Interested in Buying Meat in Bulk?

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Do you purchase meat like beef, pork, lamb, turkey or chicken on a weekly basis to feed your family? Have you ever considered purchasing a whole, half or even quarter of an animal to stock your freezer for the year? Buying bulk meat is a great way to save money, support local farmers and get high quality meat.

Buying local meat in bulk can be a daunting task, let’s break down what it could realistically look like for your family. Here are some considerations to make before purchasing a whole animal:

How much do I need?


1/4 of a cow

Estimated 100-140lbs of meat (can vary)

110lbs/52 weeks in the year = 2.1lbs of meat/week

1lb = 4, 4oz servings

So, 1/4 of a cow will give you about 4 servings of beef/week for one year. 

For larger families or if you consume more beef than that, you might consider purchasing 1/2 of a cow which would give you roughly 8 servings of beef a week for one year. 

Typical cuts from 1/4 cow

  • 30-40 lbs steak cuts (Ribeye, T-Bone, NY Strip, Sirloin, Tri-Tip)
  • 6 lbs Bottom round roast
  • 10 lbs Stew meat
  • 40- 50 lbs of Ground beef


1/2 of a hog

Estimated 75lbs of meat

75lb/52 weeks in the year = 1.4lbs of meat/week

1lb = 4, 4oz servings

So 1/2 of a hog will give you about 2.5 servings of pork/week for one year.

Typical cuts from 1/2 hog

  • 12 to 14 pounds of pork chops
  • 3 4-pound shoulder roasts
  • 3 pounds of spare ribs
  • 8-10 pounds of bacon
  • 15-18 pounds of ham
  • 2 hocks
  • 6 to 10 pounds of ground pork or sausage
  • Additional products: heart, liver, tongue, fat and lard


As a general guide, 50 pounds of meat will fit in about 2.25 cu.ft. of cooler/freezer space. The freezer space in the average home refrigerator will usually hold one-eighth of a beef (roughly 50-60 lbs.) or half a hog (roughly 60-70 lbs.). Quantities larger than this will require a stand-alone freezer or another refrigerator-freezer. A stand-alone freezer will usually store meat better because it has the capability to store meat at a colder temperature.

How and where do I purchase bulk meat?

Meat Suite is a helpful tool to find local, high quality bulk meat options in your area. Simply type in your zipcode and you will be given options for different types, cuts, prices and amounts of bulk meat.

For more information on buying whole animal beef or pork, download this free guide which includes information on cuts, storage, and handling of bulk meat.

Cornell Cooperative Extension | MeatSuite