The Size Chest Freezer Needed for a Quarter of Beef

Buying meat in bulk, such as a quarter of beef, enables you to purchase a pasture-raised steer without growth hormones or antibiotics from a local farmer.

Quarter of Beef

Rib eye steak on a bamboo cutting board.Rib eye steak on a bamboo cutting board.
Additionally, you can specify that the meat be dry-aged for 14 to 21 days for superior flavor, a service unavailable at average grocery stores. You do need a separate freezer to store this amount of food.

The term “quarter of beef” does not refer to a specific weight. Steers vary in weight from 600 to 1,200 pounds, depending on the breed. Additionally, the actual meat in a quarter of beef weighs less than one-quarter of the live weight of the steer.

Calculating the Weight

Approximately 50 percent of a steer's live weight gets lost during processing. Dry aging results in further loss. You can expect your quarter of beef to weigh from 27 to 37 percent of the original live weight when you dry age for 14 days, according to Spring Hills Farm. For example, an 800-pound steer yields a 200-pound quarter, but after processing and dry aging, you end up with about 54 to 74 pounds of beef.

Chest Freezer Capacity

A small chest freezer with a 3.5 cubic foot capacity holds approximately 122 pounds of food. You can freeze approximately 175 pounds of beef in a 5.0 cubic foot freezer. However, oddly shaped packages that prevent flat and even stacking can reduce the capacity.

Other Considerations

Before deciding which size chest freezer to buy, consider the other foods you want to freeze. Plan for other meat you may buy in bulk from the farmer, such as pork, chicken or lamb. Vegetables, fruits, prepared dinners and frozen bread dough require additional space.

About the Author

Diane Perez is a writer who contributes to various websites, specializing in gardening and business topics, and creates sales copy for private clients. Perez holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Miami.