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Tips For Buying Meat In Bulk

If you’re looking to streamline your grocery shopping, make your wallet a bit happier, and tread more lightly on the planet, buying meat in bulk is a great option for your family. It isn’t just about stocking up to save a trip to the store; buying in bulk can lead to significant savings, better time management, and a more sustainable lifestyle.

buying meat in bulk

What are the benefits of buying in bulk?

Buying meat in bulk has many advantages that can make your culinary endeavors more economical and environmentally friendly. Let’s delve into the key benefits of bulk meat has to offer:

Cost Savings

One of the most immediate benefits of buying meat in bulk is the significant cost savings. Bulk purchases often come with discounts, allowing you to get more bang for your buck. This is especially true for high-quality meats, where the price per pound can drop considerably when bought in larger quantities. Over time, these savings add up, making it a smart choice for budget-conscious households.

  1. Price Per Pound Savings:
    • Bulk purchases can reduce the price per pound significantly. For example, buying ground beef in bulk might cost you around $3-$4 per pound, whereas smaller packages could be $5-$6 per pound or more in retail stores. This represents a saving of 20-40%.
  2. Wholesale vs. Retail:
    • Shopping at wholesale clubs or directly from farms often yields savings. For instance, a whole pork loin might cost around $2 per pound wholesale, while retail cuts from the same loin, such as pork chops, could cost $4-$5 per pound, showcasing a potential saving of 50% or more.
  3. Specialty Meats:
    • For organic or grass-fed meats, which typically come at a premium, bulk buying can offer substantial savings. Organic chicken breasts might cost $10 per pound at retail, but buying in bulk could reduce the cost to around $6-$7 per pound, translating to savings of 30-40%.
  4. Direct Farm Purchases:
    • Purchasing directly from a farm, especially when buying large quantities like a half or whole animal, can lead to significant savings. For example, buying a whole pig directly from a farm might average $3-$5 per pound (including processing), whereas buying the same amount of pork in various cuts from a retailer could easily double that cost.
  5. Long-Term Savings:
    • Beyond the immediate price per pound savings, bulk buying meat can contribute to long-term savings by reducing the frequency of grocery trips (saving on gas and impulse buys) and enabling bulk cooking and meal prep, which is often more economical.
  6. Wholesale Club Membership ROI:
    • Although wholesale clubs require a membership fee, the savings on bulk meat (and other items) can quickly offset this cost. For example, if you save $200 on bulk meat purchases throughout the year but pay a $60 membership fee, you’re still netting a significant saving.
bulk discounts

Bulk Discounts

Retailers often incentivize bulk purchases with attractive discounts. This pricing strategy benefits both the seller, by moving more products, and the buyer, who enjoys lower prices. These discounts are particularly appealing for large families or those looking to stock up on staple meats.

Capitalizing on these deals allows you to manage your food budget more effectively while still enjoying your favorite meats.

Reduced Packaging

Bulk buying is not only good for your wallet but also the planet. Purchasing meat in larger quantities typically involves less packaging per pound than individual portions.

This reduction in packaging materials means less landfill waste, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a simple yet impactful way to lessen your environmental footprint.

Freezer Storage

One of the great conveniences of buying meat in bulk is the ability to store excess in the freezer for later use. This not only extends the shelf life of your purchases but also ensures you have a variety of meats at your fingertips, ready to be defrosted and cooked at a moment’s notice.

Proper freezer storage involves using airtight packaging to prevent freezer burn, keeping your meat fresh and flavorful for months.

meal plan

Meal Planning

Having a variety of meats available in your freezer can greatly simplify meal planning. It allows for more flexibility in your weekly menu and reduces the frequency of shopping trips, saving time and energy. With different meats, you can easily adapt your meals to suit your mood or the occasion, whether it’s a quick weeknight dinner or a special feast. Bulk buying makes planning easier, ensuring you always have something delicious and ready to cook.

In summary, buying meat in bulk is a smart strategy that offers multiple benefits, from financial savings to environmental advantages and culinary convenience. It’s a practical approach that aligns with mindful budgeting and sustainable living, making it an attractive option for modern consumers looking to optimize their food purchases.

meat cuts

Where to Buy Bulk Meat?

Exploring where to buy bulk meat can lead you to various sources, each with its unique advantages and considerations. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular options for bulk meat purchasing:

Local Butchers

Pros:  A butcher shop offers personalized service and expert advice and often sources their meat from high-quality, local farms. This option allows you to support local businesses and sometimes even customize your order to your specific needs. 

Cons: Prices at local butchers can be higher than larger retailers, and selection might be limited by locally available availability.

wholesale club

Wholesale Clubs

Pros: Membership-based wholesale clubs are known for their bulk offerings, including various meats at great prices. These clubs are ideal for stocking up on large quantities and can offer significant cost savings on wholesale meat.

Cons: A membership fee is required, and the sheer size of bulk packages may be daunting for smaller households or those with limited freezer space.

  1. Costco Wholesale
    • Known for its quality meat selection, including organic and specialty meats.
  2. Sam’s Club
    • Owned by Walmart, it provides a broad range of meat products in bulk, catering to both families and businesses.
  3. BJ’s Wholesale Club
    • Offers a wide assortment of fresh and frozen meats, including bulk packs of poultry, beef, and pork.
  4. Restaurant Depot
    • Targets foodservice professionals but is also open to the public with a membership.

Online Meat Suppliers

Pros: The convenience of shopping from home and having meat delivered directly to your door is unbeatable. Online suppliers often provide a vast selection, including specialty and organic meats unavailable locally.

Cons: It can be challenging to assess quality online, shipping costs may be high, and there’s usually a minimum purchase requirement to qualify for free shipping.


Here are 10 reputable online meat suppliers where you can find a variety of meats, from everyday cuts to specialty and artisan selections:

  1. ButcherBox
    • Specializes in grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork delivered directly to your door.
  2. Omaha Steaks
    • Offers a wide range of gourmet meats, including beef, poultry, pork, and seafood, along with meal kits and sides.
  3. Crowd Cow
    • Connects consumers to high-quality meats from independent farms, offering grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and more.
  4. Snake River Farms
    • Known for American Wagyu beef and Kurobuta pork, providing high-end cuts for discerning meat lovers.
  5. Porter Road
    • Offers pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, cut by professional butchers and shipped fresh, never frozen.
  6. D’Artagnan
    • Specializes in organic, free-range meats and game, including duck, wild boar, and grass-fed beef.
  7. U.S. Wellness Meats
    • Focuses on grass-fed beef, lamb, bison, and other free-range meats, along with dairy and other healthy foods.
  8. Rastelli’s
    • Provides a range of meats, including antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and responsibly raised beef, poultry, and seafood.
  9. FarmFoods
    • Offers a marketplace approach, connecting customers to various farms for grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and more.
  10. Good Chop
    • Delivers American meat and seafood, including beef, chicken, pork, and sustainably sourced fish, right to your door.
farmers market

Farmers’ Markets

Pros: Farmers’ markets are a great way to buy fresh, locally-sourced meat directly from the producers. This option supports local agriculture and often provides access to organic and free-range meats.

Cons: Availability may be seasonal, prices can be higher due to the quality and sourcing of the meat, and selection varies by market.

Direct Farm Purchases

Pros: Purchasing directly from local farmers can offer the freshest meat possible and a direct connection to where your food comes from. This method often allows for buying in large quantities, like half or whole animals, at a lower price.

Cons: Requires a significant upfront investment and considerable freezer space. It may also involve a learning curve regarding meat processing and storage.

When choosing where to buy your bulk meat, consider your budget, storage capabilities, and personal preferences regarding meat sourcing and quality. Each option offers a unique set of benefits, whether it’s the personalized service of a local butcher, the convenience of online shopping, the savings at wholesale clubs, the quality from farmers’ markets, or the direct connection to farming practices through direct farm purchases.

whole pig

What is the best way to buy a whole pig?

Purchasing a whole pig or a whole animal can be a rewarding experience, especially if you’re planning a large event, like a barbecue or roast, or if you’re interested in stocking up on pork for your freezer. Here’s how to ensure you make the best purchase:

1. Determine Your Needs

  • Size: Consider how much meat you need and the size of the pig accordingly. A whole pig can weigh anywhere from 75 to 250 pounds (dressed weight).
  • Purpose: Decide whether you’re buying the pig for a special event (like a pig roast) or for various cuts to store and use over time.

2. Find a Source

  • Local Farms: Many prefer buying directly from a local farmer to ensure the pig was raised in good conditions and to support local agriculture. You can find farmers through local markets, agricultural directories, or online platforms dedicated to connecting consumers with local farmers.
  • Butchers and Specialty Stores: Some butchers and specialty meat stores offer whole pigs, either fresh or frozen, and can provide additional services like butchering or seasoning.
  • Online Suppliers: There are online platforms where you can order a whole pig, often with options regarding breed, feed, and raising practices.

3. Understand the Costs

  • Buying a whole pig usually involves paying by the hanging weight (the weight of the carcass, minus the head, blood, and innards) or the dressed weight (after further processing, if applicable). Prices can vary based on the farm’s practices, the pig’s breed, and local market conditions.
  • Be aware of additional costs, such as butchering fees if the farmer or supplier doesn’t include that in the price.

4. Plan for Butchering and Processing

  • If the pig isn’t coming pre-butchered to your specifications, you’ll need to find a reputable butcher. Some farmers may have relationships with butchers and can arrange this for you.
  • Decide how you want the pig butchered, considering various cuts of meat you regularly use and any special requests, like sausages or smoked parts.

5. Storage Preparation

  • Ensure you have enough freezer space to store the meat, as a whole pig can require a significant amount of storage room. A chest freezer is often necessary for storing all the cuts conveniently.

6. Place Your Order And Set Delivery

  • Once you’ve decided on a source, contact the farmer or supplier to discuss your needs, ask about their practices, and place your order. Confirm the timeline for raising, butchering, and delivering the pig.
  • Arrange for pickup or delivery. Some farms may offer delivery for an additional fee, or you might need to pick up the pig yourself, especially if it’s from a local source.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth process in buying a whole pig, from sourcing it ethically and sustainably to having it prepared exactly to your liking.

cuts of meat

Cuts of meat you can buy in bulk

Buying meat in bulk can include a wide range of cuts, suitable for various cooking methods and culinary preferences. Here’s a list of the best meats you might consider purchasing in bulk, categorized by the different cuts:


  1. Ground Beef: Versatile for burgers, meatballs, and sauces.
  2. Ribeye Steaks: Known for their marbling and flavor, perfect for grilling.
  3. Chuck Roast: Ideal for slow-cooked dishes like pot roast.
  4. Sirloin: Good balance of tenderness and flavor, suitable for steaks and stir-fries.
  5. Brisket: Essential for slow cooking or smoking, yielding tender results.
  6. Beef Short Ribs: Great for braising or barbecue.
  7. Filet Mignon: A tender and premium cut for special occasions.

Other options – rump roast, half beef, sirloin steak, top sirloin, and deli hot dogs. 


  1. Boneless Pork Chops: Quick-cooking and versatile for everyday meals.
  2. Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt): Excellent for pulled pork and slow-cooked dishes.
  3. Bacon: A breakfast staple that’s also great in a variety of dishes.
  4. Pork Belly: Rich in flavor, perfect for slow roasting or making your own bacon.
  5. Pork Loin: Can be roasted whole or cut into individual chops.
  6. Spare Ribs: Ideal for barbecuing or oven-roasting.
  7. Ground Pork: Useful for meatballs, sausages, and mixed meat dishes.


  1. Chicken Breasts: Lean and versatile, suitable for a wide range of recipes.
  2. Chicken Thighs: More flavorful than breasts, great for grilling or roasting.
  3. Whole Chickens: Economical, can be roasted whole or broken down into parts.
  4. Chicken Wings: Popular for appetizers and casual meals.
  5. Turkey Breast: Ideal for roasting and sandwiches.
  6. Whole Turkeys: Traditional for holiday meals and large gatherings.


  1. Lamb Chops: Quick to cook, with a tender and distinctive flavor.
  2. Leg of Lamb: Perfect for roasting, either bone-in or boneless.
  3. Lamb Shoulder: Excellent for slow-roasted dishes and stews.
  4. Ground Lamb: Key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.

Other Meats

  • Fish Fillets: Bulk buying can include salmon, cod, or tilapia.
  • Shellfish: Shrimp, scallops, and other shellfish are also available in bulk, especially frozen.
  • Game Meats: Depending on availability, meats like venison, bison, and elk can be purchased in bulk for their unique flavors.

When buying meat in bulk, consider your storage capabilities, as well as your culinary needs and preferences. Bulk purchases can be an economical way to enjoy a variety of meats, provided you have the freezer space and a plan for using or preserving the meat efficiently.

meat in freezer

Common Questions Asked About Buying Meat In Bulk

When considering buying meat in bulk, people often have a lot of questions about the process, the best practices, and how to make the most of their purchases. Here are some common questions and their answers:

1. Is buying meat in bulk cost-effective?

  • Answer: Yes, buying meat in bulk can be more cost-effective than purchasing smaller quantities. Bulk purchases often come with a lower price per pound and can lead to significant savings over time, especially for families or frequent meat consumers.

2. How do I store bulk meat purchases?

  • Answer: Proper storage is key to maintaining the quality of bulk meat purchases. Meat should be stored in the freezer, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or placed in airtight freezer bags or vacuum-sealed packages to prevent freezer burn and extend shelf life.

3. Do I need a special freezer for bulk meat?

  • Answer: While a standard freezer can suffice for smaller bulk purchases, a chest or upright freezer is recommended for larger quantities. This ensures you have adequate space to store and organize meat properly for easy access.

4. Can I buy organic or grass-fed meats in bulk?

  • Answer: Absolutely. Many suppliers and farms offer bulk organic, grass-fed, and free-range meats. These options may be more expensive but are sought after for their perceived health benefits and ethical considerations.

5. How long can I store meat in the freezer?

  • Answer: Storage times can vary depending on the type of meat and storage conditions. Generally, ground meats can last up to 4 months, steaks up to 12 months, and whole cuts like roasts up to a year or more if stored properly at 0°F (-18°C) or lower.

6. What should I consider when choosing a bulk meat supplier?

  • Answer: Look for suppliers with good reputations for quality and service. Consider factors such as the source of the meat, ethical farming practices, butchering services, delivery options, and customer reviews.

7. Can I buy a variety of meats in bulk, or do I have to stick to one type?

  • Answer: Many suppliers offer mixed packages or allow you to customize orders, so you can enjoy a variety of meats. This is a great way to diversify your meals and try new cuts.

8. What if I don’t have enough freezer space?

  • Answer: Consider sharing a bulk purchase with family or friends. This way, you can still enjoy the benefits of bulk buying without worrying about storage limitations.

9. How do I know I’m getting a good deal on bulk meat?

  • Answer: Compare the price per pound with local grocery stores and other bulk suppliers, considering the meat’s quality. Factors like organic certification or grass-fed diets may justify a higher price.

Armed with the answers to these common questions, you can make informed decisions about whether bulk meat purchasing is right for you and how to make the most of your investment.

frozen beef

A busy mom can save a lot of money and time by purchasing bulk beef from a grocery store, family farms, or sustainable farms. In the long run, once you get down the process, it’s easier to buy in bulk… as long as you have a deep freezer to store your purchases. 

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