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Oct 10, 2007 07:46 PM

Buying prime beef in Phx(particularly E Valley)?

Anywhere besides AJ's?

A day off turned into a long tiring day at work instead. My plan for dinner got blown away by how late I got off an AJ's just steps away I went in to search for something tasty but easy to make for dinner. Really wanted to just go out but we've been trying over the last couple months to curb our dining out habits/budget...

To reward us for our disciplin I decided to splurge on a good steak. We rarely eat them(3-4 times a year tops) so when I do buy one I like to go ahead and get the prime. Plus with a potato, salad and glass of wine we could have a great dinner and tired me could put it together with no effort. Brought home a Rib Eye which was delicious.

Just wondering if there are other options for prime around? AJ's meat is always really good and for the rare occasions I buy a steak I don't mind the premium(we split one so it was still a lot less than going out for dinner tonight). I know Costco has excellent steaks but we don't eat them often enough and I hate to freeze them for as along as it would take us to get through a package of them(especially since we always split the big steaks).

Just wondering what, if any, the other options may be? Don't think I've seen prime anywhere else in my travels, but maybe I haven't traveled to the right places...

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  1. I'm curious to see the replies on this, because I'd love an alternative as well. We eat steak more often than you, but rarely eat prime (maybe twice a year) at home. For $27/lb for prime filet at AJs, I haven't found anything that even remotely comes close in terms of taste.

    1 Reply
    1. re: azhotdish

      I'm watching too. Yesterday, Prime tenderloin was ~$35/lb., but was oh, so good. We nearly always do Prime, even going so far as having Prime sirloin double-ground for burgers. I've tried their "American Kobe," plus some, supposedly authentic Kobe burgers, and have underwhelmed. Since AJ's (7th St/Thunderbird) is just over the hill, and we buy our beef within a few days of the meal, it's not that big a deal. With just two of us dining, having a freezer full of meat is not an option, that I want to consider, even if I save a few $'s. Still, a good alternate source would be good. We were spoiled in Denver, as we had a marvelous meat market, just up the street. So far in PHX, AJ's has been as good as I have found.


    2. I've bought ribeyes and porterhouses at Midwestern Meats - I can't remember if they were "prime" or not but I do remember they were excellent.

      Also, EJ's just opened on Alta Mesa Dr and McKellips. I haven't been in yet but it is supposed to be a prime/choice steakhouse restaurant, bar and butcher shop. So that may be an option. I play on stopping by this afternoon to check out the butcher shop so I'll report back tomorrow.

      Midwestern Meats
      4308 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85205

      1. I could be crazy, because of course now I can't find a link or any info at all, but once a quarter or so, Bashas does a special "Prime Mid-Western Beef" or whatever kind of sale, and apparently it's the same supplier and quality AJ's normally gets.

        They set up a special on-ice, attendant-manned display back by the meat area and I can say every time I have tried the meat, it was GREAT in the AJ's way. I've tried the filet mignon, New York and the Rib Eye and all were excellent and affordable like $10-12-ish per lb or so I think?

        Perhaps inquire at your local Bashas and watch for the event?

        6 Replies
        1. re: HomeCookKirsten

          Really? I've seen the Angus events there. Bought a steak several years ago at one and we were disappointed in it so haven't tried again. WIll have to watch to see if they're doing prime quality ones now. The Rib Eye at AJ's on Monday was $24.99/lb.

          I guess I need to get to Midwestern Meats someday and try theirs. I've only had the bacon and the burgers from there(we used them as meat purveyor at a place I worked ) but both were actually pretty good.

          1. re: ziggylu

            I did run into EJ's Meat Shop at lunch yesterday and they do have a great selection of Prime and Choice Beef. The proprietor was very friendly and helpful and said that whatever you don't see in the case they probably have in the back room (the shop area is pretty small, but clean and neat). They will cut the meat to your specifications as well. The prices looked better than AJ's but I obviously wasn't able to compare directly.

            1. re: scorpioscuba

              Thanks for teh update. I'll have to give them a call next time. How far east is Alta Mesa Drive?

              1. re: ziggylu

                It is between Higley and Recker. Their website isn't really up yet but they do have a placeholder with phone numbers:


                Bret was the one in the meat shop, I believe.

                1. re: ziggylu

                  Out of curiosity I went to EJ's last night. The meat selection was small but looked good and prices for prime were a little under what I remember AJ's being. The beef is corn-fed from Omaha which is good by me since I used to live there. The guy behind the counter for friendly. When I asked if he ever had dry-aged steak, he said they didn't have space but they were moving into another storefront next door. It sounded like he might start doing it then.

                  Two nice prime New York cuts at $18-19 a pound.

                  The place was on McKellips between Higley and Power. Even coming from my new office on S. Power it seemed like a long ways out there.

                2. re: scorpioscuba

                  I bought three boneless prime ribeyes ($18/lb.) at EJ's recently and they were delicious. Nice fat but not too fatty, very tender and very flavorful. They make their own chorizo and two types of sausages as well. Awesome selection, huge for this part of town as we have no AJ's or Whole Foods nearby. I typically buy my steaks at Costco on Power but these are WAY tastier.

            2. I know from shopping at Bashas' that they recently changed their meat provider. They now offer Steakhouse Classic steaks. Although not prime, the meat is consistently steakhouse quality and they're a great value.

              2 Replies
              1. re: steaklover2172

                I'm not sure I would agree. I wanted to make a Bistecca the other night so my fiance ran out to Bashas and bought a Steakhouse Classic Porterhouse (at that point in time it was our only option - looking back I should have waited). It was only ok. It was a good price - but I would not get one again. I'd rather spend more money for a better quality meat. I don't tend to marinate or otherwise do anything to the meat other than salt and pepper it to get the true flavor of the beef and because of the quality of the meat, it was not what it could have been. Just my opinion.

                1. re: steaklover2172

                  Bashha's uses young thing that does not get looked at enough is when restaurants serve prime meat, is it that really true? That aspect is not regulated so just because a restaurant claims that they serve prime does not mean it is so.

                2. There is a great butcher called Von Hanson's Meats & Spirits, 2390 N Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224 ,(480) 917-2525. I couldn't find a website for them. I have tried the ribeye and filet. I don't know if they are "prime" but they taste like steakhouse quality... but are pricey

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: jcoz23

                    VH does not sell prime (just quality midwestern) beef, but the quality is very good as has been noted in the past.

                    1. re: azhotdish

                      I bought some steaks from Von Hanson's the last time we had steak...back at the beginning of summer when we were having some friends over. Two NY Strips that time. We were really disappointed in them...tough and tasteless. For the price, some of the worst I've ever bought. For now, we just stick to buying hot dogs from Von Hanson's.

                      For the money, Costco has some of the best steaks out there....but you have to buy what is for us too much at one time.

                      1. re: ziggylu

                        I've only tried the "grilling steaks" from Von Hanson's and it was awful. Tough and tasteless, just like you said. I keep wanting to try a ribeye, but the price keeps me from indulging. I have, however, had a ribeye from MidWestern Meats and loved it. Even Firenza, who doesn't like steak, said he could be converted based on the taste he had of that one. I also had a ribeye from Butcher Bob's in Peoria and that was pretty good too. I don't think it's "prime", though.

                        Next time you go to Von Hanson's for hot dogs (which are great), pick up a pound of the best bacon I've ever had in my life. And I LOVE bacon - I'm an expert! :)

                        Butcher Bob's Quality Meats
                        11663 W Bell Rd # 2, Surprise, AZ

                        1. re: tara17

                          I know Firenza has mentioned how good the bacon is at Von Hanson's...we haven't tried it yet though because we're always stocked up on the bacon from the Pork Shop out in Queen Creek. Have you guys tried theirs yet?

                          Someone told me that Von Hanson's sells chicken backs...I need to go in and see if that's the case(for my dogs not me!)...I'll pick up some bacon to try when I do!

                          1. re: ziggylu

                            A year or so ago, I bought delicious prime steaks at Hobe's in Phoenix. Is that store still open? If so, I'd advise giving it a try.

                            1. re: hopegoode

                              Hobe is still there, but there have been mixed reviews on this board regarding the customer service.

                              Hobe Meat
                              6044 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

                              1. re: hohokam

                                Yes, Hobe is still open. We had some less-than-stellar results, when we first moved to PHX. After about 3 trips (we were in a condo for the first 6 mos. about a mile away), we gave up. The staff was friendly, but the meat did nothing for us. That's when we found AJ's.

                                I'm looking into getting some Prime, aged beef, from a wholesale supplier, through a restaurant, and will report on it, when we get around to doing it.


                            2. re: ziggylu

                              We haven't had bacon from The Pork Shop yet, although we keep meaning to try it. It's definitely on the list!

                              Von Hanson's has a whole case of dog treats, so I'm sure you'll be able to find something for Fido!

                            3. re: tara17

                              I have to echo Tara's experience on this one, unfortunately, with the grilling steaks - they were quite tough with very little flavor. I would expect though, with more careful treatment, you might be able to nurse some flavor out of them, but they're certainly not a simple seasoning and "quick grill" kind of steak as the name implies. I guess in terms of beef, I haven't had a good experience at VH's but would not write them off until I try their excellent-looking rib eye.

                              1. re: azhotdish

                                We still have a Midwestern Meats ribeye in the freezer, so we didn't grab a VH one on our last visit. We got the lesser-priced ribeye from MM and it's about $3 or $4 a pound less than VH's ribeye. We saw the Costco steaks, but like the previous person said, that's way too much for us, since Tara is usually the only one who has a steak and I generally have something else.
                                But yes, that damn bacon from VH. Yum. MM's bacon is really good, but just not quite as sweet as VH bacon is.
                                Hobe does have significant customer service variance. On one visit, the younger folks were very friendly. A subsequent visit, there was a defnitely surly older guy behind the counter. We've tried Hobe bacon, but I don't think we've had steaks from there. They are much closer than either VH or MM, though. We just try to plan for a weekend trip to Chandler/Mesa when we need to stock up.

                              2. re: tara17

                                she's not kidding - the bacon is DEEEEE-LISH

                                1. re: winedubar

                                  OK, I know that this is getting off-topic for the OP, but I've been looking for great, thick-cut, applewood, or hickory cured bacon. Tell me a bit more about Von Hanson's, please.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Best bacon you will find in the valley, Bill. It's thick-cut, smoked in-house, and just all-around excellent. At $6.99/lb, it may not be the cheapest, but it's well-marbled w/o having too much fat. If you're ever in the East Valley, it's definitely worth stopping in for a pound (or five). They also do bundles of various cuts (link is below) if you have the room for them in the freezer.

                                    1. re: azhotdish

                                      100% agreed on the bacon. Best stuff I've ever had. It's double-smoked, and I don't know if that's what it is, but it almost tastes sweet. We can't get enough. We cooked it way too long one night, and it was a bit crisper than we like, but it still tasted great. Excellent, excellent, excellent.

                                      1. re: tara17

                                        Azhotdish & Tara17, thanks for the info. I'll definitely try it out. We do not get to Chandler all that often, though my wife has several meetings out that way. I'll equip her with a cooler and some cold-paks next time she's there and get her to stop by Von Hanson's for a few pounds.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          I have been getting Nieman Applewood bacon (no nitrites) at TJ's. easy and works for me.