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Ground Beef

In the central NJ area, does anyone have a place where they buy good quality ground beef? I can't bring myself to buy the factory ground stuff that is a mix from 1000's of cows.

I have talked to butcher department personnel at a few grocery stores, and while they indicate that they do grind some, I have not gotten a great of confidence from them.

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  1. Once in a while I will buy the freshly ground strip steak from Wegmans. They also carry a sealed plastic package of ground bison that I keep on hand for emergency meals.

    1. I know Sabato's in Belford/Middletown, grinds chuck to order. The chuck they have available is very lean, and when I asked the butcher if they would grind other cuts he said, "Sure, but I don't know why in the world you'd want to." I will leave that up to 'hounds interpretation, however, I've always been happy with what I've purchased there. Feel safe, eat that hamburger rare!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Herm

        Ive been going here my entire life. I'd recommend it....great beef.

      2. Central NJ's a pretty big place, but I think the best butcher in the Mon/OC is Arctic Meats in Point Pleasant.

        Another suggestion would be Monmouth Meats in Red Bank, my Mom gets them to grind to order.

        Two other outside the box spots, that will be pricey, and likely quite amazing, would be Ivan & Andy's in Asbury and Massuto's in Wall. I'd call first, but I'd bet that either spot would make a custom grind for you - even including dry aged beef.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MGZ

          Not to challenge your knowledge sir, however are you sure about Ivan & Andy's? (I've never been to Massuto's so I can't comment) I do know, that even if you are a "Steakhouse", you cannot sell un-cooked beef, or beef products, to the public without a specific butchers license. I know Ivan is a butcher, especially at running a restaurant (http://instantrimshot.com/), but I'm not sure if he maintains a butcher's license at the restaurant.

          Also I will throw in a pitch for my buddy's over at Pat's in Lincroft, good butchers. I also second Monmouth Meats or a little further north in Middletown, Sabato's Meats.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            I've bought steaks from Ivan and seen others do it. In such instances I'm just a 'hound and ask no questions. Besides, when you're getting twenty-eight day NY Strips from the guy who wrote Rocky Mountain Way . . . .

            1. re: MGZ

              In another life, I got busted for doing that exact same thing. I could butcher meats, for our own use, not for sale to the public, because I was not a licensed butcher. I paid my fine, and obediently adhered to the terms of my "cease and desist".

        2. 7th Heaven Farm in Tabernacle raises all their animals on the premises & sells grass fed beef. I'm sure there are more local farms that do the same if you search a bit. Also, we've gotten some very good ground beef at delicious orchards in colts neck and dearborn market in holmdel, although not sure of their sources.
          If you love to cook like we do, we also grind our own ground beef mixtures from time to time using the meat grinder Kitchen Aid attachment to our mix master. This is nice to do because you can get creative with mixing different cuts together like short rib, chuck, sirloin, etc. or you can just make a few patties from one nice sized piece of meat. Fyi...we got ours at Williams Sonoma but i'm sure you can find it online as well.

          1. I get mine from the Amish market. There is one on 27 in Kingston, or on 202/31 in Flemingon.

            1. If it becomes to much of a hassle to buy it, try grinding your own. Nothing is fresher or better.

              1. Hind and Fore Bridgewater.

                1. We've been buying all kinds of meats (beef, pork, poultry ...), including ground beef, directly from a small, local(ish) farm called Simply Grazin'. They now have 2 stores called Mallery's Grazin Meats (http://www.mallerysgrazinmeats.com/), 1 in Skillman and the other in Hillsborough. Everything is organic so expect it to be a little pricier than regular, store-bought meat, but the quality is second to none.

                  1. +1 on grinding your own. Chill whatever cuts you like - brisket and chuck are very tasty together - and pulse in a food processor for about 15-30 seconds. No pre-ground meat can touch that.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Rigmaster

                      Roger that...in fact I'd pulse it for far less time than that (though I imagine it will depend somewhat on your food processor)

                      The resulting "chopped" meat is much better than common "ground" meat.

                      1. re: Rigmaster

                        Agree wholeheartedly - if you don't have a grinder attachment for your stand mixer, the food processor is your friend, and you can tailor the meat to the use. Brisket and chuck are perfect for burgers (maybe a little skirt thrown in) but the brisket (which gives that luscious mouth-feel to burgers) is probably too heavy for meatloaf or stuffed peppers, etc, so you modify your mix to the occasion. Can't do that with even the most prestigious store-bought mix. And follow Rigmaster's advice and CHILL your meat (almost to the point of freezing) or you'll lose much of the flavor as the fat will melt during the grinding and you'll end up with a greasy, soggy mess.

                        1. re: eapter

                          Add some twice smoked bacon from European Provisions in East Brunswick into your blend some time.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            Love EP, but lately I've been getting my double-smoked (often "garlic-double-smoked") from the Porkroll Store in Allentown. Tiny little place, with homemade sausages, porkroll, bacons, and occasional tub-cured corned beef...

                            1. re: eapter

                              Damn you. Now I have to go there.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                PS: Starting Sunday, Shoprite has Certified Angus Beef Short loins (Porterhouse) for $6.99 lb which is $2.00 less a lb than current case price. Must be an early spring contract price. Going there early tomorrow morning before the crowds arrive and have the meat cutters band saw me 3 nice 1 1/2 thick steaks to grill over lump in the eve.

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  That's the only way to do it at Shoprite (or at least the one near me.) Somehow, based on what makes it to the meat case, they think the perfect thickness is 3/4" and half of the "meat wrappers" (they're certainly not butchers) don't know the difference between a T-bone and a Porterhouse. Recently I've started dry-aging my own steaks (using the Lopez-Alt method : http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/th... ) and results are stellar.

                                  1. re: eapter

                                    I buy 90% of my meat by the sub primal. Wet age for the wife and kids as they like that better and dry age for me.

                                    I picked up a used commercial mini refrigerator some years back. Its about the size of the one on Seriouseats. It has a heavy duty compressor, built in fan & a thick glass door for viewing without opening the door. It does a very good job dry aging.

                                    What I did find though is the "bone in" subprimals my buddy hangs on a hook in his shop are a little better. Because he is a friend, no charge for the hang time, just labor to band saw, trim, bone wrap & vacuum seal.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                I like my burgers med rare. Do you partially cook the bacon a little, as not much cooking goes on in the center of my burgers :-)

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  That's why I suggested the double smoked. You can eat that stuff cold. I tried to figure this out a couple years ago because I eat burgers rare, but regular bacon wouldn't cook in time. Then, I was in EP and had the "Duh" moment. Been all good ever since.

                          2. Without a doubt Hind and Fore has the best ground beef I have had !!!! Eddie the butcher only uses Prime beef . His burger mix is unreal

                            1. Just this past week, I put in an order through a my chef friend (it's good to know folks in low places).

                              The 'ground' has ribeye, sirloin, etc, and is unbelievably good - best burger I've had anywhere in this life (including Stage Left). $28 for a 10lb bag.

                              Couldn't have come at a more opportune time (grillin season)

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JustJake

                                $2.80 lb for a blend of ribeye & sirloin is a very good deal. Once you get used to a super fresh high quality blend the supermarket mystery meat is only good for things like Taco dishes.

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  Tom, I'm ecstatic. While it may encourage a bit more read meat eating, that's why they made freezers.

                                  But yeah - it's a terrific price.

                                  1. re: JustJake

                                    Jake, I either get it from a friend who is an old school hanging beef butcher who will eat his product raw in front of you or I grind my own. Its a whole new culinary experience working with high quality blends that can be finished med rare. I enjoy it just as much as a good steak.

                                    I vacuum seal and freeze it in family size portions. The vacuum sealing really helps extend the shelf life. I slowly thaw in the downstairs frig a day or two before use.

                                    1. re: Tom34

                                      Nice. I agree with you that the satisfaction of enjoying that burger blend is as much you get from a good steak.