Now that we are familiar with the basics, let’s dive deeper into cattle, dairy, and how to take half the cow home.

What is Cattle?
Typically, cattle is defined as domesticated bovine animals on a farm or ranch. Animals that belong to this definition are cows, bulls, oxen, or calves. Buffalo and bison can also be put into this category and are worth mentioning in this article because they too are kept of their milk and/or meat products before being fattened up and are turned into meat.

A person that keeps cattle, is called a rancher however, in some parts of the world they are also called cattle keepers because they focus exclusively on cattle to produce dairy products and meat.

Which is Which?
The most popular types of cattle for dairy are:

  • Holstein: known for the black-and-white spots,
  • Jersey: light to dark brown with dark eyes and is very docile,
  • Brown Swiss: silver to dark brown with very large eyes Great for making cheese
  • Guernsey: fawn to golden color with white legs
  • Ayrshire: rusty red and white color

There are many uses for dairy cattle such as making milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, casein, custard and cottage cheese. The diet of a dairy cow is grass -hay and silage- as well as oats and corn kernels. A cow has four stomachs to help better digest the food. The dairy cows makes swiss, colby, gouda, gruyere, comte, parmesan, and provolone. Buffalo is the only cattle that makes mozzarella and it is truly the most exquisite cheese there can be.

The Angus Black Angus Cattle is breed for its meat primarily because of its superior muscling and marbling qualities. However, there are more than 250 breeds of beef cattle in the world.

The most popular being:
  • Angus
  • Brahman
  • Beef Master
  • Piedmontese
  • Herefordshire

Beef cattle eat a diet of roughages, grains, oil-seed and graze on pasture lands from the time they are seven months old. It’s important to remember that both dairy and beef cattle when born get most of their nutrition from milk and can be feed through a bucket with a nipple one it. Calves are typically separated from their mothers within the first 24 hours after birth however, there are ranchers who believe this causes inept social behavior later in the calves life. This is not a topic I dive into.

What to Order

Now that we understand a little more about dairy and beef cattle, it’s time to take it up a notch and figure out how to order ½ a cow to pack a freezer full of food. That’s about 220-265 pounds of beef. A freezer of about 20 cubic feet would fit this meat comfortably. To feed my family of six, I estimate this would last us a year and six months, maybe eight months. My typically order looks like:

  • 10 packs of stew meat
  • 3 packs of marrow bones
  • 8 packs of beef fat
  • 32 pounds of ground beef, 1lb packs
  • 2 untrimmed half briskets
  • 6 packs of soup bones
  • 12 bone-in ribeye, 1″
  • 40 pounds of ground chuck, 1lb packs
  • 6 flat irons
  • 4 chuck eye steaks
  • 1 whole flank
  • 12 boneless filet, 1″
  • 9 NY strip, 1″
  • 12 boneless petite sirloin strips, 1″
  • 2 half eye round roasts
  • 3 top round roasts, 3-4lbs
  • 2 bottom round roasts, 3-4lbs
  • 3 sirloin tip roasts, 3-4lbs
  • 1 whole tri tip
  • 2 packs of kidney
  • 10 packs of liver
  • 1 tongue

Now, while some might ask what are we doing with kidney, liver, tongue, and tri tip allow me to tell you! The kidney allows for a great grill smothered with mushrooms, onions, and are delectable when thet are crispy and pan fried. As for the liver, I first soak it and then make a simple fried liver and onion dish. With the tongue, I put it in a stew, and it is finger licking good. AS for the tri tip, we just sear it on the grill. I prefer it over all the beef a cow can give us because it is so rich in flavor and tender. We are able to eat this comfortably, no freezer burn, and host dinner parties. I always make sure to pair with sides like green beans, black eyed peas, rough chopped potatoes, and a good soup.

No matter your choice of cuts and meats, always remember to travel to the rancher where you’ll be getting your meat from; if possible. This will give you a good relationship with the rancher, show your support for their trade, and learn more about their heritage. It’s your heritage too!