Frequently Asked Questions
Questions we hear a lot!

Do you offer free shipping?

No. We encourage folks to see if they have a local producer in their area they can support by buying their beef. We’ve been told by some of our customers that they tried to do that, but there were no local farmers who offer All Natural Grass Fed Beef in their area, or that the beef was not consistently good throughout the year. (See our discussion about how proper finishing techniques we use make a consistent product year ’round here)
We understand the issue, so we do offer you the opportunity to have it delivered to you, but it is expensive to ship meat in a way that ensures it reaches you frozen. We use UPS and offer two shipping options. We must use a specialized insulated box with an insulated blanket inside, and include dry ice to keep it frozen. If you’ve ever bought dry ice, you will know how expensive that can be to get a big enough chunk to keep everything frozen. It’s really important to us that your meat reaches you in the same great condition we sent it, and these steps are vital to ensuring that.
We will sure help you by shipping, but we hope you understand the expense of getting it done consistent with the quality of the product we offer. The companies that offer free shipping are pricing all of this into the price of their beef, which is why our beef is less expensive.
When you make your selection of our beef, you will have a chance upon checkout to see what the expense is for shipping to your desired location. At that time, you will have a chance to cancel your order or proceed. The bigger the order, the distance it is shipped, how quickly you want it shipped — all of these factors play a role in the cost of shipping. It is totally up to you and we understand your decision, either way.
While the shipping costs may seem high to you, we aim to keep our prices fair–even with the shipping costs–and we’re even lower than other mass producers who add the costs of shipping into their beef.
Have more questions about shipping? Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to help any way we can.

How do you price your beef?

In the grass fed beef industry, many producers charge you based on the “hanging weight” or “hot hanging weight”. This is because all of the charges to the producers from the processing plants are based on this weight.

Here is an example of how that works:

A live steer comes in for processing and weighs 1300 pounds. After he is put down, everything but the carcass of edible meat is removed (head, entrails, feet, etc). His “hot hanging weight” or carcass weight is 700 pounds. With other beef producers, you might be charged $6 or more a pound based on this weight. The problem is that while the steer is being dry aged, the carcass shrinks (loses weight) as moisture in the carcass dries during aging. Then, during processing, excess fat is trimmed off, the bones are removed, and as the steaks are cut, trimmings are discarded. When that animal is packaged and vacuum-sealed, you end up with around 400 pounds of finished meat. You paid for 300 pounds of meat you didn’t get!

This is just an example, as every steer processes differently. However, it is a good example of “paying for meat that you didn’t get to eat.” No matter the animal, charging for “hanging weight” does not end up with you getting what you paid for.

We charge for the actual finished meat you get. Every pound of meat in every cut has a price from Bar 3 that results in you getting exactly what you pay for. Each package is weighed and labeled by the USDA inspected processor as to the exact weight and our charge is based on the label as to how much it weighed. The more you buy, the bigger the discount so less money out of your pocket.

Is your ranch sustainable?

“Sustainable agriculture” is an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

  • Satisfy human food and fiber needs;
  • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
  • Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
  • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
  • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

Based on this definition by Congress in 1990, Bar 3 Ranch is proud to be a sustainable farm.

[Subchapter I: Findings, Purposes, and Definitions, U.S. Code, Title 7, Chapter 64-Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching, Available at GPO Access:http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+7USC3103 (8/23/07)]

Why does grass fed beef cost more?

There are a number of reasons. Feed lot beef can be grown and finished much quicker than Grass Fed beef. It can take 20 to 24 months to properly finish a Grass Fed beef vs. 12 to 14 months with feedlot cattle. The added cost to own, keep healthy, and have pasture with grass in front of the cattle for this extra year is significant. Remember, as the cattle are finished, they are as big or bigger than their mothers, so it doubles the size of the land required finishing Grass Fed beef.

To properly finish the animal, we have 60 to 90 days before processing where we have the cattle on special annual cool and warm season grasses to allow natural marbling for the tenderness and taste. These special grasses have to be planted several times a year and then irrigated as needed to keep them growing.

With no hormones and limited antibiotics, we have to cull those who get sick or need help with their health. Cutting back on the herd of those for sale adds costs to the bottom line.

To sustainably farm, we use electric fences to intensify the grazing so the cattle don’t have to eat where they poop. This cuts down on flys naturally, controls weed growth naturally, and allows our legumes to naturally infuse nitrogen back into the soil to cut down on the need for fertilizers. The cattle are weighed numerous times as they grow to make sure they are getting enough caloric intake to marble the meat naturally. All of this means the labor and equipment cost to manage the herd for this extra year is higher than if the cattle were taken down to the auction barn when they are weaned or sent into a feedlot.

What are the health benefits of grass fed beef?

Grass-fed Beef provides a number of health benefits including lower total fat, lower calories, higher ratio of Omega-3s to Omega 6, higher concentrations of Vitamins A and E, increased Beta Carotene levels and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), all of which have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer and diabetes and lower cholesterol.

Meat from grass-fed cattle is lower in total fat and calories. 1,2,3,4,13,14,15,16,17,18,21,23,25

Some studies show that grass-fed beef can have one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal. Grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk. It is rich in the fats proven to be health-enhancing, but low in the fats associated with disease. Because meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, it is also lower in calories.

Grass-fed beef has more than twice the amount of CLA than grain fed beef. 1,2,8,9,10,14,15,16,17,18,20,21,24

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Grass-fed Beef is higher in heart-healthy Omega-3s.1,2,8,9,14,15,16,18,19,20,21,22,23

Grass-fed meat gives you from two to six times more Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are formed in the green leaves of plants. Thus, when cattle are taken off grass and shipped to a feedlot, they lose their valuable storage of Omega 3s. Omega 3s are considered to be heart healthy and essential in healthy brain function.

Meat from grass-fed animals is higher in Beta Carotene and Vitamin E. 2,8,9,11,14,15,24

In one study vitamin E levels were tested in three groups: pastured cattle, feedlot cattle and pastured cattle given vitamin E supplements. The meat from the pastured cattle was four times higher in vitamin E than the meat from the feedlot cattle and nearly twice the level of the cattle given vitamin E supplements. (Vitamin E in humans is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer.)

 

Sources

1 “A Consumer’s Guide to Grass-fed Beef.” University of Wisconsin Extension Emerging Agricultural Markets Team, 2009. Web.

2 “Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products.” Http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm. Web. 15 June 2016.

3 J.Anim Sci. 2002 May;80(5): 1202-11. Comparison of muscle fatty acid profiles and cholesterol concentrations of bison, beef cattle, elk, and chicken. Rule DC, Broughton KS, Shellito SM, Majorano G.

4 J.Anim Sci. 2008; 86(12):3575-85. Effects of conventional and grass-feeding systems on the nutrient composition of beef. Lahaska JM et al

5Arch Intern Med. 1999 Jun 28; 159(12); 1331-8. Comparison of the effects of lean red meat vs lean white meat on serum lipid levels among free living persons with hypercholesterolemia: a long term, randomized clinical trial. Davidson MH, Hunninghake D, Maki KC, Kwiterovich PO Jr, Kafondek S.

6 JAMA. 1995 Nov 1;274(17): 1363-7. Dietary intake and cell membrane levels of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Siscovick DS, Raghunathan TE, King I, Weinmann S, Wicklund KG, Albright J, Bovbjerg V, Arbogast P, Smith H, Kushi LH, et al.

7 McAfee, A. J., E. M. McSorley, G. J. Cuskelly, A. M. Fearon, B. W. Moss, J. A. M. Beattie, J. M. W. Wallace, M. P. Bonham, and J. J. Strain. “Red Meat from Animals Offered a Grass Diet Increases Plasma and Platelet N-3 PUFA in Healthy Consumers.” British Journal of Nutrition Br J Nutr 105.01 (2010): 80-89. Web.

8 “The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef.” All Body Ecology Articles The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef Comments. N.p., 2014. Web. 7 Sept. 2016.

9 “Beef, Grass-fed.” The George Mateljan Foundation, 20 June 2016. Web.

10 Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(6): 488-513. Implication of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in human health. Dilzer A, Park Y.

11 Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Vol 24, Issue 3, May 2011, 362-367. “Vitamin and mineral content of value cuts from beef steers fed distiller’s grains. Driskell JA, Young-Nam K, Giraud DW.

12 Food Chemistry. Vol 112, Issue 2, 15 Jan 2009. 279-289 “Some biochemical aspects pertaining to beef eating quality and consumer health: A review.” Muchenje V, Dzama K, Chimonyo M, Strydom PE, Hugo A, Raats JG, et al.

13 Rule, D.C., K.S. Brought on, S.M. Shellito, and G. Malorano, “Comparison of Muscle Fatty Acid Profiles and Cholesterol Concentrations of Bison, Beef Cattle, Elk and Chicken. J Animal Sci. 2002 May; 80(5):1202-11

14 Mankad, Rekha, M.D. “Does Grass-fed Beef Have Any Heart-health Benefits That Other Types of Beef Don’t.” Www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/expert-answers/grass-fed-beef/faq-20058059. N.p., n.d. Web

15 Daley, Cynthia A., Amber Abbott, Patrick S. Doyle, Glenn A. Nader, and Stephanie Larson. “A Review of Fatty Acid Profiles and Antioxidant Content in Grass-fed and Grain-fed Beef.” Nutrition Journal Nutr J 9.1 (2010): n. pag. Web.

16 “Why Grassfed Animal Products Are Better.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

 17 “Scientific Literature That Supports the Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef.” N.p., n.d. Web.

18 Burros, Marian. “There’s More to Like About Grass-Fed Beef.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2006. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

19 By Being Able to Switch over to. “Grainfed versus Grassfed Beef, and Why It Matters!” Grass-Fed-Solutions.com. N.p., 7 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

20 Http://www.facebook.com/WellnessMama. “Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef | Wellness Mama.” 20 June 2016. Web.

21 Johnson, Jo. “The Health Benefits of Grass Farming: “Why Grassfed Is Best!””American Grass Fed Beef. N.p., 7 Sept. 2016. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

22 Yeager D., Today’s Dietitian. Vol 17 No. 11:26. “Grass-Fed vs. Conventional Beef”

23 “The Truth About Grassfed Beef.” Food Revolution Network. N.p., 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

24 Duckett, S. K., J. P. S. Neel, J. P. Fontenot, and W. M. Clapham. “Effects of Winter Stocker Growth Rate and Finishing System On: III. Tissue Proximate, Fatty Acid, Vitamin, and Cholesterol Content.” Journal of Animal Science 87.9 (2009): 2961-970. Web.

25 Clancy, Kate. “Executive Summary.” Greener Pastures: How Grass-fed Beef and Milk Contribute to Healthy Eating. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2006. N. pag. Print.

Is your meat processor USDA inspected?

Yes, a United States Department of Agriculture inspector is present in the processing facility to insure proper and humane handling of the animal during the process, cleaning of the meat, dry aging, and processing of the meat into vacuum sealed and frozen packages for your home.

What if I don't see my favorite cut of meat in your shop?

Send us an email! We’ll do our best to accommodate your special order.

Do you have recipes you recommend?

Yes, this is critical to your eating experience. We hired Chef Megan Shea who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York to develop our recipes with a specific target to be heart healthy and delicious. You will find ways to defrost, special rubs, marinades, and cooking tips, as well as the recipe for proper cooking. Grass Fed beef is leaner and must be thawed, prepped and cooked differently than feedlot beef. We will help you be prepared to eat healthy but also have that special eating experience.

I tried to get to your office and couldn’t get in the gate.

Every order is filled by appointment. If you are not sure what you want, you are welcome to set up a time and we’ll meet you at the gate and take you to our fancy freezer where you can pick out what you wish and pay by check or cash. But, we don’t have a store with set hours and employees.

With a minimum of 20 pounds, does that mean 20 pounds of each cut I want?

No. You can mix and match any of the cuts you wish, as long as the total weight of your order comes up to at least 20 pounds. You’ll get a box that is sized for that amount of meat that is frozen and ready for your freezer. If you need to travel with it, we can set you up with a freezer box and some gel packs for traveling.

Do I need to cook grass fed beef differently?

Yes. Check out our favorite recipes and cooking tips, as well as helpful hints on thawing, prepping the meat, cooking and serving on our “Recipes” page.

Is your beef organic?

No. We plant grass seeds throughout the year to provide the necessary forage for our cattle to gain and their meat to marble. Much of it was developed by A&M and other experts in agriculture, but the seeds are not certified as organic. This would add a huge amount of expense and inhibit our ability to have this be affordable for as many families as possible to start eating a healthier diet of grass fed beef.

Some of the supplements the cattle need for supplementing their grass intake (vitamins, minerals, salt) are not certified as organic as to do so would also be cost prohibitive for you.

Since several aspects of the diet are not organic, we are not able to represent the beef as organic. The beef is All Natural as defined by the USDA, pasture raised and locally grown Grass Fed beef in Central Texas.

What do your cattle eat?

They start out growing by their mother’s side getting a full diet of mom’s milk. As the calf ages, it will start eating the same grasses as eaten by their moms. They are weaned from their moms and get a combination of Coastal Bermuda, Tifton 85 Bermuda along with supplements of vitamins, minerals, and salt. While our cattle are always on grass, these supplements are offered “free choice,” which they can enjoy at-will.

They are never confined in a pen and forced to eat anything. We also supplement with cotton seed cake, which is a cube made of cotton seed hull/meal and is an approved supplement for grass fed beef. We have found that the cake allows us to avoid stressing the cattle with horses and dogs for herding as they come running to us when we shake the “cake bucket”! It is a tasty treat they love and we use it to corral them for health checks and pasture rotation.

In the last 60 to 90 days, they are “finished” on oats, rye, legumes and other cool or warm season annuals in order to exceed their daily nutritional requirements and naturally marble their meat. We actually went to school in Mississippi in a finishing class taught by Dr. Anibal Pordomingo from Argentina to learn how to “finish” the beef to result in proper marbling, taste, and tenderness.
By having superior genetics, a good balanced diet of grasses and proper supplements, and then finishing on high quality grasses using these finishing techniques, we have happy animals that grow in a way to naturally marble their meat for taste, tenderness, and an enjoyable eating experience.

What are your delivery options?

We are in Central Texas. If you are within the Austin area and need a rush order, we offer delivery on larger orders based on a per pound price. Email us for special delivery options.

We also offer shipping with insulated freezer boxes ready to go into your freezer. Just enter your address at checkout for a UPS quote on shipping.

You are also welcome to visit our ranch and pick up your meat. If you would like to schedule a ranch tour when you come pick up, just leave us note as you checkout and we will contact you to schedule a time.

Can I get my meat fresh, not frozen?

No. If the meat is frozen fast and thawed slow, you will not have any ice crystals in the meat and the freezer allows us to satisfy the demand of many customers. There is no way for us to economically pick up meat from a small producer and hurry it to your location fresh. Large distribution companies with huge volume of feedlot cattle can accommodate fresh delivery, but those of us in small production would have to charge so much for fresh delivery to make it cost prohibitive. We have chosen to try to make this affordable for every family who wishes to eat healthier.

Is the meat dry aged?

Yes. The meat is hung for 21 days in a USDA inspected facility for dry aging to break down the muscle and make the meat tender.

How are your cattle raised?

While we may bring in other animals from herds we know to supplement our herd, most of our cattle are raised with their siblings, right here on our ranches. If we raise and finish them following our strict program, we can provide a consistent product that is all natural, no hormones, and tender and flavorful for the ultimate eating experience that is also healthy for you and your family.

If I buy a quarter, half or whole animal, do I get to selectively take out some of the cuts I don’t really want?

No. We offer a big discount for buying in volume, but to get that discount you need to get the volume! If you get a quarter, half or whole animal, you’ll be getting about 20% grilling steaks, about 30% roasts, about 30% ground and about 20% “other” which includes short ribs, spare ribs, meaty soup bones, Osso Bucco, Ox Tail (which makes a great soup stock!), organ meat (which some of our customers love for healthy dog food), and tongue (ever heard of a beef tongue sandwich sliced thin on a bun?). Remember that each animal is different and will process differently, but this is a pretty good estimate. So for about the price of grass fed hamburger at the grocery store (most of which comes from Australia!), you are getting some of the cuts that otherwise would sell for a lot more per pound, because you are buying in volume.

Another idea is to Co-op on a large volume with family or friends. Then you can split up the cuts to fit each member’s wishes.

Can I come out and pick out a steak? /Why do I have to buy a minimum of 20 pounds?

Please understand that Bar 3 Ranch is a working family ranch. We don’t have a store front, store clerks or office hours with uniformed employees. When we fill an order, we stop what we are working on, box the order and arrange to meet our customers at the gate to fill their order and if there is time, we do a ranch tour. Doing all of that for a small order is not efficient and costly to us. To pass our great pricing on to you, our customer, we either assemble one of our assortment boxes or build your custom box, which allows for enough beef to be sold that is economical for us to fill and provide a discount for you in buying volume. We hope that appears to be a “win-win” for both of us; that is sure what we intend.

How do I pay for a custom box?

You would first send us an email as to what cuts you would want, with the total being a minimum of 20 pounds. We would fill your order with the exact cuts and weights, based on availability, and send you an email with the inventory of your box as to the cuts, the weights, and the price. In that email, you’ll get a special URL that will allow you to checkout and pay, and then schedule an appointment to come out and pick up your order. You can also come out and pay by check or cash if that works better for you.

Remember that each animal is different, so you may wish to have a certain weight on your roasts or other cuts, and we may not have that exact weight. You may wish to have 3 pounds of ground, but our packaging is in 2 pound packages, so you’ll be advised that you can have 2 or 4 pounds of ground. In any event, you’ll have the opportunity to see the inventory of your filled order as best as we can fill it for you based on availability, before you are committed to buying anything.