Grass FED beef faq’s

Next beef sale: September 30, 2019.
The deadline for reserving your beef share is September 23, 2019. Click the SHOP button below to reserve your share!

Find information below on what to expect with quarter, half and whole beef orders

as well as the benefits and cooking tips for grass fed beef!

MELANIE Riley - LARGE DSC_6806-Cattle family.jpg

How do I order Quarter-Half-Whole Riley's Ranch Beef?

Click SHOP and place your $200 or $400 deposit to reserve your portion of beef. You will see the date our cows go to the processor: Key Packing in Robbins, NC. After the cows go to the processor we will obtain the hanging weight. We'll call you to see how you want your beef cut, inform you of the remaining balance due to Riley’s Ranch and let you know the exact pick up date. The beef will dry-age in a climate-controlled cooler for about 10 days which tenderizes the meat, and then it will require 2-3 days for processing. You will pick up the meat at the processor, and at that time, you will pay Key Packing for your processing fee. The remainder of your Riley’s Ranch fee less deposit will be charged to your credit card. You are welcome to a farm tour by appointment to see the cows, heritage chickens and peacocks. If you have children, they can collect some eggs from the nesting boxes in the barn!

If you ordered a quarter, your cuts will have to match another customer’s quarter. This will somewhat limit how you can have your beef cut, as it is a compromise with the other customer, who will be sharing the half. If you ordered a half or whole beef, you are free to choose any cuts you wish, including organ meats and/or bones which are great for pets, or can be used to create a very nutritious broth.

Riley’s Ranch promise

If you are not satisfied with the quality of the beef you ordered from us, we will buy it back from you.

What will your beef cost?

The cost is $5.00/lb. times the hanging weight which is about 60% of the live weight. This does not include Key Packing processing fees, which are $0.60 to $0.75 cents per pound plus a slaughter fee of $50 for whole beef, $25 for half beef, $12.50 for quarter beef. Hanging weight refers to the weight of the carcass before it is processed. Your packaged, NCDA inspected frozen cuts should be about 25%-35% less weight than hanging weight depending on the type of cuts in your order.

What can I expect with my BULK BEEF order?

You can choose your own cuts of beef or can order a standard cut package. We highly recommend you choose to have some standard cuts turned into extra ground beef, such as the brisket, roast or short ribs. Riley’s Ranch hamburger is the best you have ever tasted when extra portions are turned into hamburger! We recommend having 1⁄2 of the hamburger made into 2 lb. packs for spaghetti, meatloaf, etc. and the other half made into patties which are so easy to throw on the grill.

If you are not ready to purchase a bulk beef order, or if you have a small family, try our Grass Fed Beef Sampler Box which includes 25 lbs of frozen grass fed beef cuts to include 50% hamburger (90/10), a 2-3 lb roast, ribs, stew beef and a variety of steaks: T-Bone, Ribeye, Sirloin, Sirloin Tip. Liver is optional. We will throw in some healthy soup bones for free!

Following are approximate amounts of beef you can expect by 1⁄4, 1⁄2 or whole beef orders and freezer space needed, with the average cost included for each portion.

Riley’s Ranch Beef Live Weight Example:

Riley's Ranch Beef
Live Weight Example:

1000 lbs.
Quarter Beef Half Beef Whole Beef
Approximate hanging weight:
600 lbs. (~60% live weight)
150 lbs. 300 lbs. 600 lbs
Total lbs. of packaged, frozen beef

(approx 70% of hanging weight)
105 lbs. 210 lbs. 420 lbs
Cost based on this example

(600 lbs hanging wt. x $5.00 lb.)
$750 $1500 $3000
Approx. Key Packing processing fee, paid to Key Packing at time of pick up $123 $235 $470
~Freezer space needed 4 cubic feet 7 cubic feet 14 cubic feet

What is the Best Way to Cook Grass Fed Beef?

Grass-fed beef is very lean and has a different taste than what you find in restaurants, or from the corn-fed, fatty beef you have been buying from the grocery store. In our opinion, it tastes much better, especially if it is cooked the right way. So savory and delicious.

● Since it is a much leaner beef, be extremely careful not to overcook grass fed beef. It is best if cooked rare or medium rare. Also, get in the habit of cooking at a lower temperature, especially if cooking more than medium rare, to add more moisture. Roasting will require a lower temperature: 50 degrees below what grain-fed beef recipes require.

● Stove top cooking gives you more control than grilling. We recommend cooking with butter (grass fed of course!) and garlic. Remember, grass fed beef needs to be cooked only about two thirds as long as corn-fed beef. Remove from stove early as the meat continues to cook inside after being removed.

● Using a meat tenderizer and a bit of Montreal Steak seasoning is a good way to make grass-fed meats more tender and tastier. Try piercing the steak with a fork to help get seasoning and meat tenderizer into the meat and help break down the connective tissue.

● Marinades are a great idea to increase tenderness. Be careful not to cover up the great taste of your grass-fed beef; make sure the seasoning is not too strong. Your goal is to increase the moisture content needed due to the absence of unhealthy fat.

● Defrosting: We do not recommend using the microwave. Let meat get to room temperature before you cook it, and do not cook it while still cold from the fridge.

● After cooking, cover and set aside for about 5 minutes before serving, which allows the juices to permeate and redistribute.

● For grilled burgers, try marinating first with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Sear the beef after about 20 seconds to lock in the juices and marinate as it cooks. Don’t overcook!

● Roasting: Sear first to lock in juices; preheat the oven, use a 50-degree lower temp.

● Crock Pot: Our favorite way to cook Riley’s Ranch beef! Our family’s hands down favorite recipe for roasts or stew beef: Mississippi Roast, which is easy to find on Pinterest. Throw some extra pepperoncini on top of your roast and prepare to be amazed!

Why is Grass Fed, Pasture Raised Beef Healthier for Your Family?

Much higher in the “Good Fats” which are the Omega 3 fatty acids. Reduces bad cholesterol. Omega 3 acids contain good fats (monounsaturated oils and stearic acid) but contain no manmade trans-fatty acids. Omega 3’s are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, ADHD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.

Lower in “Bad Fats” like Omega 6. Half the saturated fat than feed-lot cattle.

● Lower in calories.

High in B6 and B12.

● Higher in cancer fighting CLA.

● Guards you from unknowingly eating, “cloned animal meat.” (FDA is recommending no label after approving cloned meat for human consumption!)

Has NO growth steroids, antibiotics, or growth hormones that are routinely used in feed-lot cattle.

Raised on sunny, pesticide-free green pastures in a healthy, natural, non-stressful environment by farmers who love and care for them daily. Contrast this with the feed-lot cattle packed in like sardines, standing in their own filth, with no access to pastures or opportunity to graze at all.

● Does not support the increase of mega-agriculture and its use of chemicals.

Has four times the vitamin E than feed-lot beef due to the 20 times higher levels of vitamin E from their grass diet compared to the vitamin deficient grain diet of feed-lot cattle.