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What's the deal with hung weights?

Updated: May 28, 2020

I know I've talked a bit about hung weights versus fridge weights, but I wanted to clarify this some more. It is a point of difference between HighBrit Beef and other farm direct meat suppliers and it does cause some confusion - even, it seems, amongst beef producers! Either that, or it is convenient to not mention it in hopes the customer doesn't notice...

Beef cut variations
The diversity of beef cuts from a standard Angus bullock

Hung, hanging, carcass, hot carcass, and variations of those names are weights of the animal hung after kill. It is the weight less the paunch grass, stomachs, internals, hooves, head, etc. It is the weight of the stereotypically 'hung' carcass directly after slaughter. It is the weight that farmers and butchers operate with, get paid on, and bone out. But it is a fair cry from what actually goes into the fridge or on to the table for that matter.

Hanging beef carcasses

It is not the weight that customers deal with at the butcher shop, supermarket, etc. That weight is the weight of the actual cuts or boxed weight. It is the weight of the meat less any fat that doesn't make it into the trim bucket, for mince and sausages, and bones. For cattle the difference in these weights can be up to 35% or more depending on the breed of cattle being used. For different animals this amount can vary.

This mightn't seem like a lot. But let's think about the scenario where you are purchasing a half beast (quarters and halves are typically how most paddock-to-plate operations work). A large half beast is approx. 100kg hung, for ease of numbers. If you are paying, say $15/kg for that product, then your cost for the half beast is $1500. Not bad, you say, for 100kgs of meat, but wait, it isn't quite what it seems.

During butchering a loss of up to 35% or more can occur, mostly through bones and unusable trim. This means that instead of 100kgs for $1500, you are now getting around 65kg of meat for your fridge/freezer. If you calculate your per kg cost, then you are actually paying more like $23/kg. This is probably still good value for the types of cuts and freshness of the meat that you are getting, but it is also useful to be able to do these sums for yourself to know what you are getting.

HighBrit Beef only sells our meat by the box weight. That is the weight of the cuts ready to go in your fridge. So you know that the weight you get will be the weight you pay for every time. We love that we can bring this sort of transparency and straight-forwardness to our product. Have a look for yourself

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