Got questions for the experts about our local meats and the processing that brings them to you safely and in all their delicious glory? Our FAQ is constantly growing and we welcome new questions.
What is a side of meat? What is the “hanging weight”?
- A side of pork or beef is literally one side, or half, of a hog or a beef cow.
- Each side of beef has a rump, a round, a loin (including short loin and sirloin), the ribs, the flank, the fore and hind shanks, a shoulder (chuck), and brisket.
- Each side of pork has a shoulder, butt, loin, belly (bacon), leg (ham) and hocks.
- The “hanging weight” is the weight of the carcass once the hide, head, feet and internal organs are removed. The hanging weight of each animal will vary, so until the meat is actually hanging, we cannot tell you what the exact weight will be.
What is the average hanging weight of a side of local beef? What is the average hanging weight of a side of local pork?
- On average, a side of local beef usually weighs between 250 – 300 lbs when hanging and a side of pork 100 – 125 lbs. The total weight of the meat you receive will be less than the hanging weight of your side.
What is the difference between the hanging weight and the weight of the meat I will receive for my freezer?
- The weight of the meat you will receive will be less than the hanging weight of the carcass. The percentage of difference depends on a few factors. As the meat is hung to dry-age, moisture is lost and that accounts for some of the weight. Our meat is hung for a minimum of seven days. It can be aged longer on request.
- The greatest factor determining final weight is how the meat is cut. Because our customers are able to have their orders custom cut to their specifications, it can vary. If you choose cuts with the bone in, and take stew meat, blade roasts, soup bones, and internal organs (liver, kidney, etc.), you will keep more of your side than someone who requests boneless cuts. Usually you can expect a difference of about 30% between the hanging weight and the final weight of your order, depending on how you choose to have your meat cut.
We do not have a big family. Will a side of beef be too much meat for us?
- Many of our customers buy our beef by the side and share the meat and the cost with friends, neighbours, colleagues, or other family. On occasion we are able to match customers who want meat but do not want to take a whole side, with others in the same boat. Please ask about the availability of quarters (half a side).
How will my meat be cut?
- You choose how you want your meat cut. You will fill out a cutting order to give your cutting instructions. You can determine the sizes you prefer for roasts, if you want bone-in or boneless, how thick you like your steaks or chops, and how many pounds per package for ground beef and stewing meat. All our meat is wrapped and labeled with the cut of meat on each package. Visit our Meat Processing page to learn more about cutting orders.
How do I calculate the cost of a side?
Cost can be calculated by multiplying the hanging weight by the associated cost per pound. An animal’s weight can only be estimated until it can be hung and weighed, and because most farmers have their own targets for weight and marbling, a side can mean something different between different sellers in our area. Be sure, if budgeting is a concern for you, to ask the sellers – whether that’s us or different farmers – what their target hanging weight is for their animals, so you settle on one the right size for you.
How much freezer space will I need?
- Generally speaking you can fit about 30 lbs of meat per cubic foot of freezer space. For a whole beef, 250 – 400lbs of meat, you’d need 8 to 14 cu. ft. A side of beef, (1/2 animal) 110 – 180 lbs of meat would require 4 – 7 cu. ft, and a quarter of a beef would take two to four cu. ft.