About 400 Pounds of Meat from a 1,000-Pound Cow
How much beef can you get from cattle? Surely not all parts of the cattle are consumed, as that would mean selling the cattle’s internal organs as well. From a 1,000-lb steer, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry estimates that at least 61 percent of it will make it “on the rail.” However, only 43 percent of the steer make it into the market as different cuts like t-bone, sirloin, brisket, and shank. Why can’t the meat market use every pound of the cow?
During the slaughter process, 39 percent of cattle consists of its innards and blood, but not all of it is a total waste. Several inventions have found use for the scraps of the slaughterhouse, like the world’s first blood transfusion to a Jehovah’s Witness believer using cow’s blood. As for organs, exotic cuisines found ways to make dishes out of the cattle’s organs. However, the loss doesn’t end there.
As soon as meat shops start to process the meat, it will lose another 18 percent in terms of bone and fat. However, like the innards and blood, not all of it goes to waste, as these bones can be used to make beef broth. At the end of the process, only 430 lbs of the 1,000-lb steer remain; 25 percent of the meat from the chuck and 24 percent from the round. This explains why lesser meats such as sirloin, which make up 9 percent of retail cuts, are so expensive.