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Do you use a butcher? - Page 2

post #31 of 39
Thread Starter 
After readig your comments a few days ago, I checked the prices at a few butcher shops and meat departments. Even the most ourageously expensive shop didn't have prices that compared to whatyou mentioned with the exception of two cuts, and even then the prices only approached your quoted figures. Even Whole Foods, AKA Whole Paycheck, had prices that were closer to half what you noted.

There are two other butcher shops I'd like to check as it's been a while since I've visited them. They focus even more an meats from small, local herds, and they may in fact have somewhat higher prices than the places I've already checked. Frankly, I doubt their prices will even come close to the prices you've mentioned.

$12.00-lb ground beef is outrageous - someone's getting ripped off.

Of course, your comments make me wonder what the differences are between the farmers market beef and the Costco product. I can think of a lot of possible differences, although none that I can think of would require such outrageous prices as you've noted.

post #32 of 39
Nah there's no way they have enough room in their stores for a couple hundred a day.
post #33 of 39
Now granted I do wear glasses and have the need for bifocals but I had the DW and DD check what I saw. I know there was a 12.00lb next to the ground beef and a 17.00lb next to the steaks and they confirmed it for me. Yet on the outside chance that we mistook things.......and I have no idea what the difference was. Yet I still stand on the fact that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Costco beef and many smaller butchers probably pull from the same beef pool as Costco.
post #34 of 39
I'm not exactly sure who gets Costco's meat before Costco. But they don't even handle full "packers" on some cuts. For instance, only brisket "flats" go in the stores.

There's a range of Choice graded meat. Call it best, medium and barely. The SoCal Costco's I've shopped from have all been pretty consistent at providing mid-level Choice at prices which, for similar quality meat, are about 15% below regular supermarket prices.

There's nothing all that special about Costco meat, nor is there anything all that special about their prices. "On Sale" is cheaper, and I have particular sources who provide good prices for certain cuts -- or I buy a "packer" or half a packer and break and steak myself. That's usually a 1/3 off retail. or more.

All beef in this country is processed in a government inspected plant. Unfortunately, since the Reagan administration federal inspection doesn't mean what it used to. And the situation became much worse during the Bush period, inspections have become rare and cursory due to a shortage of man power, lack of morale and bad management. That's not politics or "conspiracy theory," it's simply history. There are state inspection schemes, and in California, those are still fairly robust.

I have no doubt that Costco beef is as wholesome and safe as beef provided by any butcher. Costco certainly goes the extra mile for everything else -- including paying their employees decent wages.

I buy hamburger and ground pork from Vien Dong III Superfoodwarehouse (yes, one word) in Rosemead because it's priced so low, is very fresh, and VD has GREAT fish and produce. The butchers all speak at least a couple of Asian languages, some English and maybe some Spanish. English is usually their weakest language, so blank looks and pointing are an important part of any transaction. I was buying ground meat to make meatloaf and the ground pork was looking pretty fat, so I asked what percentage of fat was in the ground beef. This involved all 6 butchers stopping what they were doing and everyone trying different languages. Eventually we hit on one that got the question across. Another huddle. The answer came back, "Nobody know."

Now that's a butcher.

post #35 of 39
Shell, regional might be the name of the game. We don’t even have Costco nearby, the closest one is in Birmingham (other end of the state and a much larger population center), as far as I know. There might be a few more around Huntsville but I’m not sure. This is Wal-Mart country and of the two close by me, one doesn’t even have a butcher in the store, just a “meat manager”.:eek:

Winn-Dixie is a grocery store in the South East, they are known as “The Beef People”. When dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a little girl, they actually could back that up. The Winn family was from Alabama (Montgomery to be exact) and the family owned large cattle yards. The best place in all the world to buy beef was the Winn-Dixie store in the eastern part of Montgomery. That was the store that the older members of the Winn family shopped in. My grandmother would always order her Christmas standing and crown rib roasts from that store (drive 35 mph down the highway to get it :lol:) and they were divine. Back then there was a good chance that the cow took its last breath with in miles of the store. Not so now, the Winn family divested and while the store still carries stuff that is special order elsewhere, it’s not the same.

My husband went to the “upscale” grocery store (the pay more for the privilege of shopping there place) recently and bought a family pack of country style ribs (Boston but cut into “ribs”) and a family sized ground beef. Since we are a family of 7 we buy the bigger packages and freeze. We separate and pack the meat as we are putting away the groceries. The teenager is assigned this task.

She put away all but what was to be cooked for dinner the next night. When I went to get the “ribs” for dinner the next night, they smelled like death. I defrosted the beef and it was stinky too. Not sure what happened, but like I want them to replace it with more meat from their store.

As I said in the previous post, my best friend owned and operated a butcher shop. And yeah a lot if not most of the butcher shops in my area get their meat from the same place as the grocery stores. Sadly the largest and oldest of our locally owned butcher shops is the one from which you would not want to feed your dog from (although you’d have to be in the business to know that). However, her former partner’s parents own a shop that is not just a butcher shop but a slaughter house as well and I’d eat off their floor. Too bad they are well over an hour’s drive from my house.

Shortly after the earth’s crust began to cool, my husband lived in Kansas. His “first family” was pretty large as well (His and ours together make 9 children and 9 grandchildren so far). He and a friend would go in halfsies on a cow every year, and take it to the slaughter house because it was the cheapest way for him to provide meat for the family. We’ve talked about doing this, but with pork not beef (the kids prefer pork) but I need an extra deep freezer first.

I’m not sure if it would be economically viable for you, but maybe you have a slaughter house/butcher shop near you. Hey, if not you could always call Shroomgirl she loves to break down pigs. :smiles:
post #36 of 39
I usually buy my meats at a Kroger owned store. I have tried some local butchers with no success. The one who grows his own hogs, cows, chickens, and ducks sells to restaurants in Chicago first and the rejects were sold in his small store on his farm. We bought some pork chops for $1 per pound. When we got home with them, there was more fat and bones than meat. The chicken was ok but at $2 per pound and no real discernible difference from the grocery store "Golden Plump" chicken, I"ll pass on the added expense. The Boston butts ($1.59/lb, I think...been awhile) we bought for smoking were not any better than the ones on sale for $.99/lb. Other people, I know, bought meat from him and it was spoiled when they got home with it. He just opened his store in March or April and I noticed that the sign on the highway was gone a couple of weeks ago. I guess he couldn't make a go of it. No surprise there! For 2 or more times the price of the local grocery stores, you'd better sell excellent quality meats or people won't continue to give you their business.

Then there's the butcher we called for 6 Boston butts to prepare for a funeral dinner last fall. We didn't ask for sale prices or any special favors, just needed the butts quickly. They were out of date two days before he sold them to us! That is NOT what I expect when paying regular price for meat. I don't have a problem buying reduced meat but wouldn't even purchase it two days after the sale by date.

I used to frequent a small local owned grocery store that had really good meats. I paid a little more but felt it was worth it because of the quality. Their meats suddenly went downhill and I rarely ever set foot in that store anymore.

For now, I'll just keep buying where I get consistent quality. Oh yeah, they have onsite butchers at the Kroger owned stores so I can get them to cut or slice items for me and they've even given me butcher's twine for free when the store didn't have any for sale.
post #37 of 39
I do both, buying from Sysco and/or Ritz, as well as a local butcher.
It depends on what I'm after, the time-frame, etc.
The quality and pricing is comparable.
The main reason I use the butcher is for the service.
I can get special cuts.
I can get items on short notice, like call him now and receive it later today.
I can by bulk and have him store it for me, shipping it as I need it. (Ritz will do this for me occasionally as well, like when I buy long on the prime rib just before the holidays or summer, when I know the prices are going to spike).
I can also buy long on non-butchered items, like 100 cases of prawns, etc., and my butcher will store it for me, dropping off what I need from that stock with my regular order.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
post #38 of 39
>> See?

oh yeah. a whole lotta companies need to rethink their existence.

in the mid-80's I worked with a company that blatantly and with full intent set out to become "customer oriented" - we completely re-engineered / overhauled the _entire_ joint, top to bottom.

in two years sales went from 300 million to 600 million, kept on going.

service is good; lip service no work.
post #39 of 39
I find that meat from the butcher is more expensive than meat from the supermarket. When hosting a dinner party, I usually buy my meat from a butcher - I get to choose exactly what I want. For my usual during-the-week cooking, the prepackaged Supermarket meat is fine.
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