Monday, May 28, 2012

Sourcing Meat

One of the challenges that most raw feeders face who don't possess unlimited funds face is sourcing affordable/reasonably priced meat for their dogs.  This is particularly true for those who have large or multiple dogs.

Bruce weighs about 93 lbs, and Neeko weighs about 82 lbs.  I feed approximately 150 lbs of meat a month.  While I have some decent sources, others out their are far better than myself at sourcing their dog's meat.

I am a member of an Indianapolis based co-op, Raw Paws, which I order from monthly.  I also order from My Pet Carnivore, and purchase meat at ethnic and traditional grocery stores.

I try to keep my boneless meats at less than $2 per pound.  My next co-op order, which I will pick up next Friday, consists of, amongst other things, beef heart, sheep heart, beef tongue, boneless beef trim, and boneless goat trim.  I get all of these for less than $2 per pound.  I can also get beef and pork heart and tongue at Saraga, a nearby ethnic grocery, for about $2.49 per pound, which I will do I have to.  I can also easily get beef heart for $1.79 per pound at Archer's, which I occasionally do.

I do sometimes spend more than my goal of $2 per pound, particularly if I am in desperate need of meat, or if it is a new/exotic protein.  I bought clearance, organic ground bison today at Kroger for $4.49 per pound.  More than I like to pay, but they have never had bison. 

I make up for it with steals.  I purchased 4 packages of chicken gizzards/hearts at Walmart yesterday for 0.79 per pound.  I know bigger cuts are ideal, but it's inexpensive meaty meat.

Marsh will often have their pork shoulders on sale for 0.99 per pound.  While these do contain bone, they are largely meat, so I consider this a steal as well.

For bone-in meats, I try to keep my price less the $1 per pound.  Most of Neeko and Bruce's bone-in meat is in the form of Gold Leaf chicken leg quarters which I get a Walmart for 0.59 per pound.  I occasionally order and feed duck and turkey necks from MPC, for variety.  These are more than my goal of $1 per pound.  I also occasionally purchase sale or mark down turkey wings and drumsticks for variety and bone.

I do splurge occasionally on bone-in meats, for variety.  My next co-op order contains some rabbit quarters and halves, and these were $2.75 per pound.

Organ meat I try to keep less than $2 per pound, as well.  This does not pose any difficulties.  I can get beef and chicken liver at a traditional grocery store, and beef and pork kidneys at Saraga.  I occasionally feed beef pancreas, which is a bit more expensive.

One thing I need to do more of in sourcing meat is post on Craigslist.  I have done it once, and was given 12 lbs of venison steaks, 3 lbs of ground venison, and 8 lbs of beef roast.  Venison is ideal, because it is "organic" and grass fed, which equates to desirable Omega 3 levels.

Sourcing meat has almost become a hobby for me, something I find fun.  As I have said before, RAW is almost as fun for me as it is for my dogs!!

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Thanks for the howls!!