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Aug 22, 2006 06:16 PM

Boston butchers for great steaks

[The Chowhound Team moved this tangent from a steak cooking thread on the Home Cooking board. Its original location is here:
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Dear hounds,

Thanks for all your advice! I don't mind all the disagreement about the heat, marinading, etc. It gives me ideas for techniques to try. It's just so much fun to talk about the subject of meat with people who care as much as I do.

A question for Boston hounds -- where do you buy meat? I've tried Dewar's and Savenor's. Sometimes they are good, sometimes not. The prices, on the other hand, are always up there. Any other places I should try? We are in Belmont, so metro west area would be the easiest for us.

Thanks again :)

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  1. Well, I usually get my meats at Savenors, but sometimes, since they're also a wholesale provider to many leading restaurants, the very best stuff is gone.

    When I want a sure-thing, no-doubt-about-it amazing steak, I get them at:

    I've tried buying online from Peter Luger and others, but this is the best (IMHO).

    1. When I want steak I usually go to McKinnon's in Davis Square, they have great prices on ribeyes and tenderloin, and mix this in with a weekend visit to The Burren. If I see a nice steak at Shaw's or Whole Foods I might buy it on a whim. I'd have to be in special state of mind to get one at Savenors or Dewars, something I haven't done yet, but I did get some kobe "steak tips" and fois gras at Savenor's a few weeks ago and they were great, of course. Can't be doing that too often.

      1. I don't really eat that much red meat, so I'm not sure if I can offer any "best of" advice, but when I do, I like to buy it from River Rock Farm in Brimfield, MA. I've always liked what I get when they come to the farmers markets in town.

        Alternatively, I've tried the bison at Wild Oats in Medford, and it was pretty good. (I know that's not what you asked, but maybe their beef would be good too.


        I've only have sausages and duck from Savenor's, but their Wagyu beef looked good the last time I was at the Cambridge location.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gini

          I've never bought from them, but the steaks I've had in restaurants from River Rock have all been great.

          I'm definitely going to try them soon.

          Savenor's wagyu beef does look very good, but at $49 per pound for sirloin it should probably also come with a handie.

          1. re: gini

            We buy almost all of our beef from River Rock at the Thursday farmer's market in Brookline. Further out your way, their website says that they do two different Tuesday markets, in Newton and in Lexington. Their steaks are excellent, although you may take issue with the fact that everything's pre-packaged and wrapped in butcher paper, so you can't see what you've got till you get it home. However, we have never been disappointed with a River Rock Farm steak.

            At the end of the farmer's market season last November we did a big blow-out and stocked the freezer - although we only eat beef about once a week, so it did go a long way - and we placed another order in early March which they delivered on one of their weekly runs in to Boston restaurants and shops.

            We have also been very happy with steaks from D&R Meats at 58 (or 56?) Salem Street in the North End, but that's less convenient for a shopper from Belmont.

            1. re: Allstonian

              That's why River Rock isn't at the North Ave Bridge Farmer's Market on Thursdays anymore! I did the same thing last year at the end of the season - stocked the freezer. Everything we've had was worth the $$, steaks, ground beef, even the burgers were that good. I haven't bought from D&R but that's actually convenient for us - would you say it's comparable?

              1. re: Rubee

                I think so. Allstonian and I live in Allston -- hence the name -- so the Coolidge Corner Thursday market is much more convenient for us than D&R, but the steaks we've had from D&R are equally fine. Plus, since the steaks are cut to order at D&R, you can specify thickness or cut, which is nice. As I recall, price per pound is roughly equivalent.

                Having just gotten through our first batch of the preformed burgers from River Rock, my personal feeling is that I would probably be just as happy with a box of Bubba Burgers from BJs. The River Rock burgers are very good, of course, but I'm not convinced that they're worth the extra cost, and frankly, I'm rather unhappy with the shape, which is roughly similar to a cross-section of a meatloaf.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Thanks! Will definitely check D&R out. I know what you mean about the 'cut' of the RR burgers - it's thick and oval, almost too thick. But I loved the flavor - it's the only burger that I could bring to a cookout and nobody would notice it wasn't my "usual" - (my secret ingredient to burgers tends toward the pat of jalapeno butter in the middle). And I've got to try me a Bubba Burger. Seriously, that must be a good burger to keep in the freezer - it's come up on other CH posts. :)

            2. re: gini

              I've always had excellent experiences dealing with the River Rock Farm for beef. Great local family and product.

            3. I love McKinnon's in Davis. They have some of the most tender steak tips I've ever tried!

              1 Reply
              1. re: emmie

                Nice to see another McKinnon's and steak tip fan.

              2. High quality, but pretty expensive: Savenor's (Beacon Hill and Cambridge near Dali), The Butcher Shop (South End), John Dewar & Co (Newton, and I hear there's a second one in Wellesley).