How to Save & Plan for Half a Hog.

As I look into my freezer, I see a variety of foods - unprocessed 'ingredients', actually - waiting to be transformed into a made-from-scratch meal. These 'ingredients' include a variety of vegetables and herbs from my garden, frozen cheese and butter bought in bulk, a few ice cream novelties, and lots and lots of meat.

Why so much meat? We just picked up a half a hog from the locker. The comfort of a full deep freezer is almost an unmatched feeling. You know the feeling, I'm sure.

Like you, we have a "budget" that includes bulk food purchases like beef and pork. We figured we'd need to save about $5 a week for a year to offset the cost of half a hog. To save for a quarter of a cow, we'd need to save almost $10 a week for a year. However, beef prices are very high right now, which means we will be conserving the little beef we do have left and will make the most out of the pork we just processed.

Our recent half-hog order included:
  • Bacon (1 lb pkg)
  • Smoked sausage links
  • Smoked jalapeño cheddar brats (4 per pkg)
  • Ground pork (1 lb pkg)
  • Pork loin (feed 2-3 people)
  • Smoked Ham Steaks (1 per pkg)
  • Fresh roast(s)
  • Ribs
And for all that, we spent $152.46 at the locker, plus $100 for the actual hog. So, for about $250 we filled our deep freezer with pork. 

Here's how we make our so 'cheaply' for our pork, which we will make stretch about 9 to 12 months:

We know our farmer!

It helps that this farmer is my father, and he's been raising hogs for over 30 years. We don't necessarily pay market value for our hog, which helps. We paid $100 for our half. Sometimes, if we have a birthday or special occasion near, we'll ask for pork or beef as our present. Practical and delicious :) 

We go to a small-town locker who has affordable prices and does decent work. 

We know the owners, and we trust them. 

We are very careful about our processing. 

Take a look at the receipt above. You'll see the actual slaughter and butcher of the hog was $75. The rest of our ticket was special handling and processing of the hog. You see that we got roasts, ribs, and loins, but those things don't appear on our ticket. Those items fall under the general butchering of our hog. The items you see listed above - bacon, brats, smoked ham steaks, etc. - require extra care from the butcher, like smoking and seasoning. Those items have an additional cost. The first time we ever processed a hog, we went 'hog wild' (pun intended) and got about 4 varieties of brats and speciality items. The bill was much higher because of all the special processing. After a few years of tweaking our over, we finally have a standard ticket that we keep on hand at the locker.

We have at least one meatless meal each week. At least. 

We share our pork and beef with my mother and father in law. This is why a half a hog might not last us a year like other couples. It's important to be mindful of the animal that sacrificed its life to feed us, and to be mindful of not wasting anything. By eating a meatless meal at least once a week, we are conserving more ecological resources (do a little research on the carbon footprint made by a cow or pig…) and are making our pork stretch a little further. Meal planning is essential.

How do you save for purchasing beef or pork in bulk? Any tips? Leave a comment!

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  1. I found your post interesting. Most people don't have that resource or even know where to look! It all sounds wonderful. We buy in bulk from Zaycon sometimes - So far we have gotten bacon, sausage links, B/S chicken breasts and lean ground beef. We also buy whole pork loins when we find them on sale and cut them into roasts and chops. You are so right about the price of beef! It is at an all time high, so we too have been eating more pork.


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