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Click on the link above for information on purchasing BEEF & PORK from your local farm

Below are some links that we thought you might find helpful
 All About Pork - Safety, Inspection, Grading, Storage, Handling, Preparation & Cooking
 All About Beef - From Farm to Table, including Proper Aging, Cuts, Grading and Cooking Times
 Everything you ever wanted to know about beef  - National Cattleman Assoc. - Raising to Preparing
 Aging Beef - Dr. Richard J./ Epley University of Minnesota  - Proper way to age beef from the University of Minnesota Agriculture Department
 Buying Beef for Home Freezers by Oklahoma Extension Service  - The Oklahoma Extensive Service site in (PDF's)
 Buying Beef in Large Quantities by Oklahoma Extension Service - A great breakdown by the Oklahoma Extension Service in (PDF's)
 Beef Jerky Reviews - An extensive review on different brands of beef jerky
 Oregon Department Of Agriculture - Oregon State Agriculture
 USDA Food Safety & Inspection - United States Department of Agriculture
 Food.com - Food Receipes - Great Recipe Site - MY FAVORITE
 BEEF Magazine  - Everything you wanted to know about "What's happening today"
 Current Livestock Market Report - USDA Beef Market
 National Pork Producer Council - Everything Pork

How Much Eating Meat Will I Get?

Frankly, there's no exact answer to this question.  Here are some of the reasons:

  • Each animal is built differently.  One may have more muscle, fat or bone than the next.

  • Meat can be close-trimmed or left with some fat on.  Cutting preferences can determine quantity.

  • Meat can be boneless or bone-in.  This will make a difference in the weight and amount of meat you put in your freezer.

Weight loss during slaughter and processing of meat from live animals to table-ready cuts should be expected.

Slaughtering removes the head, blood, hide and inedible parts from the animal.  In beef, veal, and lamb, it will account for an average loss of slightly less than half the original live weight of the animal.  The slaughter loss in hogs averages about one-quarter of live weight.
Example:  If your steer weighs 1,100 lbs. live, it will most likely weigh 638 - 715 lbs. when slaughtered or "dressed".  This is 58% - 65% of the live weight.
After slaughter, the carcass will weigh considerably less than before.  The percentage remaining can be estimated:
Beef  58% - 65%
Veal  58% - 64%
Pork  73% - 75%
Lamb 48% - 52%
Processing is the cutting of the dressed" or carcass meat into ready-to-cook portions.  Processing accounts for another loss in weight as excess fat and bones are trimmed away.  Not only does trimming make meat more appetizing, it also reduces required freezer space and often eliminates further preparation in the kitchen.  The more fat and bones removed for convenience, the greater the decrease in pounds.  The fatter the carcass, the lower the final weight of the table-ready cuts will be. 
Example:  If your pork carcass weighs 185 lbs., expect approximately 111 - 139 lbs. of closely trimmed, mostly boneless eating meat after processing.  This is 60% - 75% of the dressed weight.
After processing, your table-ready meat will weigh less than the carcass did before processing. The percentages of closely-trimmed, mostly boneless cuts remaining from dressed weight can be estimated:
Beef 50% - 65%
Veal 65% - 75%
Pork 60% - 75%
Lamb 45% - 60%

Bulk Meat Carcass Percentages and Cuts
(Percentages shown are based on dressed (slaughtered) weight.)

To estimate how many pounds of each section you'll get, multiply the stated percentage times the total dressed weight.  Example:  Beef round at 23% x 650 lbs. dressed weight = approximately 149 lbs. of beef round before it is boned and trimmed to your preference.

Beef Carcass
Pork Carcass
Veal Carcass
Lamb Carcass
Remember:  A carcass isn't all eating meat.

The “No Nitrites Added” Hoax

no-nitrite bacon

Trader Joe's "uncured" bacon/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

During a recent phone call with the excellent Elise of simplyrecipes, Elise wished aloud that I would address the nitrite issue directly.  “Trader Joe’s carries it!  Go look.  Is there one near you?”

Indeed there is, and indeed they sell at least two products pitching themselves as a “healthier” bacon because they don’t add sodium nitrite. This is as odious as those sugar laden granola bars trumpeting “No Fat!” on their label—food marketers preying on a confused consumer who has been taught to fear food because of harmful additives (such as the recent, apparently genuine, Red Dye 40 warnings).

Full disclosure if you don’t already know: I am a vocal bacon advocate, and one of my books, Charcuterie, relies on sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate for many of its recipes to cure foods such as bacon, ham and salami, so take all this with, um … no, I’m too pissed off to pun.

Please, if someone can tell me what is wrong with nitrates (in green vegetables) and nitrites (in curing salts and in our bodies, a powerful antimicrobial agent in our saliva, for instance), I invite them to do so here.  In the 70’s there were studies finding that at high temps, they could form nitrosamines, cancer causing compounds.  I don’t disagree, but burnt things containing nitrite are bitter and unpleasant so we’re not likely to crave them in harmful quatities.

Aspirin is not bad for you, right? Helps with a morning head and achy joints. It’s even taken for its heart benefits. But eat enough of it and it’s toxic.

The fact is, most nitrate we consume comes from vegetables. Nitrate we consume coverts to nitrite in our body, which is a anti-microbial agent in our guts. Sodium nitrite in bacon cures the bacon (more info in my safety concerns for charcutepaloozians) and then converts to nitric oxide, so, while I’m not chemist, I have heard others suggest that you’re not actually consuming any nitrite by the time the bacon gets to you.  Again, almost all the nitrate and nitrite in your body comes from veggies.  It’s an anti-oxidant.  Studies are coming out now saying it’s good for the heart.

A study in the Journal of Food Protection put it this way: “Since 93% of ingested nitrite comes from normal metabolic sources, if nitrite caused cancers or was a reproductive toxicant, it would imply that humans have a major design flaw.”

Bacon is one of the greatest foods on the planet, but the food marketers are going to figure out a way to make you buy their bacon.  So what they do is use celery powder and celery juice (note the asterisk on the label above) as their nitrate source (celery is loaded with nitrate) and are therefore are allowed to say no nitrites added.  Why go to the trouble? Because we don’t know any better.  Can we really be this stupid?  I have only one word to say on this beyond an emphatic yes.

Snackwells.  (Healthy snack?  Must be!  Says so right on the package! Da der, da der, da der, down the aisle we go.)

More than a few scientists and physicians read this blog. I’m neither, so I invite anyone qualified to give me evidence that the sodium nitrite added to food in appropriate quantities (which we’ve been doing for millennia) is truly harmful.  Please, I want to know.  Until then, I’ll hang with the AMA on their nitrites stance: “given the current FDA and USDA regulations on the use of nitrites, the risk of developing cancer as a result of consumption of nitrites-containing food is negligible.”

Don’t be stupid. Don’t let food marketers trick you.  Eat natural, minimally processed foods.  Eat a balanced diet.  Cook it for yourself and the people you care about. Enjoy a little fat. Salt your own fresh food yourself.

But whatever you do, stay away from too much celery.  That stuff’ll kill ya.

Callout Comment: Elise Bauer responds: “The thing that irks me is the “no added nitrites or nitrates” as if the fact that they’re adding celery powder means nothing.  Or “uncured” even though they are obviously “curing” with celery powder.  It is false, misleading, and playing off of people’s food fears to market their cured product that is loaded with nitrates.  When I saw a bright pink slab of corned beef for sale at TJ’s, marketed as “uncured” I knew there was a problem.”

Hear, hear.

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Riteway Meat Company
PO Box 396
892 N. Hwy 99W
Dundee, OR 97115
M-F 9 to 6  SAT 9 to 4

email: sharon@ritewaymeat.com

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