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Buying a Steak in NJ (butcher shops)

TedyB Feb 8, 2007 03:45 PM

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

  1. t
    TarheelYankee Feb 9, 2007 05:55 AM

    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!

    12 Replies
    1. re: TarheelYankee
      TedyB Feb 10, 2007 09:00 AM

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

      1. re: TarheelYankee
        LEOFONT May 4, 2013 05:57 PM

        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
          Tom34 May 4, 2013 06:58 PM

          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: Tom34
            Kiddart May 4, 2013 07:15 PM

            Yeah baby, that's right.

            1. re: Tom34
              creamfinger May 5, 2013 01:03 AM

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

              1. re: creamfinger
                Tom34 May 5, 2013 03:18 AM

                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
                  Kiddart May 5, 2013 09:26 AM

                  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
                    ambrose May 5, 2013 09:32 AM

                    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
                      Kiddart May 5, 2013 09:43 AM

                      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
                        ambrose May 6, 2013 10:15 AM

                        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: LEOFONT
                Tom34 May 4, 2013 06:16 PM

                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
                  jrvedivici May 6, 2013 10:48 AM

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

            2. k
              Kathysab Feb 14, 2007 07:48 AM

              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
                TedyB Feb 16, 2007 10:32 AM

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

                1. re: Kathysab
                  kleinfortlee Mar 3, 2007 05:45 PM

                  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
                    Batard Mar 13, 2007 11:43 AM

                    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. j
                    jethro Mar 13, 2007 06:40 PM

                    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.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jethro
                      RGR Mar 15, 2007 08:31 AM

                      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
                        nyebaby37 Mar 21, 2007 02:33 PM

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

                        1. re: nyebaby37
                          nixienox Mar 26, 2007 10:30 PM

                          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
                            JrsyGrl Jun 22, 2012 02:41 PM

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

                      2. j
                        JrsyGrl Jun 22, 2012 02:41 PM

                        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
                          Quine Jun 22, 2012 04:52 PM

                          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
                            LEOFONT Jun 22, 2012 06:50 PM

                            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
                              jrvedivici Jun 23, 2012 06:21 AM

                              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
                                fershore Jun 25, 2012 10:46 AM

                                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
                                  Tom34 Jun 25, 2012 05:17 PM

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

                                  1. re: fershore
                                    Mr. Bingley Oct 16, 2012 05:11 AM

                                    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.

                          2. t
                            Tom34 Jun 23, 2012 07:48 AM

                            There are a few steakhouses that serve dry aged HIGH prime but you could easily add a $100.00 to that $35.00 per steak. Most good steakhouses serve boxed beef "top choice" that has been wet aged 3 to 4 weeks in the bag which more often than not eats the same as LOW prime but at a significantly lower cost. Wet aging and cutting whole boneless primals is very easy to do at home and if cooked properly it will be as good as the average steakhouse at a fraction of the cost.

                            Costco has it ...individual steaks and whole primals.

                            BJ's has it...individual steaks and whole primals.

                            Sam's in S.J.... switched to bottom choice.....miserable supermarket crap.

                            IMHO: Bottom prime from the big box stores is not worth 2 to 3 times the cost of really good top choice. High grade prime is a whole different story and a whole different price range. NYC is the hub for true high grade prime. Aside from going there, best bet to get it would be to have an independent like Kocher's bring it in for you.

                            Have seen top choice & low prime at COSTCO's.


                            1. s
                              Spaetzle75 Jun 24, 2012 07:34 AM

                              Do you want prime or choice? two different grades.

                              1. e
                                eatinman Jun 28, 2012 07:45 AM

                                Have read through the replies...

                                I do shop at Costco - but prefer independent butchers and moved recently to Somerset County, are there any great butchers in or near Somerset?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: eatinman
                                  riverman18 Jun 28, 2012 07:29 PM

                                  If Scotch Plains isn't too far for you, I'd recommend John's Meat Market on Park Ave. Friendly guys and they know their stuff. Quality has kept us going back for over 10 years.

                                  1. re: eatinman
                                    Forklaw Jul 3, 2012 12:30 PM

                                    Eatinman - Hind & Fore on Route 28 in Bridgewater is an independant butcher and has prime steaks.


                                    (OK - it's not much of a website but it has their contact information)

                                  2. steinpilz Jun 28, 2012 08:07 AM

                                    The Arctic Market in Point Pleasant is a new place, its website does say that they sell Prime and Choice, I have not been there yet but read about it on Chowhound recently.


                                    1. e
                                      Epicurium Jun 28, 2012 12:52 PM

                                      Corrado's in Wayne has a dry aged beef section behind it's meat counter. Although we have been there several times I just noticed it recently. I didn't check prices or quality but like everything else Corrado's you need to use descretion.

                                      1. e
                                        ELA Jun 28, 2012 08:53 PM

                                        Is Prime and Beyond in Fort Lee still selling out of their butcher shop? I haven't been there in years. It's not cheap. Korean butcher/steak place. Don't let that fool you. High-quality, high-end, steak.

                                        They expanded to a small restaurant. Check it out. There's a lot out there on the internet about it.

                                        Echo on Kocher's.

                                        1. phDuh Jun 29, 2012 07:25 AM

                                          I went to the Swiss Pork Store in Fair Lawn for the first time, recently, and was really blown away. They have all kinds of wursts, sausages, etc, but I believe they cut their own steaks, too. Check the site, and call them to find out.


                                          1. j
                                            jiffypop Jul 2, 2012 10:06 PM

                                            Check out the Farm View Pork Store in Pompton Lakes. A German butcher who really knows his meat. If he doesn't have it, he'll find it for you. I once bought an $80 prime roast that i barbecued [VERY nervously], but it came out perfectly.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: jiffypop
                                              ELA Oct 15, 2012 08:21 PM

                                              So where in PL is this place? Has it been there long? Can you share anything else about the place? Thank you in advance.

                                              1. re: ELA
                                                jiffypop Oct 16, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                Here's more info about Farm View Pork Store. It's basically right in the center of the Pompton Lakes business district. http://www.insiderpages.com/b/3718180...

                                                It's been in existence for about 60 years now, The current owner trained under the original owner, and bought the store about - oh I'm gonna say about 25 years ago [maybe a little longer]. He has his own smokehouse, which means he makes his own bacon and smoked pork chops [divine!]. He also makes homemade soup, ham salad, and a few other things, and has some imported German specialties. He also does special orders [we've always ordered hams for Easter and for Christmas from him - excellent!]. Prime beef. grinds his own hamburger. Trains local kids in the butcher trade. loves dogs, too..

                                                1. re: jiffypop
                                                  ELA Oct 16, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                  Sound very good. Thank you very much for the info.

                                                  1. re: jiffypop
                                                    ELA Oct 17, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                    Drove by the place today. I didn't have a chance to stop in, but it was crowded. A few local people I know rave about the place...and of course I wondered why they never told me about it before. LOL. Actually, one friend said he never thought to tell me about the place because he didn't think I'd go there, it was out of the way, etc. Doesn't matter -- I'll go! LOL. Thanks again for the info.

                                                    1. re: ELA
                                                      jiffypop Oct 19, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                      Glad to help! i hope you enjoy it. BTW, I think I forgot to mention that they supply Rosemary and Sage with meat. And Bob the Butcher will also tell you how to cook it. thank goodness! i never would have made it through that barbecue without his advice. We also swap recipes in general - can you tell my family has been going here for a long time? :)

                                                      1. re: jiffypop
                                                        ELA Oct 19, 2012 02:06 PM

                                                        Rosemary and Sage is right down the street and around the corner (a 5 to 10 minute drive). That in and of itself is an excellent endorsement. Sounds like you are a very satisfied customer -- and I can see why. Thanks again.

                                              2. d
                                                deuzie Oct 16, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                John's in Scotch Plains. You won't be sorry. This is the Jersey version of Lobel's.as far as quality is concerned. http://www.johnsmarket.com/

                                                1. ambrose Oct 17, 2012 06:16 AM

                                                  This will not help the OP but if you live in or near Hunterdon County there is a new butcher shop in Clinton. It's called Elite Meat and is located at 23 Old Route 22 (a.k.a. Route 173 to some).

                                                  I have not been to this place but am planning to get up there towards the end of the week. I searched for a web site but could not find one. However, they do have a Facebook page with some limited information.

                                                  The only comment I've personally heard was from a friend who said Elite Meat is really good and that I should go.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: ambrose
                                                    TedyB Oct 19, 2012 12:37 PM

                                                    Wow, just checked into this string again, glad to see it revived. I'm going to try Artic in Point real soon. I've been using Monmouth Meats for a few months now, and he hasn't disappointed.

                                                    1. re: TedyB
                                                      ooi82much Oct 19, 2012 12:59 PM

                                                      My first experience with Arctic Meat in PPB was not overwhelming: they were featuring marinated meats and products "ready to throw on the grill." Not a bad thing, just not my thing.

                                                      This summer, I tried them again, and they're my go-to butcher at the Shore.

                                                      Dry aged beef, grass fed beef, baby backs (not pre-seasoned), pork butt... a great season of grilling and smoking (meats), and they take a personal interest in what you're doing and how it turned out.

                                                      Fine example: Bought their grass fed ground beef, seasoned with black pepper and herb salt, grilled to medium -- so juicy and tasty my guests asked what I "did" to the burgers to make the best they'd ever had. These are 50 year old carnivores, mind you.

                                                      That said, I also love the Black Angus franks from the Colonial Market in Point Boro. Worth a special trip from the Beach.

                                                      1. re: TedyB
                                                        MGZ Oct 20, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                        The restaurant Ivan & Andy's in Asbury Park was selling their dry aged steaks to take home. If you're located somewhere between Red Bank and Point Pleasant, it would definitely be worth checking out. They are excellent. Better than Artic or Monmouth (both of which I like).

                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                          jrvedivici Oct 20, 2012 08:31 AM

                                                          That's interesting about Ivan and Andy's I know Ivan introduced himself as the butcher upon my one and probably only visit there. There use to be law(s) regarding restaurants selling uncooked products to the public for take home preparations. I wonder if that has changed or if the fact he is a butcher has something to do with it.

                                                      2. re: ambrose
                                                        maetman Oct 21, 2012 04:33 PM

                                                        Elite meat is absolutely wonderful well worth the money

                                                        1. re: maetman
                                                          ELA Oct 21, 2012 08:13 PM

                                                          Where is Elite Meat? Clinton?

                                                        2. re: ambrose
                                                          Forklaw Oct 22, 2012 12:42 AM

                                                          Ambrose and Maetman - Where in Clinton is Elite meat? Near what?

                                                          1. re: Forklaw
                                                            deirdreo Oct 22, 2012 03:32 AM

                                                            Kochers or Hind and Fore -- don't care for anything about Johns.

                                                            1. re: Forklaw
                                                              ambrose Oct 22, 2012 04:33 AM

                                                              The location is given in my initial post, above. I think it's right next to Plaza Cleaners; if not, it's very close.

                                                              I went to Elite Meat on Friday and came away with some wonderful looking pork chops. If you use Facebook, there are some great pictures there of the chops.

                                                              I didn't have much time so had only a quick look around. The place is pretty small but the quality of everything is top notch. I believe all the beef is prime so make sure you take $$$ if beef is what you're after! They also have Bell & Evans chicken but I can get that at Stop and Shop for a dollar less per pound. They also have some kind of relationship with Karl Ehmer Meats since they carry 8-10 items from Ehmer, including meat loaf and sausages.

                                                              As I was on the way out I noticed that they also carry ravioli, including pumpkin ravioli, one of my faves.

                                                              1. re: ambrose
                                                                Kiddart May 4, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                It is right next to Plaza Cleaners in a little 2story brick storefront. Old 173/Main Street in Clinton. Paul Murray is the proprietor. Apprenticed in Ireland and been in the trade 35yrs or so. Dude knows his stuff. Spent 10-12 years as top guy behind the counter at Lobels, in fact. Product is best available, absolutely all prime. He does his own wet/dry aging process that delivers succulent cuts. He also knows how everything cooks based on the relative marbling and fat content over every cut he sells. He's got pretty much everything but recommend if you call in advance for large or special orders as he is doing brisk business and occasionally sells out of key items like ribeye and strip. Anything you want he can get with a couple days notice too. Highly recommend!

                                                          2. k
                                                            Kiddart May 5, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                            Same thing at Elite in Clinton, NJ. New butcher shop, experienced butcher. Heaven in a small town.

                                                            1. l
                                                              lemarais May 5, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                              Westwood Butcher is terrific, but for some better deals of course there is FAIRWAY.

                                                              1. c
                                                                coldbeer May 7, 2013 05:13 AM

                                                                I went for a prime dry-aged NY Strip from the Meat House in Summit the other day and it was way to funky for me. I was up all night last night and had to eat 15 tums. I hope the folks at John's in Scotch Plains forgive me for straying.

                                                                1. jrvedivici May 7, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                                  "I can get a hell of a good look at a T-Bone steak by sticking my head up a bull's ass, but I'd rather take the butcher's word for it"

                                                                  I'm sorry, one of my favorite food quotes from a movie. For those who don't know....the deceased Chris Farley in Tommy Boy.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                    ELA May 7, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                    LOL. That scene was funny.

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