If you have a chest freezer, and tend to enjoy a delicious beef meal at least a couple of times a week, then your best value is to order a whole, side, or half-side of Whispering Meadows beef — sometimes referred to as a whole cow, half cow, or quarter cow.
For most families, a side of beef will last you around a year, and will fill about a half of the volume of an average chest freezer.
Compared to buying the same amount of beef in individual cuts, getting a side of beef will save you about $1,575 — plus it gives you the convenience of having a great variety of meat on hand whenever you need it.
Have your steaks and roasts cut your way!
Ordering by the side gives you the chance to have your beef custom cut to your specifications. It then gets packaged as individual cuts, labelled, and flash-frozen at its peak of freshness.
Ordering a whole, side or half-side gives you the choice of how much of your beef you would like in steaks, roasts, or ground — and exactly which way you would like them.
…you can have the loin cut as T-bone steaks, or separated into striploin and tenderloin.
“Awesome! You already know how much we love your beef!”
Barb & Steve Renwick, Kitchener
…many cuts can be kept whole as a roast, or sliced into steaks of your preferred thickness.
…you can have your short ribs cut in different ways: English-style short ribs are cut parallel to the ribs into longer sections, with a rib in the middle of each piece. Korean kalbi-style ribs are cut thinly across the bones. Flanken style ribs are similar to Korean, but cut into thicker sections, giving around 2”-long short ribs. Or you can keep the rib plate whole, or have it de-boned into a rib roast.
Many other cut options are available, and we’ll help you make the best selections for your family. We have a personalized cut preference sheet that we can walk you through before your beef is cut, so you get exactly the mix of beef that best suits your needs.
Download our Beef Cut Sheet with recommendations (PDF). We update our cut sheet from time to time, so please use the latest version when you place your order.
If you are ordering a half-side, you might have to compromise a little with the person who is ordering the other half of the side. There are some cutting options that can only be done one way for the side.
This video gives a great overview of the process of cutting a side of beef:
A note about dressed weight
Like all beef producers, we sell our sides of beef by dressed weight. That means the sides are weighed when they are first hung to dry-age, which is called the hot dressed weight or the hanging weight.
Over the course of the aging process, the beef loses some of its weight through moisture loss. Then when the side is butchered into individual cuts, most of the bones and fat are removed. So the overall cut weight of your beef will be around 65% of the hanging hot dressed weight.
That’s how the beef industry works, and the pricing is set with the expected weight reduction in mind.
On average, each of our sides weighs around 325lbs of beef, and half-sides about 160lbs, hanging dressed weight. To order, we take a deposit of $125 for a half-side, $250 for a full side, or $500 for a whole. Your balance will then be calculated from the actual weight of your side(s), minus deposit.
Grass-fed or grain-finished beef
“Randy is an amazing young man and his products are unparalleled! He came to my rescue for a beef order Dec 23rd in snowy icy weather. He delivered right to my door! My son, a self proclaimed expert on beef, said that the steaks were by far the best he had EVER had. We had several family dinners enjoying Randy’s farm products. This will def be the #1 place to buy from now on! You have to try it!”
Anita S., Toronto
When you order your side of beef – as with our individual cuts – we offer you the choice of grassfed or grain-finished beef.
Our grass-fed beef is raised 100% on our rich blend of organically-grown field grasses, and nothing else — it is sometimes also called grass-finished beef. Grass-fed beef is considered by many people to be the healthiest, most natural form of beef, with the most complex flavour profile and the richest nutritional value. However, it does take a little more care to cook it to perfection — you will find that it has the best texture if you keep it on the rare side of medium. We recommend a slow roast to medium-rare, followed by a rest, then a hot sear.
Our grain-finished beef is also grass-fed for its entire life, plus it’s supplemented with organic whole non-GMO grains to give the meat extra sweetness and tenderness. This is the more traditional beef that we’ve been producing at Whispering Meadows for generations, and it’s what we would recommend if you can’t decide between the two options.
Need more info? You can read more details about choosing between grass-fed and grain-finished beef here.
What to expect from your order
Many of our customers have never ordered beef by the side before. And if they have, they may not have ordered it from an all-natural supplier like us. So we want you to have as clear a picture as possible of what you will be getting when you order a side, half-side, or whole cow from Whispering Meadows.
- Size of individual cuts: We pasture-raise our cattle to three years old. At that age, and having grass as their main food source, our animals are noticeably smaller than feedlot cattle — most of which have been constrained in cages, fed high-energy feeds, and given antibiotics their whole lives, to make them grow as quickly as possible. What this means is that each of the cuts you get from a Whispering Meadows side of beef is correspondingly smaller than the cuts you would see in the supermarket. At the same time, our cuts also give you incredible flavour, nutrition, and texture — the way beef was meant to be.
- Ground beef: We give you a lot of control over how you would like your sides to be butchered, by filling out our cut sheet, and we are happy to guide you in making your selections. Around 40% of your meat will go into ground and stewing beef — and any cuts that you don’t select on your cut sheet will add to that amount. While everybody raves about the quality of our ground beef, we don’t want you to be disappointed by getting too much of it. So please make sure you choose as many steaks, roasts, and other cuts as you will enjoy.
- Colour: Another big difference in our beef is the dry ageing — we hang each side in carefully controlled conditions for three weeks, before we butcher it into individual cuts. This concentrates the flavour, and helps break down any tough connective tissues. You’ll see the difference immediately in the colour of your packaged cuts, which will be a deep red, slightly tinged with purple. And you’ll experience the difference when you taste it! When cooked, any rare areas will have a rich red tone, without any purplish hue.
- Care in cooking: If you aren’t already experienced with pasture-raised beef, it does take a little more care to cook to perfection. We always recommend cooking it medium-rare, and never past medium, or you may find that it gets less tender than you might like. For the very best results, please read our chef’s guide on the reverse sear method, which will give you restaurant-quality results at home, with very little extra effort.
If you keep these points in mind, we feel confident that you’ll be delighted with your sides of beef. In fact, we guarantee it.
An outstanding value for beef
We keep our side prices lower than what you’d pay for most supermarket cuts of factory-farm beef. And this is an especially great value compared to buying premium cuts at a specialty butcher — if you can even find comparable quality. We think you’ll find that our beef is the best you can find anywhere, and an outstanding value all around.
We price our grassfed + grain-finished beef at $8.84/lb for a half-side, $8.53/lb for a side, and $8.25 for a whole beef.
Our 100% grassfed beef is priced at $9.84/lb for a half-side, $9.53/lb for a side, and $9.25/lb for a whole beef.
Here are some examples:
- A grain-finished half-side (quarter cow) is usually around $1,400, and saves you about $787 compared to buying the same amount of beef in individual cuts. A half-side usually gives you 3 boxes of meat. This is a great choice for a single person or small family — just remember that because a side can only be cut one way, and you’ll be splitting it with another customer, it’s possible that you’ll have to compromise a little on your cutting preferences.
- A grain-finished side of beef (a half cow) comes in around $2,750, and usually fills 5-6 boxes. Compared to ordering the same amount of beef in individual cuts, an average-sized side of beef saves you around $1,575. For a family with two or three kids, you can expect this to last you around a year.
- For a grain-finished whole cow (two sides), it will be somewhere around $5,400, and will usually come in 10-11 boxes. This will give you a savings of around $3,150 compared to the price of all the individual cuts that make up a whole animal.
Shipping is free to Southern Ontario for orders that contain a whole, side or half-side of beef.
Choose your packaging
Once your side is butchered, we have two options for wrapping the individual cuts of beef: butcher paper or vacuum sealing.
Butcher paper is the traditional wrapping method, and it does a good job of protecting the meat. However it is not fully air-tight, so if you store your meat long-term in the freezer, there is a chance that some drying or freezer burn may eventually happen.
Vacuum sealing gives the best protection for your meat, and minimizes the chance of any wastage. We use polyethylene vacuum-sealing bags, which are considered the most food-safe, non-offgassing, and fully-recyclable option. They also have the added benefit that you can sous-vide your meat, directly from frozen, right in the original packaging — our favourite method to cook the most perfect beef.
There is no charge to have your beef cuts individually wrapped in butcher paper. To reflect the actual cost of materials and labour, we add an extra 60¢/lb for vacuum sealing. The choice is yours, but our recommendation is to protect your investment with vacuum-sealed packaging.
Ordering is easy:
To shop online, just select the options you want below, and click the Add To Cart button. Your deposit secures your order, with the balance due on pickup or delivery. Our easy checkout process accepts Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, cheque, or money order.
You’re also welcome to phone in your order by calling us toll-free: 1-800-439-3081 — and please call any time if you have questions!
Once you’ve placed your order, remember to fill out and send us your Beef Cut Sheet (PDF).
Thank you — and enjoy your delicious beef,