Custom Processing Details - April 2020

Thank you for your interest in Yoder Meats and for your support of our business. I’d like to take a few minutes today to cover the topic of custom processing at Yoder Meats. Folks who are interested in custom processing where we provide the animal call it by a few different names- butcher beef, freezer beef, side of beef, half a beef, or the pork variation of all these as well. It doesn’t matter what you call it, we know what you’re talking about and it’s smart to be thinking about it.

The idea of buying in bulk and saving money is one that most are familiar with and it certainly holds true in the meat business. Hands down, without question buying a side of beef or pork and having it custom processed is cheaper than buying the same quality, quantity and cuts in the grocery store or even from a Yoder Meats retail store. Not only is it cheaper, but you get to customize how you want it cut and packaged. You know where all the meat came from and you can feel secure in having plenty in your freezer to feed your family for six months or longer.

Sounds pretty good right? So, if it’s so great why don’t more people do it? It really comes down to three reasons. First, buying a side of beef or a whole hog takes a big chunk of cash. Yes, it’s cheaper in the long run and lasts a long time, but for some it can be hard to come up with the money all at once. Second, it takes some space. You won’t be able to fit all this meat in the little freezer that’s part of your refrigerator. Third, it’s frozen. In order to preserve the quality and keep the meat safe for consumption for a long period of time we freeze it and it’s frozen when you take it home. The result is increased effort required for meal prep as you have to get the meat out of the freezer ahead of time and let it thaw. Certainly nothing that’s impossible to deal with here, but it’s definitely good to understand the issue from all the angles.

Assuming you’re still interested, let’s get into the details of how the process works. First, some things to think about: Do you want beef or pork or both? For the beef do you want a whole beef (600-800 lbs) half beef (300-400 lbs) or quarter (150-200 lbs)? If you’re going with a beef quarter do you want half of a half or do you specifically want a front or hind quarter which will drive what cuts are available? For the pork do you want a whole hog (160-180 lbs) or a half hog (80-90 lbs)? Second, contact the Yoder Meats location from which you would like to pick up the meat. You can pick up at any of the three Wichita locations or directly from the Yoder Meats plant in Yoder. If you prefer to pick up in Wichita, we just send your meat from the Yoder plant to your preferred store when it’s ready and you get a call saying it’s available for pickup. Any of the Yoder Meats locations will be able to walk you through the process over the phone and get your cutting instructions. I would invite you to visit the Yoder Meats website at, navigate to “Processing” and then select cutting instructions and you’ll be able to see all the options and questions that will need to be answered when you give your cutting instructions. We will talk through all of it with you, so don’t worry if there are some things you aren’t sure about. Third, we get the animal scheduled at the plant and we’ll call when it’s ready to go. From the time the animal is scheduled for harvest it takes about 15 days for your meat to be ready. The carcass will hang and dry age in our cooler for at least 10 days and up to 14 days, then we process it into the cuts you’ve specified and package it, then we freeze it. And then we send to Wichita if requested.

The next question that customers invariably ask is “how far out are you booked?” Right now, time is of the essence as we are seeing an unprecedented interest in sides and quarters. It’s not uncommon to have increased interest this time of year as tax returns start showing up and people choose to invest those in feeding their families for the year, but what we are seeing in terms of interested customers goes beyond that normal tax season peak. The combination of people having experienced meat shortages in the grocery store and receiving government stimulus payments has led to a much higher demand for custom processing. We are currently booking animals for July and expect to move into August very soon. I would encourage you to go ahead and get on the list as soon as you’ve made the decision that this is the route for you. Other custom processors in the area are experiencing much the same thing. Further if you are already a regular purchaser of a side or quarter, I would invite you to go ahead and make your next appointment even if that’s a few months out because those spots are going fast.

Finally, we get down to brass tacks. What’s this all gonna cost me? The good news is that Yoder Meats offers all inclusive pricing so there’s no nickle and diming you for this fee or that service, so many cents per pound for grinding, so much for tenderizing, so much for patties, etc. We charge a flat per pound rate that covers everything but sales tax and can give you a really good idea of what your whole, side or quarter is going to cost understanding that it will fluctuate slightly based on the actual hanging weight of the animal. We source our beef and pork from local farmers and set the price for the animals on the first business day of the month. For the month of April 2020 our all inclusive pricing on a half of beef is $3.14 per pound and pork is $2.82 per pound. We expect that the May beef price will be lower based on what we are currently seeing in the cattle markets. I mentioned earlier that we are currently booking July harvest dates so those beef prices won’t be set until July. To give some idea of our typical price range, in recent months we’ve been as low as $2.86 and as high as $3.25 for beef.

Hopefully you’re a little bit more comfortable with the idea of bulk meat purchase after all this and will give a Yoder Meats side or quarter a try. Give us a call or stop by to set it up. Taste the old fashioned flavor at Yoder Meats in Yoder and three locations in Wichita.