How to have my half of a cow butchered?

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Feb 5, 2013
Pittsburgh, PA
I'm sharing half of a cow with my mom.  She only wants ground meat and a few roasts. This is a cow that was grass fed and corn finished, raised by friends of friends.  I've never bought half of a cow before.  The butcher will do whatever I want but his typical customer just seems to order ground meat and steaks. He will freezer wrap and freeze all the cuts.  I know I want the brisket, cheeks, tongue, the rest is up in the air.  I have a Smokin It #1 smoker so I can't smoke anything too large. Can I ask the brisket be cut into point and flat?   I'm being told that this cow is on the smaller side (260 lbs hanging weight for the half) so a prime rib isn't really an option as it will screw up getting other steaks.  I'm not sure I understand why it's not an option but that's what I'm told.   Any opinions on how to have this thing butchered?
My in-laws do local grass fed beef, and they've said that if someone is getting a cow butchered that it is tough to be choosy with te different cuts of meat. There are only so many briskest, ribeyes, t-bones, etc on a cow. Unless you just want the whole thing ground beef.

My personal bias would be to get as many cuts of steak as possible and go less on the ground. Probably because I'm a steak kinda guy. It really is just personal opinion. I don't know a whole lot about it to begin with.

Just wanted to chime in since there is nothing like getting a freezer full of meat all at once!
Save the marrow bones, cheek meat, ox tail, tongue, shanks, neck meat.... the rest is standard stuff....
I get a cow every year (and split it with 3 other families).  Our instructions are usually:

- As much into steaks as possible at 1.25" per cut

- Do T-bone and Porter House (as opposed to cutting strip and loin)

- Keep bone in Rib-eye

- Make cube steak out of the round (they run it through a tenderizer) 

- Roasts at 3-4lbs

- Keep the short ribs separate (for nicest/biggest ribs, put rest into ground beef)

- Rest in ground beef -- We usually have them make burger patties on about 1/4 of the ground beef

- Keep ox tail, tongue, and liver (They have to know this when they kill it where I am)
Hello.  The absolute best advice is to PM Pops6927 and ask him to have a look at your thread and offer his wisdom.  He has always been very helpful when I have asked him for advice.  He is THE MAN when talking cuts of meat.  Good luck.

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