Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How much packaged meat will I get?

Q: How much freezer space will I need?

Q: How do I transport the beef home?

Q: How long may I store the beef?

Q: How long will your jerky or sticks stay good in the refrigerator?

Q: Why are nitrites used for curing beef products?

Q: Grass Finished vs. Grain Finished?

How much packaged meat will I get?

A: Actually, there's no exact answer to this question. Here are some reasons:

  • Each animal is built differently. They have different amounts of muscle, fat & bone.

  • Meat can be closely trimmed or left with some fat on. Cutting preferences can determine quantity.

  • Meat can be boneless or bone-in. This will make a difference in the weight and amount of meat you put in your freezer.

  • Weight loss during the harvest and processing of meat from live animal to table-ready cuts should be expected. For example, if your steer weights 1430lbs. on the hoof, it will most likely weigh about 843lbs. when dressed out. This is 59% of the live weight.After processing, your table-ready meat will weigh less than the dressed weight of the steer. The following calculation was devised by Duane M. Wulf, Ph.D. - Department of Animal and Range Sciences South Dakota State University.

    To determine how much meat you should get from a market animal:

    Pounds of Meat = (Dressing Percent X Carcass Cutting Yield) X Live Weight

    Therefore, two factors affect the percentage of meat that you will receive:

  • Dressing Percentage

  • Carcass Cutting Yield

  • Dressing Percentage

    Dressing Percentage = The percentage of the live animal that ends up as carcass.

    Dressing Percentage = Carcass Weight / Live Weight X 100

    The average Holstein steer, weighed full, 1430lbs., boneless steaks and roasts, closely trimmed, lean ground beef:

    (.58 X .57) X 1430 = 33% X 1430 = 472 lbs. of meat.

How much freezer space will I need?

30 lb.s of meat takes up appoximately one cubic foot of space. A whole beef needs 16 cubic feet of freezer space for storage (2'x4'x2'). In other words a middle-sized chest freezer. Make sure that you have ample freezer space at the time that you order, not after you get the meat home.

How do I transport the beef home?

A: When picking up the meat, be prepared to keep the meat frozen for the entire trip home. In the winter this is not usually a problem. If you will be carrying the boxes in the car with you, do not run the heater. Take a blanket with you to spread over the boxes to reduce sweating. In the summer, bring coolers. Meat will stay frozen 1.5 to 2 hours in a cooler. Move it into a freezer as soon as possible.

How long may I store the beef?

Meat freezes at 28.6 degrees F. You can keep frozen beef up to 1 year. Refrigerator life at 30-32 degrees F normally keeps beef 5 - 7 days.

How long will your jerky or sticks stay good in the refrigerator?

A: About one month.

Why are nitrites used for curing beef products?

A: Nitrite has been used as a food preservative and anti-botulinal agent for decades. Creek Bed Farm uses only .02% of nitrites in curing our sticks, sausage, and jerky - and does not use any nitrates. All smoked sausages must be cured. The reason for this is the threat of botulism (food poisening). The bacterium responsible, Clostridium botulinum, is ubiquitous in the environment, grows in the anaerobic conditions created in the smoke house and thrives in the 40 °F to 140 °F (5 °C to 60 °C) temperature range. Nitrites themselves are very common in our food supply and for instance are found at levels up to 3,000 ppm by weight (w/w) in foods like beets, lettuce, potatoes, and radishes. It has been estimated that 10 percent of the human exposure to nitrite in the digestive tract comes from cured meats and 90 percent comes from vegetables and other sources. Nitrite use has been a subject of controversy since the 1970s, when some of its reaction-products (i.e., nitrosamines) were associated with cancer in laboratory animals. However, following a 1981 review of all scientific data on nitrite, the National Academy of Sciences/ National Research Council indicated that 1) nitrite does not directly act as a carcinogen in animals 2) nitrate, converted to nitrite in the human body, is neither carcinogenic nor mutagenic and 3) nitrite-preserved or nitrate-containing foods account for only a very small proportion of the human body's total exposure to nitrosamines. Nitrite has never been shown to cause cancer in humans or animals. The American Cancer Society concluded in its 1996 dietary guidelines that "nitrites in foods are not a significant cause of cancer among Americans." A 1996 National Research Council (NRC) report entitled "Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet" made no mention of cancer risk associated with cured meat consumption. Today, it is clear that the benefits of nitrite in cured foods far outweigh any potential risks.

Grass Finished vs. Grain Finished?

Isn't 100% Grass-finished beef healthier than Grain-finished? A: Indeed, research does show that grass-finished beef has higher levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA (Duckett et al., 1993; Smith et al., 1996; French et al., 2000; Grześkiewicz et al., 2001; Poulson et al., 2004; Engle and Spears, 2004; Noci et al., 2005; Daley et al., 2005). Therefore, marketing claims that those nutrients are present in higher concentrations in grass-finished than in conventional beef are correct. However, claims that grass-finished beef is “healthier” as a result are not true, because the differences are not significant for human health. For instance, to achieve Recommended Daily Allowances and/or daily chemoprotective dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids a person would have to eat at least 12 pounds of grass-fed beef (Rule et al., 2002; Martz et al., 2004; Guiffrida de Mendoza et al., 2005; Daley et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2005). While grass-finished beef has approximately 1/100 of a gram more omega-3 than grain-finished beef, salmon has 35 times as much omega-3 as grass-finished beef. So, if you want Omega 3 - eat Salmon. If you want a fork-tender awesome tasting steak, then order today! 





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