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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
ICTBBQ
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Default Butcher Shop or Big Box Store for Meat

Is there really that much difference in the meat from a butcher shop?

I went in to a local butcher shop yesterday, looking for 5-6 slabs of baby backs. They only had two in the case, so I asked if they had any more in the back.

The one of the two teenagers working said he would check. He brought out a box of FROZEN ribs from the same supplier as our local WalMart. At this point I inspected the ribs in the case (which still had ice on them) and noticed they don't look any better than WalMart's. I took a look at their prices ($6.99/lb) and decided if they're charging almost double the other store's prices, they should have fresh quality meat, not the same as the big box stores.

Has anyone else had this experience?

How do you know when a butcher is a good one, or just selling the meat they pick up at WalMart and jacking the price up? How did you pick your Butcher?
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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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Walmart ribs are enhanced around here. I'd think the ones from the butcher shop would be natural, unless they don't know what they are doing.

When you buy pork from WM, you are paying for 8% to 15% sodium solution, so figure that into your price. Not to mention, they'll tend to taste hammy, instead of porky.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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The animals are out in the back of the shop I go to. Pretty darn fresh there!
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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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The only butcher shops I am familiar with around here also has frozen meat,ribs at least, and since it takes me almost an hour to drive to these places I think it is easier to buy from Walmart which is only 30 min. away. A buddy of mine has found a butcher he says he likes in a small town but when he wanted to buy a packer brisket the butcher did not know what it was, so I decided I probably am not interested in that butcher.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
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I buy from one of two butcher shops in grocery stores around here. But, the meat is never frozen, all sources are trackable and the meat is all very good quality. I can't eat as much mrat due to cost.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 11:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
Walmart ribs are enhanced around here. I'd think the ones from the butcher shop would be natural, unless they don't know what they are doing.
That was pretty much the impression I got. Not sure the kids working were even legal to use a knife. That and the packaging - both box and vacuum pack were identical to those at my local WalMart.

I won't be shopping at that butcher shop anymore.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
SNIP... all sources are trackable and the meat is all very good quality. /SNIP
How can you tell, or what questions do you ask to find out?
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I can't eat as much mrat due to cost.
You eat rat?

I've got a number of butcher shops around me and the meats from Whole Paycheck available as well. I've checked them all and really I can't say that I've found them any more visually appealing (or tasting when I have bought) than my Sams or Restaurant Depot, so I get my meats there. I'm sure some are organic, or something or other, but I've seen others pull meat out of boxes and cryo's that looked very much like the same thing where I'm buying from.

If the cheaper meat makes you happy...
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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i use 3 sources, butcher shop, rest. depot and bj's wholesale club, i find the ribs at bj's are the best they have the perfect amount of fat in/on them and great flavor, restaurant depot is alot cheaper but quality is hit or miss i have to dig through case to find good ones, the butcher wants too much for packer briskets $5-$6 per lb so they come from rest depot, butts come from depot or bjs, chicken from bjs - depot chickens are all fat and dont have as good texture and taste IMO, butcher is good for bacon roasts, full hams, prime rib roasts and fresh rashers (irish bacon)
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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We Q'ed some wally world ribs. Didn't taste good at all.
I only buy ribs from the butcher now.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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I do not buy meat/pork/chicken from wally world, I don't care how much they campaign that they've 'revamped' that department.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
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I apologize if this is off topic, but it does relate to meat that I bought at 2 different places. Last weekend I smoked a couple of slabs of BB ribs from Sprouts and a couple of slabs of loin ribs from Costco. All of them were bought fresh but had to be thawed after pulling them from our freezer. As I was standing over them and putting rub on, I kept noticing a strong smell (I won't call it an odor, but it may have been heading in that direction). I did a sniff test and the loin ribs from Costco were the culprit. I wrote it off as "maybe my nose is more sensitive today". Stupid, I know. After smoking them, I could still get a hint of that smell. I was the guinea pig and wouldn't let anybody else eat them, and they "seemed" okay - not great. I'm still alive and kicking and have had no issues since eating them, but if I ever have that suspicion again, I think I'll play it safe and just throw them away.
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICTBBQ View Post
How can you tell, or what questions do you ask to find out?
The butchers either show where the meat is coming from, most are from packers with brand identities, such as Niman Ranch, Harris Ranch, Beeler's etc...or they are local and feature animal tracking, such as MarinSun Farms and a few others. The other thing is these are small shops and the butchers actually know what they are selling. If I ask for a packer, or a tri-tip, they understand what it is I am talking about.

Now, when I cook for other folks, I buy from RD or Smart and Final, as packers there are cheaper and most folks don't care that the animal lived a happy life on sweet grass in view of the ocean. They just want meat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nthole View Post
You eat rat?
...
What, you don't?
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Unread 04-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #14
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It certainly depends on the butcher. My FAVORITE butcher in the whole wide world only carries prime beef and their pork is always top notch quality. All beef is cut to order, so you won't find steaks already sliced.

I did a side by side test with his ribs last summer and the ribs of a so-so butcher... no comparison. The flavor, meatiness of the amazing butcher... it was like heaven. The price is crazy high, but I figure that I'm putting a lot of time and effort in to my barbecue, so I might as well go with the best!
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Unread 04-12-2012, 01:00 PM   #15
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There are 2 butcher shops in Houston that I truly trust. I feel comfortable paying a premium for their product and have proven the results. They will dry age upon request and primarily handle certified angus products. One shop handles the Strube Farms Wagu briskets, which I feel are the best on the market. I will only buy chicken , fresh, and never frozen, from a butcher shop or commercial processor. (placed in the top 3 in every competetion last year)I try to avaoid Wal-Mart meats at all cost but have purchased butts or ribs at Sams Club. The local RD is a good source for butts/ribs and normally has at least 3 grades of brisket to selct from.
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