This is rather off-topic, but I thought the subject so quirkily New Yorky that it was worth blogging about.
I have a friend who like to grill meat. So much so that he goes in with a dozen or so friends and acquaintances to buy a bespoke cow from a farmer upstate. This ensures them quality product, as well as the peace of mind of knowing where your meat is coming from. When the animal is butchered, the meat is driven down to Brooklyn where the investing parties gather in my friend's backyard and divvy up the shares.
I always thought this would be an interesting ritual to observe, so I asked my friend to let me know the next time his cow came to town.
First of all, I have to say I was stunned at how much meat one cow could produce. There were boxes upon boxes of frozen meat wrapped in butcher paper. There were more than 150 one-pound packages of hamburger alone. It never ended. Even divided among 16 people, each participant walked away with enough beef to last them four months.
Every cut was divided into piles. What couldn't be evenly distributed in 16 shares was debated over. This took a couple hours. The backyard became a bazaar, with people bartering over briskets, sirloins, flank steaks and porterhouses. The size of the cut, whether it had a bone or not, how much the meat would fetch in the supermarket—all these factors and more had to be weighed in order to execute an even trade. I would have been bilked for sure had I been involved in the negotiations. I like beef, but don't know one cut from another, and know nothing of the more expensive pieces because, frankly, I never buy them. Someone would have stuck me with ten extras pounds of ground meat and made off with my sirloin.