Episode 31: My experiences buying local grass fed pasture raised beef. Verdict: It’s awesome!

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Hello, my name is Nick LaDieu and I’m a beefaholic. I just can’t get enough of 3.80 cents a pound grass fed pasture raised Angus beef. I just love it and the fever is spreading. I’ve already spread the addiction to many of my friends here in Pittsburgh and I want to share it with you now.

Excuse #1:
I don’t have time to cook.

You’re not going to the grocery store to shop for meat anymore and I bet that consumes a lot more time than you realize. Guess what? You can still eat fast food. That’s right! I eat fast food 5 or 6 times a week. In fact just yesterday I had 2 burritos from McLaDieu’s freezer section. One grass fed bean and beef burrito and one pasture raised pork sausage and free range egg burrito. It even featured some jalapeno peppers grown right in my backyard! I got home from work late (9:30pm!!) and threw them right in a microwave just like the ones from the gas station.

McLaDieu’s also features beef and barley soup, grass fed Angus and venison stew. Ham, sausage and egg casserole and a bunch of other nifty meals ready to go. The chef (Nick LaDieu) told me it took him about 3 hours on a Saturday to make 40 bean and beef burritos. To make beef stew was just about 40 minutes of prep (chopping vegetables mainly) and throw it in a crock pot or cast iron dutch oven. McLaDieu’s sources his grains from his local food co-op who can order them in bulk for him. So convenient!

Excuse #2:
I don’t have a chest freezer. This one is easy. Go get one! What the hell… you’re not even trying to come up with a valid excuse here. You can even get small chest freezers that could easily fit in an apartment. Let’s be a bit more creative with the excuses people. You will not regret this decision.

Excuse #3
I can’t afford to buy groceries so I have to eat all fast food.

Ok, this is a tricky one and I’ll drop the jokey tone to address this one. I truly feel for people who don’t have means to get good healthy food for their families, however for the vast majority of people there are a few other factors going on. One factor is lack of knowledge, I’d like to believe this is the major factor and that if people knew how much money they could save by eating something like grass fed beef that they would switch over immediately. I think most people are stuck in the “buy as you go” model of consuming and look at a place like whole foods and say “I can’t afford that stuff”… hell most people can’t!!

The “elephant in the room” is most people are too lazy to cook and their mindset and priorities are too mainstream to even process the idea of buying 150 pounds of cow. Sorry, I have to call it like I see it! This doesn’t have to be you though, you can get yourself some grass fed beef.

OK, so you are cash strapped and want to get yourself some grass fed beef. Here are some ideas I have:

1) Look for work share programs that farmers offer
2) Talk to the farmer! Work something out, these people want to sell you their beef and they are wonderful people.
3) Go in with people. Rally the troups and get as much as you can. I tried this year to find people in Pittsburgh to get in on an entire cow but failed. I ended up getting a side again this year, however I’m going to try again next year so I can pay a cheaper price per pound. The more you buy the more you save.
4) Respect the saying “Pay the grocer or pay the doctor” Get your mindset right, learn how to cook, and get yourself some meat!

 

Look at these beef prices from the local giant eagle grocery store:

I pay $3.25 hanging (or about $3.80 a pound) for my beef. The only thing I could find in the grocery store that cheap was the 92% lean ground beef and that weird beef “stuff” that comes in the tube. You know, the kind with the ammonia washed pink slime mixed in (YUM!!)

 

Excuse #4
Bla Bla Bla…. I don’t want to hear it. Get yourself some meat.

Resources to get er’ done:

What you need

* A chest freezer. This is the one I have: http://tinyurl.com/7l73wsz
* 1 KW minimum generator
* Rotate 15 gallons of gas (You’re going to use it anyway so this doesn’t cost you anything other than buying the containers and stabilizer)

Open your own fast food restaurant

(Fix it, Freeze it, Feast)
My review of this book: 5 stars. I’m a bit of a cooking enthusiast so I always like to add my own twists. For example for my bean and beef burritos I make my own re-fried beans from scratch, but to make it easy I do it in a slow cooker (crock pot). No soaking required!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/refried-beans-without-the-refry/detail.aspx

Also toss in whatever peppers you happen to have also. You don’t need to stay in their sandbox but it is a great book to get good ideas and also get a handle on the volumes you need to deal with to make lots and lots of great bulk meals. Saves time and money.

Most importantly… Get the meat:

http://www.eatwild.com– I’m sure there are other worthy sites, but this is the one I used and it worked out great for me!

Meet my farmers (so far)

Don and Becky

Audrene

Where I might be getting my next pig after I determine if the bacon is up to snuff:
Millgate Farm

Author: Nick-LaDieu

Webmaster of SaveOurSkills.com. Budding skill enthusiast and modern survivalist. When nick isn't plotting his next project he is probably running with his dogs, riding his mountain bike, or fiddling with his home theater.

  • Carolina Hiker

    We ordered our first grass fed beef about a year ago and it’s been awesome! Ours works out to about $4.50 a pound with the butchering fee but it is well worth it, we won’t be going back to the mass produced crap… One of our favorite ways to use the stew beef is to slow cook it in the crock pot all day with taco seasoning and a little water. Shred the beef with forks when done and enjoy with your favorite toppings! Yum!

  • Anonymous

    nice and easy. Also I make my own taco seasoning for my burritos so I assume would work fine for this. Then I don’t have to have it so salty like the packets and it’s cheaper since I buy my spices in bulk

  • Gif

    I’ve been meaning to look into this further but I need a deep freezer and generator first… By the way, the meat you had in Italy on the melon is prosciutto (pronounced pro-shoe-toe) not pancetta. Prosciutto is cured ham, and is deli meat, like you said. Pancetta is raw, similar to bacon and needs cooked. It’s a circle like a salami and is milder than bacon.

  • Great post Nick-thanks for sharing! Really like the concept of “fix it and freeze it.” Batching tasks like these allows you to be able to just deal with it one time and then get on with your fast paced life. Eatwild.com is a great resource. Another one that I’ve been looking at recently with some good stuff is localharvest.org. A good directory of local farmers to get in touch with.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Anonymous

    I used localharvest to find my CSA.. it was a grave omission. Thanks for commenting

  • p.s. should’ve listened to this one on a full stomach! 🙂 Great tips for different cuts at the end.

    next time i want to see a photo or video of the dog with the mudball in it’s mouth…

  • Great post! I’m sure a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but you are right on the mark with this. I will say I can’t agree with people who use excuse #3 – unless you eat nothing but the dollar menu, cooking is much cheaper than fast food, especially if you are feeding a whole family.

  • Carolina Hiker

    That’s very cool. I’m going to have to look into that…

  • Joe

    I’d have to agree. We raise our own beef (as well as chicken & rabbits). There’s nothing better in the store.

    Great write up.

    Joe

  • Prepping 101

    We just bought ourselves a pastured pork and beef. My wife commented the ground beef was the best thing she has ever had. We have not even had the good stuff yet.

  • The misuse of ‘your’ for ‘you’re’ aside, this was a cool post.

  • saveourskills

    Yeah I’m not the best editor