Buying Beef in Bulk: What are the Differences Between Beef Shares?
Buying beef in bulk from a local ranch is one of the most economical ways to fill your freezer with the healthiest, tastiest, and overall highest-quality cuts of ranch-raised beef. You can decide whether you invest in a quarter, half, or whole beef share, but that will depend on your budget and storage capacity. It’s important that you know the benefits that each option provides.
Undoubtedly, our Whole and Half Beef Shares provide the best overall value and come with many types of beef cuts at a competitive price. Quarter Beef Shares are also a great option for the money and, are a less daunting commitment. Still, if you’re looking to test the waters with a smaller overall volume and upfront investment, we’ve got other options too, like our seasonal grass-finished shares or meat bundles to choose from.
Here’s all of the information you need to better understand beef shares and their unique economic and sustainable benefits.
What’s Included in the Different Types of Beef Shares?
Buying bulk beef from Augustus Ranch works roughly the same whether you’re buying a whole or half share. This means that, after placing your deposit, our team will work with you to ensure you get the quantity and types of beef cuts you want within the scope of all your different options. These include things like:
- Package size of ground beef
- Options for ground (such as chili meat)
- The desired thickness on steaks and roasts
- Bone-in or boneless options
- Deciding if you want the organs, bones, and fat
The most meaningful difference between whole and half beef shares at Augustus Ranch is the total price and volume that you will receive. A whole beef share will be the best value per pound, giving you 400+ pounds of products at the lowest price, while the half share will be roughly half that amount but at a slightly higher per pound cost.
If you aren’t ready to invest in a whole or half beef share, you can opt for a quarter beef share, which offers less options up front but still provides a hefty overall discount. We've even got a delayed shipment option which will break your quarter beef share shipments up into 2 or 3 portions so that you can still invest in a bulk share without needing an extra freezer.
How Much Meat Will I Get?
With a whole or half beef share, it all begins with a top condition animal that can range from 1,200 - 1,300 pounds live weight, which we call “on the hoof.” This animal is humanely harvested at a local USDA facility and turns into roughly 62% of its live weight as a beef carcass, around 750 pounds.
The beef carcass is split down the middle to ensure rapid cooling and rolls into a chilling cooler for a minimum of 24 hours until it reaches safe temperatures. This handling is crucial and creates safe, sanitary conditions for the remaining process. The beef is then placed into a secondary cooler where it will hang for a set period. This is considered part of the dry-aging process. Natural enzymes in the meat begin to break down the muscle fibers (tenderizing) as moisture evaporates at a slow, consistent pace (flavor). Several variables affect how long to age a beef carcass, but we hang for around ten days, which creates a great eating experience.
Once the beef is ready to cut and portion, a team of expert butchers will handle the meat with specific instructions on how to prepare all the different types of beef cuts. This process will yield roughly 60-65% of packaged products from the weight of the beef carcass. A 750-pound hanging beef can turn into 450+ pounds of cut, packaged, and labeled options (whole beef share). For a half beef share, you can cut that weight by half, and for a quarter, roughly 1/4th.
For more information on this process, you can check out our whole and half beef share information page, which covers similar material.
What Types of Beef Cuts Will I Get?
For a whole or half beef share, your options will be the same, with the most significant difference being the amount of meat you will get. There are 100+ different cuts of beef available when dealing with an entire animal, but some percentage of these are just different variations of the same muscle (for example, a bone-in versus a boneless ribeye steak).
You can think of these cuts in three different categories as they relate to cooking: roasting, braising, and searing. These cooking methods depend on the type of cut and where it comes from on the animal. A beef shank will be tough and needs slow, moist braising to break down into flavorful, tender meat. A trimmed tenderloin steak has virtually no connective tissue and can be simply seared until medium-rare, barely even needing a knife to cut.
Here are some examples of the types of beef cuts you will get from a whole beef share:
- Ground beef: 150-200 pounds
- Ground chili: 25 pounds
- Brisket: 16 pounds
- Beef short ribs: 30-35 pounds
- Osso Bucco: 10-15 pounds
- Ranch steak: 10-12 pounds
- Boneless New York strip: 13-14 pounds
- Top round steak: 14-15 pounds
- Marrow bones: 5-6 pounds
- Flat iron steak: 4-5 pounds
One of the benefits of buying beef in bulk at Augustus Ranch is that we love educating our customers about the different cuts and cooking techniques you can apply. If you want to cook the perfect steak, we can help you get the right cut for the job. You can essentially consider your beef share coming with lifetime customer support!
How Much Freezer Space Do I Need?
Freezer space is the biggest limiting factor when it comes to buying a bulk beef share. Not everyone has a stand-alone deep freezer in their garage to store 450 pounds of packaged products! However, many of our customers team up with friends and family to split a beef share to get the best cost savings overall. When dealing with beef shares, you can use the following guidelines:
- Whole beef share (around 450 pounds): 18-20 cubic feet
- Half beef share (around 225 pounds): 9-10 cubic feet
- Quarter beef share (around 110 pounds): 4-5 cubic feet
You can likely make a quarter share fit in a standard refrigerator/freezer combo as long as there is nothing else in the freezer and you don’t have a smaller than average unit. Once you get into half and whole beef shares, it’s a different game altogether. For a minimal investment, you can purchase a small chest freezer for $300, which will be capable of storing a half beef share.
We would always recommend erring on the larger side because many things inevitably find their way into the freezer! Plus, with all the beef you will be cooking and enjoying, it probably makes sense to make extra and store it in the freezer for easy dinners during the week.
Free Home Delivery and Overall Benefits
Buying whole shares of local, ranch-raised beef is the best way to get the most bang for your buck. You pay a higher price upfront but will ultimately save a great deal of money in the long run, as the price-per-pound is lower for whole beef shares than it is for half shares. Additionally, whole beef shares will, as you can imagine, last a long time, so it’s an investment that will pay for itself over time—in more ways than one.
If you live near our home state of Texas, we offer free one-time delivery of beef shares to San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. If you’re a bit farther away, our team is happy to work with you on arrangements that will get your delicious products home safe and sound. There’s always shipping, too, which we do by sending the frozen meat in insulated boxes via UPS.
Buying whole beef shares yields the most significant financial value, the best flavors, the most diverse types of beef cuts, and the highest convenience. If you have any questions about the beef shares offered at Augustus Ranch, get in touch with us today! We would love to talk with you about buying local beef in bulk.