One of the benefits of beef, or really any meat, is how well it can be stored for up to two years in a good freezer. Some claim that you shouldn’t keep it for longer than a year to preserve the flavor, but in an emergency, that wouldn’t really matter. Therefore, the amount of time spent in a freezer really depends on your objectives.
So let’s say you want to stock up on beef. How many cows must you buy to stock your freezer?
As a general rule, you can store 35 to 40 pounds of packaged meat in one cubic foot of freezer space. The reason for the variation is that different meats are packaged in varying shapes, which alters the amount you can fit in.
Let’s look at how much meat can fit in standard-sized freezers using this rule of thumb.
Freezer Sizes for Beef
It’s generally preferable to purchase the largest freezer that your budget will allow when looking at freezer sizes to store meat cuts. However, finding a freezer that can hold the most beef isn’t the only factor to take into account; you should also think about your kitchen’s floor space and the cost of electricity.
You should also consider how much beef, chicken, fish, or other meats you want to buy in a single transaction as an aspiring butcher. While buying in bulk—i. e. You should be aware of how much freezer space the final meat slabs will consume before purchasing the carcass of an entire cow, which is less expensive than purchasing a half or quarter of a cow.
The following graph will give you a general idea of what freezer size you need for an entire cow carcass to an eighth of a cow.
|Beef Weight (lbs)
|Beef Weight (kg)
|Freezer Size (cu. ft.)
|Freezer Size (l)
|1/8 a Cow
|3 to 5
|100 to 140
|¼ a Cow
|160 to 200
|73 to 91
|5 to 7
|140 to 200
|½ a Cow
|8 to 10
|227 to 290
|18 to 20
|510 to 570
Take a quarter of a cow, for instance, which you buy every three months. In that case, you would require a freezer with a 140–200 liter (or 5–7 cubic feet) capacity.
However, if you intend to restock your freezer before you run out of beef entirely, it’s typically a good idea to purchase a freezer that has a minimum of 1 to 2 extra cubic feet. Then, a buyer of a quarter of a cow every three months might want to look for a freezer with storage space of between 8 and 9 cubic feet (227 to 254 liters).
Chest Freezer vs. Upright Freezer
Chests and uprights are the two main types of freezers available. Although they both perform the same task, their designs are crucial for air flow and organization, which both have an impact on how much beef you can store in the freezer.
A horizontal freezer with few or no racks is called a chest freezer. You can fill the freezer to the brim with frozen meat cuts thanks to the open-space cavity without worrying too much about air flow.
The insulation of chest freezers is a huge advantage because it keeps meats frozen during power outages for two or even three days. They are the preferred kind of freezer for anyone who buys meat in large quantities, despite taking up at least twice as much space as conventional upright freezers.
An upright freezer, a. k. a. Even though a standing freezer has a smaller footprint, it uses more air. There are numerous partitions inside that divide each compartment from the next. As a result, to make the most of the storage space in an upright freezer, you might consider cutting your beef into tiny, easier-to-handle portions first.
How to Store Beef Cuts in a Freezer
If you buy beef in large quantities, you can probably ask the butcher to prepare the cow however you like. The majority of the beef will be sold as ground beef, which is made up of components from all parts of the cow.
As long as you have a freezer that is the right size to store your newly purchased beef cuts, you should generally have no trouble stuffing a refrigerator with them.
However, you should take into account the following techniques if you want to keep your meat cuts fresh for several months at a time:
Heavy-Duty Airtight Containers—containers like Tupperware can lessen freezer burn while also limiting exposure to oxygen and air, but due to the size of the container and lid, they will require more storage space.
Aluminum foil is a straightforward, compact way to store meat for a long time in freezers, but it is easily torn and ripped, which can cause oxygenated meat and ruin its dark-red appearance.
Although plastic is just as prone to tearing and ripping as aluminum foil, plastic wrap is another inexpensive, straightforward method of packaging meat without taking up additional storage space.
Freezer Paper is a more expensive but superior method of long-term meat storage that doesn’t require additional storage space like plastic containers.
The best way to store meat in freezers is probably to vacuum seal it, but you’ll need a vacuum sealer and several rolls of disposable vacuum plastic bags for this.
How Long Will Beef Last in the Freezer?
The general rule is that beef lasts up to 12 months in a freezer without spoiling. However, according to the USDA, you can keep food in the freezer almost indefinitely without worrying about spoilage.
However, the longer and more often you open the freezer, the more oxygen will get inside the storage space, which could possibly speed up spoilage. Additionally, you are welcome to refreeze any meat slabs you remove from the freezer but do not use.
What size freezer do I need for a beef side?
How much beef will a 7 cubic foot freezer hold?
As a general rule, you should account for 35 lbs of meat per cubic foot of freezer space when determining whether something will fit there. A typical kitchen refrigerator/freezer combo is about 7 cubic feet, so if it were completely empty (unlikely), you could fit 245 lbs. in there. of beef in there (a half cow plus some).
How big of a freezer do I need for a side of beef?
According to a general rule, one cubic foot of freezer space is needed for every 35–40 pounds of cut and wrapped meat. When the meat is packaged in unusual shapes, leave a little more room.
How much freezer space do you need for 1 4 beef?
How much freezer space is required for my beef? A quarter share (85 pounds of meat) requires 4 cubic feet. And for a Side (half), around 8 cubic feet. A whole cow will need 16 cubic feet.
How many pounds of beef will a 14 cubic foot freezer hold?
A 14 cubic foot freezer might be adequate for your needs to store up to 350 lbs of food. Despite the fact that volume and weight are not the same, you can assume that 1 cubic foot of freezer space can hold about 25 lbs. Typically 10 to 16 cubic feet in size, medium freezers can store up to 400 lbs. of food.