Now with 50% more beef! While last year’s cow weighed 586 pounds, this year’s came in at a whopping 880. To accommodate, we added a few slots to the draft, bringing the total to 10.
The delivery arrived around noon. The shipment was six 100lb boxes; these things were massive. When the Fedex guys realized I lived in a third-floor walkup, they convincingly feigned injury and got the hell out of there.
I had a 600-pound problem. I just spent the last half-hour looking for Christian Slater’s “105-pound problem” speech from Very Bad Things to reference; the 1999 film, starring Slater, Cameron Diaz, Jon Favreau, a pre-mercury poisoning Jeremy Piven, and Daniel Stern, was the blackest of black comedies, nailing the “group of guys + bachelor party + Vegas = trouble” formula better than any other movie. It features an out-of-the-ballpark performance by Slater, probably his best ever. Remember, though: it’s dark. I couldn’t find the clip, but in the process I did find out that the movie was ripped off in hilarious fashion by the 2002 Indian film Panchathanthiram; corresponding scenes from the original film (NSFW; macabre as hell) and the Tamil remix are available for the curious.
This is what hauling a half-ton cow up the stairs looks like.
And Clara Peller, there’s your answer.
It turned out to be seven boxes total; the last one arrived separately, later in the day. We dumped all the beef out on the floor and sorted it categorically.
Much like Angkor Wat, the Grand Canyon, or the Orion Nebula, the pile of beef on my living room floor was too grand in scale for photographs to accurately capture; the sheer magnitude of the situation gets lost on film.
Regardless, here’s me on the summit of Mt. Ground Round:
This was only the ground beef. I repeat: this was only the ground beef. From one cow! There were over 300 one-pound packs.
It is only when you get a whole cow that you begin to appreciate ratios and the relative scarcity of certain cuts. This massive animal yields only one hangar steak (about a pound or so’s worth); two flank steaks (3lbs total), and two skirt steaks (4lbs in toto). This is less than 1% of the animal’s weight, and yet these are among the most frequently-seen cuts on menus. While the whole animal is out of the question, it’s nice to know that at least the muscle – the stuff we eat – is going to be consumed proportionately.
Jonathan and Carleen won the lottery and went for short ribs, continuing a Hoefler draft-day pattern of going for the braising meats. The lone hanger steak went #2. The rest was a big scrum of ribeyes, filet mignon, sandwich steaks (thinly-sliced London broil, which eliminates the toughness of that particular cut), Porterhouses, and braising meats, and once again: we were all winners.
Coming up: which of the grass-fed beeves takes home the gold?