A trip to the grocery store.
Another, benefit is you didn't really think about how much beef cost when all you had to do was grab a pack of hamburger from the freezer. I was shocked again the other week when I went to go pick up a ham for my cream of potato soup. A small, little, tiny (getting the point it wasn't big) ham was $20. Um no thanks. I instead went with a ham steak to satisfy my recipe needs.
So what are people supposed to do?
One option is check with your local 4-H club to see when their achievement or sale day is. These are usually in the spring through the summer. My old 4-H club worked on partnering up 2-4 people to buy one animal since most couldn't fit a whole animal in their freezers. Also, 4-Her's and their leaders have a grasp of what a quality animal should look like and how much finish (fat cover) should be on the animal. That way you'll know you'll be getting something tasty. Plus, you'll be supporting an awesome youth program.
Through one of my Twitter friends I also came across this site, GroupMeat. Wouldn't it be great if you could visit a site like this and purchase you pork, beef, chicken or lamb directly from the farmer in packages.
I know there are numerous way to purchase your protein, what are some of the ways your family does it? And if there is ever anyone out there that needs to purchase some beef let me know. I might have a farmer friend in your area that could help you out.