Friendship Farm beef is cut and wrapped at a federally inspected, USDA approved facility. The sale price for a side of beef is based upon the weight of the “hanging side.” When beef is slaughtered, it is initially divided into two identical sides, each with a complete set of ribs, a whole round, rump, and loin. Each side is then weighed and hung in a cooler to age. This process, known as “dry aging,” helps to tenderize and further develop the flavor of the beef. Friendship Farm’s beef is aged for three weeks*. At the end of the aging process, the “hanging side” is then cut and trimmed according to the customer’s instructions. The amount of useable meat which remains after butchering depends upon how the customer chooses to have his beef cut. Generally, one third (primarily fat and bones) of the “hanging side” is trimmed away leaving the customer with about two thirds of the hanging side by weight of usable meat.
Although a nice variety of beef cuts is available from the display freezer at the farm store, a customer who buys his beef by the side will have the option to have it custom cut and wrapped. Generally, one third of the side will be hamburger meat. One third will be stew, rump, round and chuck. The final third will be the “prime cuts”: steaks, fillets, and rib roasts. A side can be cut in many ways (see meat cuts diagram). Some people, for instance, prefer rib roasts to be cut into Delmonico steaks. The round roasts, since they are so tender, may also be cut into steaks. Each side has one flank steak and one brisket, which could also be slit for stuffing or cut into stew meat. Though the options may seem overwhelming at first, with a little help from our staff, most people quickly find that having beef custom cut is one of the most rewarding aspects of buying beef by the side.