Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Nov 9, 2008 04:32 PM

Beautiful Beef at Hilltop Butcher Shop: Way too long a post...

Driving home from the North Shore I hit the butcher shop at Hilltop Steakhouse. I have not been there in years, but always remember respectable victuals...

As I walked in the door they had beautiful medium-sized artichokes at two for a buck. Bot 4.

Then I stumbled towards the holy land, MEAT. I was actually looking for smoked pork products to accompany the made-from-scratch sauerkraut that is currently fermenting on the floor beside me. choucroute garnie coming soon.

They did not have the smoked ham hocks or pork butts that I was hoping for, but they did have some nice commercial thick cut bacon and Hilltop Brand Kielbasa that looked respectable. (Karl's was closed: Sunday).

Then I sauntered over to the beef section. They had some really pretty beef shins for small money. Shins make a good oxtail standin. I almost grabbed a few pounds. But then I took a look at the steak section... DANG.

They had porterhouse and ribeye for $3.99 and $4.99 a pound. I think the porterhouse was even boneless. But there, on the sparse steel rack, was a ribeye shamelessly flirting with me. Beautifully marbled throughout, nice fatty sections, portions of that dark, dark red meat that only mean one thing... I stared at it more intently: "oh honey, you're PRIME, you poor sweet thing. The USDA inspector probably passed over your cow, perhaps you are that one PRIME cut in an otherwise CHOICE cow. But there's no doubting you are as prime as prime could be."

I left the shins behind, the kielbasa and the bacon joined the artichokes, but I made sure that little Ribeye was cozy in my basket.

For those who understand what we are looking ahead too, economically speaking, 3 pounds of kielbasa, 4 artichokes, a pound of bacon, and a one pound, gorgeous, prime Ribeye, all for $17.89, as some local-born folks might say, that was a wicked bargain.

Segway to my own kitchen. When I cut the little darling out of the foam and Saranwrap cradle it was every bit as PRIME as I had imagined. I had a momentary flashback to Hilltop. Others were buying the porterhouse, which at $3.99 a pound was a deal, but looked to me more like pot roast then anything you would find at Peter Luger's.

A delicate coat of Moutard de Maille, a slight sprinkle of sea salt and just the right amount of coarsely cracked pepper; the ole trusty cast iron pan fired up blazingly hot.

I seared each side nicely for 3-4 minutes each forming a nice charred crust, then into a 420 degree oven just to finish for another 5 minutes. When the internal temp was 130, perfectly medium rare, it was ready. OH YEAH IT WAS READY. I deglazed the pepper-laden pan with white Vermouth. and poured the jus over the steak.

My sides were steamed brussels spouts and new potatoes with butter, tarragon, dill, and celery seed. All the sides also got a healthy dousing with pan drippings.

Big glass of ice water, a nice LARGE glass of red Ribera de Duero wine...

Not a bad meal considering I often eat VEGAN at home.


I wanted to end the post there, but I just couldn't. That little ribeye was every bit as good as I had imagined. Probably the best steak I've had this year. By the end I was mashing potatoes and brussels sprouts into the cast iron pan and licking jus off my plate.

Wonderful beefy goodness. And I even managed to save a third of the steak for lunch tomorrow...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Loved reading that Striper. I have liked the Hilltop rolled and tied veal roast in the past. Julia Child, in her Vol.1 has a wonderful recipe for braised veal roast which was my go-to dinner party entree not too many moons ago. Maybe I need to revisit Hilltop. Thanks for reminding me.

    1. I love Hilltop meats... I would not trust my holidays to any other meats but Hilltop. As an aside I o have to admit that I went to McKinnons Meats in Davis Sq last week and bought a Prime Rib Roast for 3.99 pound and you did not need a knife to cut it- It was every bit as good as any Hilltop rib roast I have bought... that being said, I still won't trust my holiday meals to anything other than Hill top

      1. I want to call shenanigans on claims of $5/lb prime ribeye. But in fact I will probably just drive to Saugus.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Luther

          "I think the porterhouse was even boneless" = no need to rush to Saugus.

          1. re: CambridgeFoodie

            Just for the record, did you actually read my post?

            "Others were buying the porterhouse, which at $3.99 a pound was a deal, but looked to me more like pot roast then anything you would find at Peter Luger's."

            1. re: StriperGuy

              I, for one, liked your original post. I will not hold you responsible for "boneless porterhouse" as an advertised special, no matter what the price. However, any meat shop that advertises "boneless porterhouse" for $3.99/lb should be approached with appropriate caution and any purchases served with a hefty side of caveat emptor.

              In order to avoid future criticism, I would like to point out the following posting guidelines:
              Avoid specificity - it only leads to pointless arguments (eg. 130 degrees)
              Avoid jokes - This is a serious board, not a place for frivolity, and it is not nice to use advanced humor techniques when so many readers lack a basic sense of humor.
              avoid capital letters and capitalized words - someone is composing a post right this second taking you to task for this.
              avoid technical terms - for example Prime, Choice, sear, jus, etc.

              I have taken the liberty of editing your original post following these guidelines. It can be boiled down to:

              I bought some meat. I cooked it. It was good.

              Notice the absence of objectionable content like places, techniques or actual information. It also is much more concise, albeit slightly less informative.

              1. re: tdaaa

                Maybe it's just a lot of cognitive dissonance going on since someone is posting a positive review of the Hilltop.

                  1. re: tdaaa

                    Well said tdaaa.

                    StriperGuy- good for you for enjoying your steak and wanting to share your experience. I enjoyed the post and can only roll my eyes at some of these responses.

                    1. re: tdaaa

                      Precisement mon ami... your post is priceless.

              2. Wow, SG, what a great post. I'm stuffed to the gills with spaghetti, meatballs and hot italian sausage, but could happily tuck into that ribeye. I was quite happy with my haul from McKinnon's in Davis this afternoon, but nothing that could touch that. I've never bothered with Hilltop in the past, but will make a special stop next time I'm headed to Karl's.

                1. This is very refreshing to hear, as Hilltop doesn't seem to get much love on this board and the level of detail is greatly appreciated.

                  I gotta say that I get quite the amusing image of you "Segway"-ing into your admittedly small apartment kitchen- don't bump the Sauerkraut. It's all good and thanks for the detailed post which opens up a beef purveyor option that I would have not otherwise considered.