Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meat: A Question That Hubby And I Have Been Pondering

We have always purchased our meat in the grocery store at rock bottom sale prices. So if ground beef is on sale at $ 1.99 a lb., we would buy 10-20 lbs. and freeze it. If we happened on a mark down on organic we would grab whatever they had. Lately I have been buying ground turkey to replace ground beef which I have done sporadically over the years. We do have about 2 lbs. left of ground beef in our freezer.

I don't know if you have noticed but we have over the past couple of years. The ground beef that we buy in our area is awful unless we buy 93-97% lean. For most of all of the years we have been married, we always bought ground chuck and it was wonderful. It had good flavor and good taste. For a few years now, the ground meat has not been marked ground chuck. It says ground beef. So what is that? It's anyone's guess. 

The butchers don't even grind it more than once. Half the time I get it in large chunks and regrind it myself with my Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment on my mixer.

I have a lot of allergies and digestive issues since we returned from Arizona. I had some before we went there but they seem to be worse since we came back to New York.  We have done some research on those and have found that some of them might be relieved by buying grass fed, no antibiotic, no hormone, no animal part fed meat. It seems that some of my allergies could be being caused by what the animals I eat are being fed. I am not a doctor but Hubby seems to think that it would be worth the cost of buying this grass fed meat because of these problems. So we are thinking about taking the plunge this fall.

My son has always purchased his meat this way. He has bought a 1/2 cow every year until he found that they had lots of meat left at the end of that year. So this year he ordered 1/4 cow. He orders it from the same place every summer and then picks it up in the Fall. This year he paid $ 4.65 a lb. no matter whether it was ground beef or T Bone steaks.  We are seriously considering placing an order along with him come summer. Perhaps we could even get a better price if we ordered the 1/2 cow and then just split it. Of course I realize that prices fluctuate every year, so it could be more expensive come Fall but so will the meat in the market then. I believe this is the most cost effective way to get the beef that we want.

Since we eat less beef than other things like  chicken, turkey, and fish, that 1/4 cow might last us two years which is fine. It keeps very well in the deep freeze for that long. My son has done it and so have I.

You all know that we have been eating from our stockpile to save on groceries. We just buy what we really need each week. Now we will definitely be eating from our freezers so that we will have the room next Fall. My son's 1/4 cow took up 1/2 of his freezer space and since we have the same size freezer that is how much space I will need. 

So meat will definitely cost us more this year. However we think it is worth it for our health. While we are eating down the freezer, I will be saving the money to buy that 1/4 cow from our grocery budget. 

I have also found the cheapest source at a market in another town in case we run out of beef before we order the 1/4 cow. 

Now I need to research pork (which we eat very little of and may give it up or not), chicken, and fish. I know very little about those meats.

Do any of you buy grass fed beef? If so what kind of chickens and fish do you buy? I am very interested.  
 

25 comments:

  1. My DH has bought the grass fed ground beef before and loved it. I very seldom purchase ground beef anymore. I mainly use ground turkey and chicken and once in a blue moon, I'll buy a roast beef (we're not big meat eaters). I also only buy organic chicken at Sams. I hate how chicken is being pumped full of 'broth' and looks so slimy.

    For years (since I moved here), I told my DH that the chicken tastes funny here. It would have this gamey taste the day after and I couldn't bare to eat it, unless it's freshly cooked. Once I switched to organic chicken, I realised that it's because regular chicken is pumped full of 'junk' here. Organic chicken here is as good as regular chicken in SA.

    The last 2 times we've been to Red Robin, I've noticed that their beef burgers also now have the 'gamey' flavor the next day. So I'm staying away from their beef. I'd rather have a salad there. I know that we are all trying to save money, but as my dad used to say 'sometimes you have to spend more, to get a better quality product'. I definitely do not skimp on quality food, just to save some dollars. Our health is far more important than money.

    Looking forward to hear how you like the grass fed beef.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pubbler,

      I agree on the health issue. Thanks for telling me that the warehouse clubs usually carry organic chicken. I will check that out at B.J.'s before my membership expires. I don't have much chicken left in my freezers. Just about 3 meals worth. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  2. I too find the "beef" awful and tasteless around Western NY. I tried the grass fed beef at Wegmans and hated it also. Hated the consistency, very "mushy". So we usually eat ground turkey (94% fat). If I buy ground beef I buy a higher fat content, but it is not healthy. I only buy organic chicken. I just went to Federal for the first time and purchased an amazing tenderloin roast. Best meat I have had in a long time; but pricey. Enjoy your blog so much. Sherri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sherri,

      Thanks. I was starting to wonder if it was just me that thinks the ground beef is awful. I will have to check out Federal. We love tenderloin but have some to use up in the freezers. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  3. I think it's probably cost effective to do it the way you've described. We've never done it, however, and typically buy a mix of organic and non-organic, depending on pricing. Please let us know how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hawaii Planner,

      I will let you know. But I think the best way is to buy 1/4 cow. I will fill in with other organic meats as I need them.

      Delete
  4. we always buy pastured beef. My friend and I split a 1/2 every winter. Our price is higher than yours (we are in Massachusetts), but it is worth it. the grassfed beef is truly tastier. We also by lamb, chicken (expensive to raise organically and pastured and therefore expensive), and occasionally pork (a very good deal, but half a pig is a lot of meat and bacon and can be hard to find). We have belonged to a fish CSA, which was amazingly fresh, but expensive. We mostly buy wild caught frozen. Really the chicken and the fish are more per pound than the others, so we just eat those once every 10 days and have red meat once a week or so. (the pastured chickens we get are 5 lb and I can get two meals and a soup from one for my family of 2 adults and 3 teens.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I think the wild caught frozen is the way to go. I noticed when I was at B.J.'s last week that they have wild caught salmon frozen. Then I will replace any meat that I need before I buy the cow with packages from Dash's, Wegman's B.J.'s.

      Delete
  5. I had to go to an allergist per my gastroenterologist orders. While there, I muttered that I have said for 35 years that I think I am allergic to beef. Guess what? I am! At next meeting with allergist, he informed me I am allergic to all mammal products. If it suckles its young, I am allergic to its products. That leaves chicken and fish.

    Before this discovery every 99 of 100 meals were chicken. Now, I eat ground pork a little bit. It does not bother me as much as beef. Every time I try a bit of beef, I am deathly ill. In spaghetti, I put zucchini instead of any meat.

    By the way, my allergy can cause anaphylaxis and death. I cut way back on dairy products and feel much better. I know! I should not eat it at all.

    If you have gastric distress, itching, sinus problems, you could have an allergy.

    For a month I did not eat dairy, wheat, and meat. I added a whole wheat sandwich and practically ripped my skin off because of the severe itching on every inch of my body. Dairy made me stuffy. I did not eat any meat except chicken, canned tuna occasionally and canned salmon occasionally.

    Meat and wheat were causing eosinophils in my esophagus. They are precancerous, so beware! Now, they are gone.

    Mama said I would not allow meat to pass through my lips when I was an infant and small child. I never ate meat until I was six. So, my baby body knew meat was causing me problems!

    Surprisingly, I can eat peanuts and pecans, just not my beloved Brazil nuts and cashews.

    I continue to have exhaustive allergy tests and adjust my life.

    Some chicken is better than other chicken. The ones that don't have added "juices" are less salty and more tender. So far, I have not bought organic chicken.

    Sorry to be so long in the telling of this. But, I was setting myself up for esophageal cancer by eating mammal meat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Practical Parsimony,

      You don't have to apologize for it being long. I am very interested in what you have to say. I have had all of the tests but that was years ago. I know that I am allergic to pork so I rarely eat it. I will make pork and bacon for Hubby and I will just eat eggs or a sandwich. I have had every test known to my gastro Dr. They have all been negative. She suggested I think about cutting certain foods out which I have. She also suggested that I might be allergic to pesticides so hence I am thinking about the grass fed beef and other things. I keep a food diary because it is the only way I can tell when
      I should not eat something.

      I am sorry you have had so many problems. I understand.

      Delete
  6. Out here in Iowa I can get delicious beef, ground, steak, roasts, etc. I buy from a store that gets there beef from the supplier and the store cuts it up, grinds it, etc. right there in the store where they sell it from a full service meat counter. I love it. The only thing better would be buying it from the farmer himself.

    My parents used to buy 1/2 a beef when I was growing up. It filled our freezer and lasted us a year. Very economical way to buy meat and you know what you're getting and who raised the animal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rozy,

      You are so very lucky to be able to get that beef. Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  7. That would be a great deal for 1/4 beef!
    We used to belong to a meat csa. The first few years, it was awesome, the best beef and pork, grassfed, humanely treated, no antibiotics etc. Then they tried to cut costs, I guess. We were getting turkey legs and goose and turkey wings, oxtails and pork belly, etc. I appreciate that they were trying to use the whole animal, but my husband said we were getting the scraps, so we stopped the csa. Now I usually buy natural/organic ground beef or bison at kroger, but I don't think it is as good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy,

      So sorry that your meat CSA didn't work out. I have been looking for bison here. We love it and I can't find it. We used to eat it in AZ.

      Delete
  8. Hi! This is exactly what spurred our move to the country. I wanted to grow our own food to cut costs and to have control of what we were eating like my grandparents used to do. I did find in previous state access to local farmers who did not use antibiotics and pesticides via farmers market and would bulk buy 50lbs at a time for best pricing discount of whatever I needed for beef and chicken. We don't eat a lot of pork so I would just buy bacon from local farmer (without nitrates). My son kept needing antibiotics for illnesses his first two years and the doc was worried about developing resistance and was concerned about what is in our meat and chicken. The local area did a push on what's in big brand meats and how the animals are raised vs how they used to be raised even as recently as the 50s. I won't go into it but feel free to watch food inc, read books by Joel Salatin, or Michael Pollen. I am careful of buying just the organic label on meat at the store because there is not a lot of monitoring or restriction even with that label. I always avoid the marketing term natural because anyone can use it on anything. My pediatrician was concerned about the grocery chicken I was buying being injected with growth hormone so they would grow faster and the effects on my son. We buy local (antibiotic free) meats direct from a farmer. It works out because I dislike the styrofoam trays from store that are not green. The taste is definitely different and my husband can tell if I use something that is not grass fed- in a pinch I use veggies and beans to sub in recipes instead, my last resort is store bought organic meats. I also like the idea of supporting local -it puts more money back in the community and direct to the farmer instead of a corporation. I would check out farmers markets in your area when the weather breaks- Google Local Harvest website and you can see what is near you. I find it is cheaper to buy whole chickens and just break down myself and I get more meals out of it and it's less packaging. I buy only wild caught fish because of the farm raises sometimes being treated with additives that we are trying to resolve. I will say when we made the switch to organic/ local/ farm raised we all lost weight, have more energy, and I stopped all allergy medications which had gotten worse over past 10-15 years. Sorry so long just a topic I am passionate about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aj,

      Thanks for sharing. I am hoping that eventually this will work for me. Meanwhile I am checking to see what they have and prices everywhere.

      Delete
  9. Another good website to check what is closest to you is eatwild.com just input your zip code.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My sister-in-law "orders" her beef through her county's 4H director. After the kids raise the animals and show them, they are butchered. She knows she is getting grass fed, local, drug free beef. Also, the animals are raised with a lot of special attention, so she knows she is getting the best and not inferior meat. I have been considering doing this in my county (we both live in Tennessee). I thought I would mention this to you in case it's an option where you live. Carla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carla. Unfortunately, I don't have the land to do that. But thanks for sharing.

      Delete
    2. I forgot about the option Carla mentioned. 4H animals are raised then butchered and sold. The pricing I heard 4 years ago was very reasonable! You just need the freezer space for the 1/4, 1/2 or full size beef you purchase. In Ohio you could still communicate with the butcher on the cuts you wanted from whatever size you want.... but you mentioned your son buys in fall so he may already be getting it via this source since county fairs are in late summer early fall

      Delete
    3. I should mention for allergy stuff - maybe consider shifting to organic flour as you bake from scratch frequently....grains are often heavily sprayed with chemicals causing more allergies. king arthurs and bob'a mill brand both are on sale frequently. Here is my pizza crust recipe from my moms 70s/80s cookbook. Pizza dough recipe
      * 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
      * 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
      * 2 teaspoons sugar
      * 2 teaspoons salt
      * 4 Tablespoons oil (grape seed or olive oil)
      * 5 cups flour (can use all whole-wheat, half white/half whole-wheat, or all white)

      I mix the water and the yeast and let sit til it is activated (usually few minutes), then toss everything in kitchenaid mixer. When combined turn into floured surface. This is a double recipe- we put second one in freezer ( will either roll it out completely if I have time then freeze, or throw in as a ball.) If I do as a ball- I thaw 3 hrs prior to use- let rise- then roll on floured surface. I bake at 500 degrees F for 8-10 mins. We roll out to the thickness we desire based off number of toppings we are including. If I pull out a pre-rolled frozen one we just toss ingredients on and then pop in oven no need to let rise.

      Delete
    4. I am so sorry! I didn't do a good job of explaining. No, my SIL doesn't raise the animals at her place, the 4H kids raise their own animal at their own farm. At the end of the season, after the animals are all judged, they are slaughtered. My SIL puts in the order ahead of time of what she wants and how much, and all she does is pick it up at the butcher shop when she is told it is ready and pays for it there! She has no part in raising the animal she gets at all, nor does she know which kid raised it. The funds go to support the local 4H program. I hope this makes sense! :) -Carla

      Delete
    5. Hi Carla,

      I am sorry that I misunderstood. I wonder if that is how my son gets the cow. Interesting. I will find out.

      Delete
  11. Hi AJ,

    Thanks for sharing about the 4H animals.I will find out from my son.

    You may be on to something with the organic flour. I will switch when we run out of our stockpile.

    Thank you so much for your pizza dough recipe. It looks very easy so I will definitely be trying it.

    I hope your moving it going well.

    ReplyDelete