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#1
11-30-2006, 01:30 PM
 Diddledog Guest Join Date: Nov 2006 Posts: 63
How many McDonald's burgers from one cow?

I recall hearing one time about how many McDonal's burgers you could get from one cow -- the regular hamburger size patty, not the bigger ones. The figure was huge, so big that I couldn't beleive it even though those burgers are small and cows are big.

I don't recall the number or the calculation, but does anyone know how many you would get from one cow or steer?
#2
11-30-2006, 01:33 PM
 Exapno Mapcase Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2002 Location: NY but not NYC Posts: 29,351
McDonald's hamburgers are ten to a pound. So just multiply the amount of meat available on a cow by ten and that's your answer. Somewhere in the high thousands for most cows. In real life, of course, most of the meat on a cow would be diverted to more expensive cuts so no more than about a thousand tops could be made from any individual cow.
#3
11-30-2006, 01:36 PM
 Q.E.D. Charter Member Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Richmond, VA Posts: 22,536
Well, let's see: The patties weigh 1/10th of a pound each, precooked weight. You can get about 500 pounds of edible meat from your average bovine according to various sources, so that works out to about 5,000 patties out of one those bad boys.
#4
11-30-2006, 01:56 PM
 Diddledog Guest Join Date: Nov 2006 Posts: 63
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Q.E.D. Well, let's see: The patties weigh 1/10th of a pound each, precooked weight. You can get about 500 pounds of edible meat from your average bovine according to various sources, so that works out to about 5,000 patties out of one those bad boys.
Wow.

1,000 or 5,000, either way that's a lot of hamburgers standing there munching grass.
#5
11-30-2006, 02:18 PM
 The Controvert Guest Join Date: Sep 2001 Location: Austin, TX Posts: 3,757
It's not really all that surprising. Volume scales by the cube law, so if you mush the patty into a cube, 1000 cubes is just 10 cubes deep, 10 cubes wide, and 10 cubes high. A cow has much greater volume than that.
#6
11-30-2006, 02:35 PM
 yabob Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2000 Posts: 7,788
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase McDonald's hamburgers are ten to a pound. So just multiply the amount of meat available on a cow by ten and that's your answer. Somewhere in the high thousands for most cows. In real life, of course, most of the meat on a cow would be diverted to more expensive cuts so no more than about a thousand tops could be made from any individual cow.
Somewhat modified by the fact that McDonald's hamburgers include meat from "retired" dairy cattle. I imagine that a larger percentage of those carcases goes straight into hamburger - you don't want a t-bone off of some dried out milk cow.

Cecil reported that McDonald's meat includes dairy cattle:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_097b.html (third question).

Cecil also seems to agree with the "about 100 pounds of meat used for hamburger from one cow":

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_186.html
#7
11-30-2006, 04:33 PM
 UncleRojelio Guest Join Date: Nov 2004 Location: ATX Posts: 6,029
I guess it depends on how much sawdust they add.
#8
11-30-2006, 04:45 PM
 Gary Robson Charter Member Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2003 Location: Montana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,449
The average weight at slaughter varies significantly from breed to breed, but the a yield of 60-64% is pretty constant. Typical beef cattle around here are around 900-1200 pounds at auction time, so that would be roughly 540-770 pounds each.

As others mentioned already, pre-cooked weight of a McDonald's burger patty is 0.1 pounds. Assuming 100% beef, no additives, we're looking at 5,400 to 7,700 burgers per steer.
#9
11-30-2006, 09:24 PM
 DaveRaver Charter Member Join Date: Mar 1999 Location: Great South Bay Posts: 703
One thing to keep in mind though is that one hamburger contains meat from parts of many different cows, not just one. So the real question is how many cows from one burger?
#10
11-30-2006, 10:27 PM
 spingears Guest Join Date: Jul 2003 Location: KNOXTN Posts: 4,334
Quote:
 Originally Posted by UncleRojelio I guess it depends on how much sawdust they add.
No sawdust in cows.
The give milk not MickyDees but pleas to "eat mor chikn."
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#11
12-01-2006, 08:52 AM
 SCSimmons Guest Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: Arlington, TX Posts: 3,260
Suddenly reminded of back when Jay Leno was funny. "McDonald's just announced that they served their one billionth burger last week. Can you imagine that? A billion burgers! They must have killed about six cows!"
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