where to buy best cuts for bbq (not grilling)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.