Frequently Asked Questions

We process livestock by appointment only. Please use our booking tool or call 903.989.2293 to book an appointment for processing. You may withdraw feed from your livestock up to 24 hours before processing, however, do not take them off water. We also ensure all livestock have access to water while penned at our facility.

First step for processing an animal with us is to use our booking tool to make an appointment.  There are currently extended wait times for appointments. We will send you an email with more instructions at the time of booking.  The second step is to drop the livestock off on the appropriate date/time. A trained employee will assist in unloading your livestock at the animal pens. Appointments are typically between 8-9 am on the day of your appointment.  At that time, we will go over your cutting instructions with you.  Cutting sheets are available on our website if you would like to review the cutting options and begin to complete your sheet before your drop-off.  If need be, we can call another stakeholder in the meat to take an order after that time.  Please have all necessary contact information ready at drop-off.  Please be aware additional fees may be incurred for specialty cut requests or quartering.  For the final step, we will call/text you when your order is ready!  All the meat will be frozen and boxed.  Each cut of meat will be individually labeled with your name and what cut it is.  We ask that you plan to pick up your order in its entirety as quickly as possible.  After 35 days, we consider the meat abandoned.  Payment is expected at pick-up; cash or check is preferred.  We ask that you call when you are on your way to pick up the order, giving us a 30-minute window.  This will allow us to get the boxes pulled from the shelves and be ready to load you up quickly.  You may want to bring coolers or blankets to cover the boxes, but that is usually not necessary to get your meat home frozen. We expect your order to be picked up within 15 days of the ready notification to avoid storage fees of $1/box per day.

We realize each of our customers has put time and money into their livestock or hunt. It is particularly important to reap the fruit of your labor and we guarantee that you get your meat back.
Bluebonnet Meat Company utilizes a computerized tracking system. This tracking system starts with your appointment and continues through the entire butchering process. This includes the livestock back tag, carcass tag, a tag for each cut of meat, a tag for each individual batch of sausage, recipe cards, smoker tags, product labels, box labels, freezer location labeling and then, finally, scanning each box out of the freezer for loading into your vehicle.
In addition, the State of Texas Meat Quality Assurance Inspector monitors our tracking program to ensure our controls are working.  If you would like to receive more information about how we track meat through our system, please ask and we would be happy to walk you through the system in detail.
Please note, most deer processors use “batch processing” to be able to increase profit and productivity. Although it would be an easy solution for us, we separate each game animal and batch of sausage by the customer’s order. Again, we know how important the treatment of your game meat is.  We guarantee you will get your meat back!

We do not publish a retail price list because meat prices change with the market.  If there is a particular price you are looking for, please feel free to call or email.  We can get specialty cuts of meat with advance notice.  If you are looking for something special, please contact us.
For livestock processing prices, please click here or for game processing prices, please click here.

Yield is an important aspect of butchering meat.  It is quite a dramatic transformation to bring a large, live animal to the plant and take it home in small, brown boxes.
Bluebonnet Meat Company strives to return as much meat to our customers as possible.  We pride ourselves in making each package of meat presentable and enjoyable to prepare and eat.  We hope to strike the perfect balance of art and craft and economy that all butchers strive for.
There is quite a variation on yield, but we don’t want you to take our word for it. Please check out these awesome, university-published resources:
Beef Yield: https://extension.psu.edu/understanding-beef-carcass-yields-and-losses-during-processing
General Yield: https://animalscience.psu.edu/outreach/programs/meat/pdf/the-butcher-stole-my-meat.gif
General Yield: https://www.asi.k-state.edu/research-and-extension/meat-science/Overall%20Cutout.pdf

For the most part, beef, lamb and goat are humanely harvested with a captive bolt stunner and pork are harvested with an electric stunner. There are occasions where a gun is used, however, that is the minority. We are Animal Welfare Approved audited, as well as being continually monitored by the Texas Meat Safety Assurance Unit for humane livestock handling.

We hang your beef for a minimum of 7 days (unless you request shorter) and we limit beef aging to 14 days.  This limit is in place due to the high demand of our services and to help as many customers as possible.  After 7 days, aging is $10/day, maxing out at an additional $70 for 14 days of aging. 
We are happy to recommend an aging time appropriate for the fat cover and size of your beef carcass.

Processing time varies widely depending on which products are ordered.  Small animals can be processed as quickly as 4 days (depending on drop-off and types of cuts), but hams and bacon can take as long as 3 weeks to process.  The bulk of time between drop-off and pick-up is often used by allowing the meat to hang in our refrigerator which develops tenderness and flavor for your finished product. For beef, anticipate an additional week for processing after your requested hang time.

Each freezer is sized by cubic feet – check the size of your freezer to see how much room you have available.  A rule of thumb for meat volume is 30-35 lbs. of meat per cubic foot of freezer space.  Please see the cut-out yield information in “How much meat should I expect to receive from my livestock?” to determine roughly what you will be taking home and need to store in your freezer.

Our facility and process is Texas State Inspected which allows us to process your livestock for resale.  This process assures the health and welfare of the animal, as well as ensuring we follow stringent food safety standards.  You need Inspected processing if you are planning to re-sell your meat in individual packages.  Normally, this would be in a retail setting like a grocery store or a farmer’s market.  Please note, choosing Texas State Inspected processing when you do not need it does not assure your meat will be safer.   It does, however, expose your carcass/order to the possibility of longer wait times due to antibiotic and food safety testing.  Currently, we are unable to smoke any meats under inspection (for resale), however, we are working to change this in the future.
Custom processing follows the same standards as the Texas State Inspected process, however, each package is marked “Not For Sale” and cannot be resold.  If you have a quarter or half of the carcass sold on the hoof, it is ok to choose a custom processing appointment.

All local meat processing plants have been facing unprecedented demand for services since the beginning of the Covid Pandemic.  We believe that customers have a desire to return to the security of having a safe, wholesome supply of meat stored at their home.  We are very honored to be able to help with this, however, the current high demand is pushing scheduling far into the future.  Please understand that we have increased appointments and reduced hang times to help as many customers as possible, as quickly as possible. 
Deposits are required so that we can accurately plan our schedule and avoid having appointment slots going unused.  We understand life and weather may impact your ability to make your appointment and we will work with you as we are able.  Please see our deposit policy here.

We do not have the licensing to process live poultry or poultry parts under inspection.  We do process boneless game poultry into sausage, however.

No.  Wild game can be brought in any time during business hours.  If you have large game, we ask that you call ahead to notify us so that we can have the appropriate amount of help to unload it.
During deer season, we have a 24-hour self-drop-off cooler open.  You are welcome to drop your game there anytime.  Please follow the instructions for drop-off posted outside the cooler.

Finishing beef is a matter of personal preference and there are a great number of experts on the process. We recommend connecting with local feed stores or your local ag extension office to determine the best plan for your pasture, facilities, budget, and your feeding goals.
Here are some articles for your reference on grain finishing beef:

https://www.drovers.com/news/beef-production/finishing-beef-calves-farmhttps://arrowquip.com/blog/animal-science/cattle-feed-plan
https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g2066

 

Here are some articles for your reference on grass finishing beef:

https://www.progressivecattle.com/topics/feed-nutrition/finishing-beef-on-grass
https://www.hayandforage.com/article-1363-Grass-finished-beef-need–high-energy-forages.html
https://practicalfarmers.org/2019/06/finishing-cattle-on-grass-lessons-learned-from-pfi/

The older the animal is, the tougher the meat will be. After four years of age, we recommend only saving the tenderloin and possibly the ribeye. Outside of those cuts, we would put the rest into ground beef. If the animal is lean, you may also want to consider adding fat to your ground beef. We will add it at a ratio that you order (for instance 80 lean/20 fat).
Despite our recommendation, we will be happy to cut your meat to order, however you see fit.

That depends entirely on the medicine!  Check all labels before administering to livestock you intend to eat.  They have scientifically validated withdrawal times listed in the instructions.