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Where to buy ribs at the St. Lawrence Market

Googs Jun 26, 2007 10:57 AM

I purchased ribs from Town & Country Farms in the SLM Farmers Market on the weekend. They turned out to be the only bad ones I've made this year. Tough even though they weren't dried out & had been marinated for 2 days. Go figure.

Does anyone know a reliable butcher for baby back ribs?

  1. y
    Yongeman Jun 26, 2007 11:34 AM

    Costco is reliable and reasonable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Yongeman
      jessi20 Jun 26, 2007 05:21 PM

      2nd costco..not to fatty, not too lean. perfect for the grill. never had a bad experience and very well priced.

    2. m
      millygirl Jun 26, 2007 11:41 AM

      Believe it or not, I've always had great luck with Loblaw's. I know, it surprises me too!!!

      1. t
        tochipotle Jun 26, 2007 11:45 AM

        I've had some great ribs from Whitehouse meats at the SLM...and good pork chops too!

        1. s
          Smalph Jun 26, 2007 11:50 AM

          I get all my "standard" meat from Bob at Upper Cut in the SLM. He doesn't carry buffalo and ostrich and horse like Whitehouse, and it's not organic hand-fed-and-massaged-by-nymphs like Whitehouse, but he's never done me wrong. And it reminds me I am due for a nice backyard ribfest.

          (and I am almost embarrassed and surprised to agree with Yongeman that Costco's meat is surprisingly good... but I try to support Bob when possible)

          15 Replies
          1. re: Smalph
            tochipotle Jun 26, 2007 12:18 PM

            Smalph - you reminded me - where is Upper Cut located in the SLM? If it's the one I'm thinking of...I had some great ribs from there last year...

            1. re: tochipotle
              Smalph Jun 26, 2007 01:11 PM

              Just north of Future Bakery, just west of Olympic Cheese, middle aisle.

              And while you're at SLM, head down to Domino's (the dumpy store in the corner of the basement) and see if they still have the *phenomenal* deal on truffle oil. The (amazing) brand I paid Caviar Direct $22 for one of those itty-bitty bottles, that Domino's is charging $38 for 500 ml. Not for your ribs, but good to have on hand. It was on the wall right next to the checkout.

              1. re: Smalph
                tochipotle Jun 26, 2007 01:25 PM

                That's the place! Ribs were great - and they were on sale at the time!
                Thanks for the tip on truffle oil! (Just bought some for my MIL, wish I knew about this before hand though!!! Guess I'll just have to get some for myself!)

                1. re: tochipotle
                  carnassial Jun 26, 2007 05:53 PM

                  Whitehouse has excellent meat, but I found their pork ribs a bit too lean for my way of preparing ribs. Costco does have the optimal pork ribs, the back ribs have just the right amount of fat.

                2. re: Smalph
                  Mila Jun 27, 2007 08:29 AM

                  Couple of things..
                  Winner's has had 500 ml bottles of truffle oil on sale for $6.99 for a while, but you have to search them out. I've gone a bit off truffle oil after hearing how synthetically it is manufactured.


                  And about the ribs at SLM, I find most butchers good but it is the cut of ribs that makes the difference. The danish cut had far too much meat on it that wasn't one the bone and it dried out before the rest was tender. First choice: baby back, then back, then side.

                  1. re: Mila
                    Smalph Jun 27, 2007 09:12 AM

                    While, oddly, I hate to sound too much like a food snob, the truffle oil from Winners almost certainly won't compare to this particular brand. I smelled and sampled six or seven of the brands offered at Caviar Direct in SLM, and the $22/1.5oz (or thereabouts) one was so far beyond the rest that I don't think I could ever go back. Just spectacular. Finding a bottle several times larger and only slightly more expensive was definitely a find!

                    I should probably try to do something useful like decipher the brand name for anyone who might want it. And see if it's made out of chemicals or not.

                    But I do completely agree with you that rib cut is pertinent. And after spending hours making (or eagerly anticipating the plateful at a restaurant) them, an unhappy cut is a tragedy.

                    1. re: Smalph
                      Mila Jun 27, 2007 09:28 AM

                      So what do you think, is it real truffle oil made from the shavings of truffles or a manufactured chemical compound. If you think it is the real thing I'd love to know the brand name. And absolutely, the Winner's brand is not top shelf but if all I'm paying for is a chemical blend then I'd rather pay less.

                      I'm often down at Domino's for something or another so I'll pick some up if you think it is the real thing. BTW, Domino has a great deal on beautiful fresh vanilla beans.

                      1. re: Mila
                        Smalph Jun 27, 2007 10:28 AM

                        Mila, I'm honestly not prepared at this moment to say if it's the real thing or not (I'm on lunch at work, it's at home), but it is the most deliciously fragrant, robust, and earthy "truffle oil" (quotes just in case!) I have come across. I'd still pay the difference even if it is assorted chemicals. It's that yummy. But I'll have a look at the label tonight and see if it's got details, and get back to y'all.

                        Now, I'm craving Via Allegro's mushroom risotto with truffle oil. Perhaps the most delicious thing I've ever eaten!

                        1. re: Smalph
                          Mila Jun 27, 2007 11:32 AM

                          LOL, now you've got me craving truffle anything. I'm at work too and will check the Winner's label tonight and report back.

                          1. re: Smalph
                            Mila Jun 28, 2007 10:12 AM

                            Okay here is my report back. It is White Truffle Oil at $8.99 for 250 ml, brand name Napa Valley Harvest. The ingredients reads, in order: Olive Oil, Canola Oil and White Truffle Essence.

                            The label reads "made from extra virgin olive oil and white truffles".

                            So my thinking is that they do use truffle shavings but probably not Italian truffle shavings. Maybe something locally grown, Spanish or otherwise. I flung off a quick email to them with some inquires.

                            1. re: Mila
                              Smalph Jul 3, 2007 06:49 AM

                              Okay, here is my report back! Sorry for the delay. I went to Winners to find some of the Napa Valley truffle oil, to do a comparison.

                              The aroma of the stuff I got at SLM (made with "truffle aromas") is much - MUCH - richer. I did a taste of each one - nothing fancy, just a couple of drops of each, straight up. Both are pretty strong that way, with the SLM one being considerably more powerful. The big kicker for me was that the Napa Valley left a very unpleasant waxy feeling on the inside of my mouth. It was like it congealed on my tongue. I'm guessing it's from the canola blend, being a bit "thicker" than the straight olive oil. Whatever it was, I spent 20 minutes trying to get the taste and texture out of my mouth.

                              Just in case I had a vested interest in "protecting" the (perceived) merits of the SLM oil, I had a foodie friend do a blind smelling/tasting of the two. She didn't experience the waxy-mouth from the Napa Valley, but she immediately declared the SLM one "far and away, no comparison" superior to the Napa Valley. When asked if it was four-times-the-price better, she still said yes, though probably not universally.

                              That said, YMMV, plus the Napa Valley is perfectly nice (if you don't get waxy-mouth), and comparable to some of the lower-priced ones I'd purchased before, and it's considerably better priced than those (if you can find it... I got the last one hidden cunningly behind identically-labelled balsamic vinegars at the Winners I went to).

                              I do find both oils' labelling curious. Napa Valley's says both "white truffles" and "white truffle essence". Which is it? What is "essence" compared to "aromas"? And the SLM one doesn't have "Canadian" labelling - does "aroma" mean something more authentic in Italy? I don't have any answers there, I'm afraid.

                              1. re: Smalph
                                Mila Jul 3, 2007 07:44 AM

                                Excellent work on the side by side tasting Smalph. It is much appreciated and I'll head down to Domino's to pick up some. Is the brand name YMMV? I was at Domino's last week and they had three brands I and I couldn't remember the prices you mentioned when I was there.

                                I sent a quick email off to Napa Valley and this is the response they sent:

                                "Thank you for your inquiry about our products. Our White truffle oil is
                                made with a concentrated truffle oil extract that is derived from
                                Italian white truffles. We do not use any chemical derivatives or
                                compounds in our truffle oil products.

                                Best regards,

                                Arthur Perkins"

                                1. re: Mila
                                  Smalph Jul 3, 2007 07:54 AM

                                  Naturally, I can't recall (and didn't write down) the name of the SLM brand, but I'll try to remember tonight. If you're at Domino's tonight (and I do hope they still have it!), it's a 250ml (I think) "rectangular" type of bottle, clear, with a creamy-white label with a sort of royal-looking crest on it, plus a couple of little truffles. It was $39.95 when I bought it, but I did make the mistake of nattering on about what a great price that was, so I also hope they didn't jack it up!

                                  Nice to see, also, that Napa Valley is using genuine truffle. I really wish theirs didn't give me the waxy-mouth (and since you bought some and didn't experience that, and my friend didn't, either, it may be specific to lucky ol' me). Pure olive oil would also be nice, but at the price, it would be silly to complain. (aside: "YMMV" means "your mileage may vary", as in, my experience may not be yours... so I hope I don't lead you or anyone else wrong)

                                  1. re: Smalph
                                    Smalph Jul 4, 2007 06:34 AM

                                    The oil at Domino's (I hope) is "Rommens Heydary Caviar", although it's only written in teeny-tiny script on the "crest" on the label, and then sideways on the import information on the side.

                                    Finally. I certainly did manage to drag this out to a silly length. Apologies.

                3. re: Smalph
                  Yongeman Jun 27, 2007 07:55 AM

                  I know, Smalph. I posted Costco and then I ducked. Thanks.

                4. Googs Jun 27, 2007 08:19 AM

                  These are all great ideas. I'm very definitely going to try Upper Cut and report back.

                  I too prefer a place that's all steak with very little sizzle. The Upper Cut description appeals due to the apparent lack of nymph masseuses on the payroll. Whitehouse may have great stuff, but for their prices they darn well better. It's a "for company" only place to me. I sure wish Costco would open up downtown. Maybe next door to Canadian Tire & Mark's Work Wearhouse.

                  1. h
                    Higgette Jun 28, 2007 05:21 AM

                    Brown's is the best butcher in SLM for pork. I've said this before and I'll say it again. their ribs are outrageously meaty. I can only eat two or three.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Higgette
                      LJS Jul 4, 2007 07:13 AM

                      I agree, Higgette, re: Brown's for pork-I was enjoying the SLM Whitehouse bashing above-they deserve it less for the quality of their meat which is OK, but for their pretentiousness. They have a branch in the west end on Bloor, where the heights of snobbery have no bounds. But far worse than the ridiculous prices (its still just chicken, no matter how it was fed!) is their lousy service. They have these kids with no clue as to what Osso Bucco means or what pancetta is serving without supervision from a real butcher and then they charge like they are providing butcher-shop service. Give me Bloor Meat Market anyday where they still know how to fillet chicken for a schnitzel without the customer having to show them how.

                    2. t
                      tochipotle Jul 3, 2007 08:50 AM

                      Had a bbq this weekend and got ribs from Upper Cut - they were really meaty and tender and everybody loved them! They are very helpful and friendly at Upper Cut.

                      1. Googs Jul 4, 2007 08:16 AM

                        We were the lazy ones who didn't get up early enough to purchase from Upper Cut before they sold out. In light of the strong arguments now being made for Browns & Upper Cut, I think hubby & I will have to do a rib-off. I don't think he'll hate the idea. ;-) Report to follow.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Googs
                          Smalph Jul 4, 2007 08:42 AM

                          A rib-off sounds like a great plan. When you're at Upper Cut (ask for Bob! Tell him Renee sent you...), why not grab a few beef ribs, too? I mean, for a FULL rib-off, might as well go whole hog AND whole cow, eh?

                          They won't steer (no pun intended) you wrong, in my experience. I've got nothing bad to say about Brown's, but Bob is my go-to guy.

                          Now I need to go get ribs, too. D'oh.

                          1. re: Smalph
                            tochipotle Jul 4, 2007 08:57 AM

                            Thanks to all of you for the heads up on Whitehouse - honestly, they've been really knowledgeable and friendly down to earth whenever I've been there (though I haven't been to the Bloor stoor) - but I'll keep it in mind.
                            Googs, I'm looking forward to your report!

                        2. pixelchef Jul 7, 2007 04:42 PM

                          Just wanted to chime in and say that this has turned into an incredibly informative and educational threads on not just ribs, but lots of other things. Bravo posters!

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