Butcher’s Tips

We have put together some basic information that will help answer some of your questions.

Abattoir: 14th century French word meaning slaughterhouse.

How are the animals harvested?: Very humane and carefully. Most people do not want to think about how their ribeye got to their plate. It is important to educate yourself on your meat choices and practices. At Blue Ridge Meats we believe in respect and dignity. All animals are well cared for and given water at all times and if they stay overnight, hay is usually offered. Carefully, without poking, prodding, kicking or any mistreatment, the animal is lead to the “knocking box” (retained area-like a chute.) Our staff is trained and constantly updated on USDA humane slaughter procedures and in-house practices (beyond USDA requirements.) We refer to the constant updated studies regarding assessment of insensibility, especially the findings of Dr. Temple Grandin. Inhumane treatment is not tolerated at Blue Ridge Meats. You are welcome at anytime, anywhere in our plant, announced or not. We have an open door policy and welcome you. All animals must be scheduled for slaughter. We currently slaughter on Mondays, Fridays, and have the option to schedule on Wednesdays.

30 month and older beef: The USDA has strict guidelines for any bovine that is or suspected to be over 30 months old. Specified Risk Material (SRM’s)(skull, brain, trigeminal gangia, eyes, vertebral column, spinal cord, dorsal root gangia, and small intestines) must be handled in a manner in which potential contamination of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is controlled. As a result, this greatly influences how our kill floor and processing room flow. Blue Ridge Meats will impose a fine of $500.00 if we are not notified of a beef that is 30 months and older scheduled for slaughter. In the processing room cuts are limited in these beef to mostly boneless cuts. Please discuss these choices with our butchers.

Hot Weight: The weight of your animal hanging on the rail, after slaughter. This is the weight you are charged for, not live weight. Blue Ridge Meats does not weight animals prior to slaughter.

Dry Age: Hanging your carcass in a controlled temperature to increase tenderness. Specie and manner in which it was fed all contribute to the recommended times. Please consult our butchers for their suggestions.

Yield: The amount of meat you take home from your animal. This will very greatly on specie, style of cut, fat content and weight of animal.

What can you expect on a half of beef? Of course this is just a guideline and factors will influence final product. You will loose around 45% of your hot weight due to bone, fat, and dehydration from the aging process.

  • 5-8 Chuck Roasts
  • 4-6 Arm Roasts
  • 10-15 Rib Steaks OR 8- 12 Ribeyes
  • 1 Beef Brisket
  • 1 Flank Steak
  • 3-4 Tip Roasts OR 6-8 Tip Steaks
  • 1 Rump Roast
  • 3 Top Round Roast OR 5 London Broil or 8-10 Round Steaks
  • 1 Bottom Round Roast OR 15-20 Cube Steaks
  • 1 Eye of Round Roast
  • Meat on soup bones
  • 5-8 Sirloins Steaks
  • 4-6 Porterhouse Steaks
  • 10-12 T-Bone Steaks.
  • Of course you can expect hamburger, lots of it.