Being cheap and running low on the supply of my boyfriend’s game meat, I’m intrigued by the concept of cow-pooling, or sharing an entire animal carcass with a few others.
I’ve heard of more people doing it, and while it sounds nutty at first, buying a whole cow offers more affordable ($3 to $5 per pound) access to normally (outrageously) expensive pasture-raised or grass-fed beef.
Your refrigerator’s freezer compartment probably won’t have a cow…not a whole or half one, at least.
But chest freezers and upright freezers are surprisingly affordable, starting below $190 for a 5 cubic foot model. In general, 50 pounds of meat fits in 2.25 cubic feet of freezer space. A half cow takes up about 10 cubic feet of freezer space. And stored properly, the meat stays tasty for 12 months.
Something to keep in mind: when storing meats and other foods for periods longer than say, six months, it’s best to purchase a manual defrost freezer. While manually defrosting a freezer is a pain in the butt, frost-free freezers remove more moisture from the air in the freezer, which can degrade the quality of the meat over time (i.e. freezer burn).
One of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light offers more tips on buying and storing beef in bulk.
Has anyone ever bought a whole or half animal carcass? Where did you keep it? Would you do it again?