than we can buy, and is better for the cows, the environment, and for us (grass-fed beef is better for you, with better omega fatty acid ratios than corn-fed, feedlot beef).