Mooooo (a reprise)

You may know that Tim and I bought a quarter cow from a ranch last year. I had bought a deep freezer with the intent of hoarding breastmilk for Wes for when I returned to work. Well since I decided to take some time off from teaching,  we thought there’s no better way to make use of our freezer than to fill it to the brim with BEEF.

For months we worked through our cow. A pot roast here, some burgers there, some more steaks here… I dreaded each meal with our cow. It tasted unlike anything I’ve ever had before. The flavor was so strong, gamey and lean I started a conspiracy theory that we had bought buffalo and this was all one big labeling mishap! I didn’t want to hurt Tim’s feelings so I didn’t’ make a big deal out of it (at least I thought I didn’t), but I really hated the taste of the cow. Steak nights were the worst because there was no place to hide and there was just so much to eat. I remember holding my breath to swallow each bite hoping I had made a dent in the steak.

Several months later, we get an email from the ranch asking how our experience was with our cow because the other person that shared the cow with us complained that their cow tasted really strong too! YASSSSS. I WAS RIGHT. IT WAS WEIRD!!!  I’ve never felt such validation in my life! The ranch said please don’t eat anymore of the weird cow, bring it back! We’ll give you another quarter! So here we are again. With our freezer filled to the brim with another quarter cow!

Next time I will share my favorite ground beef recipe! Stay tuned.

(Sorry to all of our friends who may have been fed said weird cow. Thanks for grinning and politely ingesting the weird cow. We will make it up to you with normal cow.)


Quarter Cow FAQ

Tim was kind enough to let me interview him for this post. His responses are in quotes.

What farm did you use?

Magruder Ranch. They cater to fantastic restaurants like Chez Panisse.”

What was the process like?

“I emailed Magruder Ranch to reserve a quarter cow. I was put on the wait-list and when the cow was ready I got an email. I ordered in May and it was ready for pickup at the end of July. The butcher received the cow, dry aged it for two weeks, cut it up according to the standard cut the ranch does, wrap it in freezer paper, butcher paper and then flash freeze.”

Which part of the cow did you get? 

In short, we get all of it! Well a quarter of all it. A little bit of chuck, a little roast, some ribs, some steaks and LOTS of ground beef. 

How much is it to buy a cow?

$4.25/pound. (This is the weight of the whole animal – not the individually packaged meats) Example: Cow steps on the scale and comes in at 1000 pounds. You would pay $4,250 for the whole cow. However after the butchering and aging process, you may end up with 750 pounds of meat. The adjusted price for how much meat we got came out to about $5.60/pound.

Did you get to pick the cow? Did you see a picture?

(laughs) No.

What did you get in your haul?

Here’s a picture of our haul! (Take note of their spelling of our last name) 

2014-08-21 22.27.03

Are you seriously going to eat all of that?

“Yes. All of it.”

When are you having the Feng’s over for dinner?

“Whenever they want to come! How does next weekend work for you guys?”

What’s the thinking behind getting so much meat? isn’t fresh better than frozen/defrosted?

“It was cheaper for organic grass-fed beef.” (Clicking on phone to pull up an article.) “Grocery store meats are aged 5-7 days. Locally sourced meats are aged 14-21 days. The ground beef comes from one cow which means it has a lower risk of contamination. You also get to support local businesses like the rancher and the butcher. It also means it’s less trips to the grocery store.”

Up next – the first meal I made! 

Holy cow.

For those of you who know my husband, you know that he is extremeWhen he pursues something, there is no stopping him. A few notable examples:

  1. When Tim was learning how to cook, his first cookbook was The Ad Hoc Cookbook. There was a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich in there which in any other cookbook would be an innocuous recipe. Well… Chef Tim Sohn Keller made a brioche loaf to make his grilled cheese. It was a 2 day ordeal.
  2. Crossfit. Tim ruptured his Achilles tendon doing box jumps. He underwent surgery and stayed away for a couple weeks… but decided to go back to crossfit after a month (while he was still on crutches) because I quote, “My upper body feels fine!!!!!”
  3. Photography. Tim got a DSLR and started playing around with taking pictures. Six months later, in the last year of his PhD, while writing his thesis, he decides to intern for a wedding photography studio and start his own business.

Well Timtensity has struck again. He (or we I guess) bought a quarter of a cow from a farm.

cow(This is not the actual cow. I just found an image to drive the point home)

This is what a quarter of a cow looks like after it is butchered, aged and frozen:

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.06.39 PMAt the top right corner of this picture you can see our deep freezer. This deep freezer was supposed to be for Wes. Well Wes’ milk. I was planning on hoarding my milk to prepare for my return to work. Well since that’s not happening, Tim suggested we repurpose our deep freezer for other noble causes.

Needless to say, this is a lot of meat and we’re pretty much good for the next oh… 2+ years. I decided I start a cooking series on based on cooking through 145 pounds of beef. I’m still thinking of a fun name for this series. Hopefully I can think of something better than Hella Beef.

There have been lots of questions surrounding this endeavor that have been brought up.

  • What farm did you use?
  • Which part of the cow did you get?
  • How much is it to buy a cow?
  • Did you get to pick the cow? Did you see a picture?
  • What did you get in your haul?
  • Are you seriously going to eat all of that?

If there are any other questions you’d like us to answer, leave a comment on fb or below! We’ll get back to you on our next post.

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast.