At the risk of going into too much detail, I am going to show you the typical cuts I get when I direct the butchering of a whole beef.
For customers already familiar with directing how a beef should be cut, I figure you already have your own ideas, and that's terrific.
I am providing this information mostly for customers who are unfamiliar with the process. My goals are to make it less intimidating for them, and to reign in expectations. It would be nice if half of a cow could be ribeye steaks, but that's just not how things work.
I'll show you the cuts I get. You can see I keep things simple. You could ask the processor for numerous additional steaks or roasts, and this would decrease the percentage of the meat that is ground...
DISCLAIMER!!! This example is for illustration purposes only. It represents an average or typical outcome...
Roasts 30% of meat
CHUCK BLADE (crock pot): 20 roasts at 2.5# each
ROLLED RUMP (oven): 6 roasts at 3.5# each
SHORT RIBS (braising ribs): 10 packages at 4# each
BRISKET (smoke or crock pot): 2 roasts at 6.5# each
Steaks 15% of meat
FILET (tenderloin): 16 steaks 1" thick, total 6.5#
RIBEYE (boneless): 20 steaks 1" thick, total 12#
NY STRIPS (boneless): 24 steaks 1" thick, total 12#
SIRLOINS (bone in): 10 steaks 1" thick, total 25#
FLANK: 2 steaks, total 2.5#
Ground 55% of meat
200+ pounds... This is packaged in single pound vacuum sealed packages. At no cost, a significant portion could be one pound packages of cubed lean stew meat instead. At some additional processing cost, ground beef can be made into patties (4 patties in a one pound package).
Some things to consider...
Steaks: You can direct how thick steaks are, choosing 2" instead of 1" for example. And you can direct how many go in each package. Family of three? Three per package. You're a couple? Two per package... I prefer boneless steaks because bones tend to pierce the vacuum packaging, compromising their long term durability in the freezer.
Roasts: I cut for one slicing oven roast--rolled rump--and one slow cooker fall apart pot roast--chuck blade. There are numerous others you could get, including skirt steaks, sirloin tip, various other chuck and round cuts. The way I cut gives me more ground, but it makes sure that the ground is full of good meat and is fantastic.
Organs & Bones: You can receive, if you want them, one tongue, one tail, one heart, and eight packages of liver. All you need is some good recipes! You can also ask for soup bones: typically you would get two types: femur bones (hollow, with marrow inside) and joint bones.
The vacuum packaging, if its seal holds, can preserve meat in the freezer for a very long time. I've eaten things that were in my freezer for multiple years, no problem. It's not like the old paper-wrap which lasted maybe one year.