How much meat are we getting?

When I have an animal slaughtered…

How much eating meat will I get?

Frankly, there’s no exact answer to this question.  Here are some of the reasons:

  • Each animal is built differently. One may have more muscle, fat, or bone than the next.
  • Meat can be close-trimmed or left with some fat on. Cutting preferences can determine quantity.
  • Meat can be boneless or bone-in. This will make a difference in the weight and amount of meat you put in your freezer.

Weight loss during slaughter and processing of meat from live animals to table-ready cuts should be expected.


Slaughtering removes blood, hide, and inedible parts from the animal.  In beef, veal, and lamb, it would account for an average loss of slightly less than half the original live weight of the animal.  The slaughter loss in hogs averages about one-quarter of the live weight.

After slaughter, the carcass will weigh considerably less than before.  The percentage remaining can be estimated:

Beef        58% - 65%
Pork        70% - 73%
Lamb      48% - 52%

Example:  If your steer weighs 1100 lbs. live, it will most likely weight 638-715 lbs. when slaughtered or ‘dressed.’  This is 58% -65% of the live weight.


Processing is the cutting of the ‘dressed’ or carcass meat into ready to cook portions. Processing accounts for another loss in weight as excess fat and bones are trimmed away. Not only does trimming make meat more appetizing, it also reduces required freezer space and often eliminates further preparation in the kitchen. The more fat and bones removed for convenience, the greater the decrease in pounds. The fatter the carcass, the lower the final weight of the table-ready cuts will be.

After processing, your table ready meat will weigh less than the carcass did before processing. The percentages of closely trimmed, mostly boneless cuts remaining from dressed weight can be estimated:

Beef 50% - 65%
Pork 60% - 75%
Lamb 45% - 60%

Example: if your pork carcass weights 170 lbs., expect approximately 102-128 lbs. of closely trimmed, mostly boneless eating meat after processing.  This is 60% - 75% of the dressed weight.

Meat from an average half of beef (800 lb whole carcass) consists of approximately:

18 T-Bone Steak OR New York Strips & Filets (3/4”)
16 Ribeye Steak (3/4”)
8 Top Sirloin Steak (3/4”)
16-20 Round Steak (3/4”)
4 Chuckeye Steak (3/4")
10-12 Chuck Roast (3lb)
3-4 Arm Roast (3lb)
3 Sirloin Tip Roasts (3lb)
1-2 Rump Roast (3lb)
8 pkg Stew beef (1lb) (can be ground)
12 pkg Soup Bones (1.5lb) (can be trimmed)
6 pkg Short Ribs (1.5lb)
1 Slab Back Ribs (2lb)
100-120 lb ground beef

(Variety meats, if desired, such as liver, heart, tongue, and oxtail. Brisket & Flank will automatically be ground unless requested.)

Meat from a typical half hog (from a 250 – 270 lb. live animal) consists of approximately:

40 Pork Chops (1/2” thick)
2 Shoulder Roast (4lb)
12 Shoulder Steaks (1/2” thick)
1 Ham (15-18lb; can be cut smaller)
1 Rack Spare Ribs (2lb) (can be trimmed)
2 Hocks (can be smoked/trimmed)
8-10lb Belly (can be bacon or side pork)
6-10 lb ground pork/or ground sausage.

(Variety meats, if desired, such as liver, heart, tongue, and fat/lard.)

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