Ordering your custom cut beef (whole, half and quarter sizes)

What if I want to split a beef with someone - can we still send in our individual Order Forms, or do we have to agree on one form?

Yes, you can each send us your individual Order Form and deposit for half a beef. Be sure to mention in the “comment” box on the order form who you are splitting the beef with.

For example;
on a whole beef, you can split it two ways, (2 halves) and each submit their own order form, and the boxes will have your individual names on them.

On a half beef, you can split it two ways, (2 quarters). In this case you submit one cut sheet for both of you and pay one deposit for half a beef.  

I have never ordered beef from a ranch before. Can you help me?

Absolutely. Feel free to give us a call any time between 7 am and 7 pm MST and we’ll help you with the forms and any other questions you may have. Call 575-403-6904.

How many steaks, roast and ground beef etc. do I get from a side of beef (1/2 beef)?

On a side of beef (1/2 beef), depending on the size of your beef, and what cuts you request etc. you would receive an estimated :
– 6 – 8 roasts (arm, chuck, rump, etc)
– 30 – 32 prime steaks (Rib-Eye, NY Strip, Filets, Top Sirloin)
– 14 – 16 other steaks (Sirloin Tip, tenderized Round, Flank & Skirt Steaks)
– 3 – 4 packages Short Ribs
– 1/2 of a Brisket
– 6 – 8 packages Stew Meat
– 8 packages Soup Bones
– 40 – 50 lb of extra-lean ground beef
Organ meats, split with other half buyer
You can also ask for dog bones at no charge.

I want to order 1/4 of a beef. How do I do this?

You can split half a beef with a friend, by using the same cut sheet, pay the deposit for half a beef, and the butcher can box or bag the meat separately. If you are unable to find someone to split with, you can send us an email with your name and phone number and butcher you want to use. When/if we have another similar request we’ll put the two of you together so you can submit one cut sheet and have the meat boxed or bagged separately.

How early should I place my custom cut spring or fall order?

Since we harvest a limited number of beeves, we usually sell out a month or two before butcher dates. Therefore, I would suggest you place your order as early as possible. We transport the steers to quality custom butchers in Alamogordo, Fort Sumner and Belen, and you can choose where to pick up your meat  If you don’t want to wait for either of our two custom butchers, our Retail Cuts and Beef Packs are available year-round, ready to ship or pick up at the ranch. We also deliver these for free when we travel to your area

Do you ship halves and whole beef orders?

No, we don’t ship custom cut beef orders. We have people coming from as far away as Arizona and Texas to pick up their meat at one of our meeting locations for our fall beef deliveries. However, we can ship retail cuts and beef packs anywhere in the Continental U.S.A.

How much freezer space to I need?

How much freezer space will I need for a beef? Generally speaking you can figure 30 lb. of meat per cubic foot of freezer space. This is why our smaller 10 – 25 lb Beef Packs are so popular; they fit in most refrigerators’ freezer compartment. For a whole custom cut beef, 220 lb – 360 lb. of meat you’d need 7 – 11 cubic feet of freezer space. A side of beef,110 – 180 lb. of meat would require 3 – 6 cubic feet, and a quarter of a beef 70 – 100 lb. of meat you’d need only 3 – 5 cubic feet of freezer space. If you are thinking about buying a new freezer, shop around, many stores have really good specials on freezers, if you time it right. We recommend chest freezers, as they don’t waste so much cold air when you open the lid, as does an upright freezer. (cold air goes down…).

About the meat

I have never eaten grass fed beef. How do I know I will like it?

It will be very different from what you are used to, especially if you purchase your meat in your grocery store. Even in specialty stores will you rarely find beef that has been dry-aged for 14 – 21 days, and it does make a huge difference in both flavor and tenderness. Dry-aged beef is what you may sometimes find in high-end steak houses.

Since our animal are younger at harvest, you will notice that the meat actually has flavor and is very tender while still being lean!

Although the roasts also have less fat, you will be surprised at how tender they are; the meat will fall part when you move it from your slow-cooker to your serving plate!

Our ground-beef has a distinctly clean flavor, and will not swim in grease when cooked on the stove. Your hamburger patties will largely remain the size you put on the grill.

We also suggest you read our Customer Testimonials to read what others have to say about our beef.

Is your beef organic, and what is the difference between organic, natural and grass-fed?

Our beef practices go beyond organic, but we have not sought organic certification as it is expensive – a cost we would have had to pass on to the customer. Instead, we strive to keep the cost down so we can offer excellent beef at affordable prices. We are open with what we do and what we don’t do, and welcome any questions!

Many people assume that Certified Organic automatically means that the animal has been living its entire life eating grass. Certified organic beef does not necessarily mean that it is 100% grass fed or grass finished; The USDA organic program stipulates that animal must spend at least 120 days a year on pasture and that they receive at least 30% of their dry matter intake from pasture. The remaining time, 245 days, they could, in theory, spend in a feedlot or other confinement being fed other organic feed stuff. That is not to say this is a common practice among “Certified Organic” growers, but that is what the rules allow. 

The true meaning of Natural can vary depending on the individual beef producer, what they mean by “natural”. As of now the USDA standard for “natural” is very broad and meaningless. It is up to the individual beef producer to explain to the consumer what their definition of natural is.

Grass-fed can mean a lot of things – the cattle may be out on pasture, but be finished on something else, even grain/corn. Grass-finished should mean they eat grass throughout their life. It could be grass silage, or irrigated/fertilized pasture, not necessarily native pasture as nature intended. No meaningful USDA standard exist at this time. Again, it’s up to you to ask questions.

In our case, all-natural, grass-fed means that our beef are entirely free-range pasture raised – they are born on native pastures, raised by their mama cows always on pastures, and live their entire lives free-ranging eating native grasses. They have never ever been given any antibiotics, hormones of any kind, GMO’s, animal by-products, corn, or insecticides. Our native pastures are never fertilized or sprayed with pesticides.

Does your grass fed beef differ from others also selling natural grass-fed beef?

Yes, for the most part it does. The majority of cattle producers selling their beef to individuals butcher their beef at two years of age or older. At that age the meat requires a substantial amount of fat and marbling to be tender. Without the fat (marbling) the meat at that age would be very tough and dry. Also, some organic or grass fed producers purchase year-old steers and finish them on pasture. The history of the steers may, or may not, be known.

Our beef cattle are born and raised on our ranch. We therefore know the history of each animal and can stand by what we say. We harvest our beef at a younger age, anywhere from 14 to 17 month of age, weighing between 900 and 1000 pounds, yielding anywhere from 350 to 400 lb of meat per animal. Our two to three weeks of dry-aging is a big difference from many other grass-fed producers. We leave it up to our custom butcher to decide when a beef is aged at optimum level. Because of the young age, our meat is very lean, while still tender and very flavorful.

In addition, and perhaps one of the most important factors regarding the good flavor of our meat, is the fact that the cattle are always on a high level of nutrition with the rotational grazing we do; they are always on fresh clean pastures that has had ample time (3+ months) to grow healthy strong nutritious grasses, leaving the short-term grazed pasture behind to rest and regrow un-disturbed until the herd returns again. This regenerative grazing system also creates healthy soil, which creates a healthy plant system!

What are the health benefits of eating your natural, lean, grass fed beef versus store bought beef?

Aside from the huge difference in taste, flavor and tenderness, the health benefits are numerous; Independent studies have snow that lean, natural grass fed beef has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and “conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than feed-lot finished beef.

Also, lean grass fed beef has less total fat, less saturated fat, less cholesterol and less calories. In fact, a study by Penn. State University found that a daily dose of lean beef is good for the heart and helps decrease the LDL cholesterol in the blood.

If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year. Grass fed beef and bison have approximately the same amount of fat and are, in our opinion, very similar in flavor.

You say you dry-aged your beef for 14 to 21 days. What does that do and what does it mean?

 Dry aging allows for tenderizing of the beef to occur naturally. Beef carcasses hang in a refrigerated, temperature and humidity controlled cool room for 14 – 21 days, depending on the individual carcass, prior to cutting into portion sized packages as per your Order Form. During the dry aging period, moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a denser beef flavor and taste.

Secondly, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle, tenderizing it. As moisture evaporates, the carcass shrinks, which is a cost to the rancher (us) as we pay the butcher for the cutting and wrapping based on carcass weight before shrinkage occurs. We are not willing to compromise the quality of our beef by skipping this important step.

Before the 1980s dry aging was more common. Then it became too costly and time consuming to dry age; today commercial beef is boxed and frozen immediately following the butchering. In some instances beef is “wet aged”, meaning the meat is stored in a plastic bag, and believe me, it is not even close to the same thing! You may find dry aged beef in select high quality steak houses and fine restaurants at a premium.

I really like fat in my beef, even if yours is tender without it. Will I like your lean beef?

If you like a lot of fat, our beef may not be for you. However, some people believe that for beef to be tender it has to contain a lot of fat and marbling. This is true for full grown steers, however, with ours being harvested at a much younger age the meat is tender without all the fat. The 14 – 21 days of dry-aging also breaks down the fiber in the meat, and adds to the tenderness of our lean beef.  Best thing is to try a smaller beef pack before ordering a larger quantity. 

The cattle and the ranch

Humane handling of animals is important to me. How do you handle your cattle?

It is important to us as well and we handle our cattle in a stress-free manner. Not only does it make it easier for us to be around our cattle when they are quiet and calm but stress can also affect the quality of your meat. This is a top priority for us.

We “train” the cattle not to fear us, whether we show up horseback, on our four-wheeler, in a pickup or on foot, by approaching in a non-threatening, quiet manner, and “reading” each cows tolerance for how close she feels comfortable with having us humans around. Over time they learn that we are not a threat to them, or their calves, and are easy to handle, move to new pastures etc.

Do you take care of your ranch in an environmentally sound manner?

Yes, absolutely. In managing our ranch and pastures using regenerative / holistic range management practices, which means we rotate the cattle through our 26 pastures frequently, to allow for long rest periods and short grazing periods. This allows the cattle to be on fresh new grass and an optimum plane of nutrition at all times.

Our pastures receive an average of 350 days of rest every year, while being grazed for an average of only 5 days three times a year. This promotes a maximum of grass growth during the growing season. It also gives the wildlife exclusive access to more than 90% of the ranch at any time of the year.

Together we have received several range stewardship and range management awards over the years because of our hard work in this area. We live on the ranch, and spend our entire days on the ranch. We love this land, and want to allow it to be the best it can.

Human intervention such as fire suppression and traditional continuous grazing, building of roads etc. have caused invasive species and undesirable grasses to take over the arid lands of the south west. We are working hard at restoring the land on our ranch to its ultimate ecological state. Factors such as droughts and rising costs make this a challenge, however, we will persevere!

Can I come and see the ranch and the cattle and meet you in person?

Yes, absolutely, we welcome visitors to our ranch

What about vaccinations, salt, mineral or protein supplementation?

Mineral / Salt Supplementation: Throughout the year we put out a free-choice loose salt/mineral mix in the pasture from which they can eat what they need. This also does not contain any antibiotics, etc. It is strictly mineral and salt that they need to maintain optimum health.

Protein Supplementation: Our cattle graze on our pastures 365 days of the year. In the winter they get all the energy they need from the abundance of dormant grasses and forbes we maintain throughout the year through our regenerative rotational grazing management. However, when the grasses go dormant in the winter months they gradually loose their nutritional value and in particular the  protein value goes way down. The health of our cattle is of utmost importance, and during this time, the cattle need some extra protein supplementation to keep them healthy and strong. We use an AGA (American Grassfed Association) approved protein cube* with no grain, corn, antibiotics or anything else added, that we provide (1 lb/day, roughly 5% of their daily forage intake) on the grass in the pasture. All our cattle – cows, calves, yearlings and bulls, remain grazing on our pastures throughout the year and are never confined. If we get a big snow storm with maybe a foot or more of snow that covers up the grasses, we’ll drive out and put out hay in the pasture they’re in. As soon as the grasses greens up in the spring and provide the cattle the needed protein, we end the supplementation. 

* Currently we use a Sun Flower protein cube. Cottonseed cube is also an approved supplementation by the American Grassfed Association “AGA Grassfed ruminants may be fed approved feeds, cubes or pellets to ensure the animal’s wellbeing during periods of low forage quality or inclement weather…” with certain stipulations as to what they cannot contain and our sunrflower cube, as well as the cottonseed cube contain none of the prohibited ingredients.

Vaccinations:  With the breed composition we use (Criollo, a heritage breed, corssed with Angus) we only need to give the necessary minimum of vaccine to our calves. Criollo cattle, which are the descendants of the original cattle brought here by the Spanish, are known for their hardiness, disease resistance and insect resistance and overall excellent health. We therefore have found no need to de-worm them either – also because of the short grazing – long rest rotation we practice, the cattle are long gone from a pasture before flies develop and they don’t return for over a 100 days.