HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Where to buy USDA Prime on the cheap?

Looking to purchase 2 Prime Rib Roasts for Christmas but not aged. The usual suspects (Wegmans, Whole Foods, Giant, etc.) only carry Choice roasts or Prime that is already aged. I'm trying to save a few bucks and age myself. Once place that 'claims' to have Prime is Springfield Butcher but I've had too many bad experiences with them. Any suggestions??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's not real prime, but over the past several years I've had excellent results from the Rancher's Reserve bone-in rib roasts that Safeway sells. They almost always have them on sale before Christmas - a 3-bone roast is about $25 if I remember correctly. I asked at my local store if they'd be on sale this year again and the nice man in the meat department said they would. It's not a craft butcher shop by any means, but they'll cut you a piece as big or small as you want.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MikeR

      Rancher's Reserve isn't even Choice, though - it's ungraded equivalent of Select. Someone who is specifically looking for Prime won't be happy with this.

      CapitalEats - Costco frequently carries unaged Prime rib roasts.

      1. re: DanielK

        I've read about the differences in grades, but I've never experienced a taste-off. But since he was looking for economy, I just thought I'd through my positive experience with the Safeway roasts into the ring. Given that I only cook something like that when people are over for an occasion and we eat, we're really not fully focused on food and if there indeed was a "better than" we probably wouldn't notice.

        I don't know what kind of cook CapitalEats is or what facilities he has, but I expect that the equipment, cooking process, and skill of the chef has a lot to do with bringing out the best in the best grade of meat. Those of us who just season it and stick it in the over probably would be wasting our money on officially blessed prime meat. Prove me wrong - come over for dinner with your prime roast and I'll cook it. ;)

        BTW, not everyone (including me) is a Costco member, but I've indeed been served some tasty and tender meat that's come from there.

    2. You can try Eastern market or Balducci's - The latter frequently has them on sale...

      1. I agree on springfield butcher.

        As for prime rib roast, have you looked at costco?

        1. Try Mike Smollon at My Butcher and More. They run a great shop- not the cheapest, but can get you anything.


          1 Reply
          1. re: ClevelandDave

            Mybutcherandmore, agreed, you can't go wrong with Mike.

          2. Costco always has it and it's very reasonable. I buy Prime Ribeyes for around 13 dollars a pound.

            1. Thanks everyone! I ended up going to Costo yesterday and purchased a 16lb full rib roast. The meat department manager said they never carry Prime grade rib roasts but he said the cuts they had looked decent. Two years ago, I purchase a 3-bone standing Prime rib from Wegmans, aged for 21 days, and it was the best thing I've ever eaten. Last year purchased a fresh 'prime' standing rib from a local butcher and it tasted just like what i would expect from a standard bar/grill....big globs of fat still intact...meat was tastless. I hope this Choice cut will taste as good as the Wegmans cut after 12 days of ageing in my fridge. I'm going to try something different and cook it on my SMW to save oven space. Not sure what wood to use though...

              3 Replies
              1. re: CapitalEats

                Is that how they are aged? I thought there was a specific humidity, temp, process, not just loading it in the fridge and letting it sit for 12 days at the lower humidity level that is typical of a refrigerator....

                1. re: ClevelandDave

                  You can, but the risk is that any food in your fridge has the potential to pass bacteria and flavor to the meat. Here's one possible instruction, but if you can use an empty mini-fridge that's probably best.


                  1. re: DanielK

                    Best source in DC for prime meat is WAGSHALL'S MARKET in Spring Valley, DC. ASK FOR PAM THE BUTCHER. ($$$$$..definitely not cheap)