Sunday, October 21, 2012


Where's the beef? It's not usually in our house! While SP buys me ground beef for burgers and meatloaf and meatballs, we don't eat those things very often at home. Once a year, he'll buy me beef for kebabs on the grill. But we never make beef stroganoff or pot roast or brisket. SP stopped eating beef a while ago. I don't really want to get into a discussion of cows and how they are raised, processed, resources used, etc. Everyone has their own personal views on meat consumption, seafood consumption, etc. He chose to not eat beef.

I will eat beef, but I don't like to eat it very often. While I missed roast beef, pot roast, brisket, beef ribs, etc., I didn't, and couldn't, complain because I do not enjoy eating fish and he does, and I don't enjoy spicy foods or foods with garlic/coconut/chilies, etc., and he loves them. We each gave up foods for the other in order to eat the same meals.

But then one day he started mentioning that if we bought happy beef, he might eat it. Happy meaning organic, grass fed beef. Then last weekend as we were having one of those frustrating what should we make for dinner discussions, I said I really kind of wanted a roast. He agreed, provided I let him buy happy, organic, grass fed beef. I said OK.

So there it is. It doesn't look like much. He went to Sunny Bridge Natural Foods in McMurray and spent $20+ on a hunk of cow. We browned it in bacon fat and then roasted it in liquid (stock and water) with carrots and mushrooms until it was done.
Well cooked. Moist. Flavorful. Delicious. Even SP enjoyed it. We ate it with slices of olive oil bread from Market District and whatever CSA veggies were in the veggie drawer.
Yummy gravy with lots of mushrooms - I love mushroom gravy.

I haven't bought beef in so long that I have no idea what regular beef costs nor do I have an idea what happy beef costs. $20 for this hunk of beef seemed pricey. Was the happy cow worth the cost? That really depends on your point of view and your financial situation. We are lucky that we can afford to buy organic meats if we choose to do so. I know that 2 Costco non-organic roasting chickens cost as much as one smaller size organic, air chilled roasting chicken but the organic one tastes better, it just bugs me to pay twice as much.

It's just the two of us, and this meal was four dinners for us. Four dinners times two people equals eight meals. Add in the cost of the bread, carrots, and mushrooms (and ignoring the CSA veggies and any pantry items, like stock and cornstarch), divide by 8, round up a wee bit, and it was about $3.40 per helping. I know we've made cheaper meals, but that doesn't sound so bad to me. But, if you are on a tight budget, or you are parents with teenagers who devour everything in sight so this only lasts 1, maybe 2 meals, then maybe it's not worth it.
I wish eating organic was more affordable. When we do eat organic meats, they do taste better to me. This roast was delicious. We probably won't start eating that much more beef, but I am glad that now SP will sometimes eat happy cow. Moo!


  1. If you are looking to potentially increase your beef consumption and keep things affordable, you may want to look into splitting a cow with a group. We bought 1/4 of a cow (188 lbs) this year. Grass-fed, locally raised and butchered, wrapped in plastic wrap and butcher paper, the price was just about $2.50/lb. We got a wide range of steaks/roasts/hamburger as well as soup bones. You do need a freezer to make it an option, but it is something you may want to look into.

  2. I did the same as Dawn. I purchased from Ron Gargasz in Slippery Rock. It was a little more that $2.50 lb, but it was vacuum wrapped which I prefer. I had previously purchased the plastic wrap/butcher paper beef, and it didn't hold up as well in the freezer. I just didn't use it fast enough.
    I bought a freezer from Craiglist, it was well worth it. I would love to purchase lamb this way as well.


  3. Dawn & Barb -- That's a really good idea. My parents bought a lamb share one year and loved it. We'll have to put a freezer on our wish list!