When I buy meat in bulk or
have an animal slaughtered...
How Much Eating Meat Will I Get?
Frankly, there's no exact answer to this question. Here are some of
Each animal is built differently. One may have more muscle, fat or
bone than the next.
Meat can be close-trimmed or left with some fat on. Cutting
preferences can determine quantity.
Meat can be boneless or bone-in. This will make a difference in the
weight and amount of meat you put in your freezer.
Weight loss during slaughter and processing of meat from live animals
to table-ready cuts should be expected.
After slaughter, the carcass will weigh
considerably less than before. The percentage
remaining can be estimated:
Beef 58% - 65%
Veal 58% - 64%
Pork 73% - 75%
Lamb 48% - 52%
removes the head, blood, hide and inedible parts
from the animal. In beef, veal, and lamb, it will account
for an average loss of slightly less than half the original live
weight of the animal. The slaughter loss in hogs averages
about one-quarter of live weight.
Example: If your steer weighs 1,100 lbs. live,
it will most likely weigh 638 - 715 lbs. when slaughtered or "dressed".
This is 58% - 65% of the live weight.
is the cutting of the "dressed" or carcass meat into ready-to-cook
portions. Processing accounts for another loss in weight as excess
fat and bones are trimmed away. Not only does trimming make meat
more appetizing, it also reduces required freezer space and often
eliminates further preparation in the kitchen. The more fat and
bones removed for convenience, the greater the decrease in pounds.
The fatter the carcass, the lower the final weight of the table-ready cuts
After processing, your table-ready meat will
weigh less than the carcass did before processing. The
percentages of closely-trimmed, mostly boneless cuts remaining
from dressed weight can be estimated:
Beef 50% - 65%
Veal 65% - 75%
Pork 60% - 75%
Lamb 45% - 60%
Example: If your pork carcass weighs 185 lbs., expect
approximately 111 - 139 lbs. of closely trimmed, mostly boneless eating
meat after processing. This is 60% - 75% of the dressed weight.
Bulk Meat Carcass Percentages and Cuts
(Percentages shown are based
on dressed (slaughtered) weight.)
To estimate how many pounds of each section you'll get, multiply the stated
percentage times the total dressed weight. Example: Beef round
at 23% x 650 lbs. dressed weight = approximately 149 lbs. of beef round
before it is boned and trimmed to your preference.
Remember: A carcass isn't all eating meat.
Sample Beef & Hog Processing Sheets
(Click on the sample to see the full size .pdf version)