Just a couple more available between now and August 12.
BEEF FRONT QUARTER
Beef front quarters are selling out fast, as they usually do in the summer, and for good reason. Have you ever wondered whether a front quarter or hind quarter of beef is a better fit for your family? Or why the front quarter of beef has a substantially different price from the rear quarter of beef? Today’s newsletter details the front, or rib, “primal” section of a cow.
The front quarter is not the best choice for everybody. The hindquarter is where the Porterhouse and T-bone; or alternately the New York and tenderloin; the sirloin; London Broil; and round steaks come from – we’ll hit that one a different time, but suffice to say if you love steaks, you want the hindquarter shares, and that’s why a hindquarter is more expensive than a front quarter. If you want an assortment of as many different types of cuts as possible, you’re better off getting a half, a split quarter, or our popular “1/8th regular share”. I’m not pushing front quarters; rather, today I’m just letting you know what’s in one!
What cuts come from the front quarter of a cow?
There are four main “primal sections” in the front quarter of a cow: the rib primal, the plate primal, the brisket, and the chuck. We’ll go over each one separately.
The Rib Primal Section
Let’s start with the ribs. Did you know? Cattle have 13 pairs of ribs. Humans have 12 pairs of ribs. Sheep have 12 to 14 pairs of ribs. Pigs have 14 to 16 pairs of ribs. Our beef is always separated between the lowest two ribs when cutting the front quarter from the back quarter (in other words, the rear quarter contains one rib bone, and the front quarter all the rest).
The rib section can be cut a number of different ways to yield various cuts. One of the most coveted cuts of beef comes from the front: the cherished ribeye, shown above. You have this muscle too: it’s the long vertical muscle that runs parallel to your spine on either side. This is a very tender cut that is usually well-marbled. When it’s boneless, it’s a ribeye or Delmonico steak.
I love this explanation of the rib section.
Short ribs, spare ribs, and flanken ribs can be cut from the rib section while also allowing rib roasts and/or rib steaks. Ribeye steaks can instead or also be cut as a bone-in rib steak, with the rib cap muscle and the bone left in. Many people feel that this small rib cap muscle, although just a tiny bit on each steak, is the single most delicious bite of beef on the entire cow. And of course cooking steaks bone-in gives them more flavor. The rib section can be cut as a roast instead: either a standing rib roast, a cross-cut rib roast, or a prime rib roast. Each front quarter has about 15-20 pounds of premium rib meat in it which can be cut as rib steaks or rib roasts or a combination of the two. The ribs themselves can be frenched, made into a standing rib roast, or flanken ribs, short ribs, spare ribs, prime rib roast, bone-in rib steak with cap, or boneless ribeye (Delmonico) steaks. Steaks can be boneless or bone-in and cut to any thickness you prefer, from 0,5-inch-thick “minute steaks” to 2-inch thick steaks, or anything in between. You can also specify how many steaks you want in each package: one, two, or any other number, whatever works best for your household. Getting a custom front quarter allows you to choose exactly how you want it processed.
My wife and I bought a beef quarter last spring. The steaks were SOOOO tender and juicy! The ground beef cooked up perfectly on the grill. We will definitely be ordering again! Jeff K, October 2016
Pot roasts are one of the most popular ways to cut the chuck section. Pot roasts are ideal everyday dinner cuts that braise, roast, or slow-cook particularly well.
The Chuck Primal Section
This is the shoulder, and typically yields about 40 pounds of meat. These are often cut as pot roasts, or may be called chuck roast, underblade steaks, mock tender roast, mock tender steaks, top blade steaks, or shoulder center cut roasts or steaks. You can have it made to roasts, steaks, stew meat, or ground meat.
The brisket is the ideal first piece of meat for your first project in a new smoker! It also makes a terrific roast, and leftovers make outstanding sandwiches.
The Brisket Primal Section
The brisket is the loose muscle flap under the neck, sort of the décolletage of the cow, and consists of the pectoral muscles. These muscles work hard, and are fairly tough, so slow-cooking and slow-smoking recipes are best. Brisket is often cured and smoked, and can be made into corned beef. You can have it made to roasts, stew meat, or ground meat. If a smoker for Father’s Day is in your future, this is the ideal cut of meat to start with.
A Note About Ground Beef
Ground beef will always be part of every share — well-trimmed steaks and roasts always yield scraps that are best used as ground beef. Ground beef generally comprises at least 35% of any share, and 40% to 50% is more typical for most people’s custom cutting instructions. I’d also like to mention that while our standard-cuts 1/8th shares target 15% fat/85% lean for the ground beef, when you order a custom quarter or half, you get to specify the fat target for the ground beef as well, up to 30% fat/70% lean (which is what I choose when we have beef for our own freezer processed). You might prefer the higher fat percentage in your ground beef because it’s more juicy and delicious, or because it’s a great way to stretch your food dollars to get more finished ground beef out of the same weight of muscle. More likely, you’ll choose the higher fat percentage because of the Omega-3 fatty acids that presumably are a big part of the reason you’re choosing grass-fed beef in the first place. Those Omega-3 fatty acids are located in, well, the fat of course. And if you’re trying to reduce the percentage of simple carbohydrates in your diet or to skew your diet toward Keto or Paleo, one of the very easiest ways to do this is to increase the fat percentage in your ground beef. Ordering a custom front quarter, hind quarter, or half beef allows you the ability to do this customization, for the same price per pound as standard-cuts. The other great option available only with custom quarters is having the ground beef made into patties and individually vacuum-sealed! Beef stews are faster and easier than ever in your new InstaPot!
The Plate Primal Section
This is the belly, the smallest of the front quarter primal sections, and it is typically fatty and tough. It can be cured and smoked as beef bacon, or made to skirt steak or fajita strips. It’s also a good choice for ground beef and stew cubes.
THREE WAYS TO ORDER A FRONT QUARTER
Custom front quarter.
When you get a custom front quarter, you get to specify all the cutting: Steak thickness, how many steaks per package, whether steaks are boneless or bone-in, how closely they’re trimmed; roast sizes and trimming; stew cube size and package size; ground beef fat percentage and package size. You can also request bones, tallow, and organ meats. This share is $4.85/lb hanging weight price. In total it will run about $800-$900 and require five cubic feet of freezer space (two big blue Ikea bags).
1/8th Front/Burger Share
Our “1/8th burger share” keeps the rib steaks, and all the rest is made into 15% fat/85% lean ground beef in 1.5-pound packages. Overall the share is about 90% ground beef and 10% steaks. This is our least expensive package at $4.85/lb hanging weight price. This is a great share for fast, inexpensive grilled burger meals in the summer when you don’t want to be heating up your kitchen with indoor cooking. Overall it will run you about $450.
1/8th Front/Roasts and Braises Share
Flanken ribs cook quickly indoors or out — and are fun to eat, making them ideal for busy weeknights. Our “1/8th front roasts and braises” share is $5.25/lb hanging weight and includes prime rib roast, pot roast, flanken ribs, cross-cut shanks, stew cubes, and a small amount of ground meat. Flanken ribs have become one of my favorite fast-food cuts of beef: These sections are sliced across the ribs with all the connecting muscles left intact. For all the world, each piece looks like a slice of bacon. Flanken ribs can go from the freezer to the table in under 25 minutes: just pan-fry or grill them until richly browned. They are so thin and tender that they cook to tender perfection in no time!
Kookoolan Farms is ideal! For those people who know the nourishment that comes from consuming animal products but have a hard time with the way animals are treated and even slaughtered, this is your place! Read their story of how their cows are raised and you’ll agree! I’ve been wanting to buy meat directly from a farmer for a long time and I am so glad I was directed to Kookoolan Farms. Cassie was super helpful and easy to talk to about everything they do there. I can’t wait to support this farm with my money and spread the goodness of their humanely raised animals!
Bailey R, May 2015
What Is “Hanging Weight”?
Hanging weight means the weight of the front quarter when the quarter is hanging in one piece on a hook. On average, a quarter beef weighs 185 pounds (this is true whether we’re talking front quarter, rear quarter, or split quarter), and a front quarter will cost about $800-$900. Beef generally yields about 66%, which means that when it’s been trimmed nicely and all the gristle and gross parts are discarded, you’ll end up with about 66% finished meat, or 185 X 0.66 = about 120 pounds of finished meat, not counting soup bones, tallow, and organ meats. You can halve all these numbers for our 1/8th shares. Our “1/8th front/burger” share yields less, about 55%, because it’s all processed into ground beef – the bones are all removed from the finished weight. A quarter will require about five cubic feet of freezer space to store; 1/8th about 2.5 cubic feet. Beef keeps well in the freezer for two or more years. We are legally required to charge by the hanging weight and not by the finished weight.
The Kookoolan Farms Guarantee
Kookoolan Farms has been offering 100% grassfed beef for more than twelve years – in fact beef has become our biggest-selling product. We have sold thousands of fractional “shares” of beef over the past twelve years. We are the only farm we’ve ever heard of that offers our famous money-back guarantee: You will love your meat from Kookoolan Farms or we will buy it back and eat it ourselves!
At Kookoolan Farms, “100% grassfed means that our cows eat, well, grass. Grain is not a substantial part of our cattle’s diet: we just use it as a training aid to be able to safely manage moving the herd around. Our cattle’s diet is based on fresh grass and clover pasure, grass hay, clover hay, alfalfa hay, haylage and silage (these last two are essentially cow sauerkraut: fermented green hay).
Our live animals are never trucked to slaughter: we use a licensed mobile slaughtering service to cleanly and humanely slaughter our animals at their home farm for minimal handling stress. Beef is dry-aged 12 to 14 days before cutting, is not treated with any chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics at any point in the husbandry or processing, and is wrapped in plastic-lined butcher paper that protects your beef for at least two years in your freezer.
If you’re wanting to make the switch to locally-raised, humanely slaughtered, grassfed beef bought in bulk, we strongly encourage you to buy a stand-alone freezer. The freezers in our farmstore are 14-cubic-foot chest freezers and a freezer this size easily holds a quarter beef, a whole lamb, and about 20 whole frozen chickens. Even a 7-cubic-foot freezer, available from Costco or Lowe’s for around $200, will easily hold a quarter beef, or a 1/8th beef and whole lamb, with room left over for a flat of fresh farmer’s market berries or other additional frozen foods.
But we “get it” that not everyone has a large freezer or a large budget: We are one of very few farms that offer not only whole, half, and quarter beef — but also several options for 1/8th or even 1/16th beef for even the smallest household freezer! Even if you have an apartment or condo with no standalone freezer, you can still fit a 1/8th or 1/16th beef into your freezer. We believe grassfed beef should be available to everyone — not just to families with large budgets, large freezers, and a lot of space!
We received our 1/8 beef this week. I cooked the top sirloin steak tonight with just olive oil, sea salt, and pepper so we could get a good idea what the meat tasted like. My husband took a bite and wanted to know what I had marinated it in to make it taste so good. The beef is just that good, it was much more flavorful and tender then I expect from top sirloin. My husband was like “this is grassfed?!” Great job! I’m very impressed.
Erica T, April 2015
Other Great Kookoolan Farms Products
100% organic-fed, free-range, pastured Chicken
Our iconic pastured chicken is a seasonal product, only available June through October. For the past three years including this year, all chickens for the entire season were sold out before April 1st. At this point it is too late to get 2018 chickens, and we already have about 20% of our 2019 season reserved. Definitely not too early to order for 2019!
“100% grassfed” lamb means our sheep eat … grass, of course!
Lamb is our personal favorite in our household, as the most sustainable meat for the Oregon climate in our opinion; season is June through October, sold by the half or whole. June, July and August are sold out and we are reserving now for September through December 2018. Did you know? “Spring lambs” are those born in the spring – lambs that are born in the spring have the entire growing season to thrive on lush spring and summer pastures without having to overwinter and go through puberty in order to reach market weight. This results in milder-flavored, more tender, lamb. All Kookoolan Farms lambs are “spring lambs,” born between January and April. This is why lamb is a seasonal product only available June through December.
We have come to rely on having Kookoolan lamb in our freezer! It is delicious, and never fails to make me look good when I cook lamb for guests. (And there’s nothing wrong with cooking some up just for me….) The flavor of Kookoolan lamb is truly exceptional. And, if I hadn’t ordered whole animals, I would never have learned how fantastic lamb shoulder is. Thank you for all the joy your lamb has brought to our home!
Susan S., February 2017
100% grassfed beef is generally available year round – We have just a couple more front quarters available in beef that will be ready to pick up weekend of June 22-24 (this plus a new smoker is what he really wants for Father’s Day!), and for the remainder of 2018 we have beef harvest dates scheduled and still available only for August, September, and December.
Kookoolan Farms | 15713 Highway 47, Yamhill, Oregon 97148 (503) 730-7535