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Stater Bros. Meat: What the Hell Happened???

When we were young in the greater Inland Empire area, we were told of Stater Bros., "It's the Meat that Made Us Famous". Our family would get nothing but Stater Bros. meat.
Well, for the last several years, when we get their meat, it is HORRIBLE. Tough, flavorless--
Tonight, we got a couple of T-Bones in one of their Colton stores.
Well, I'm just about flossing my teeth with this stuff-EEEK!!
I know you 'hounds know what's going on with their meat - what's happening? Or what's happened?
And where can I get better, more tender, flavorful meat?
(Full disclosure: We have very little money, and we are on a strict budget.)

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  1. frank's wholesale meat in san bernadino?

    you can also look for a mexican carniceria or halal meat market in your area.

    1. Stater Bros. has always used the lowest grades of meat, select.

      Also, I've noticed when Foster Farms chicken, which are suppose to be fresh,never frozen, is one sale, the chickens are frozen and/or thawed.

      This doesn't happen at Albertson's or Vons or Ralph's.

      1. Any Asian or Mexican market will have better meat for cheaper. Just be aware that cuts are different.

        1. I never shopped at Stater Bros., but I do remember those commercials. in the 70s and 80s.

          I don't know how Stater Bros. prices its meat, but I do know that Costco actually has pretty good meat (choice, some prime) at prices well below what you'll find at a premium upscale supermarket like Gelson's or Whole Foods. Of course, you can't just buy one steak or one pound of ground beef, but if you're serving enough people (or have space in your freezer) it's worth checking out.

          How much were the T-bones from Stater Bros.?

          I also second the recommendations for carnicerias/Asian mkts.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jack Flash

            The T-bones were on sale for $4.47 per pound.

          2. There's a Restaurant Depot in Colton. Every RD has good meat at wholesale prices just in large, cryovac pacs for restaurant use. You just have to buy a lot at one time, portion & freeze sort of thing.

            RD is wholesale only. If you have any kind of business license (not just in the food service industry), or work for a nonprofit and can bring the nonprofit's tax ID card, then you can get a free membership. There may be other credentials they'll accept for a membership card, but call and ask. Don't know if that works for you, but that's all I can suggest in Colton. Don't really know the area well.


            1. Do you have any Ralphs Fresh Faire Stores in your area? Ralphs Fresh Faire is a little more upscale than the " regular" Ralphs store.

              Ralphs Fresh Faire only sells USDA Choice Beef while the regular Ralphs sells USDA Select Beef. And on their weekly advertised specials, the Choice Beef at Ralphs Fresh Faire will be the same price as the Select Beef at regular Ralphs. For example, this week (February 2-8), regular Ralphs has on sale USDA Select Boneless Rib-Eye Steaks for$4.97/lb while Ralphs Fresh Faire has on sale USDA Choice Boneless Rib-Eye Steaks for the same $4.97/lb. Better quality meat at the same price!

              When there is a good sale, I buy in quantity (10-20 steaks) and freeze.

              I live in Marina Del Rey where there are 2 Ralphs Fresh Faire Stores. BTW. there is a regular Ralphs in Venice.

              Also, if you are a Costco member, Costco has good meat (USDA Prime and Choice) at fair prices.

              17 Replies
              1. re: Norm Man

                the fresh faire near me has prime once in a blue moon. the last time i picked up a prime rib eye and it was pretty darn good....and for $9.99/lb, it was an unexpected good deal.

                that being said, i buy most of my meat at costco. look for the prime beef in the light blue styrofoam trays.

                1. re: wilafur

                  The Ralphs Fresh Faires in Marina Del Rey used to stock USDA Prime Beef and Angus Beef in the full service meat dispay case (not pre-packaged) and but no longer.

                2. re: Norm Man

                  Actually, regular Ralph's is selling boneless rib-eyes for $3.97. Fresh Fare (Ventura at Coldwater, at least) has them at $4.97. But they also have Angus for $6.97 and, best of all, Prime Boneless Rib-Eyes for $8.97! That's a steal.

                  1. re: Bob Brooks

                    If you have brought prime grade steaks from How's Market, how does Fresh Fare compare?

                    1. re: reality check

                      I have indeed bought many prime steaks from How's over the years. In my experience, the steak I just finished from Fresh Fare is not quite as good as the one's I've had from How's. In truth, however, neither of them has ever been great. Without going though an aging process, there just isn't that much flavor.

                      1. re: Bob Brooks

                        Well, no kidding. You can't expect supermarket beef to be like dry aged or wet aged steakhouse steaks. Compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

                        1. re: Bob Brooks

                          Alton Brown of the Food Network says you can improve the flavor of supermarket beef by dry aging roasts and individual steaks in your refrigerator. It won't be as good as a premium steakhouse but it also will be much less expensive. Fine for everyday eating.



                          1. re: Norm Man

                            I tried that, minus cooking the steak in the chimney starter. I would say improved the flavor by 25%.

                            1. re: reality check

                              Thanks for reporting back. Did you dry age for 3 days? In your opinion, was 25% flavor improvement worth the extra effort?

                              1. re: Norm Man

                                Yes, 3 days in the coldest part of my frid. Was it worth it? Yes, you really don't have to do much once it's in the frig.

                                This and his two step-steamed then baked, chicken wings recipes are my favorites.

                                1. re: reality check

                                  Forgot to add, just a 24hr dry age, following AB's recipe, will increase the flavor to any supermarket steak. I had planned to do the full three days, but the steak, a rib eye from Ralphs's, was only aged 24hrs and tasted better than a no aged steak from Ralph's.

                                  No, it won't taste like $50 rib eye from a high end steakhouse, but it is better with almost no effort on your part.

                        2. re: reality check

                          Not exactly an answer, but Hows markets are getting harder to find, what with all the closings.

                          1. re: Akitist

                            Very true, but I go by the one on Huntington all the time.

                            Actually, where I live, there aren't any Fresh Fare and I'm not driving to the West Side to go grocery shopping.

                        3. re: Bob Brooks

                          The regular Ralphs in Venice is selling USDA Select Boneless Rib-Eyes for $4.97/lb and USDA Whole (Uncut) Boneless Rib-Eyes for $3.97/lb.

                          Ad for regular Ralphs Venice:


                          Ralphs Fresh Fare Marina Del Rey is selling USDA Choice Boneless Rib-Eyes for $4.97/lb and Boneless Angus Rib-Eye Steaks for $6.97/lb.

                          Ad for Ralphs Fresh Fare Marina Del Rey:


                          The links to the ads aren't working correctly. You can vew the ads for regular Ralphs Venice and Ralphs Fresh Fare Marina Del Rey at the following link:


                          1. re: Norm Man

                            That's interesting. I didn't realize Ralph's advertised specials were that narrowly defined by neighborhood. The flyer delivered to my home in Sherman Oaks said $3.97 (limit 2).


                            1. re: Bob Brooks

                              I do find prices at Ralph's in MDR and much of the West Side to be higher than the rest of the LA/OC area.

                              1. re: Bob Brooks

                                When I puit in my Sunland Tujunga ziop into Ralphs flyer info
                                I get all the 'regular' Ralphs from my Sunland store to down in the SFV;
                                When I put in the zip for La Crescenta I get the Fresh Faire flyer for
                                all located in those 'better' areas.
                                I actually drive 3 more miles to go to the Fresh Faire where they have
                                higher prices on better quailty itewms not carried at the 'regular' stores.
                                Choice meats, or even other baked products like regular Van De Kamps
                                hamberger buns but also bigger heftier buns. lol and before I knew this
                                I would be mad that the flyer I had wasn't there, but it was for the
                                'regular' Ralphs.

                        4. WOW! You said it, the meat is terrible. The closest market to us is Stater Bros (across the street from a Walmart) since I moved here two years ago I keep seeing the TV ads about how great their meat is at Stater Bros. I have tried the meat from time to time and it has always been tough and tasteless. I don't much care for Walmart but their meat is MUCH BETTER and less expensive. All my neighbors have given up on Staters meat and only get other necessities there, NO MEAT. Today I made the mistake of thinking I'd give them once more chance. New York steaks special, bought three, am eating (trying to) one now and it has to be the toughest piece of meat I've ever had and no flavor either. I'm sure my jaws are going to be sore tomorrow as I can already feel the tightness. This is truly terrible and tomorrow I will call their customer service to complain. NO MORE STATERS MEAT, EVER!!! I would advise anyone to avoid the Staters meat department like the plague, it is terrible!!!!!!!!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jmpgfoto

                            Had rib eyes on back to back weekends from Stater Bros and Sam's Club. The rib eyes were on sale for $2 less at Stater Bros. The quality of the meat was like night and day. As others have said above the Stater Bros meat is below average. They do not produce a tender or meaty tasting piece of steak. The Sam's Club was much more well marbled and had a better quality. You could tell by looking and handling the raw piece of beef. If you take away the sales price they'd probably be the same. The only thing I go to Stater Bros from the meat counter is bacon by the slice and italian sausage not in the casing. These aren't necessarily the best quality but not easy finding places that sell bacon by the slice.

                          2. I have decent luck with pork at Stater Bros, mainly different rib cuts.