Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Buying the Cow....

About a year ago, A Current Affair did a segment on purchasing bulk meat, Today Tonight also did one from memory, because groceries were the hot topic of the month with the big retailers trying all kinds of gimmicks to "save us money" and get them into their stores.

At the time, I was all fired up about the idea of buying my meat in bulk, but a little tentative on how to go about it. As I wrote about here recently, the timing coincided with my cancelling my annual Chrisco Hamper orders, and I started to channel the money that I used to direct debit to Chrisco over to an online savings account instead with the view that at the end of 2012 I would still enjoy the arrival of bulk meat and groceries.

Photo of my freezer just does not do
justice to how much meat is in there.
5 or 6 layers deep.
I started out by googling wholesale meat providers, and although I found a fair few matches locally, price wise it still didn't seem that great. Most of them have set prices that cater to the demographic, and I was seeing quotes of $12.99 per kilo and upwards. Still, $12.99 seems pretty good when you consider that some of the meat you will be eating is going to be damn good scotch fillet steaks, t-bones, etc which you can buy for upwards of $30 per kilo in your local butcher.

Instead of trying out these wholesale to the public places, I started doing my own butcher crawl of the local area. Trying out a different butcher each week, I would engage them in conversation about my idea of buying a carcass, and asking could they help me. I really was after 2 things:

1. A damn good price
2. A butcher who would separate all the meat for me still.

Number 2 was important. I really really hate handling meat. I often get Husband to dice/prepare meat the night before for me so that I can just toss it in the pan when the time comes.

Some butchers eyes gleamed, and they too quoted prices of $12.99 per kilo, from 8 butchers I was quoted anywhere from $8.99-12.99. It seemed to be the standard. And most wanted to just give me my meat stacked up in different types - Ie all the T-Bones together, all the mince together etc and had no interest in labelling it. I equally have no interest in spending hours at home trying measure out 1 kilo of mince into ziplock baggies so these butchers were scrapped off my list.

But finally last weekend I hit the jackpot. A friendly local butcher who owns his own business got right into the project with me. He thought it was a great idea, and even showed me how a little old lady customer of his gives him $5 a fortnight to keep in a tin for her to buy her a big Christmas Meat hamper each year. He promised to make sure my carcass wasn't too heavy, insisting that if it weighed more than 45 kilo's then all the extra weight would be in the bone and not the meat and he didn't want me ripped off. He not only promised to separate the meat, but spent 10 minutes with meat agreeing on all the quantities.
"Let's see" he says. "You don't want to waste a T-Bone on the kids, lets keep them in two's and maybe also have a couple of Rumps on their own". He was awesome. He even chunked and stripped alot of the meat for me for casseroles and stroganoff etc.

And true to his word, a 42.5 kilo carcass was waiting for me on Saturday, in two massive trays piled high with meat. 2 big bags full of bones sat on top for the dogs (which we don't actually have but we found homes for them).

The final price? $6.99 per kilo ($296!) and a shy suggestion from him that I might like to refer him to my friends. Damn straight I will! The meat was fabulous, the guys help invaluable, and I am thrilled by how much food is now in my freezer. I estimate my old Chrisco Meat Hampers were giving me less than a third of the value in meat.

If you have a chest freezer, can be disciplined enough to put the money aside, this is a great way to provide yourselves with months of meat for a fraction of the cost. Do your research talk to your local butchers, until you find yourself a community man keen to get involved.

Have you ever bought in bulk before? Did the savings stack up to your expectations?

Linking up for the first time ever with Essentially Jess for IBOT


  1. Replies
    1. I'm never going back now - Im going to talk to the same guy about lamb now too!

  2. Bulk buying is good. I don't feel compelled to buy the whole kit and kaboodle though. I'm satisfied with the savings I make buying a few kilos at a time.
    The problem I have with Costco bulk buying is that I always buy too much of something, on impulse...

    1. oooh, I can't go to Costco, its not possible for me to save money there, there are too many fun impulse buys for me to resist, especially the american products

  3. what a fantastic deal! Just between you and me I tend to get a bit of a thing for a good butcher!

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

  4. I wish I had a bigger freezer!! I love how you found someone so helpful.

    1. My chest freezer has been a godsend, I don't know what i'd do without it, but it takes up heaps of space

  5. Oh my great grandparents used to have a farm and every year we'd get a cow and a lamb for the freezer. Was a great way to do it, cost effective and so much easier for meal planning etc. I keep saying to hubby that we need to get a chest freezer and do the same but we don't have the space yet... soon I hope!

  6. I've never even thought of it to be honest! But to be fair, I'm not a big meat eater. That was a great way to do it though :)


I LOVE comments. They make my day even if you only say Hi!