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Oct 12, 2009 06:05 PM

Place to buy prime beef for steaks? [UTC/Del Mar]

Whole Foods in UTC used to sell some great prime beef for grilling stakes, but I haven't been seeing them stock it this year. I like to grill these steaks myself at home, especially with the baby limiting our choices outside. Where are some places near UTC/Del Mar that stock this?

I've had good experience with Costco steaks but I have to at least buy 2-3 there. We usually split a pound for the family with sides. Thanks!

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  1. Bristol Farms, about a mile East from WF.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cathy

      agreed and the prices are a bit better than WF with same quality. Dry aged at BF is very good. They also have good thick pork chops.

      1. re: stevuchan

        Ralphs in Del Mar Heights actually has a pretty damn decent meat department. They sell prime as well. They have a meat locker a la WF that sells dry aged choice ribeyes (20/lb). I keep an eye on their sales, every wednesday. They usually have one steak on sale (say it's strip, tbone, or ribeye, sometimes tenderloin) and it's less than $7-8 lb, and it's always USDA choice. There are many grades of choice and I've seen variations in a single side of ribeye before, where one side was super marbled and the other was well marbled but not quite as much. In any event it's not guaranteed but you can find a piece of choice that could be passed off as prime if you're lucky.

        I've attached a photo I took of a ribeye stuck cut from a whole side of choice I purchased (not at ralphs but just for illustrative purposes)

        In any event, their ad is up for the week and Ribeyes are 8/lb (I like it better when they are $6 :D). Check out the choice tri tips for $2/lb! Rub them santa maria style over some coals, yummy

        1. re: deeznuts

          I'll check them out too, live nearby. Nothing beats coal bbq. Thanks!

      2. re: Cathy

        Yeah, good call. We don't cook steak often so cost isn't as much an issue as a good meal for the family.

      3. Depending on where you live, I would recommend Iowa Meat Farms @Mission Gorge and I-8 or Cecils on Morena Blvd, behind Bacci.

        They are owned by the same folks and quality is tops. I was at Costco on Friars today, and they had some large cuts of prime being sold as singles.

        9 Replies
        1. re: normalheightsfoodie

          Or do what I do, buy a whole side of prime from Costco (18 lbs prime ribeye $130), dry aged in a meat cooler for 14-21 days, cut them up then vacuum seal/freeze them. One steak each wednesday (I always eat them on Wednesday) or every other Week to work through them.

          1. re: deeznuts

            That would be great, but I'm trying to cut back on meat. ;-) Hence, when I do eat meat I'd like to serve the best I can.

            1. re: royaljester

              Sounds good, like me, I've been continually making my portion smaller and smaller lately as well. Going from whole steaks to just half, maybe even a third eventually. How do you prepare yours?

              1. re: deeznuts

                I try to get a thick cut and grill it to a dark brown crisp each side on a flat iron or BBQ, uncovered. If you use a medium-low temperature like me you can get the steak to a dark brown crisp both sides and still cook the inside to medium rare. I don't like to let it blacken although it takes longer this way. The higher the temperature you use, the blacker the skin has to be before the inside gets cooked past rare. But you want it as crisp as you can get before taking it off the grill to avoid an undercooked inside.

                About 10-12 minutes per side for a 1 inch cut of ribeye. Less for thinner cuts or higher temperatures. Ribeye self flavors, especially for a well marbled cut. Like a french fry, you want it crisp on the outside and tender and sufficiently cooked on the inside.

                Before serving, top it off with a crust of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Lots and lots of it. That's all you need for a good prime steak. The salt will melt into the layer of beef fat. Serve it on a heated plate so it'll stay hot and flavorful.

                If the cut of meat isn't the highest, there's several options from adding more seasoning to even marinating. Also for reheating steak, don't use a microwave because it steams/boils the steak. An oven is the best way to reheat it and preserve as much of the crisp without turning the center red into brown.

                1. re: royaljester

                  Sounds good! I do a reverse sear (due to consistency in doneness and some science around it the technique) but I vary what temp and time I use depending on my seasonings rub. If I'm just going with salt and pepper (which is often) then I go with a high heat sear at the end as the salt and pepper can withstand the higher heat. If I'm going for a complex rub that has delicate ingredients I'll turn down the heat a bit at the sear stage to preserve the flavors.

                  I'm with you on re-heating. Especially when I have leftovers from a steak house, I'll throw it in an oven at about 250-275 with a probe once it hits 110-120 or so I'm eating

                  1. re: deeznuts

                    Interesting, I wanted to try reverse searing and will try it out next time. My wife likes it more medium so I can start hers that way and sear both steaks together. Thanks!

                    1. re: royaljester

                      It really does make for a good technique. Cooks Illustrated did an article about the science behind it (enzymes allowed to work longer, the surface of the steak drying out so when you go to sear it doesn't waste any energy evaporating moisture so a better sear with less gray matter). I still cook it other ways as well, as I don't always have a probe around.

                      I've never done the salt and pepper crust as you mentioned, but is it similar to peppered filet? When you say a lot, how much exactly? That sounds perfect for using up some of this sel the gris or sel de mer I bought in Paris (always trying to find a reason to use the damn stuff since I bought so much of it).

                      My mouth is watering now thinking about it. can't wait until Wednesday! :D

                      1. re: deeznuts

                        I can attest as far as the difference between grilling from room temperature vs. grilling from refrigeration. My earliest cooking mistakes were all related to cooking from frozen vs. thawed. ;-) With meats, it's almost impossible to do that right.

                        1. re: royaljester

                          Eww. Yes, that's where I started from too. How about being in college and buying any piece of steak (as long as it said steak) then pounding it and putting meat tenderizer on it? Back when Food network was only half as bad I learned a tiny bit about steaks then I was off and running :D

        2. Bristol Farms is good, they recently had a sale on their Prime dry aged NY's and Ribeyes for $15/lb that was way too good to pass up.

          We still buy Siesels at times.

          I have not bought any from Cowboy Star downtown but have been hearing some really good things. Looking forward to checking them out sometime.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Wino

            Hmm, I'm going to have to keep an eye on those sales then ... This week it's a seafood sale

              1. re: deeznuts

                yeah I need to stop by Bristol Farms more often.

                Siesel's doesn't seem to run sales on the good beef steaks.

            1. I have dry aged my own prime rib (from Costco) and have been wanting to get a whole ribeye to dry age and chop steaks off. Not sure how long the thing lasts in the fridge once you chop the first steaks off the ends.

              My reasoning is a lot of the good rib-eyes are very thick, averaging 1.5 pounds each, and I would like to cut smaller ones for us. Wish I had an easy way to cut thru the bone too (bone-in rib eyes are the best!!!) but I dont' think my girl would appreciate me taking my saw-z-all to our steaks.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MrKrispy

                Sometimes we deal with this by serving the steak family-style. Without the bone, you can slice the steak into medallions. Then grind pepper onto them. In Florence they'd do this and also toss on shredded parmesean. If you do this, you have to let the steaks sit for a few minutes after coming off the grill or the juices will run. And the drawback is you have to get rid of the bone and everyone has to get the same rareness.

                The result looks a bit like this: