What Is Locker Beef? The Full Guide

Are you tired of buying meat from the grocery store, unsure of where it came from or how it was raised?

Have you considered purchasing locker beef, but aren’t quite sure what it is or how it works?

Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the world of locker beef – from the different types available to the process of purchasing and processing.

Get ready to learn about grass-fed, barley finished beef, Aberdeen cattle, and even building your own cooler for processing.

Let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know about locker beef.

What Is Locker Beef?

Locker beef is a term used to describe beef that is purchased directly from a farmer or rancher and then processed at a local butcher shop. The meat is typically sold by the quarter, half, or whole animal, and the customer has the opportunity to choose how they want the meat cut and packaged.

One of the benefits of purchasing locker beef is that you know exactly where your meat is coming from and how it was raised. Many farmers who sell locker beef raise their animals on pasture and do not use antibiotics or hormones. This results in healthier, great-tasting beef that is free from harmful chemicals.

The Benefits Of Buying Locker Beef

There are several benefits to buying locker beef. First and foremost, it is often more economical than purchasing beef from a grocery store. When you buy locker beef, you eliminate the costs associated with selling to a grocery store or going through a middleman, which can result in lower prices for the consumer.

Another benefit of buying locker beef is transparency. You have the opportunity to speak directly with the farmer or rancher about how the animal was raised and what it was fed. This level of transparency allows you to make an informed decision about the meat you are purchasing and ensures that you are getting a high-quality product.

Buying locker beef also allows you to buy in bulk, which can be a great option for families or those who like to meal prep. When you buy a quarter, half, or whole animal, you have a large amount of meat that can be frozen and used at a later time. This not only saves you money in the long run, but it also ensures that you always have high-quality meat on hand.

Finally, buying locker beef supports the local economy. When you purchase meat directly from a farmer or rancher, you are supporting their business and helping to keep money in your community. This is especially important during times of economic uncertainty, such as during a pandemic.

Grass-fed Vs Grain-fed Beef

When it comes to choosing between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, there are some important differences to consider. Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that are raised solely on grass, pasture, or other forages. This type of beef tends to have a more yellow-colored fat and is leaner with less overall marbling and fat. On the other hand, grain-fed beef comes from cattle that are fed a diet primarily consisting of grains such as corn and soy. This type of beef tends to have whiter colored fat and typically has more marbling, which is responsible for a lot of the flavor and tenderness of beef.

The diet of the cow can significantly affect the nutrient composition of its beef. Grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed beef, which means that gram for gram, grass-fed beef contains fewer calories. However, the composition of fatty acids is also different between the two types of beef. Grass-fed beef contains much less monounsaturated fat than grain-fed beef, but it contains up to five times as much omega-3 fatty acids and twice as much conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which are both linked to health benefits.

Research has shown that grass-fed cattle that eat a diversity of plants have concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich phytonutrients in their meat and milk. These phytochemicals also protect the meat from oxidation that causes inflammation and damage to cells, proteins, and fats—a leading cause of chronic disease and aging.

While grass-fed beef tends to have more nutritional value than grain-fed beef, it can also be more expensive. In supermarkets, small-production, grass-fed meat can be a lot more expensive than your average grain-fed beef. However, purchasing locker beef directly from a farmer or rancher can be a cost-effective way to enjoy grass-fed beef while supporting local agriculture.

Aberdeen Cattle And Their Unique Qualities

One breed of cattle that is well-suited for locker beef production is the Aberdeen breed. These cattle are naturally polled and can be black or red in color, with black being the dominant color. They are known for their resistance to harsh weather conditions and their adaptability, making them a great choice for farmers who want to raise their animals on pasture.

Aberdeen cattle are also known for their high carcass yield and nicely marbled meat, making them a popular choice for crossbreeding to improve carcass quality and milking ability. Additionally, Angus females calve easily and have good calf rearing ability, making them an ideal choice for small-scale farmers who want to raise their own beef.

One of the unique qualities of American Aberdeen cattle is their feed efficiency. They are able to maintain themselves on grass, which improves the carrying capacity of a farm and reduces input costs. This makes them an excellent choice for farmers who want to produce high-quality, grass-fed beef with minimal input costs.

Furthermore, American Aberdeen cattle are easy calving and have excellent taste, texture, and tenderness beef characteristics. They also have exceptional ribeye area per hundred pounds of body weight, which translates to very high yielding, high-quality, high-value beef carcasses. This makes them a popular choice among consumers who want high-quality beef that is raised in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner.

In addition to their unique qualities as a breed, American Aberdeen cattle are also backed by the American Aberdeen Association, which requires DNA parentage verification to assure genetic purity and breed integrity. The association also hosts an Annual National Show and Sale and Convention at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, providing a prestigious showplace for the top bloodlines in the breed as well as an ideal setting to share thoughts and ideas with other American Aberdeen breeders.

How To Purchase Locker Beef

Purchasing locker beef is a straightforward process that involves a few key steps. Here’s how you can purchase locker beef for your next meal:

1. Find a local farmer or rancher: The first step in purchasing locker beef is to find a local farmer or rancher who raises cattle. You can search online or ask around at your local farmers’ market to find a reputable source.

2. Contact the farmer: Once you’ve found a farmer or rancher, reach out to them and inquire about purchasing locker beef. They will likely have a list of available cuts and pricing options for you to choose from.

3. Place your order: After you’ve decided on the cuts and quantity of beef you want, place your order with the farmer. They will then notify the butcher of your order and provide them with the necessary information.

4. Pay the deposit: Most farmers will require a deposit to secure your order. The remaining balance will be due after the beef has been processed and weighed.

5. Choose your cuts: When you place your order, you’ll have the opportunity to choose how you want your meat cut and packaged. This allows you to customize your order to your specific needs.

6. Pick up your meat: Once the beef has been processed, it will be ready for pick up at the butcher shop. You can choose to pick up the meat yourself or have it shipped to your doorstep for an additional fee.

Purchasing locker beef is a great way to support local farmers and get high-quality, great-tasting beef for your meals. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious, healthy meat that is free from harmful chemicals and additives.

The Process Of Processing Locker Beef

Processing locker beef involves several steps, starting with the transportation of the live animal to the butcher shop. Once the animal arrives, it is weighed and inspected by a state inspector who is on site during the processing. The animal is then slaughtered, which includes stunning, bleeding, skinning, eviscerating, and cleaning. The end products are carcass halves or quarters, which are immediately chilled in a cooler.

After the carcass is chilled, it is split into two sides and any soiled, bruised or bloody pieces of meat are trimmed. The carcass is then washed with cold water to remove any remaining blood and dirt. The forelegs are pumped up and down a few times to aid in draining blood from the forequarters. To improve the appearance of the carcass, it is shrouded tightly with wet, clean white muslin to smooth the exterior fat during chilling.

The next step is aging the beef for approximately 14 to 28 days, depending on the type of animal being processed. After aging, the beef is processed and packaged, then put directly into the freezer. The meat goes through a hard freeze for 24 hours before being boxed up.

Customers who purchase locker beef have the option to choose how they want their meat processed. They can choose to have more ground beef, which results in less weight take home, or they can choose to have larger cuts of meat. It’s important to note that different types of feeds and breeds of animals may highly affect the way the meat may taste.