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where to buy best cuts for bbq (not grilling)

scuzm Aug 7, 2008 08:39 AM

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. a
    AndyGanil Nov 19, 2008 09:43 PM

    Any King Ranch Market, amazing fresh meat section

    1. s
      scuzm Nov 19, 2008 05:57 PM

      thanks for the rec's.

      i went to my albertson's butcher for the pork shoulder. i noticed that they sell pork shoulder but either cut in half or in parts, so the butcher said i would just have to call a couple days in advance to let them know that the day of, to save a couple--i bought two whole shoulders. they turned out great. (about 17 pounds total).

      albertsons also has the same brand of pork spareribs as cosco. i don't remember what the brand is, but i do remember that they were the same brand when i went to both and checked.

      will report on others as the opportunities arise.

      1. David Kahn Aug 7, 2008 04:44 PM

        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.

        1. w
          WSB Aug 7, 2008 02:06 PM

          Second Restaurant Depot

          2 Replies
          1. re: WSB
            bllrdfam Aug 8, 2008 10:44 AM

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

            1. re: bllrdfam
              Professor Salt Aug 8, 2008 11:08 AM

              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. s
            scuzm Aug 7, 2008 12:47 PM

            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
              Grubber Aug 7, 2008 02:30 PM

              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
                wilafur Aug 7, 2008 02:32 PM

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

                1. re: wilafur
                  nosh Aug 7, 2008 04:33 PM

                  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
                    wilafur Aug 7, 2008 04:44 PM

                    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
                Servorg Nov 20, 2008 06:14 AM

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

              3. Professor Salt Aug 7, 2008 11:30 AM

                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. s
                  spoggly Aug 7, 2008 11:05 AM

                  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
                    Will Owen Aug 7, 2008 11:35 AM

                    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.

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