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Best S.D. Meat Market for Steaks

mcgrath Sep 29, 2009 11:04 AM

Over the years, I've purchased steaks at Siesel's (before and after Cohns took over), Iowa Farms, Tip Top, Harvest Ranch, Costco and even Valley Farms Market in Spring Valley. All sell top quality, prime beefsteak and I've had varying degrees of success at each place.

I've now purchase steaks three times at the butcher shop which is a part of Cowboy Star Restaurant downtown on 10th Ave., and I've got to say, the quality and consistency of their steaks is a distinct cut above all the others. I got a well-trimmed, bone-in ribeye that was the best I've ever tasted. Filet Mignons recently had great 'structure' (not flabby or rubbery) and taste. The wagyu hanger steak was also very special.

They carry a small selection of other non-beef items, I remember seeing some chicken, but for special occasion steaks to prepare at home, I believe they're the best in town right now.

  1. m
    millerowski Nov 24, 2009 04:52 PM

    Based on what I had read on Chowhound, I recently decided to get steaks from the Cowboy Star butcher shop. Trouble was: their hours are limited (seems that the hours are closely linked to the restaurant schedule, which makes sense).
    So, they're closed on Monday, and I was heading out to Borrego Springs for a steak show-down on Tuesday. I re-read The Reader's Naomi Wise's meat article,and I went to Homegrown Meats on Fay in La Jolla. They specialize in grass-fed beef grown on Mt. Palomar. They dry age their steaks. For the taste test, I bought four grass-fed, dry aged items: a ribeye, a NY strip, and a filet--plus a pound of house-ground hamburger. I bought the comparison beef at Henry's ( a filet and a New York). Homegrown Meats gave me a handout on how to cook grass-fed, aged beef, and my friend who tended to the Q followed it pretty closely. The grass fed won out by far! I hadn't had beef that tasted that good since I ate grass-fed in Mexicali about 15 years ago. I mean I had sort-of given up on beef, just due to the mediocrity of what is readily available. Try some grass-fed, dry-aged, and you'll see. Yep, it's not cheap, but for a special occasion, or consumed in small portions, it's well worth it!

    7 Replies
    1. re: millerowski
      moejuste Feb 9, 2010 12:19 AM

      Hmm - I'm just now moving to Borrego Springs (from L.A.) and must say your reference to a steak showdown (now THAT"s a meal to give thanks for) snapped my head around, until I realized that of course you were referring to a private venue, not a local restaurant...oh well. Guess I'll just have to pay attention to who in town is trailing the telltale delicious smell of woodsmoke and meat in their slipstream.

      1. re: millerowski
        deeznuts Feb 12, 2010 11:41 AM

        Reading that article looks like I will stick with corn fed. I love the fat!

        1. re: deeznuts
          honkman Feb 12, 2010 11:58 AM


          1. re: honkman
            royaljester Feb 12, 2010 01:47 PM

            A lot of people know grass fed tastes better and is healthier with more omega 3, but it's ironic that in that study it was also the cheapest.

            For steaks, the marbling doesn't matter as much what it's fed, the breed, and what other shortcuts are taken to inflate the beef's mass or marbling at the last minute.

            The reason they prefer high marbled meat in Japan is precisely because they cook it differently. They use it for shabu shabu, thin sliced bbq, and lightly seared tataki. In all of these cooking styles, marbling matters. For a steak, not necessarily.

            Real Japanese beef also tends to taste better, regardless of marbling. I've never had "Kobe style" beef that tasted like the real thing, though I'm sure it exists somewhere. Using Kobe beef for a traditional steak is horrifying. You're supposed to grill it in pieces tataki style, very rare on the inside.

            1. re: royaljester
              honkman Feb 12, 2010 01:50 PM

              "A lot of people know grass fed tastes better and is healthier with more omega 3" - I doubt that the majority of people know it.

              1. re: honkman
                Josh Feb 12, 2010 02:51 PM

                Yeah, I agree. I think part of the problem is people eating meat too well-done. If you're going to eat something cooked more than medium-rare, the only juiciness will come from fat. When eaten rare, grass-fed beef really shines, IMO.

              2. re: royaljester
                Captain Jack Feb 12, 2010 05:30 PM

                Grill it tataki style, very rare on the inside rj? Sacrilege I say, eat it raw, as I did with most of mine, when Kirk and I visited Urasawa. The fat literally melts in your mouth.

        2. r
          royaljester Nov 7, 2009 06:38 AM

          How much is it at Cowboy's compared to Costco? Would love to try it

          4 Replies
          1. re: royaljester
            mcgrath Nov 9, 2009 12:24 PM

            This is general and approximate, but I'd say you'll pay close to twice at C.S for the same cut of beef as you would at Costco

            1. re: mcgrath
              deeznuts Nov 9, 2009 11:41 PM

              I havent been to Cowyboy star (it's on my list) but if I get prime ribeyes from costco for 7-10 bucks a pound. CS meat is dry aged so if I could get that for $20/lb I'm there asap.

              I need to give them a call already and ask their prices. Give them and Ibis a try.

              On a semi-related note I just had american wagyu at Cut ($100 for 12 oz) and color me non-impressed. Yeah the regular ribeye at mastros was better.

              1. re: deeznuts
                mcgrath Nov 10, 2009 08:01 PM

                Agree with your assessment of the Amer. Wagyu at CUT. Had mine in the Vegas restaurant and it was sort of just there. On the other hand, the little bit of Japanese Wagyu I had there was delectable, and nearly worth the price.

              2. re: mcgrath
                royaljester Nov 10, 2009 04:05 PM

                Well that works for me, considering I'm obliged to get at least two steaks at Costco when I just want one. =)

            2. n
              normalheightsfoodie Oct 1, 2009 11:43 AM

              I like Iowa Meat Farms a great deal, but recently I have been purchasing the Prime Strip at Costco, it is fantastic.

              1 Reply
              1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                cstr Oct 1, 2009 11:54 AM

                2nd Costco, and most cuts are under $10.pp.

              2. d
                deeznuts Sep 29, 2009 01:07 PM

                What kind of prices are we talking about here for the ribeyes? Prime? Dry aged? I just bought a whole side of prime ribeye from costco, 18lbs, dry aged it, and cut it myself. But 18lbs is quite a bit. It was $6.99/lb and was well marbled.

                I'd love to be able to buy a few steaks to enjoy myself though, instead of having to age the whole side (which I do, and split with friends)

                EDIT:I Noticed Cowboy star sells aged, prime beef. I'm going to have to give this a try.

                3 Replies
                1. re: deeznuts
                  mcgrath Sep 29, 2009 01:15 PM

                  Don't recall exactly the price, but podnah, it ain't cheap!

                  1. re: mcgrath
                    deeznuts Sep 29, 2009 01:18 PM

                    I'll go ahead and give them a call (Cowboys, and Ibis). I don't mind paying for quality, but if it approaches restaurant price I might as well just eat there, good thing the lady loves steakhouses. She only likes filet, but hey, we can't win them all!

                    EDIT: Btw, thanks for the heads up!

                    1. re: deeznuts
                      rotie77 Sep 29, 2009 05:34 PM

                      Last time I bought steaks at Ibis (2 years ago), the prime ribeye was $17.99 and the prime porterhouse was $18.99, IIRC.

                2. r
                  rotie77 Sep 29, 2009 01:02 PM

                  A little known place for some good steaks is Ibis Market in Mission Hills. You'd never know it by looking, but they dry age prime steaks on site. Their prime is cheaper than Whole Foods choice. They'll bring a slab out, cut the black off, and then cut your steak to order. Very limited selection, but good quality and prices. Caveat - haven't been there in a while, but assume it's still the same.

                  1. Josh Sep 29, 2009 12:08 PM

                    I really like the steaks at Homegrown Meats in La Jolla. They're from cattle raised on pasture on Mt. Palomar. Pricey, but delicious.

                    Whole Foods also has a line of grass-fed beef that is quite nice, though also expensive.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Josh
                      geekyfoodie Sep 30, 2009 10:14 AM

                      How pricey are we talking about, Josh? Say... for a flatiron or flank steak?

                      1. re: geekyfoodie
                        Josh Sep 30, 2009 03:20 PM

                        Flatirons are cheaper. They don't have them often, but those and hangar steaks go for around $10/lb. I think. The wild boar bacon is also fantastic, and somewhat more reasonable.

                        1. re: Josh
                          The Office Goat Oct 21, 2009 03:39 PM

                          Do they have other cuts of wild boar or just the bacon?

                    2. ibstatguy Sep 29, 2009 11:34 AM

                      I'm in agreement with you regarding the steaks from C Star; try the bison rib eye sometime as well.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ibstatguy
                        MrKrispy Sep 29, 2009 12:06 PM

                        I second your second. I have been very happy with the steaks I have gotten from Cowboy Star, the rib eyes are as perfect as I have seen out here.

                        I still get a lot of my stuff from Siesel's because of proximity, although it seems like the flat irons haven't been as good as they used to be.

                        1. re: ibstatguy
                          mjill Oct 1, 2009 11:24 AM

                          I usually head into their butcher shop for Bison Ribeyes as well. Pretty good stuff, although a bit pricey but a nice treat for yourself. I picked up a prime NY from there once and it was very good but I believe at that time it was like $4 more per lb from Siesel's. I checked prices of aged prime Ribeyes too and they were a bit more expensive than Siesel's on that too which is nearing red line as is. That's getting pretty expensive, even for top of the line. If they'd bring thier prices back to Earth, I'd shop there much more often. They have Rabbit, Quall, Venison, ect, ect, definitely what I'm interested in.

                        2. j
                          JRSD Sep 29, 2009 11:13 AM

                          Have you ever picked up steaks from the Brandt Beef stand at a farmer's market? We see them at the La Mesa FM and have gotten the bavettes and the flatirons from them as well as ground beef that made excellent burgers.

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