Organizing, and Keeping Track Of, A Large Purchase of Meat

Back in April we finally made the plunge and bought a 1/4 of a cow. We had only been contemplating doing it for 2 years… There were a huge variety of cuts, and lot of different sizes within several of the cuts. I really needed to be able to keep track of them for menu planning sake. I got a pretty good system going. Now that we are virtually out of all that meat, I guess it is time to go ahead and share it with you.

To start out with as I put the packages of meat from the coolers to the freezer I kept track of each piece of meat, and how many there was of each one. I also counted different sizes of chuck roasts as different cuts of meat, because they weight anywhere from 1.4 pounds to nearly 4 pounds. So, I catagorized them as 1.5-2 pounds, 2-3 pounds, and 3+ pounds. As I came to a new cut of meat I had not written down yet, I would write down the name of it, and made a tally mark beside it. I then made subsequent tally marks each time I put another piece of that cut in the freezer.

I kept the inside of the freezer fairly organized by putting some of the ground beef in a small small laundry basket in the bottom of the freezer, and the rest on the one basket I had. I then put roasts in one corner around the basket, steaks in another, stew meat in another, and offal in another. They spilled over the ground beef, which I was fine with because I had SOOO much.

After I had everything in the freezer, I went ahead and copied my list onto another paper replacing the tally marks with the final numbers. Then I would have plenty of space to make a tally mark as I took that specific cut of meat OUT of the freezer.

My list of cuts.

I taped this list to my freezer lid, and also used tape to make a pen holder. If you do this make sure you put the tip of the pen towards the back of the freezer lid… otherwise it will slide out when you open the lid.

Everytime I took out a piece of meat, I made a tally mark beside it’s category. When I ran out of a certain cut of meat, I crossed it out.

It really worked very well, and if you store other things in your freezer, I would suggest doing it with those also. For example have a beef paper, a pork paper, a chicken paper, ect.

I unfortunately got lazy with it after a few months and subsequently had no idea what was in the freezer. Not great for menu planning, and I ran out of meat quicker then I would have liked. So, I will definitely not only be doing this system next time, but keeping up with it. How hard is it to make a little mark on a piece of paper? Much easier then menu planning when you do not know what you have.