we answer the tough questions

How much meat is in a quarter pig or whole pig?

A full-size butcher hog weighs between 250-300 LBS

The hanging weight will be around 175-225 lbs for a pig. So a half is somewhere about 100 lbs hanging weight. That doesn’t mean you will get 100 pounds of meat. While most of the meat is usable, that 100 pounds include all bones and fat as well. Therefore, you will yield less overall weight if you decide to get everything boneless. Ordering many brats or sausage will lose most of the bones but keep most of the fat.

What do I get from a half hog?

  • BACON – You will get thick or thin sliced BACON in 1 lb packages.
  • Pork Chops – You will get to choose how thick to cut your chops ¾-1 ½ inches and quantity per package. You can select a boneless loin roast or smoked chops instead.
  • Sausage or Brats – You can choose to have your trim made into sausage or brats. Sausage can be seasoned or plain, placed in 1 lb packs, links, or patties. Brats can be in original, jalapeno and cheddar, or ask about new flavors we’re testing out!
  • Ham – Choose a whole half or any size ham roasts. You can also have them cut into ham steaks for grilling or shaved deli ham. Most often, people order them smoked or cured, but you can get natural as well. If you aren’t a fan of the ham, you can make it into more sausage or brats!
  • Shoulders – Picnic roasts and Boston butts are the two major muscles in the front, great for smoking! Though some may prefer pork steaks or trim it for more sausage.
  • Ribs – You can get half or whole racks and spare ribs; these are the standard options. If you want baby back ribs, you have to order your pork chops boneless!
  • Other items are lard, which you can get rendered for cooking or cut in chunks. Pork hocks are the joints that can go into trim, soup bones, and you can even get them smoked for ham and pea soup.

These are the major items, but feel free to ask if you are seeking a specific cut. Also, using nitrate-free cures can be done at your request.

How much does a whole beef weigh?

A typical market beef will weigh between 1200-1400 LBS.

The hanging weight will usually be between 750 and 850 lbs. So a half beef is around 400 lbs give or take, and a quarter around 200 lbs. Your ending weight will shrink depending on what you keep and how you have the animal cut up.

What do I get with a quarter beef?

We make sure you get a mixture of the front and back, so you don’t end up with just one end of the cow. You can also choose to have more steak or roasts, cubes, or burgers. You can get any part of the cow put into these items.

If you are looking for the most tender steaks, they come from the middle of the cow. You can get T-bones and porterhouses, or you can get filet mignon and New York strips. (They’re the same cut of meat, only one is bone-in, and the other is boneless.

As far as steak thickness, we recommend between an inch and 1.5 inches, especially if you plan to grill them. They can get dry if they are too thin.

The next cut of meat is our personal favorite, the Ribeye or prime rib roast bone-in or out. If you decide to keep the bone in to add flavor, bear in mind the meat will take longer to cook along the bone.

As for Sirloins, you can make those two-person big steaks, roasts, or cubes for kabobs or stews. The ribs are also in the middle section.

The rear is known as the rump or round; this is usually best used for hamburgers or roasts depending on how you like it. Hamburger can be ground or patties.

The front is called the chuck, and it’s also typically made into roasts or hamburgers. Chuck has smaller muscle groups and typically more tendons and cartilage.

Specialty items for a quarter beef include bone marrow, soup bones, liver, heart, tongue, oxtail. There is also the Brisket (only half), tri-tip, flank, and skirt steaks, beef shank, and the fat or talo.

To minimize waste, you may want to have some dog bones saved to treat your pup. Again lots of options, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to give us a call, or the butcher can help as well.

Do you raise your animals, and what breeds do you raise?

We raise various breeds of beef, including Angus, Simmental, Shorthorn, Hereford, and a few crossbreeds, to take advantage of their individual qualities. We breed for meat quality, proper structure, and heartiness due to the cold Minnesota winters. You know you found good beef by the percentage of meat they have against their live weight. Then we look for the ribeye area or how big the steaks are—lastly, marbling. Marbling is the fat mixed into the muscle, which increases flavor and tenderness. Finally, we want some back fat or outer fat, which is the fat on the outside of the muscle, but not too much, or there is a larger amount of wasted carcass.

Hogs are similar in terms of the qualities we look for; it’s just a smaller animal. We raise a blend of Duroc, Berkshire, and some crossbreeds. They are heritage breeds of pork known for taste and meat quality.

How do you care for your animals?

We feed all our animals a diet mainly of corn, soybean meal, a few other grains, and some minerals. We grow the majority of our own feed for the animals. It is responsibly sourced and properly stored, and grown. We give our cattle plenty of room in our pasture to roam for necessary exercise and eat grass, hay, and silage. These practices help with meat quality and animal health. Just like humans, if we are active, we have lower body fat and more muscle. We do not confine or overcrowd animals in tiny sheds; this is not good for their health and the air quality. Fresh air, good food, and clean water are what livestock needs, just like us. Our family often shows our livestock in 4-H and as such, they are well taken care of with grooming and regular exercise. They are very happy animals.

Do you use unnecessary antibiotics and medications?

No, we do not; we do not like giving any medications. Medications are costly, and if abused, they can lead to resistant strains of disease and infections. We choose not to give animals shots unless they need it. We provide the necessary care if an animal becomes sick, much like when humans get sick most times, the body can fight off whatever is attacking it. Still, you would not let your family member suffer or die on purpose. If an animal is sick, we care for it properly under a licensed veterinarian’s direction. We strictly obey all withdrawal times and withhold periods. If animals have a severe issue with their health, they do not go through our butcher chain. These animals are our family, and they get better care than some of us in many cases. We take pride in the quality and care of our animals.

What is the difference between your meat and what I would get in a grocery store?

Well, first off, I can tell you where every animal came from, who its parents are, and just about any question you could ask about it. They are all locally raised in Minnesota near Cannon Falls. I like to know where my food comes from and how it was cared for and fed. You can read about how ours are cared for above. Secondly, we prepare our meat with a dry-aging process similar to what you would get in a high-end steakhouse. Beef found in the grocery stores is typically wet-aged, which produces a less desirable flavor. Dry aging condenses the flavor of the meat and removes some moisture. We also do not add or inject any water or other solutions into our beef. Oftentimes grocery stores inject water or saltwater solution to preserve the color and increase the weight. Your bargain-priced steak or chops may be less actual meat because of this process. The age of our beef is never a secret; you get the freshest meat you can and never have to wonder how long it traveled around on a semi or setting on the store shelves. We do not add anything to our meat unless you ask for it, like seasoning or jalapenos in your brats.

Tell us about yourself and your farm.

We live near Cannon Falls, MN, and crop farm a few hundred acres. We have five children who are active in 4-H and FFA that help around the farm. My wife Kayla and I both grew up on farms in southeastern Minnesota. Livestock and farming are in our blood, and after leaving to be in the Navy for six years, we moved back and started our farm. We wanted to live in the country and raise our children with the same great experiences we were blessed with growing up. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of work, and we both have day jobs as well, but well worth it in our eyes. We love going to the state fair, running around to all the sports with the kids, and skiing if we can. We started out selling to family and friends but wanted to offer the same to a broader audience. We have over a 95% return customer rate. We will not hesitate to help with any questions or if you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, buy back the remaining portion. I personally will never sell you meat that I would not serve my family.