I just discovered that a large local regional food service supplier for restaurants, retail groceries, etc., has a "will call desk" at their warehouse where you can purchase products at very good cost. You go to their web site, select the items you want, they confirm availability & email a quote, you place the order and pick it up within a day or two. They seem to have everyting from uncooked meats to sauces, condiments & spices to kitchen equipment & consumables. The catch for me seems to be you have to buy the way they package a particular item. For example, one of many brisket options is a certified angus prime packaged as a case of 5 briskets at approximately 15 pounds each - you pay for the actual weight of each case. Other examples: split chickens (1/2 chickens) are packaged as a case of "15 head" or 30 halves; butts are packaged in cases of 10 at 80 pounds (pretty sure these at the 2 butts per vacuum pack & 5 packs percase).
I rarely need 5 briskets or 10 butts at a time, but it's not uncommon for me to cook a couple briskets, 3-4 butts or 6-9 racks of ribs at a time. I've got plenty of freezer space. Assuming the pricing works out and I want to try some of this, what do y'all think of freezing items not needed in the short term; some items come frozen so its only a matter of thawing what I need and keeping the others frozen. I've had pretty good luck frozen uncooked butts and chickens that are vacuum packed, have no experience with brisket or spare ribs. I've gotten so much great advice here I would appreciate any opinions y'all might want to offer.
Finally, many meat items are cross-referenced with some kind of industry standard numbering system that, for example, identifies a whole packer from a flat. Does anyone know what this system might be and where I can learn more?
03-06-2013 03:29 PM
Look up the IMPS guidelines. Industrial Meat Purchase Specifications, this is one of the best ways to learn to understand the meat you are buying. It will work fine if you make a buy and the quality is there, and you have the freezer space.
03-06-2013 03:32 PM
Exactly right landarc
03-06-2013 03:48 PM
Thanks landarc & onexchef, I'll do some IMPS reading and probably make a buy to see if I like the quality.
Landarc, I saw your post on BBQ Thinking and coincidentally noticed when I was looking at this suppliers web site they offer several "BBQ" items like 5@3lb bags of pulled pork per case, either sauced or plain. Wonder how much of that chit is passed off as a "pulled pork sandwich lunch special". Sick!
03-06-2013 04:51 PM
Absolutely no problem cooking previously frozen briskets and ribs.