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PRIME RIB? Where is cheapest and best? Raw, I mean.

I've used the search engine to no avail looking for places to buy prime rib for Christmas dinner. I thought I'd seen posts about where good deals are and where the meat is best, but now I cannot find them.

I saw P.R. at Costco, but thought I'd read somewhere here that the meat wasn't that good. Now I've read some posts that were a few years old and they say Costco's p.r. is fine.

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  1. Do you really mean Prime grade or just a cut of rib roast?

    4 Replies
    1. re: wally

      No, not prime grade. I'm just using the name most people give it due to the cut.

      1. re: oakjoan

        Costco sell a high grade than Safeway's select. If I was going to have a Prime Rib roast I would go to Costco.

        But if Safeway's is selling there Rancher's Reserve grade at lower price then Costco then by all means buy Safeway;s. Since then it is the same grade.

        But there are smaller chains with a full service meat section which may have Prime grade meat. The I would go with that one.

        Well have a muddy the water for a Dodger fan?

        1. re: yimster

          According to their butcher in Novato, Safeway's Rancher's Reserve is from Select Grade beef.

          1. re: Civil Bear

            According to this article, it's "high select/low choice" -- http://beefmagazine.com/mag/beef_love...

            I'm not sure I want to buy meat supplied by "Cargill Meat Solutions"!

    2. I've made one from Costco before and it was perfectly fine.

      I think Safeway (ranchers reserve) & Lucky's had it in their paper for $4.99/lb this week. I think Raley's/Nob Hill was $5.99. Probably not 'chowish' enough for ppl here

      1 Reply
      1. re: kc72

        Funny, I was going to post the same question earlier. Safeway $4.99 per lb is ribeye roast bone-in. What's the difference between ribeye roast and prime rib?

        Post by Statman
        Oy. "Prime" refers to the rib primal cut, having nothing to do with any "best" section. Bones (ribs) #6-12 comprise the rib section; #13-17 are firmly ass-ward of the rib section of the beast.

        Ribs #9 (or 10) through 12 are sometimes called the "first cut" because they contain the largest proportion of the central eye muscle compared to the other surrounding muscles. (This eye has nothing to do with a rib-eye roast, which, as applehome states, is simply a rib roast -- eye muscle and other muscles -- minus the bones.)

        BTW, I thought the Safeway ribeye roast looked pretty good. I think Costco is between $6.99 - 8.99 per lb.

        If anyone who has made ribeye roast from Safeway or Lucky's, please share with us your thoughts.

      2. The prime rib ( rib roast ) at Costco is indeed fine. It's graded Choice I believe - as versus most supermarket cuts that are not graded. Rancher's Reserve is a made up moniker. Higher end markets like Andronico's carry graded meat - as a matter of fact Andronico's carries some prime graded meats IIRC. For the money, Costco is fine - it's a good value. And it's a decent piece of meat - I've served it a few times and had good results with satisfied family members. I like to cook it the slow way and it stays nice and tender / juicy.
        But if you want to splurge and go with prime - then you have other choices to make.

        1. A 3rd or 4th on Costco. Very good stuff for the price. Probably the best value. It's also has high turn over so it's usually fresh. Conversely for comparable quality you can easily pay 50% more.

          Besides the specialty butchers, you might check out a halal butcher:

          1. "Cheapest" is one thing (I'd go Costco); "best" is another (I'd go dry-aged Niman Ranch from Baron's).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              My skenkimenks exackly. In meat as in most other things you will find "cheap" and "best" in different stores. For "best" I have always fantasized about one of Baron's custom aged rib roasts. You pay the full" green weight" price and they set it to age for you. You can roast it all or order steaks cut from it. They hang a little copper tag with your name on it and you can go and visit it. Kind of like that pig joke that ends "Good pig like that, you don' 't want to eat it all at once!"

              1. If you should really want the best, you might try a 15 lb boneless Japanese Wagyu beef ribeye roast via Costco.com for $2,299.99 (~$153/lb).

                Shipping and handling included!


                1. http://www.askthemeatman.com/images/b...

                  I found the above site helpful in determine cuts of beef.

                  1. From the national chowhound butcher report:

                    Bryan’s Quality Meats in tony Laurel Heights has a comprehensive selection, and the store offers marinated, ready-to-cook cuts, too. Bryan’s Quality Meats, San Francisco, (415) 752-0179.

                    You can actually get prime meat here, the only retail location for prime in the Bay Area, I believe.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: NoeMan

                      Bryan's Quality Meats certainly is a good place to find prime graded beef. In the East Bay Andronico's also carries prime graded beef. I think Enzo's also has prime - according to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times about cooking prime rib. Don't know about the Peninsula.

                      1. re: NoeMan

                        I regularly buy prime grade meat at PW Super in egalitarian Silicon Valley - Cupertino to be exact. It's worth every penny.

                        1. re: NoeMan

                          Bryan's Fine Foods in Corte Madera does an excellent dry-aged Prime Rib, available in both Choice and Prime grades.

                          The Novato Costco carried both Prime and Choice Prime Rib again this year. I purchased an excellent, well-marbled piece of boneless Prime Rib for $10.99/pound simply because it looked the best. I look for a large lifter (cap) and marbling. I've found Costco to be better than Mollie Stones or Safeway.

                          However, generally, I find Bryan's to be expensive and worth it. The beef isn't soft and "watery" as found at ordinary stores.

                        2. In making price comparisons, remember the difference in bone-in v. boneless. Costco has excellent meats, mostly choice grade. You can be sure that with its buying power, it gets preference from its meat packers. Since the difference in tenderness and flavor is negligible between the bottom 10% of prime and the top 20% of choice, it is a subjective decision by the meat packer which customer gets cuts from the 20%. Also, the grader for a particular packer may have his/her own opinion of what is "choice" and what is "prime". A lot of major retailers are saving money by buying ungraded beef, relying upon the judgement of the packer. That's why you see such cute names as "Butcher's Best" or "Special Select" . USDA graded meat will have the grade printed on the cryovac wrap, and most markets selling USDA Choice meat will definitely say so...it is a big endorsement of quality. However, if you are really into quality, look for ungraded beef in the USDA Prime range, usually sold only to restaurants, and sometimes dry aged (but be prepared to pay big bucks).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: OldTimer

                            Did you ever drive by Harris "Ranch" on 101 with your windows down? That Mofo is one stinky CAFO. Changed my whole thinking about cheap beef and feed-lots, that's for sure. You don't always get what you pay for, it's true, but you hardly ever get what you don't pay for. If you want rare beef, buy good beef.

                          2. I just came back from local Lucky's. They have Harris Ranch Select for $4.99 a lb. and $5.99 for Choice. The difference? Choice had more marbling and Select seems a lot leaner.

                            They only had one package of the Harris Ranch Choice left, so I asked if he had any more in the back. Unfortunately, they don't have any left, but the butcher told me they will get a shipment in tomorrow just in time for x-mas. I'll be stopping by tomorrow after work to pick some up. The Lucky's by my house has a meat counter, so if you decide to check out Lucky's I would pick one with a meat counter.

                            1. Costco meat really is a good value. The meat is always pretty good and I've used the home dry aging process which resulted in a very fine roasted prime rib. If I were doing prime rib this year, I would definitely get it from Costco.

                              1. Put me down as another believer in Costco's Choice beef. I smoke two or three a year and they have always come out perfect.

                                1. Age 'em for five days is the fridge (make sure air is able to circulate),
                                2. Trim the fat and any dark spots.
                                3. Lightly rub with canola and seasoning,
                                4, Roast at 225F (I use a smoker with a couple of chunks of hickory) until 130F internal (for medium rare leaning towards medium),
                                5. Rest for 20-minutes, then blast for 10-minutes in a 500F oven,
                                6. Let rest again 10-15 min. before removing bones and carving.

                                They also sell prime on occasion, but I have never felt the need to try it. As of last week, the Costco in Novato had whole bone-in choice for $4.99/lb.

                                1. Check out this article, which originally ran in the Contra Costa Times: http://recipeexchange.tribe.net/photo...

                                  The writer tested roasts from various butchers (including Safeway) and concluded that the Safeway prime rib, while not the #1 choice, had a lot going for it; one professional foodie in the blind tasting preferred it over better-pedigreed prime ribs. I think it was deemed more flavorful, but texture not as good. Anyway, it's nice to know that getting the supermarket brand is not a total copout.

                                  1. Bottom Line: if you have to ask the question, just go to Costco. They have reliably good beef at good prices, and it Choice grade. I have purchase beef there happily for many years. However, a times, I have seen rib steaks and roasts that were of Prime quality. I was very surprised and pleased to buy it those days.

                                    1. I just bought an 11 pounder from Mollie Stones at $8.99 a pound. Niman Ranch though...

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Carrie 218

                                        What did you think?

                                        This is what I went with, bone-in, from the Mollie Stone's that used to be Tower. $8.99 a pound; I didn't see a notation that it was Niman Ranch; but then I wasn't really looking and didn't ask... I am not crazy about Mollie Stones, though the butcher can still be ok. I did check at Canyon Market, since I love their poultry, but no rib roasts when I was there. Basically, however, I wanted low effort, including low effort shopping: I have been a bit under the weather and we are packing the house for moving. For ease, you can't beat Mollie Stone's as long as you get there early (they were open before 8 am on Christmas eve). Price wasn't as much of a factor since I was getting a small one: just hubby and me. As for Costco, you couldn't pay me enough to get me to go to Costco. I may be the only hound who *detests* Costco, but I do (nothing to do with the quality of individual products, it is the the set-up and overall concept that drives me batty).

                                        Anyway, re the rib roast from Mollie Stones: My conclusion: excellent texture, very good marbling, but I was a bit disappointed in the flavor, or rather lack thereof. I used a slow roasting technique for the first time and have mixed feelings (not yet a convert); will try and post about that on Home Cooking.

                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                          My Mollie Stone prime rib was okay - but hardly exceptional. I wonder if that has anything to do with an oven that can't sear hot enough in the beginning. My recipe said to start at 500° for a half-hour (which produced an apartment full of smoke) before turning the oven down to 350° for another two hours or until meat reaches 130°.

                                          It was loved by all who attended, but I really think that places that specialize in Prime Rib are probably superior for such a dish.

                                          * Although, I gotta say -- my Yorkshire pudding ROCKED!

                                          1. re: Carrie 218

                                            I know it's too late, but I would suggest searing your roast top and bottom (not the eye side) in your roasting pan on top of the stove first rather than high heat roasting in your oven. This should help with the smoking issue in your oven.

                                            1. re: theSauce

                                              I *will* say that as left-overs, I am very unimpressed with the meat. I went to cooking school so I don't think I did anything demonstrably wrong, but the left-over slice I had was almost "fishy" tasting.

                                              I gave it to some local puppy dogs...

                                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                                my leftovers were just as good as the original, I enjoyed them in roast beef sandwiches.

                                        2. re: Carrie 218

                                          Very familiar with what Mollie Stones carries and they don't carry Niman Ranch rib eye. They were selling the Harris Ranch for 8.99.

                                        3. I was debating whether I should buy my xmas rib roast from Costco ($7.99 lb.) or Lucky's ($5.99 lb.). Both were natural fed beef and choice grade. Costco's came from Canada and Mexico. Lucky's was from Harris Ranch. I've never bought large amount of meat from a supermarket and was unsure about the quality. Anyhow, I ended up buying a 8+ lb. Harris Ranch Choice grade rib roast (the large end side) from Lucky's because it had much nicer marbling, plus I saw it was a mad house at Costco Christmas eve.

                                          Well, I'm happy to report the rib roast came out perfect! Everyone at the party said it was delicious and juicy.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: theSauce

                                            I canot believe you got choice rib roast from Lucky for $5.99 lb, when its $7.99 lb at Costco. And who told you the Costco meat came from Mexico? Out of curiosity, did you get this info from a zealous meat cutter at Lucky? Also, were they both bone-in or boneless?

                                            1. re: OldTimer

                                              It's on the printed Costco meat label. I'm sure the meat would have been fine from Costco, it was just a mad house on x-mas eve at Costco. I didn't want to spend too much time finding parking and then waiting in long lines.

                                              As for Lucky's, it was on the bone. Most of the packaged meats are Select grade, you have to go to the butcher/seafood counter and ask for the Choice grade rib roast. It was advertise on their weekly ad in small print, so most people probably didn't see the $5.99 lb. price point.

                                              I will say though the meat was tender, but it didn't have that beefy taste to it. I think I would age first in my fridge next time to develop the nice beefy flavor.

                                          2. I like the meat from Andronico's on Funston and Irving. At the moment they have prime standing rib roast for $10.99/lb

                                            1. Seems there are a lot of votes for Costco, but in my experience the prime rib, and beef in general at Costco is slightly inferior to what Safeway or other chains offer. Very poor marbling and a too big layer of fat surrounding the eye. The prices tend to be a little lower than Safeway's standard price, but not so much when on sale. On the other hand, for pork, especially whole loins, Costco is the place.

                                              1. Best: Cafe Rouge and Bryans.

                                                Best Value: Mollie Stones (better marbling than costco but $1-2 more per pound--some would grade prime). Costco (some marbling but most has little to none)

                                                Cheapest: Safeway on sale (it is select with little to no marbling)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hankstramm

                                                  You can get USDA Prime at some Costco locations and the price is not much more than their Choice grade. If you are paying more than 11 bucks per pound for Prime you are getting ripped off, my local butcher only carries USDA Prime beef and some cuts are dry aged and they range anywhere from 10 bucks per lb for Rib eye to 14 bucks per Lb for Filet Mignon. Stay away from the internet retailers that charge 45 bucks per lb or more they are robbing you blind at that price. Just think about it, you can get a fully cooked USDA prime 16 oz Rib eye from Mortons for 40 bucks, do you really think it costs them 40 dollars per pound? Obviously not, nor are they paying even 20 bucks per lb. Prime is not that much more that Choice you just have to know where to buy it, if you local butcher doesn't carry it ask if they can order it for you.