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Roast beast: bang for the buck?

m
mordacity Dec 8, 2009 09:37 AM

I'm planning on doing roast beef for Christmas. My usual recipe standby, epicurious, is full of tempting recipes for rib roasts and tenderloin roasts, but at $25 a pound these are WAY out of the budget. Any recommendations for cheaper cuts, closer to the $10/lb mark, that still make a nice fancy-dinner presentation, or should I just switch to turkey?

  1. kaysyrahsyrah Dec 18, 2009 12:57 PM

    Costco has tenderloin for 9.39 a pound and rib roast for 6.99. It's USDA Choice and it is nice. SF Costco also has prime tenderloin steaks and rib steaks for great prices. Or a prime top sirloin roast for 2.79 a pound -- that would be my choice.

    I did a crusted tenderloin last weekend and it was just fine (I don't like tenderloin, but the crowd loves it.)

    Another suggestion - veal osso buco. Shanks are $10/lb for quality wholesale.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kaysyrahsyrah
      coll Dec 19, 2009 12:18 AM

      I just got some veal shanks for $5.99 (retail). I stuck them in the freezer and will probably just put them in my next pot of sauce, but at that price I had to grab a few.

      1. re: coll
        kaysyrahsyrah Dec 20, 2009 05:06 PM

        I have a cryopacker for such occasions as quality veal shanks at 5.99. Just today, I found amazing hanger steaks for 4.99. I don't prefer to freeze much of anything, but at these prices, I can throw sizeable dinner parties and not worry about the need for my meat order to be delivered in a Brinks truck.

        Speaking of prized meat deals -- Dungeness crab is on the market, and the catch is stronger than the two previous years. I'm seeing lower prices -- such as Whole Foods selling same-day cooked crab from Pier 45 at 3.99/lb. Wow.

        1. re: kaysyrahsyrah
          coll Dec 20, 2009 10:24 PM

          I cryovac everything I won't use in the next month or so, it's great! When I have company coming, I always shop in my downstairs freezer, rather than the supermarket, and no one's the wiser.

    2. 2
      2chez mike Dec 14, 2009 11:21 AM

      My local Von's here in SoCal had tri-tips and bone-in NY strip roasts for $2.47 a pound Thanksgiving week! They also had prime rib roast but that was around $3.99 a pound. I bought one 5.5 pound NY strip and a 3 pound tri tip. I did a wet rub for the strip roast and a dry rub for the tri tip, let them sit in the fridge overnight, and roasted them together for a Thanksgiving Eve feast. Both had excellent flavor and tenderness.

      The local chain supermarkets also usually offer the same great deal on Christmas, New Year's and Easter week.

      1. Robin Joy Dec 14, 2009 02:00 AM

        You might find this helpful.....It works well.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/608907

        3 Replies
        1. re: Robin Joy
          yamalam Dec 14, 2009 09:37 AM

          I agree, I love the Cook's Illustrated Eye of Round Roast Beef recipe. Since its a cheaper cut, I can afford to buy grass fed beef, and it always yield delicious results!

          1. re: Robin Joy
            GretchenS Dec 17, 2009 09:46 AM

            That was my immediate thought too when I read the title of the post. I just did this Cooks Illustrated Eye Round last weekend for a pair of serious sceptics and they were totally converted into believers. Thinly-sliced, this is really a winner.

            1. re: GretchenS
              f
              fourunder Dec 17, 2009 09:54 AM

              The Eye Round Roast made according to the Cook's Illustrated's testing results is a nice inexpensive beef roast.....but considering meat purchases and what's available in the $2-4/lb. prices point for retail sale/on-sale pricing depending on any given week, it's my opinion there are better options that are both more flavorful and tender.....TripTip Sirloin and Top Butt Sirloin. I would choose either before and Eye Round myself.

          2. greedygirl Dec 13, 2009 12:07 PM

            Be glad you're not in the UK. Beef fillet (tenderloin) at my local butcher is around £30 a kilo, iirc. I can't remember the last itme I bought it. I do find the price of meat in the US gobsmackingly cheap and wonder how they can produce it for such little money.

            9 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl
              j
              Jack_ Dec 13, 2009 01:10 PM

              That's because the price of meat is subsidized by the subsidies on the corn the cows eat. Pasture raised beef is not cheap in the US

              1. re: Jack_
                greedygirl Dec 13, 2009 02:24 PM

                Interesting. Does that also explain why lamb is not nearly so common in the US as it is over here?

                1. re: greedygirl
                  coll Dec 14, 2009 01:01 AM

                  From what I understand, lamb is considered sort of "ethnic" with no big demand overall. Not common to even see domestic grown. From what I've experienced, a majority of Americans don't like, or think they don't like, lamb, so no call for any mass production. I bought a bone-in Australian leg of lamb last Easter for $1.29/lb, and you can usually get for $2.99 on sale. But a large bulk of the lamb here goes into high end dog food, believe it or not. Then you pay top dollar.

                  1. re: coll
                    greedygirl Dec 14, 2009 02:28 AM

                    You're right - I saw no lambs at all when we visited the US in September, and we drove through four quite rural states - Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. And of course lamb has to be reared on pasture, which is why it's generally a good ethical choice when it comes to meat.

                    1. re: greedygirl
                      Caitlin McGrath Dec 16, 2009 05:39 PM

                      Colorado is the state known for lamb production in the US.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                        hotoynoodle Dec 17, 2009 06:10 AM

                        lamb is my go-to for big gatherings. it's inexpensive here (boston) and grass-fed. my leg of lamb for my holiday party was only $ 4 pp. i did have to go to a butcher for it though, not a supermarket.

                        the flavor of most beef is very one dimensional and boring to me. a waste of money, imho.

                      2. re: greedygirl
                        j
                        Jack_ Dec 30, 2009 12:36 PM

                        Not sure I understand why you say "has to be raised on pasture". All ruminants, cattle, sheep, goats, bison (American buffalo) were "designed" to be raised on pasture but that doesn't stop the raising of cattle in high confinement feed lots with a diet of corn and antibiotics.

                        1. re: Jack_
                          greedygirl Dec 30, 2009 01:38 PM

                          You can't intensively farm lamb. They just won't thrive on it.

                    2. re: greedygirl
                      junescook Dec 18, 2009 12:42 PM

                      While our lamb here is very tender and more delicate than eaten in Britain, It is more often considered an Easter holiday dish (spring lamb). Also, braised lamb shanks are becoming more and more popular cold weather fare. My wife and I love lamb. Our local BJ's club carries beautiful, US boneless lamb legs and big lamb shanks, both for about $3.89/lb, so I cook them every couple of weeks year round.

                2. s
                  StheJ Dec 8, 2009 01:24 PM

                  You should be able to get a whole beef tenderloin from costco vacuum packed for around $30.

                  34 Replies
                  1. re: StheJ
                    f
                    fourunder Dec 8, 2009 01:36 PM

                    Errrrrrr.....sorry to disagree, but at Costco the average price for a whole tenderloin is probably going to be around $60-70+. based on a 6-8 pound piece of meat. I cannot recall tenderloins falling below $8.99/lb for quite some time. At my local warehouse it's been $9.99-10.99 for most of the year. .....and I shop there every week. Costco doesn't sell meat like the supermarkets do on sale. For the most part, their prices remain constant.

                    If I'm wrong, my apologies.

                    1. re: fourunder
                      coll Dec 9, 2009 02:06 AM

                      I got a whole PSMO tenderloin at my local grocery (again! what can I say, I'm a bargain hound), for $3.99/lb a few weeks ago. It was slightly odd shaped on the ends, but that goes in stroganoff anyway. If you watch the loss leader sales at your local grocery, you can always stock up. I've seen it at that price off and on all summer.

                      1. re: coll
                        f
                        fourunder Dec 9, 2009 04:13 AM

                        That's my point.....you can purchase the whole tenderloin at you local supermarket on sale for less.....but @ Costco, the price is consistently closer to $10/lb.

                        It would be my observation though that the $3.99/lb tenderloin you (and I) have been purchasing is not Northern American Beef, but rather Australian Beef, which apparently is a much smaller animal than the North American counterpart....as most loins are usually in the 6-7 pound range,......and as (StheJ) notes would come in between $25-30.

                        At Shop Rite stores, where I do most of my meat purchases, the North American Beef is always $2-3 more than the Australian beef when both go on sale for whole tenderloins.....usually in the $40-50 range.

                        1. re: fourunder
                          coll Dec 9, 2009 07:56 AM

                          Mine says American/ Mexican/Canadian, Australian meat is usually too gamy for me so I'd probably notice.( When you said Australian is smaller, it made me think of the time people were claiming Jack in the Box was selling kangaroo meat instead of beef ;-) ) The ones I've bought recently seem to be 5 down, maybe they're starving them or slaughtering very young. I don't eat it that often to worry about the specifics though.

                          1. re: coll
                            f
                            fourunder Dec 9, 2009 08:12 AM

                            c,

                            3.99 for North American Beef.....you must disclose the store for your fellow Long Islanders.

                            1. re: fourunder
                              coll Dec 9, 2009 08:25 AM

                              Best Yet, it's a chain on Long Island and Queens. I love their prices on everything, not just meat. I'm always blabbing about it here, but at the risk of annoying anyone, here's their ad for this week (just click on their link to see more than the four items listed here)

                              http://www.bestyetmarket.com/weekly_a...

                              1. re: coll
                                v
                                vafarmwife Dec 13, 2009 06:56 AM

                                I paid $3.99/lb. here in Virginia two weeks ago for beef tenderloin. Oh and it was Certified Angus.

                          2. re: fourunder
                            r
                            RGC1982 Dec 16, 2009 07:29 PM

                            The trimmed tenderloins are selling for closer to $13 to $14 per pound. Only the untrimmed tenderloins, which will have a lot of waste, are $10 per pound.

                            1. re: RGC1982
                              coll Dec 17, 2009 04:08 AM

                              Best Yet has the trimmed tenderloins on sale starting Thursday for $3.99 again.

                            2. re: fourunder
                              hotoynoodle Dec 17, 2009 06:08 AM

                              there is also a common assumption on here that simply everybody belongs to costco. i don't, nor do most of my friends.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                b
                                btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:07 AM

                                I know that not everyone is a member of Costco, but I'd keep in mind that the savings you'd realize on even one large roast, not to mention food and drinks for a holiday dinner, would practically cover the cost of membership for a year.

                                I'd also be wary of bargain-basement priced beef at supermarkets. It is invariably Select grade, which is, IMHO, not even worth eating. Certainly not the right choice for a holiday feast.

                                Costco, and Sam's Club, have consistently excellent meat, and at a very fair price.

                                1. re: btnfood
                                  coll Dec 18, 2009 11:19 AM

                                  There is really no discernable difference between Select and Choice when it comes to filet mignon.

                                  My local grocery carries Choice and also Prime in other cuts, at almost the same price on sale. Guess they have a really good meat buyer. Clearly marked with USDA medallion on the label.

                                  1. re: coll
                                    b
                                    btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:27 AM

                                    I noticed that Best Yet just called it USDA, which really means nothing, and generally means that they are selling Select. The term Angus can also apply to many types of beef and is not in itself a guarantee of quality.

                                    Having roasted hundreds of tenderloins, I can definitely say that there is a difference in the various grades of meat. When I buy whole cases, they often contain a few Prime filets along with Choice. The tenderloin is not a cut with a lot of marbling, but some would argue that it makes the grade you choose even more important than fattier cuts.

                                    The point that I think a lot of hounds are trying to make, and I agree, is that you get what you pay for, but there are ways to get fine-quality meat that is affordable.

                                    1. re: btnfood
                                      greedygirl Dec 18, 2009 11:29 AM

                                      Select. Prime. Choice. Can someone explain to a limey what all these things mean?

                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                        coll Dec 18, 2009 11:55 AM

                                        The US govt grades all meat, especially beef , into (I believe) 9 grades, although as a normal consumer, you would only see Prime (top grade, most marbled), then Choice, which is the general standard, and then Select if you're looking for a bargain. After that, It's institutional and so on down to dog food. There is a manual called NAMP that gives you the guidelines. It also numbers every cut of meat so there is no mistake what you are getting.
                                        http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Meat...

                                        1. re: coll
                                          f
                                          fourunder Dec 18, 2009 12:18 PM

                                          The US govt grades all meat,
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                          coll,

                                          This is not quite correct. Meat Packers/Slaughterhouses have the option to have their beef graded. Inspection is mandatory, but grading is voluntary.

                                          http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/i...

                                          1. re: fourunder
                                            coll Dec 19, 2009 12:12 AM

                                            I always get that wrong for some reason, thanks. The grading is done by the North American Meat Packers association to bring consistancy to the industry.

                                      2. re: btnfood
                                        f
                                        fourunder Dec 18, 2009 11:30 AM

                                        If anyone is familiar with Western Beef .......I wouldn't take their meat if it were offered to me for free..

                                        1. re: fourunder
                                          b
                                          btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:33 AM

                                          Glad someone understands my point :)

                                          They have great prices for groceries, but I skip the meat section!

                                        2. re: btnfood
                                          coll Dec 18, 2009 11:33 AM

                                          Sorry, the Prime deals are at Waldbaums just recently. I shop around ;-) and didn't mention who it was because I figure few people know these specific stores. Just saying, if they're doing it, there must be other places too.

                                          Here's this weeks flyer for example http://waldbaums.inserts2online.com/c... can't link directly but just click on meat and go to the bottom for prices and grades. Wish I could afford to go to the butcher like the old days of $30 plus sirloins, but not feasible anymore. I do a few tricks and it comes out pretty darn good. I'm making the last $3.99 porterhouse (this one from Stop and Shop) for husband for dinner tonight, he was happy with it the last time and he's very particular.

                                          1. re: coll
                                            b
                                            btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:40 AM

                                            It's great that supermarkets are starting to carry Prime meat, and I can say that Waldbaum's has always been pretty good for meats in general. You're right in that their buyers are doing a great job if they can offer high quality at such a low price!

                                          2. re: btnfood
                                            f
                                            fourunder Dec 18, 2009 11:45 AM

                                            ...USDA, which really means nothing, and generally means that they are selling Select. The term Angus can also apply to many types of beef and is not in itself a guarantee of quality.
                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                            Pathmark Stores, until earlier this year, was selling as their main featured beef, Black Angus Select....for a dollar more than what other area stores were selling Choice Grade for.

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6448...

                                            1. re: fourunder
                                              b
                                              btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:53 AM

                                              Wow, that's a travesty! And interesting that they are, like Waldbaum's, now owned by A&P.

                                              I think Waldbaum's has a tradtion of good meat departments from the original ownership, just like Food Emporium's ancestor Daitch had great dairy products. But Pathmark, the newer sibling, should be ashamed!

                                              1. re: btnfood
                                                f
                                                fourunder Dec 18, 2009 12:14 PM

                                                There's a Pathmark store literally two blocks from my house, walking distance. If you read all of my comments in the other thread, you would know I detest Pathmark Stores and shop @ Shop Rite instead....even though I have to travel approximately six miles and fight a NJ State Highway to do so.. Pathmark meats are terrible.

                                        3. re: btnfood
                                          hotoynoodle Dec 18, 2009 07:05 PM

                                          i make an ethical choice, and have the urban convenience to do so, to NOT shop at big box stores. i have access to great butchers, fishmongers, produce shops, excellent cheese and hand-made pasta. chinatown is only a few minutes away.

                                          i have worked in hospitality for years and know the wholesale costs of foods. between the personal relationships i cultivate with the shop owners and the insanely fair pricing they provide, places like costco "can eat my dust".

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            r
                                            rainey Dec 19, 2009 08:48 AM

                                            "i make an ethical choice, and have the urban convenience to do so, to NOT shop at big box stores."

                                            GOOD FOR YOU!

                                            I support Costco because they are responsible and fair with their employees but I very much applaud your commitment to independent local businesses!

                                  2. re: fourunder
                                    g
                                    ginnyhw Dec 17, 2009 08:52 AM

                                    Have you actually been to Costco and seen these prices? I was there last weekend and didn't write actual prices down but they were 1/2 to 1/3 of what you are quoting.
                                    The problem with Costco is availability not price. They run out and no reservations.

                                    1. re: ginnyhw
                                      f
                                      fourunder Dec 17, 2009 09:17 AM

                                      Have you actually been to Costco and seen these prices?
                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                      At my local warehouse it's been $9.99-10.99 for most of the year. .....and I shop there every week.
                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                      Care to more specific on what exactly was 1/2 to 1/3 of what I was quoting? I'm actually going to Costco, again, in a couple of hours and I'll come back with the current price on tenderloin.....but I would be willing to bet tenderloins are not $5-7 per pound. Even RCG1982 agrees the price is more likely to be @$10/lb.

                                      1. re: fourunder
                                        r
                                        rainey Dec 17, 2009 09:21 AM

                                        I paid $11/lb for boneless Prime at the Costco in Los Angeles. That may be higher than some areas but that's an EXCELLENT price for Los Angeles! And the meat quality is reliably great.

                                        1. re: rainey
                                          f
                                          fourunder Dec 17, 2009 09:39 AM

                                          My guess is for choice grade Prime Rib and Shell Steak, the price will be $6-7/lb. and Prime will be in the $$9-11/lb. range. ....Prime Beef around my parts for under $15/lb retail was unheard of before this past year.

                                          btw......were you talking about Costco in your example?

                                          1. re: fourunder
                                            r
                                            rainey Dec 17, 2009 10:56 AM

                                            Yes, that was the Costco price.

                                        2. re: fourunder
                                          b
                                          btnfood Dec 18, 2009 11:11 AM

                                          In fact, due to the increased demand, prices on tenderloins go up at the clubs every Novemeber/December.

                                        3. re: ginnyhw
                                          f
                                          fourunder Dec 17, 2009 07:04 PM

                                          ginny,

                                          Earlier today I was in Costco and I checked on the prices of meat. all I can say is if your local store truly has Whole Tenderloins between 1/2 to 1/3 from the prices I noted upthread, I am truly jealous.......Here are the prices for meat cuts as of today....12/17/2009. All cuts are USDA Choice unless otherwise noted.

                                          Whole Beef Tenderloin .....9.99
                                          Whole Beef Tenderloin (Peeled) 15.99
                                          Whole Boneless Rib Eye......5.99
                                          Bone-In Rib Eye Roast.......6.99
                                          New York Strip Loin.......4.59
                                          Eye Round Roast.......2.99
                                          Rack of Pork.....2.99

                                          Prime Grade Rib Eye Steaks......10.99

                                          these prices were for the Hackensack, NJ location which is less than 10 miles from NYC

                                          1. re: fourunder
                                            g
                                            ginnyhw Dec 18, 2009 05:17 AM

                                            Thanks for doing all the leg work for me. Next time I'll wear my glasses. :)

                                    2. coll Dec 8, 2009 11:05 AM

                                      Like everyone says, your supermarket has choice meat (and even prime sometimes) which, while not like a butcher, is fine for large groups. Just check the local sale flyers.I got my bone in rib roast for New Years a few weeks ago for $2.99, and this weekend I got a couple of gorgeous porterhouses for $3.99. While not overly marbled, I did a few tricks and it was delicious. I used to frequent the butcher myself, but it's rare now and only for just the two of us.

                                      1. s
                                        sparkareno Dec 8, 2009 10:14 AM

                                        I agree with everyone else...unless you are shopping for beef at Nieman Marcus, I don't know how you are getting $25/lb. Costco has very good choice AND prime rib roasts. The choice is something like $6.99/lb--not sure about the prime. The also sell whole beef tenderloins for around $10/lb. I think their meat is great. You must be wanting dry aged from Whole Paycheck.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sparkareno
                                          m
                                          mordacity Dec 8, 2009 12:41 PM

                                          Whole Paycheck it is. My other grocery store in walking distance never has anything but ground beef and pot roasts. But it looks like it may be worth the trek to a better supermarket in this case, so I'll see what I can find!

                                        2. p
                                          pengcast Dec 8, 2009 10:09 AM

                                          First I would check Costco, they often have good deals on roasts. I got a lovely eye of the round roast recently and it was lovely. Pushed slivers of garlic into it and roasted it slowly. It would have been totally appropriate for a nice dinner as it sliced very nicely and had enough pan juices that with a little beef stock and red wine made a nice jus.

                                          But you may also want to consider a pork roast. It seems that lately prok roast are always on sale. A rolled pork roast with an apple or cranberry stuffing is lovely. My sister's kids actually prefer raost pork to beef.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pengcast
                                            r
                                            rainey Dec 16, 2009 10:26 PM

                                            I soooo agree with you that Costco is the way to go.

                                            I got a boned prime roast -- yes, it really is Prime -- for $11/lb (Los Angeles prices). I'll dry age it myself. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/380223 But, honestly, when I've just gotten Costco meat and held it a few days before cooking it it's always been excellent.

                                            Don't remember what the bone-in roasts were going for. They had both Prime and Choice so you can get either depending on your budget.

                                          2. PBSF Dec 8, 2009 09:42 AM

                                            Unless you are buying prime grade. aged beef or some specially raised beef, rib roasts and tenderloin roasts need not to be $25.00 per pound. Depends on where you are at, you should have no problem buying choice grade at $10.00 per pound, ever cheaper for a lower grade.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: PBSF
                                              f
                                              fourunder Dec 8, 2009 09:59 AM

                                              I would agree with these thoughts. Unless you are purchasing specialty dry-aged meat from a butcher or mail-order company, the supermarkets readily sell Choice Grade Rib Roasts for around $4.99/lb, Whole Tenderloins will be around $8-10/lb ....during the week before the holiday. Last year I was fortunate enough to be at the right place and the right time to purchase a full Stip Loin (New York Strip) for $3.49/lb if I recall correctly. When roasted, this is an amazing piece of meat as it has much more flavor than a tenderloin.

                                              You may want to consider a Whole Top Butt Sirloin Roast.....dubbed as the Poor Man's Roast Beef by Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. You could purchase this cut anywhere from a $2-4 depending on the source. Roasted low and slow this is a tender very beefy flavor cut of meat.

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/466614#3181461

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/591687#4367492

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/579098

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