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Feb 8, 2007 03:45 PM

Buying a Steak in NJ (butcher shops)

I know there are plenty of places to buy a great steak in NYC. But what about on the Jersey side (Northern NJ preferred) for someone who will pay for quality but isn't quite "chowhound" enough to take a trip over the GWB to buy a couple steaks.

How about someone that carries USDA Prime Choice...not talking Whole Foods here, looking for a butcher that can be my "go to guy" for that steak craving at home. Any thoughts?

Why does it always seem that the best steaks in NJ have to come from a restaurant?

Thanks for your help

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  1. I'm in central Jersey and the only place I've seen Prime grade steaks is at Wegmans. They are my go-to butcher, as I've found them to be the best price for the best quality, I have yet to buy the prime from them, if I want to get a $35 steak I'll go out to a steakhouse that knows what they're doing, cause I know, that one time I splurge on the Prime steaks, my grill will act up and I'll have ruined $70 worth of prime beef! EEK!

    Also, if you have Sams Club, or BJ's, or Costco near you, you might want to inquire with the butcher there, they might be able to get you a whole big slab of Prime, if you're willing to pay for it...

    Good luck and happy eating!

    15 Replies
    1. re: TarheelYankee

      Good call with Wegmans...thanks for your help.

      1. re: TarheelYankee

        I buy Costco" PRIME.....they buy top quality prime beef,....and why do they have very good beef ??......they buy at great quantities for all their stores across the USA, so the beef wholesalers treat them very well....Costco has the buying power for better beef......

        1. re: Kiddart

          I have a friend who is an old school butcher. He will tell you he can not compete with Costco & other big box stores. He will also tell you they buy on bid and their prime meat is the lowest level prime there is, not much better than top choice. Its also in the cryovac bag within 24 hrs after its kill.

          My guy cherry picks from hanging beef that has been on the hook for 12 days dry aging before he cuts off the sub primals. He will then hang the sub primal on the bone as long as the customer wants. His dry aged top choice is worlds above Costco's wet aged low prime & his high prime is to die for.

          If you have a really good private butcher, I think you will be disappointed with big box stores.

            1. re: Kiddart

              It's actually on Old Hwy 22 a/k/a. State Rt. 173, at 23 Old Hwy 22. Main St is the parallel street to street just to the north. This post from a long time Clinton resident.

            2. re: Tom34

              Ok, so who's you're guy? He sounds great. I'm sure he would appreciate the extra business?

              1. re: creamfinger

                He is in Philadelphia, about 15 minutes from South Jersey. His business is not retail but he will sell whole sub primals to the public. To make it worth his while, I try to get several guys together and buy several whole boneless (12 - 15 lb) striploins at a time. We then cut them up and vacuum seal them.

                Westwood Prime Meats in Westwood NJ has a pretty good reputation if thats closer than Philly.

                If your close to NY City your close to the prime beef capital of the world. Most high prime in the Philly area comes from NY City.

                Once portioned & vacuum sealed it freezes great. If your a big steak lover a trip to the big city for a whole sub primal or 2 might well be worth it.

                1. re: creamfinger

                  Go see Paul Murray at Elite Meat in Clinton, NJ. Right on Main St just a couple doors east of the stop light at Leigh St. He will hook you up right. And I mean right.

                  1. re: Kiddart

                    Kiddart, I see you are new to Chowhound. Welcome!

                    Since your only posts are about Elite Meat, I must ask if you are in any way connected to this (fairly) new butcher?

                    1. re: ambrose

                      Hi Ambrose,

                      No,I'm not in any way connected. I live right around the corner from Elite and am an avid supporter of Paul's as well as many other local Clinton businesses! Thx for checking in. All legitimate.

                      1. re: Kiddart

                        Thanks Kiddart. There aren't too many hounds in Hunterdon County so I hope you will continue to post about places you like around here.

                2. re: Tom34

                  Very good, long as the butchers customer is willing to pay $25.00 a lb and MORE !!....actually, one cannot critisize this butcher, he's fighting a losing battle to what he describes as "inferior prime"

                  1. re: LEOFONT

                    Restaurants can get commodity boxed bottom prime anywhere. His willingness to bring in high quality hanging prime beef is what keeps him in business.

                    Commodity boxed prime beef can't even begin to compare with the products he sells.

                    Truth be told his top choice hanging beef is as good or better than bottom prime. When he hangs it on the bone for 3 to 4 weeks it will blow away Costco Prime.

                3. re: LEOFONT

                  I used to hear nothing but really great things about Costco beef and I got some years back that was pretty good. Recently though I have read that much of their meat is now needled which is quite upsetting. Really good quality beef does not need to be needled.

                  1. re: Tom34

                    Someone needs to tell this to my wife, she's been needling me for years!!!

              2. I don't know where you are located in New Jersey, but my go-to butcher is Kocher's in Ridgefield Park. They are a German butcher shop, but have all types of prime meats. It's a pristine shop with old-time butchers. Here is the address if you are interested:
                Kocher's Continental Specialty
                634 Bergen Boulevard
                Ridgefield, NJ
                (201) 945-7086

                3 Replies
                1. re: Kathysab

                  Thanks a million, that is only a few miles from me, I will try it next week and let you know.

                  1. re: Kathysab

                    kocher's is a holy hound spot...from prime meats to german potato salad...i make a weekly trip there for all my meats, deli, wursts, homemade pickles, fresh sauerkraut, etc...simply the best!

                    1. re: Kathysab

                      Kocher's is not cheap, but it is a lot less than a place like Wegman's especially considering the quality. The butchers there (and there's a whole team of them) are tops, and they sell prime meats and do special orders. It is also very hard to find good pork (most of the best pork in the US is exported to Asia), but this is the place to buy it. In addition, they make all their own sausages and wursts, and have old world specialty cold-cuts. If they have it that week, the veal tongue loaf is a must-try, as is the fresh pickled Herring -- but call first because they don't always have those. Definately the best meat market I know of in NNJ.

                    2. Not to add to the Wegman's fans, but once you go Wegman's, you never go back. Isn't that the saying? Top quality meats and fish. A little pricier than other supermarkets, but well worth it to treat yourself.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jethro

                        Since the Manalapan Wegmans opened, it is the *only* place where I buy fish and seafood. They have an excellent selection, and everything is always pristine! I occasionally buy steak from the fresh meat counter, and they have also been of good quality.

                        1. re: RGR

                          STAY CLEAR OF WEGMAN'S PORK, and CHICKEN! Beef is another story, they have good steaks.

                          1. re: nyebaby37

                            nyebaby, can you elaborate why one must stay clear? I'd like to know. I've only had good experiences with Wegman's.

                            1. re: nyebaby37

                              I also do not like Wegman's chicken. It is consistently tough.

                          2. re: jethro

                            "A little pricier ??"....a LOT pricier........

                          3. The original comment has been removed
                            1. This might be a bit of trek for you, but there is a place called Green Village Packing in Green Village (next to Madison, NJ) that is an abbatoir and sells to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can't get any fresher than that! Excellent quality and service.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: JrsyGrl

                                The Fairways in Red Hook, NY always had awesome meats, dry aged steaks. Now that NJ has some locations, that would be a good place to look. (sigh, how I miss shopping at the Red Hook one)

                                1. re: Quine

                                  I found Costco's "prime" beef to equal some steakhouses, and at 15-21 dollars a pound, that's a heck of a lot cheaper than private butchers....Costco has the buying power to get the best for the best price, smaller stores can't compete.....Kochers in Ridgefield Park is excellent
                                  I have tried Green Village beef and it's TOO fresh, very gamey tasting

                                  1. re: LEOFONT

                                    Although this thread is dated I see someone revived it with some new posts so I will add my $.02 for what it's worth. After exhausting myself over the years for the best quality steaks for at home grilling/consumption my favorite steaks are at the Butcher Counter of Food Town in Red Bank NJ. They are not Prime just Black Angus which in my opinion can be a variety of deferent things depending on who you speak to....but for the size, thickness they are always tender and flavorful and overall delicious. They are not cheap at $20. +- (filet close to 30 lbs ) but well worth the price for the quality they deliver. In my 15 years buying steaks there NEVER a bad steak.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      Used to frequent the Foodtown butcher counter as well. Found the prices at Monmouth Meats (Monmouth Street, Red Bank) to be much lower and the quality to be higher. The butcher will age steaks for you upon request.

                                      1. re: fershore

                                        Age whole primals or individual steaks? The latter results in an old rancid steak.

                                        1. re: fershore

                                          I used to go to both these places as well. If I need a specific smaller cut I'll go Monmouth meats but for daily eating it's really hard to beat costco.