I’m often asked by customers and people just interested to learn, ‘do you guys process your own beef?’ Or a seasoned beef eater may ask, ‘is it a good beef?’
The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot that goes into making your beef tasty and delicious. It starts with buying calves with quality genetics that will marble the right way, and then feeding them a well-balanced high-quality diet. In our case, of hay and corn mixture. The process of getting a beef ready takes around a year. The next and equally important part is in how we butcher your beef.
Our beef is processed in Batesville IN, just a 20-minute drive from the farm, where it can be inspected, packaged, and stamped for resale to you. We are integrally involved in cutting and packaging our beef. Myself and usually one of my kids is there with me to help cut, package and vacuum-seal our products. We help do our part to make sure your beef tastes, cooks and looks the same way every time.
It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to breakdown an 800lb carcass. I know I couldn’t! I remember the first time I watched Hector artfully pull out a half of the beef and split the front and back quarters, then quarter it again. From there he started to cut out the whole rib, sirloin, tenderloin, flank, round etc. etc. with incredible speed. To watch him work is true craftsmanship. Hector’s precision and consistency in cutting is part of what ensures that your beef thaws and cooks the same way every time.
We’ve come a long way since that first time I watched a true friend and craftsman, Hector, at work. Back then we had questions. There were several things we wanted to accomplish when we started working with our beef. The first question we wanted to answer was, how can we cut the beef the way your family is looking for?
There are families who like the steaks with a bone and others that do not. Some don’t like roast as much as they do ground beef. I have customers who like to make their own bone broth, stew or jerky. Others like cuts that can be made and cut quickly. And when it’s grilling season, customers are looking for hamburger patties, steaks, kabob beef and so on.
One of my favorite things is when customers who have never ordered beef before start with one of our packages. The next time they order they share with us their experience and often have questions. They want to make some adjustments to their package to get more of what they loved about their first beef or try a new piece of beef they researched for the next package. We engage with them about what they’re cooking, and I love that.
The second question we wanted to answer was, how can we create a consistent product for our families that defrosts, cooks and tastes the same way every time they get some of our beef?
One of the primary things we experimented with was cut thickness. Our steaks and roasts can be custom sized. You can slice a steak as thin as a quarter of an inch up to an inch and a half or two inches. We learned that the optimal cut thickness really depends on the temperature you like to eat your steak.
If you like your steak medium to medium rare with a nice char on the outside, it really needs to be over an inch thick to achieve this effect. For a steak that’s medium to well-done it becomes more about the ability to get even temperature through the entire steak without over-cooking it. A steak thickness of one inch or less helps achieve this. We typically cut at a ¾ inch thickness to be able to ensure cooking to an even temperature for our families, but I have customers who opt to select a custom thickness for their steaks.
Finally, that last question we wanted to answer was, how can we create a product that tastes the same every time you open a package? This was a tough one and took some time. In my previous post about dry-aging we talked about the process and how it tenderizes and flavors the meat. If you missed it you can check it out here.
By doing our own research, we learned that the beef needs at least 10-days of aging to achieve the biggest effects of tenderizing. The dry-aging process, however, will continue to flavor the meat the longer it hangs. We were learning from our customers that while they were enjoying their steaks and roasts, they would prefer a fresher less dry-aged flavor in their ground beef. By aging our beef 10-days and then cutting, we have been able to find that consistent, juicy niche in flavor and tenderness that our families enjoy.
Lot’s has gone into creating a consistent product for our families to enjoy, that tastes and cooks the same beef after beef.
From your BFF,
Beneker Family Farms
A True BFF