- niles2 Apr 11, 2011 07:18 AM
I will be traveling to Atlantic Canada in June, July and August of this year. I'd like to find some butchers that carry prime beef in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Can only speak to Halifax, NS sources: but here I would go to Pete's Fruitique either on Dresden Row in central Halifax or the Bedford store if that is more accessible.
Or if the timing is right when you want to make your purchase, the Halifax market down by the harbor is new and bright and has at least two butchers that offer beef...now whether they rise above Grade A grade, I don't know, but others will chime in.
I know you can purchase Sterling Silver beef at Sobeys. They say their beef is the top 12% of all graded beef. If you pick out the best Sterling Silver steaks, then you may be getting steaks that are at the upper range of that 12% - thus being close to prime. As far as I know, Pete's and every other meat vendor in Halifax does not show grades on their beef.
I'd be willing to bet that (purely) grass fed beef would have a tough time ever achieving enough marbling to attain prime status. Which may shed some insight into the "grading" system if you follow what I mean.
It basically establishes a certain measure of quality as a baseline, and goes "up" from there as to how much fat has infiltrated the muscle fibers. Higher grade = higher fat content, in terms of marbling, basically.
Corn finishing is really a starch and sugar fest... Which fattens up the animal.
Still, its mighty tasty, mind you. But is grass fed tastier, despite being leaner? Hmmmm.
It's often a question of personal preference. If you're a hardcore steak fan, you should read Mark Schatzker's book "Steak", about his quest for the perfect steak. He discusses the differences in cuts, breeds, feeding methods, etc. Great book.
It also discusses the concept of grading, and the debate as to wether marbling (i.e. fat) equals flavour. There are also the ethical/ecological debates as to feeding cattle corn.
I prefer grass fed to corn fed, as I find the taste is more intense. And even then, I prefer to buy certain cuts at certain times of year. A grass-fed rib eye in december is typically finished on sillage and hay, rather than green pasture, therefore may not be as tasty as one procured in late august. Hanger steaks, flank steaks and shins are good all year round due to the type of muscle used.
I buy my beef from Getaway Farms at the Seaport Market, which is grass-fed all year round. (Full disclosure - the owner is a friend of mine). Chris, who runs the joint, is a great person to discuss steak and beef production. Drop by for a chat. he is there on saturdays and sundays.
Huge second on Getaway Farms! Their beef is out of this world good, especially if you luck out and get your hands on their six week dry-aged product. Drool-worthy. I have no association with them but I'm there almost every week. The meat is not cheap but dear god it's good.
Also, don't wimp out and buy the tenderloin. Rib eyes are where it's at! Have one sitting in my fridge for dinner tomorrow.
Thank you all very much for your helpful suggestions.
I'll be eating mostly seafood in the Maritimes, but a good rib eye or hangar steak is a nice change of pace.
When last I traveled extensively in Canada (2008), I was able to get some excellent beef in Calgary at a place called "Bon Ton". Getaway Farms sounds like the right place, and the Seaport Market should have lots of other things (sweet corn, tomatoes, etc.) as well.
This should be a great trip...the people, the hospitality, the scenery and...of course...the wonderful music.