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Good quality ground chuck in Oakland/Berkeley?

For making burger patties. Berkeley Bowl must have 6 different ground beef options, but all of the local/grass-fed choices are too lean, not great for burgers. Only their basic ground beef (the $3.29/lb stuff) is 85% lean. I made burgers from this last time and it was better than fine, but I was wondering where I'd go if I want something a little bit higher quality. Don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it either.

I know the grind-it-yourself method is preferred by connoisseurs, but I'm not quite ready to invest in that Kitchenaid attachment yet.

Will they grind up a chuck steak or a piece of brisket for me at Berkeley Bowl if I ask them to?

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  1. I'm not sure which cut they use, but the ground beef at Indus Foods has great flavor and is cheap.

    6 Replies
      1. re: sydthekyd

        I don't remember, but I'm always startled by how cheap it is. Maybe $2.29?

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        The idea of getting it from Indus appeals to me because I'll be in that area anyway to pick up the buns from Acme. And $1.99 (if that is the price) is ridiculously cheap.

        Does it seem like it has a decent fat content? And is their meat prepackaged or is it a regular butcher shop in there? Never been inside.

        1. re: abstractpoet

          Nothing prepackaged. Judge for yourself on the fat content. I imagine they could grind you some fattier if you wanted it.

          1. re: abstractpoet

            I was just at Indus food and the ground meats are $2.29. The beef looked pretty lean as did most of the beef. I picked up some ground lamb. One day I am going to get one of their leg of lambs. They also have chicken, veal and goat.

            1. re: abstractpoet

              Hmm, so I ended up buying from Indus. The ground beef was very lean--the guy behind the counter estimated 90%, and when I told him I wanted something fattier, he said that he would regrind the portion I wanted with some additional fat. Not a fattier piece of meat, as I understood it, but just pure fat.

              I was a bit skeptical--worried that the meat would be ground too fine and that the fat would be distributed unevenly (the latter was definitely the case). Also, I think he overcompensated, and beef he eventually gave me was probably closer to 35% fat.

              In any case, I decided to just give it a whirl, but the resulting burgers weren't the best (and were quite a bit worse than the ones I'd made a week ago with the regular BB ground beef). They were juicy (excessively so, actually), but when cooked medium-rare, parts of the burger had an unappealingly soft, almost mushy texture--I think because of the extra fat. The flavor was OK, but not great.

              Anyway, I think I'll give the Indus meat market another visit when I'm making something else, but for burgers, I'll either stick with the Bowl or try a different butcher shop (Ver Brugge or one of the others).

          2. I like the ground beef at Ver Brugge meat and seafood on College ave just across from the safeway. Be sure to get the lean and not the extra lean.

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            Ver Brugge Meat and Fish
            Oakland

            1 Reply
            1. re: skwid

              I second Ver Brugge. It's awesome and a great place to have available.

            2. I believe Andronicos will grind anything you like.

              1. I think most Asian supermarket butchers will grind meat for you, though I'm not sure about the quality of the original meat.

                I gotta say though, the Kitchenaid attachment is totally worth it...I use 50% sirloin and 50% chuck for my burgers and I will never go back to store-bought ground meat. :-)

                1. The meat counter at the back of Cafe Rouge on 4th street sells the same ground beef that they use to make their house burger. It runs about 5 bucks a pound.

                  1. Costco carries a couple of brands of Organic grass fed 85/15 ground beef. Not local and about $4.99/lb, but they always have it and it tastes great.

                    Indus is very cheap, I think $1.99 last time I saw (same price for ground chicken and ground lamb, the latter really is shocking ). I'm always weary of that place though as their food handling techniques are... shall we say questionable?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Chaat Cafe

                      Indus had no major issues in its most recent (6/26) inspection, and I haven't seen anything going on there that bothers me.

                      1. re: Chaat Cafe

                        Just going to throw this out there too, Prather Ranch is my favorite ground beef for burgers and although their main store is in SF, the website says they sell their meat at the following Oakland Farmers Markets:

                        Grand Lake, Oakland:
                        Saturdays 9AM to 2PM year round

                        Temescal, Oakland:
                        Sundays 9AM to 2PM year round

                        www.prmeatco.com
                        www.pratherranch.com

                        1. re: Chaat Cafe

                          I've seen their stand at the Grand Lake market--how much does the ground beef run? And am I right to assume that it's prepackaged if they're selling it from the farm stand?

                          1. re: abstractpoet

                            Prather's grass-fed so maybe not what you want. All prepackaged and frozen.

                              1. re: Chaat Cafe

                                If you buy 5lb at a time it is $25. Not sure the lb price.

                        2. The bowl meat guys have done everything else I've ever asked so I wouldn't be surprised if they'd grind up one of their chuck roasts for you. But I haven't specifically verified this. The price/lb of the chuck is on par with their "lean" ground beef.

                          Alternatively, chopping meat in a food processor works great. Cut into roughly 1" cubes, pulse about 20 times, and you end up with some very nicely-textured hamburger that grills up into a nice light burger.

                          There was a somewhat bad review of the costco packs a little while ago: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632426

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                            Depends on the individual and how busy they are. Maybe also who asks. Most are pretty willing to do these kinds of things, but I've seen people be refused some services, e.g. cubing a bone-in shoulder on the band saw, which really need not be any more time-intensive.

                            1. re: twocents

                              My "Go To" place for great burger meat at a decent price is Piedmont Grocery Meat Market.

                              Fresh ground chuck, in house by professional butchers.

                          2. Star Meats on Claremont has ground chuck and sirloin from Niman and Marin Sun Farms. I've gone in and asked them to do custom grinds for me. They usually do it on the spot! They did a grind for the pork shoulder I bought to made albondigas for my New Year's feast. Last time I was in they had standard brisket from Niman and some kind of fancy Waygu brisket too.

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                            Star Meats
                            3068 Claremont Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                            1. A bit farther north in El Sobrante, Central Foods grinds their own daily . Roger the butcher uses Harris ranch beef and makes both an 80/20 and 90/10 mix ($2.99 and 3.99/lb respectively). He'd be happy to grind up whatever you desire if those aren't what you want, just ask. I used the 80/20 on the grill last night, makes a nice juicy burger.

                              They're owned by the same people who run Mi Tierra in Berkeley but it's a little smaller operation.

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                              Central Foods
                              4352 Appian Way, El Sobrante, CA

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Scrapironchef

                                I was just in Safeway and they ground chuck steak for me, It make excellent burgers.