best national chain grocery for usda beef? [moved from L.A. board]
i don't have a hows, bristol farms or whole foods close to me.
i do however have ralphs, albertsons, henrys and stater brothers close-by. costco and sams club are also choices.
which one has the best grade of beef?
I'd imagine that all the places you mentioned above carry "choice" grade beef. Maybe they try and fool you with terms like Vons uses like "Ranchers Reserve", which is proabably still choice grade.
I prefer Costco because of the prices, package size and the product turnover seems to be pretty high.
I don't disagree with Costco, but if the Ralph's near you has a butcher counter they also have some choice and prime beef. For dinner last night I bought a choice grade tenderloin that was marvelous! They don't cut to order (I had to use two precut pieces of beef to get my 4lb roast), but they will trim. The prepackaged meat out on the coolers is not as good.
Costco is the hands-down winner, even over WF, unless you have a good specialty butcher and are willing to pay the price. The selection of cuts is limited however and you have to buy in large quantity so be prepared to use or freeze.
I think Albertson's/Acme beef has better flavor on a consistent basis than Von's/Safeway, especially the sirloin. And great sales.
"Rancher's Reserve" is a made-up designation that doesn't corelate to any USDA grading but allows Von's latitude in what they sell so the quality varies. Our local store just got a frou-frou upgrade with a meat counter that super trims the meat and cuts to order at the same price. The butcher says it's identical to the wrapped meat in the cases, but for show. At the end of each shift, they wrap it and put it in the cases.