Asking your butcher for a cut that creates excess waste for him? Acceptable or faux pas?
My mother wants beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner and there's going to be about a dozen of us. Easy enough, two chateaubriand.
The issue is, I felt bad the last time I asked for one, let alone two at the butcher's. You tell them to get the finest tenderloin and cherry pick the nicest part of it, right out of the middle. This leaves them with the cap and the tail which I'm sure they find some use for but like I said, I feel like a tool.
Should I just get a single loin, double up the end and give those parts to the nephews or is it acceptable to go to the butcher and say, "I need two of your finest center cut chateaubriands."
Nicer cuts of meat demand higher prices - why feel bad when you are certainly paying more for two chateaubriands than you would for one whole loin? A good butcher will make use of the trimmed pieces, either selling at a discount, grinding them, or taking them home for dinner. Chances are he will make more by selling you this cut at a premium and also selling the trim than he would selling the whol tenderloin. Do not feel bad about this.
I wouldn't feel bad if I'm paying more for the center, normally it's just a flat rate for tenderloin and I thought that meant any part of it. I'll just go ahead and get them and double check the receipt this time. See if it matches up with to their posted price for tenderloin or if they tack on a little extra for the middle.
The last time it was about $35 for the cut, doubled for this meal will be $70 which still a little less than I can get the whole tenderloin for so I'm happy to pay to get exactly what I want.
When you say, "I need two of your finest center cut chateaubriands" the price includes the "excess waste for him." That is why you pay a good deal more for it than you would a piece with the cap and tail. So if you're willing to pay that price, don't feel bad, they butcher makes out just fine.
If your butcher is charging the same amount per pound for chateaubriand and the whole
tenderloin, I have to find a new meat man (assuming it''s the tenderloin price you're
paying) . In my experience, if you buy the whole tenderloin and ask to have it trimmed,
they will return the "trimmed" portions to you as ground meat or cut for stir fry,
Stroganoff, etc. If you order just the chateaubriand or filets, they charge a considerably
higher price per pound.