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Where do you buy your meats?

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Joined Apr 27, 2021
I wanted to start a thread to find out tips and tricks for qualify meat at a good price. I've used local farms and tried making friends with the local butcher to purchase cuts that are about to expire. What's your thought or good links for places to go?
 

normanaj

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It truly depends on where you live.There"s no real answer.Locally where I'm at Aldis has been pretty kind as of late.Sometimes BJs is decent but for the most part I shop at Market Basket.Lots of good local farms to boot.
 

JC in GB

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I buy most of my meat from Gordon Food Service. I have heard that Sam's Club and Costco are good choices as well.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

ravenclan

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Like normanaj said, Depends on where you live. Here in Oklahoma and since my wife is retired Airforce i get most of my meat from the base or from the local grocery stores like Crest, Sams or Walmart but I am very cautious at Walmart since I have gotten bad meat from them.
 

Central PA Cowboy

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Walmart has the best meat, IMO. Best ribeye I ever had came from there. A tip one of my buddies gave me was to buy their frozen 85/15 beef patties for easy burgers. Buddy wasn’t kidding. Solid burgers.
 

olaf

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I have been running out of options around here. for a couple years walmart and sams were always off on their weight so if you took account of their finger on the scale the prices were the same as all the other stores. Quality has taken a hit this year so I just shop around. You will see that we all have different experiences around the country.
 

tallbm

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I wanted to start a thread to find out tips and tricks for qualify meat at a good price. I've used local farms and tried making friends with the local butcher to purchase cuts that are about to expire. What's your thought or good links for places to go?
Hi there and welcome!

As everyone has stated, it depends on where you are at.

In general for beef if you buy USDA Choice grade cuts of meat or better then you can establish that you aren't getting lower end quality of animal.

Next, each store may have a different experience. In Texas, at least in my areas, Walmart meat is the worst where almost all beef is Select grade which is lower quality than Choice grade.
Walmart notoriously hires people they believe they can get maximum "advantage" out of. Translation pay the least amount while getting just enough to keep the store going while keeping these people in these conditions as long as possible.
Also Walmart store practices are also geared to serve quantity over quality as corporate goal so they have organizational practices which are inherently in conflict with providing quality... I worked for them for a number of years while in college so I saw it first hand lol.

Other if a store generally works in higher quality products in general then their meat and produce is usually higher quality.
For example, Alberstons stores in my area are not as high quality as Tom Thumb stores even though Alberstons owns Tom Thumb. Since they share distributers some things of quality are shared between stores but I an guarantee that Tom Thumb will always be higher quality and Alberson's will lag behind in about 33% of areas for sure.

Kroger is also another odd one. Some Kroger's have great quality products in some areas but then other areas not so much. Sometimes it makes no sense but location often matters.

Finally places like Whole Foods and other higher end grocery stores specialize in quality and higher end items but it reflects in their prices.

Costco caters to quality so it's good to go. Sam's being owned by Walmart folks can be hit or miss with their same corporate practices.

I can tell you though that fresh from the field or farm is hard to beat even if lower quality. I would avoid trying to get "about to expire" from the butcher just to save cost.

Often stores like Tom Thumb, Albertons, and Kroger's run weekly adds where you can get a choice grade steak of some kind for about $5-$6/lb when you buy the family pack and their pork has always been good quality. So look up your local grocery store's online ads (new sales/ads start Wed of each week) and you can see grade, quality, and cost from your home before u go out and shop :)
 

smokeymose

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GFS for Brisket and boneless Butt. Costco for Belly. Meijer for everything else.
I gave up on Kroger after the 3rd time going for something advertised and them not having it.
I'd rather get hit with a stick than go to a Wal-Mart....
 

JLeonard

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Thankfully I have a couple of local family owned grocery stores in my area with their own in house butchers. And a pasture to shop farm not too far from me. I can usually get a pretty good selection of meats from them.
Jim
 

noboundaries

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Chicken and turkey? Anywhere it's on sale. I've tried a lot of different sources over the years and haven't noticed any difference. Generally try to buy all-natural but enhanced works, too.

Pork? A lot like chicken, but there is a difference between enhanced pork and all-natural. My wife prefers the enhanced so that's what I buy (Hormel or Smithfield). Got an untrimmed rack of Hormel spares smoking on the Kettle as I type.

Beef? I can usually find beef labeled Choice or better" on sale at Winco or local grocers in my area. The beef at Whole Foods and Nugget Markets (Norcal) is top notch and pricy. Costco is generally top notch but I hate the lines and crowds. The local butcher shop is WAAAY overpriced.

Although I prefer Choice grade beef, tri-tips have a lot of marbling so even Select grade works. I examine Select grade briskets VERY closely for marbling in the point. I've smoked a lot of tender juicy Select grade packers that were indistinguishable from a Choice grade one.
 

chopsaw

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I buy 99 percent of meat from GFS . I made several trips in to see when the meat case was full . I figure delivery day was Weds. , so I go on Thursday to get my pick .
to purchase cuts that are about to expire.
Same thing here . If you want a reduced price go in and check the sell by dates on the package . Then come back a day before , or on that day and see what's left / marked down .
 

sandyut

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I have used them all, Kroger, Costco, butchers etc. I have come to decide:
  • that the local butcher is just way to pricy. I can part with that much money for things I can gt all over for less.
  • Kroger has good sales and buy what is on sale when you can. I can get a chest freeze by my wife so...
  • Costco consistently has very good meat at competitive prices, but not as good as a good Kroger sale. Some meats on come in multipacks at Costco which is a problem for a household of 2. so that is a factor.
 

bill1

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For me, Costco has the best quality meats; Smart & Final the best value.

Walmart is lousy for meat and merely Not Good for produce. But great values in dairy and frozen meats (meatballs, sausage patties, rolled tacos, etc). And if one has a "bakery" the 99cent french bread (esp the whole wheat) is worth a trip.

The wife likes one-stop shopping so she just buys everything at Safeway. To me, it's mediocre at everything.

Hate to divert the thread but a special shoutout to Walmart for their frozen hash-brown patties. They're like 3x cheaper than anyplace else! Best dollar food you'll ever buy. :emoji_laughing:
 

noboundaries

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Since we're talking about meat, one more thing. Parting a chicken takes no time at all, as like a couple of minutes. I've watched YouTube videos where people do it in less than a minute. I take my time. A sharp knife or two is essential.

A whole fryer usually costs around a buck a pound, sometimes a little more or less. Buy four chickens, part them, and you end up with 8 legs, 8 wings, 8 thighs, and 16 breast pieces if you whack each breast in half closer to the thick end. 4 backs are great for stock and/or soup. Vacuum seal in the combinations you like and freeze.

I never bothered parting chickens until I relearned how to stone-sharpen my knives. I usually just bought the pieces I wanted. Now it's fun parting whole birds.
 

jcam222

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I buy 99 percent of meat from GFS . I made several trips in to see when the meat case was full . I figure delivery day was Weds. , so I go on Thursday to get my pick .

Same thing here . If you want a reduced price go in and check the sell by dates on the package . Then come back a day before , or on that day and see what's left / marked down .
I buy some meats at GFS. I use the same strategy. Sometimes instead of coming back in a day or two I’ll just bargain with the manager. He knows me now, sometimes he stops me and asks if I’m interested in case pricing on things that are approaching reduction dates or overstocked.
 

mcokevin

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I have been running out of options around here. for a couple years walmart and sams were always off on their weight so if you took account of their finger on the scale the prices were the same as all the other stores. Quality has taken a hit this year so I just shop around. You will see that we all have different experiences around the country.
The weights at Walmart around me are off too. Mom bought some ground beef last time my folks were down to make burgers. I guess they count on most people not having a food scale. I make 6.5oz patties for adults and 3oz patties for kids -- turns out to be exactly 2lb of beef between four adults and two kids. Mom bought a "2lb" pack of ground beef from WalMart, and even after EVOO, S, and P added I still came up short of beef!
 

Mike's Meat

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I wanted to start a thread to find out tips and tricks for qualify meat at a good price. I've used local farms and tried making friends with the local butcher to purchase cuts that are about to expire. What's your thought or good links for places to go?
I buy at Sams here in Southern NJ. Once in a while I'll go to the butcher. They are a lot higher in price but the quality doesn't really justify it.
 

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