We hang 2 1/2 beef in divided into ten quarters on the racks in the cooler for cooling the product to 36 F (2 C) over the next 11 days. The cooler temp protects the meat first and foremost and secondly stiffens the meat to a degree that makes it much easier to cut and handle. Needless to say, its our opinion that curing the meat for this period makes the end product much more flavorful. Some of the fanciest of restaurants hang their meat for extended periods to allow partial breakdown in the tissues that provides a tender much more product on the plate. Yes, its still considered ‘fresh’ as long as it has not been frozen. ‘Fresh’ does not necessarily mean that it was walking around just hours ago. In fact, some of the most difficult meat to handle in large quantities is just that: fresh killed. Its warm and floppy, won’t stand up under the knife or saw and the fat strings and cartilages roll sideways instead of cutting. Now that’s not with every slice, but it is frequent enough that after 5 or 6 hours of tightly gripping a knife handle to do the work you KNOW it is much harder than processing chilled meat. For amateurs like us, it boils down to economics. Economics of movement. The more moves you save and the less energy used to produce those movements you will soon realize benefits of less cramping of forearms and hands. Of course we are not professionals and we don’t boast the forearms of Popeye either so we like to entertain the thought of entering the path of least resistance. That path for us is 36F beef that’s been curing for 7 to 12 days.
Of course this is just my opinion….others have opinions that probably differ to a great degree. And that’s good because whatever works for you is what you need to do. You should never do as I do, instead do your own thing. You’ll be happier and have only yourself to thank or to blame when something works out real well or fails as a result of your decisions.

Enough pontification on the subject of meat cutting…we aren’t even touching a knife in this video. What we are doing here is just hanging them in the cooler and boy we have a tussle or two on some of the bigger front quarters !! We never used to have a problem moving these from the truck, up the step and into the cooler, but then again, neither of us has ever been this old before !! LOL. Come to think of it, up until last year we were killing, skinning and gutting them ourselves and it was always on a Saturday. We always had the sons, my SIL and a buddy, ol’ Dozer Dave with the Auto Crane on a 5 ton service body to help. So recent years found the youngsters putting them in the cooler giving us guys a break.

The reason this is a voice over on most of the video is because it covers up all the huffing and puffing and occasional bad word uttered by myself and the old guy in the welding jacket. I didn’t wanna scorch the ears of innocent bystanders that may be looking over your shoulder while viewing the struggle.
I hope you enjoyed taking a glimpse into this part of the process we go through annually and have since we were kids. Of course for years we stepped ‘down’ into the smokehouse instead of stepping ‘up’ into the cooler.

Soon there will be a meat cutting follow up but I gotta warn you, its not as thorough as I’d liked to make it simply because there wasn’t time to do it adequately.
Enjoy this for what it is…preparations for the preparation of beef processing by a couple old guys doing what they do best….lining up more work for another day.
Disclaimer: We DO NOT sell meat so have no concern about what you may consider less than a ‘sanitary’ or bacteria-free environment. We are NOT professionals, so do not expect us to have a professional operation. We ARE just country boys following tradition established in our family in the early 1900’s. That’s all. Enjoy.

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24 thoughts on “Hanging Beef in the Cooler 2020

  1. Reg Sparkes says:

    I swear I was grunting there as you lifted those quarters; yes man, they looked heavy!
    I can well imagine too that there are some wonderfully tasty cuts coming up here.
    Thanks for this.
    Oh, by the way, what is the chiller temperature for that beef?

  2. MD H says:

    I sure miss helping Jim H slaughter 3 or 4 cows a year, helped him for 20 years or so. It did look like a couple of those quarters were about as much as you and your brother could handle.

  3. AK quilter says:

    That beef sure was looking good. To what extent does each quarter lose weight as it is hanging in the cooler? Is there even a weight loss? I have to agree some of the quarters certainly did look heavy!! At least it wasn't raining when you were hanging them in the cooler. That would have just added misery to all your work.

  4. RCAFpolarexpress says:

    Good morning Sir, you are both in great physical shape !!! You onload how many 100 pounds of meat in lest that 5 min !!! You also save a lots of money buy doing that the way you all doing that anual family meat reunion service exchange tradition !!! That is outstanding !!! Cheers !!!

  5. Old Sneelock's Workshop says:

    Quite the project. After I hurt my back when I was 40, moving a 10 foot chunk of log because the chainsaw quit and I wasn't done. for about 6 years lifting anything more than a paper plate hurt. 😨
    I rigged up block and tackle to move items around in the barnsvand shop. I had a ready source for crane rail. It made pulling engines and working on heavy equipment possible.
    Setting up a u shaped monorail in the cooler would let you run a monorail over the truck bed under the roof to the door and transfer using a hoist. If I could have known it was going to hurt that much for that long I would have left that log on the ground and fixed the chainsaw.

  6. GP Outdoors says:

    T, you have all the best sayings – same song, different verse – LOL. Thanks for taking us along. Wish I could have lent a hand or two. But you both got er done. Looking forward to the next step. Have a great weekend and thanks again!

  7. Francis Hamre says:

    As long as there are people that know how to live without relying on the government, America will be free. My dad and I have been goin to a neighbor to slaughter our lambs, hogs, and calves since I was a little kid (I'm 31 now). The neighbor is 82 and still doing a lot of backyard processing. I'm gonna have to do it myself one of these days and keep the art alive because there aren't any people left that care to do that stuff anymore. I know how to do the field dressing and have wrapped meat, but never cut meat…so I better watch your meat cutting video.

  8. Ed Smith says:

    My back hurts just watching you guys !

    I bring my beef halves up to the house hanging from the tractor front loader, then out in the driveway lay one half on a wood table. Saw that into quarters, slide the quarter onto a Rubbermaid cart. Roll the cart thru the garage to where my cooler is located built on the back. Roll on into the cooler, and use a small ratchet type chain hoist (Harbor Freight has them) to lift the quarter up to eye bolts in the cooler ceiling and hang. We kill large beef and the quarters run 200lbs or more each….so no hand wrestling done.

  9. T N says:

    God bless you guys getting ready to do our steer pretty soon have a reefer truck box coming finally a cooler coming been working at making things easier my whole life you know if most Americans could watch and appreciate this video like I did this country wouldn’t be in the sad shape it is god bless y’all stay safe thanks for sharing

  10. benjamin limback says:

    was actually wanting the whole process, they kill and hang mainly what gear they use. pretty sure i can hang quarters myself probably but my big think is hanging them for blood without contaminating meat.

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