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May 8, 2008 08:16 AM

whole beef tenderloin, durham nc

any good sources? I've called whole foods and cliffs so far -- whole foods is (of course) ridiculously expensive, but Cliff's is suspiciously cheap. Any recs?

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  1. With a primal whole tenderloin you do not need to necessarily go to a high end market to purchase....go to a big box like Sams, BJ's, Cosco etc...and get the best price....a cryovac tenderloin is already extremely tender.....depending on what you plan to do you could even purchase a select tenderloin instead of a choice....the only reason to get a prime would be for cutting into steaks and for the experience of eating "prime"....the marbling in prime is not as evident in tenderloins...choice tenderloins are the norm.....usually on sale for $8.99LB+-....unless you have some facility with a knife you can get the butcher to break it down any way you want (ie for steaks,,,roast,,,,,they will/should remove silverskin....).
    This is moot if you are looking for the top of the line prime....( I don't think many places dry age tenderloins....most are cryo/wet aged..), in which case you will pay top dollar at a specialty butcher/market...

      1. HT has them onsale this week for $8.99, I've always had pretty good luck with them! Good Luck!

        1. Of course, it really depends on what you want and expect:

          Whole foods probably has the best combination of knowing exactly what you're getting (corn-fed, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, dry-aged, wet-aged, etc), plus quality control. You will pay for that.

          There are a number of local farmers in the extended Triangle who can deliver you local grown, pasture/grass raised beef that never saw a factory farm, including Bailey Newton from Granville county (you can go to Southern Season Wine Dept and ask for a purchase list or call Mr. Newton directly) or any number of folks who visit the Hillsborough, Carrboro, or Estes Drive farmers markets. Freshness is good, local is good, but quality control varies by season and by farmer.

          You can go to Cliffs, if you dare.

          You can go to Harris Teeter/Kroger/Food Lion/etc, particularly if you're not concerned that it's corn-fed factory farmed beef loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones.

          Costco is of course an option.

          You can order it over the internet from Niman Ranch or some of the other "specialty" producers of beef. Read the fine print carefully, just because something is prime angus doesn't really speak to the quality of the thing itself if you are concerned about any of the features mentioned above.

          3 Replies
          1. re: fussycouple

            What's with the knock on Cliffs? I've gotten bacon, chorizo, pastor meat, skirt steak, and goat meat for curry from Cliffs and have been satisfied every time. I would caution against assuming lower prices automatically means lower quality. Yes, it's not organic meat but unless that's what one is specifically looking for then Cliffs is as good as any place IMO and I prefer to support one of the few if not only butchers left in the area in this era of big box grocers and megamarts. If he as to operate out of a store that looks a little long in the tooth in order to keep his costs down enough to compete with the Costcos and HTs that's a tradeoff I'm willing to make.

            1. re: bbqme

              Yeah, I've always liked Cliff's, too. I have a friend who lives above the store and she says that he gets deliveries so often and sells to so many local restaurants that his stuff is always fresh. Because of proximity, she buys all her meat there, and recommends it to everyone she can.

              1. re: alysonlaurel

                He supplied the Greek community with whole sheep carcasses for the recent Greek Festival in Chapel Hill. Where would one get something like that if not for Cliff.

          2. The Fresh Market in Cameron Village currently has whole beef tenderloins on sale (they are labeled "Hereford," no idea of the grade). If you happen to be in Raleigh.