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Oct 27, 2009 01:44 PM

Jim Beam Black Bourbon Bargain, Pricey Oxtail


Blanchard's in Allston had 1.75L JB Black for $31.99 and White for $21.99.

Lately I am in a Jim Beam Manhattan rut so this comes in handy.

Hit the Allston Stop and shop and was shocked to see oxtail for $4.99 a pound. Ouch. For what used to be an inexpensive cut...

Was reading somewhere else that chicken wings these days are often pricier then white meat breast. Up is down, down is up the sky is brown and the earth is blue I guess. ;-)

  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. That is true about wings being costlier than breast meat, which explains why your local pub might be pushing the chicken tenders.

      1. Last time I went to Liquor World in Somerville they had Jim Beam Black 750ml for $18 which was the same price they were charging for the white. I thought that was a good deal as I like the smaller bottles so I can try more different brands.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nickls

          That is a bit pricey for Beam White, which usually goes for about $14 for 750. Not a bad price for the Black. My standard fall end of day libation is a Manhattan so I do go through a bit of Beam. 1.75L of Black is often over $40 so...

          1. re: nickls

            I went the day before yesterday to try to pick up a bottle of the Black at Liquor World- None in stock. Bummer.

          2. That is crazy about oxtail and I love that you are shopping for it. My (Korean) mom has told me about the days when she could get oxtail for free from the "regular" (read: Western) supermarket meat counter...they were going to just chuck it anyway. She would appreciatively take it and make some damned amazing soup.

            Maybe you could find them for free-to-really cheap still in the 'burbs?

            8 Replies
            1. re: digga

              Oxtail is awesome. Nothing makes a better beef stew/soup.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                That is not an uncommon price for Oxtail in supermarkets, going back at least a couple of years. I have commented in the past that even though for instance DeMoula's is less expensive overall, things like Oxtail are slightly more pricey there. And Super88 also never sold it cheap either. As some folks mentioned on a thread a week ago, McKinnon's was selling it for significantly less (I think $2.79 and they had some packages with only meaty large pieces). That said, the cryovac "never frozen" Latino brand that some Demoula's carry is pretty good stuff. When I can, I prefer to buy at Lord Jeff's because you can have it cut to order (frozen) the thickness you desire and they sell a lot. But more often I tend to get it from Puritan Beef at Haymarket (I prefer buying during the week and getting stuff from the walk-in, but oxtail is pretty safe) and sometimes Mayflower Poultry (frozen). Hilltop is another place that has it cheap, but can be pretty mixed.

                If you want a stew meat which is uncommon and also excellent, check out turkey necks. They have a lot of gelatin (give a body in between short ribs and oxtail), but unlike chicken necks have enough meat that you end up with something you can eat. And pork neck bones, beef shin (Asian and Brazilian markets will sell just the muscle alone for pot roast)... and many other things are still inexpensive, but make a great soup base.

                1. re: itaunas

                  Hmmmm, never seen shin meat, but will definitely look for it now.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    They often have shins at Market Basket too.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Market Basket, McKinnon's, and Johnnie's sell beef shin, cross-cut (with the bone). At a Chinese market or from a Brazilian butcher as "musculo" you can buy the whole shin muscle (boneless) from one side which makes a really nice pot roast/stew. I generally like having the bones, but the whole cut is nice from time to time. If you look around you can usually find it somewhere for $2.99/lb, but can be more (particularly at Johnnie's when not on sale). The meat doesn't get that silky texture of nicely braised oxtail or short ribs, but I do recommend it.

                    2. re: StriperGuy

                      Lots of shin meat at H-Mart, including off the bone. I got some there for $2.99.

                      H-Mart is also a good source for oxtail. If you get it frozen, it is $1 less per pound.

                      3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                    3. re: itaunas

                      And thanks for reminding me of McKinnon's.

                    4. re: StriperGuy

                      Agreed, but aside from a rare sale, I've never seen oxtail for less than 4.99/lb - even in Chinatown where you can have savings on the less popular cuts of meat. The one advantage in Chinatown is you sometimes get better cuts of tail (whether you want the giant meat parts, or the smaller parts that are fun to gnaw on).

                  2. Damn, happened to shanks of all kinds too, especially lamb, which was a throw-away until someone made it famous and not it's almost as expensive as the chops!

                    Good bourbon, hit up Deep Ellum, I was amazed at their listing of bottles and Max the owner is obsessed with the stuff. I am with him on that now, a new found love for it to substitute for the more common desire for good scotch.....American whiskey, yeah.

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: Zatan

                      flank steak, too. didnt it used to be a cheap cut? maybe its my old brain but it seems to me we used to grill this up for sandwiches, etc. precisely because it was cheap. am i mis remembering?

                      1. re: hyde

                        Yes. I could go on and on about flank steak and yes it used to be cheap.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          hanger steak used to be cheap as well.

                      2. re: Zatan

                        Zatan, you might be interested to know that there was a recent tasting of Four Roses bourbon - this stuff I guess is real old school and prohibition-era had been a big brand, but got dumbed down when it was acquired by Seagram's - was mostly bottom rail and exported to Europe thereafter - now they are controlled by a Japanese company and they are trying to come back into the premium bourbon market - I thought it was middling, but I am not a connoisseur. You might chat up the Deep Ellum folks about it next time -

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I had meant to go to that tasting - was that at Federal Wines?

                          1. re: Bob Dobalina

                            Misty Kalkofen at Drink recently Tweeted about accidentally breaking a bottle of Four Roses, and I thought, "Did the customers a favor", but now I'm not so sure. They apparently have a fancier ($40+) single-barrel version on the market now, too, so it sounds like they're trying to reposition the brand.

                            If it hasn't been reformulated recently, the yellow label (cheaper version, around $20 retail) is pretty rough stuff. On the other hand, Old Overholt rye is still about $12 retail, and its harder-edged character actually makes it work better in certain cocktails than more expensive, smoother ryes, so I always keep it around. Hopefully its appearance as a Don Draper tipple on Mad Men won't make another Plymouth Gin out of it.


                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              It was at Federal Wine and Spirits.
                              We tried the single barrel, the small batch and the yellow label in that order and in that order of preference - I cut the single barrel with a tiny bit of water like a single malt scotch and it smoothed out all the edges - really smooth, silky even - nice bourbon - the yellow label was pretty rough to my tastes - there was also a limited edition that I was too bourboned up to try at that point. *hic* The single barrel was 100 proof and it was a lot smoother than the 80 proof cheap stuff.

                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                yeah, when I told my father-in-law about Four Roses he replied, "Four Roses! That's rotgut!" but it appears those days are past (or maybe their low-end is still rotgut, not sure) their small batch/single barrel are both really solid.

                                tried a bunch a few months ago:

                                and re:formerly cheap meats that are now expensive; shhh, don't tell anyone but featherbones are still dirt cheap if you can find them.

                                1. re: joypirate

                                  Hey, you made me google. I never heard of featherbones, but that is right up my alley.

                                  1. re: yumyum

                                    Gosh me too.. now I'm on a mission... Crispy Mandarin Riblets here I come:

                                  2. re: joypirate

                                    aren't these the cut used in Chinese restaurants for "ribs" such as those in dim sum steamed w/black bean sauce? I always called them riblets, think it's the same cut....if so, usually available at Asian markets?

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Uh-oh - I better stock up on the Old Overholt. I actually prefer it in a Manhattan to the fancier brands as well, and can't believe it's remained so cheap.

                                  2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    Really just very happy to see a bourbon/American whisky revival going on, always thought it's been underappreciated and soo many sad stories like the four roses one. I haven't tried that one in ages and did not know about its new iteration.

                                    Old Overholt was for the longest time the only rye I could find around here. Anytime I saw it in a bar I'd get my manhattan made with it.....

                                    1. re: Zatan

                                      There's a huge number of otherwise well-stocked bars in Boston that still don't carry a single American straight rye, especially irksome to me if they have three yards of flavored and super-premium vodkas. That's slowly changing, but there are plenty that still think a bottle or two of Canadian whisky covers them on the rye front. (It doesn't: calling that stuff "rye" is a holdover from Prohibition.)


                                  3. re: Zatan

                                    I am increasingly interested in bourbon too, though still a definite novice. Have you found any good retailers where you can find smaller batch bourbons or some of the less frequently seen labels (Bulleit)? Especially a place where they can talk me through it a bit? In Cambridge is a plus. I haven't looked at Wine and Cheese Cask yet, which is usually my standby for alcohol.

                                    By the way, I had Four Roses for the first time at the Old Brown Hotel in Louisville a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. I am not sure which label it was, they didn't say, but perhaps that means it was not the 40/bottle variety...

                                    1. re: hckybg

                                      Take a look at the Spirits board, lots of discussion on this. Most of the big liquor stores have good selections. Fresh Pond, Blanchards, Martignettis, Martys.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        Thank you! I suspect the Liquor World variety of stores will neither have much selection nor know anything about what they sell. I will poke around these, which I have never visited.