HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


where to buy best cuts for bbq (not grilling)

  • s

hey hounds.

i'm cooking low and slow with smoke, but i've been less than impressed with the meat selections at the local albertsons.

where can i go to get a real cut of:


pork ribs?

beef ribs?

pork shoulder?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Where do you live and how far are you willing to drive?

    Have you tried Costco or Smart & Final?
    For better cuts of meat, but higher prices, check the butchers out at the Farmer's Market on Fairfax.
    If you have a How's Market in your area, check that place out. How's is a grocery store, but I've found their meat to be superior to the others. Their choice meat can approach Prime quality (they also sell Prime).

    Hope that helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: spoggly

      Marconda Meats in the Farmer's Market is generally less pricey than Huntington Meats, and they have excellent pork. Bristol Farms is also a good source, though not cheap. How's is much stronger in the beef department than pork, in my opinion; I've actually bought some truly satisfactory shoulders at Food 4 Less and at King Ranch, a Latino chain.

    2. Brisket - Smart & Final carries packer cut brisket. Small selection, but at least they have it. Costco usually carries flats only (except during certain holidays like Passover when they bring in packers). I have a membership to Restaurant Depot. They carry the best selection of packers. Usually have both USDA Select and Choice grades, probably a dozen of each to choose from. Call them for requirements for a wholesale only membership.

      Pork ribs - I buy IBP brand spares at Costco. I don't like the frozen brand at Restaurant Depot, but if you're picky about your sizes, they do stock cases of ribs by weight (3 downs, 3 - 3.5, etc). Smart & Final carries Farmer John brand, which can be ok in a pinch.

      Beef ribs - Restaurant Depot all the way.

      Pork shoulder - I've never seen full shoulders. They aren't a popular cut around these parts. It's special order thing. Bone in pork butts I buy at Restaurant Depot. Boneless butts I buy at Coscto. Smart & Final also carries boneless butts, just a smaller selection to cherry pick from. Butts are popular cut at Chinese and Mexican markets, and sometimes, they have seriously cheap sale prices.

      1. thanks all.

        i live in los feliz, but don't mind driving too far for food since i'm in pasadena, studio city, or santa monica quite a bit.

        i'm mostly concerned with the brisket, since that's the next thing i've decided to take down on my smoker, so i'll have to check out smart & final to get the packer cut.

        5 Replies
        1. re: scuzm

          I've had great luck with the Smart n Final packer briskets on my smoker. Low and slow is the way to go! (20 - 24 hrs @ 225 - 250F)

          1. re: Grubber

            likewise. i look for the fattier pieces as well. low and slow....225 degrees for 16hrs for a 12lb slab.

            1. re: wilafur

              Smart & Final is blue chip for whole briskets. Very inexpensive -- less than $2 per pound for choice. And they leave the fat cap on so you can leave on the thickness you want for basting the meat and rendering it down to a wonderfully seasoned crispy crust. Note: If you are really brave, save those fat trimmings and render down -- really adds a tasty richness to oven-roasted potatoes.

              1. re: nosh

                haha, you read my mind. that's exactly why i pick the pieces with the thickest fat cap...to render down for it's decadence and artery clogging abilities. =)

          2. re: scuzm

            Have you tried the meat at Hows Market? They have a Pasadena location on E. Huntington Dr. (3035): http://hows.foodmagic.com/fmap/jsphow...

            1. re: WSB

              How does one get into the Restaurant Depot if you are not in the restaurant business?

              1. re: bllrdfam

                Doesn't need to be a restaurant business. Any business license or some other means (business checking accounts have been accepted from people I know) will get you a membership. Call them for specifics.

            2. I've bought and bbq'ed Wagyu brisket from these guys, and it was very good:


              Certainly not the cheapest option, but given the amount of time one needs to put into smoking the damn thing, the additional cost seems worth it to me.