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Ground Beef Prices

Sunday I wanted to get a pound of 80/20 Ground Beef (chuck) to make stuffed peppers. Unless you bought the jumbo pack of 4# or more the price was $4.29#, Yikes! This is run of the mill GMO corn fed beef from a middle of the road(price wise) supermarket. Just a few years ago it was regularly on sale here for $.99 cents. It's funny that I bough a USDC Choice sirloin steak with decent marbling for $4.99. Ground beef is a staple for people on a tight budget along with chicken and pork. Decent fish is now very expensive.
Americans by far spend the least amount of their income on food than any country in the world and the government says there is minimal inflation but that's not I'm seeing in the grocery aisles.

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  1. I don't see ground beef prices that high, especially not for 80/20. Fish is pricey.

      1. In a word -DROUGHT :( Those beef (and other prices) are just going to keep climbing. There are learned scientists around who are saying we're in the beginning of a 100 year drought.

        5 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          IDIOTS. All of them.
          The Ogallala is running DRY.
          We are burning our seed corn, so don't be surprised if the drought ends, and the beef prices are still high.

          1. re: Chowrin

            Could you please give me links that show that the Berkeley and other researchers are incorrect? TIA.

            1. re: c oliver

              http://water.usgs.gov/edu/gwdepletion...
              http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/w...

              I'm not saying that there isn't a drought. I'm saying that there are bigger issues that play more of a role in predicting future prices for beef.

              1. re: Chowrin

                Ah, I understand what you're saying now. Thanks for those links. And here's one regarding CAs use of water for agriculture:

                http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseeffic...

                I don't know that one is a bigger issue than the other but when we have a drought like this one then it becomes even more important to be water wise.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Cali's drought is less of a long-term issue. Unless you like almonds. (that said, if it lasts 10 years, that'll shoot stores like costco in the foot).

        2. I would've guessed americans spend more of there income on food then most countries. Other then maybe Europe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: daislander

            Here are a couple of articles with the statistics, the US is way down on the low end of the percentage of annual income spent on food.

            http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/WSMaug1...

            http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marbl...

            1. re: weezieduzzit

              yes of course makes sense. I was thinking that americans spend more of there income on 'extra' food then most countries. of course because they have more money to spend.

          2. I can get 80/20 ground beef on sale at Harris Teeter this week for $2.49 a lb, but I believe your price is pretty close to their non on sale price. At Wegmans it's a little cheaper and I believe their regular price is something like $3.79 a lb. I agree that when I moved out on my own again a year and half ago I was surprised at how expensive ground beef was. I can get boneless skinless chicken breasts everyday at Harris Teeter for a $1.99, and that's not a family pack price either. I would've expected ground beef to be less than chicken.

            14 Replies
            1. re: SaraAshley

              Factory farming of chicken is and will be less expensive than cows.

              1. re: c oliver

                I don't know. I think of how when I'm in a restaurant, typically speaking, assuming all other ingredients are equal, I'm going to pay more for a chicken dish than a dish using ground beef.

                1. re: SaraAshley

                  I don't eat ground beef dishes in restaurants because we grind our own, but burgers can be sky high in plenty of places. And the dollar menu at McDs in our area anyway is no long a dollar. In addition, perhaps chicken dishes have more expensive ingredients. ???

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'll give you an example. Anytime I'm in some hole in the wall Mexican place, if I'm ordering say, tacos, to get them with chicken, always seems to be more than ground beef ones.

                    1. re: SaraAshley

                      Probably because chicken is more "popular" and chop meat is the automatic default.

                      Beef is always supply and demand in the grocery business; so if there is a drought, or an overabundance after slaughter, the price will be affected for the time being. It changes a lot more often than pork or lamb, which is more of an annual thing, so give it a few weeks and then stock up when the price is more to your liking.

                      1. re: coll

                        Unfortunately Calif. ranchers are already selling off parts of their herds. There's no grass in their pastures and they're having to pay really high prices for hay. The farmers are facing the same thing. Bone dry fields. The Sierra Nevada snowpack provides 50% of CA's water. It's at 12% of last year and last year was a very dry year. If the scientists are correct and this is the beginning of a 100 year drought, then this is just the beginning of something that's going to get a lot worse.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Time will tell. You think this is forever? That would be scary. This isn't the first time we've gone through a cycle like this.

                          1. re: coll

                            *I* don't think it. Scientists are studying tree stumps in CA lakes. From that they can see how long it's been since it was like this (500 years) and how long it lasted (100 years). This is a HUGE issue for the whole country really. Scary indeed.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              that's well into little ice age territory? we ain't got the meteorological stuff to be like that again.

                              Don't matter if it's one year or ten, the almonds wont' be back anytime soon.

                      2. re: SaraAshley

                        The difference is that the chicken you're ordering comes from a single muscle, in all likelyhood a breast. Typical, standard ground beef is what's leftover after cutting away steaks and roasts, etc.
                        Chopped and formed mcnugget chicken is the chicken equivalent to ground beef - and I bet you'd think that was pretty gross in your enchiladas.

                        1. re: caganer

                          This is why it makes no sense to buy ground beef. It takes no time to grind one's own

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            We grind our meats but not everyone wants another piece of equipment, even if it's not the KA mixer with attachment. I do it but there's simply no comparison in the taste and texture. And while far, FAR from a germophobe, I like knowing that what I'm eating came from a particular part of a single animal.

                        2. re: SaraAshley

                          You have a serious shortage of good hole in the wall Mexican if the options are made from chicken or ground beef.

                  2. re: SaraAshley

                    Here's my lesson from a prior thread that tries to explain what you are seeing

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9284...

                  3. I live in a very remote area and our run of the mill 80/20 goes for $2.99 on their best sale. Right now ground round is for sale at $4.49.

                    The best beef 'deals' I can get at my local store is buy one get one free round, top sirloin, tri-tip, or cross-roast. I then cut up the meat myself or have the butcher do it.

                    1. I had read that beef prices would be climbing this year. Here I paid $3.99/lb for 80/20. That was over 3 lbs.

                      1. Ground beef is well above four dollars a pound at my grocery stores as well. I have been stocking up on Aldi ground turkey at $1.69 a pound. It works just fine in tacos, sloppy joes, chili, etc.

                        1. <Ground beef is a staple for people on a tight budget along with chicken and pork>>

                          it may be a "staple" but it certainly is not a nutritional requirement. it's simply a flavor preference that may end up costing more as time goes on.

                          for protein, there are many substitutions that can be made for livestock/meat that cost a lot less to produce and require a small fraction of the water that is required to raise livestock.

                          23 Replies
                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Absolutely, w. "Meatless Mondays" are going to be expanding.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              It's simply a flavor preference that may end up costing more as time goes on.
                              _______________

                              It's more of an economic necessity for those who are not fortunate enough to pick & choose which alternative proteins to substitute for it..... People in poorer neighborhoods are not wealthy enough nor do they have the time to go through the expense of searching out things like "quinoa"......

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Nor are those other sources of protein comparable in terms of health and nutrient bioavailabliity.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  mcf: maybe it's time for you to read the China study before coming to any conclusions regarding the relative healthfulness of meat protein to animal-based protein.

                                  also, keep in mind, that in order to create a pound of protein from beef, SEVERAL pounds of plant protein get fed to the cow. add the TREMENDOUS amount of water that gets used to create that measly amount of animal protein and the whole equation starts looking irrational.

                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    w, that IMO is going to be the game changer. Water. As much as I LOVE beef and most other meats, it's more and more not making sense to eat it. The cost (non-$$$) is just too high.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      I have read all the relevant research for many years. Including all the excellent documentation of how worthless the China study is. Crap.

                                      I go where the quality data, methodologies and honest reporting is, I don't think ideology has any place in this discussion.

                                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    dirtywithextraolives: actually, in other countries where the government doesn't subsidize meat production (everything from the corn, to the land, to the research, to the water required), most poor people NEVER get started eating the huge amount of meat that gets consumed here, so, in other parts of the world there is NO learning curve involved in eating legumes.

                                    there is no reason to think that moving to legume/plant-based sources of protein would be a terrible burden. maybe in your neighborhood the only folks who do this shop at whole foods, but world-wide, most poor people come into a culture of eating mostly plants.

                                    both for our health, and for the health of our environment, this will need to be done.

                                    we can't subsidize this unsustainable model forever.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      That's correct but that's due to the cost associated with raising animals, not because of the nutritional value of it alone. You are right in that meat is an expensive commodity in the third world and mainly because the gov'ts do not heavily subsidize it the way they do here.

                                      Therefore, when i mentioned people in poorer neighborhoods, I was referring to the US. In this country, meat and especially ground beef is a cheaper nutritional powerhouse compared to the more trendy, non animal proteins that have been getting a lot of hype lately.

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        dirtywithextraolives: beans are not "trendy" nor are they "cheaper" than meat ESPECIALLY if you factor in the government meat subsidies.

                                        even in this country, many poor folk are already familiar with rice and beans, bean burritos, black eyed peas, split peas, etc.

                                        also, i predict that as we become a more diverse country ethnically, eating legumes will stop seeming so unusual.

                                        for your own knowledge, before you continue looking at beef as a "powerhouse" for much beyond providing huge amounts of saturated fat you owe it to yourself to read the China study which has become the gold standard in the field.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            w, just a little anecdote. We have a Latino market that also sells prepared meats, i.e., carnitas, birria. A pound sells for $7. But with rice and beans and tortillas we get SO many meals out of that. So fixing that amount of meat at home is even better of course. So for those unwilling to give up meat entirely (ME!) there are all sorts of ways to do it economically.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              Beans are not the trendy proteins I was referring to.....

                                          2. re: westsidegal

                                            Let's see, 80% of the antibiotics manufactured in the U.S. are dumped into agriculture, much of it on produce/plant foods. Berries get 5 different chemicals during growth. That's a disgusting burden on public health.

                                            Then there's all the nitrogen runoff from fertilizers.

                                            Then there's all the dialysis and amputations and drugs we pay for when folks eat low quality proteins and high starch, plant based diets, and get the cancers that come with them: colon, breast, ovarian and prostate high among them.

                                            For starters. Not sustainable, IMO.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              "80% of the antibiotics manufactured in the U.S. are dumped into agriculture,"

                                              mcf, when I read this I wanted to say "liar, liar, panties on fire." But I did a little research and see that you're right. Wow. It's a really scary planet we're living on, isn't it?

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Humans are doing a pretty good job of messing up the planet for everything else.
                                                Each of us can take small steps towards a bigger solution. I, for one, work to reduce the amount of food I waste, and manage serving sizes, especially of (especially, dead) animal proteins.

                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                  I reduce waste of all sorts, but eat plenty of animal proteins from humane, sustainable sources and buy other foods grown with sustainable practices to the degree possible, including produce, nuts and dairy.

                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                  I vividly recall reading, in 1985 in the NY Times, about the impending crisis of useless antibiotics and disease if it didn't stop.

                                                  And here we are... It all really puts the lie to plant foods as somehow a clean product.

                                                  I don't post if if I haven't vetted the info for integrity. :-)

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Re "integrity," I wish all were as studious!

                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                              Beans and rice are cheap, easy to prepare, and accessible in food desserts. It is worth acknowledging that choice and opportunity both play roles in diet.

                                              Crappy meat isn't good for anyone.

                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                You're neglecting to acknowledge that people in poor communities don't usually have either choice or opportunity.

                                                And yes, beans and rice are cheap and are consumed almost everywhere around the world. Meat is a pricey commodity.

                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                  oh crappy (not rancid) meat is like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree - a little care and love and the lousiest cut can bloom.

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    Excellent point hill food! By Judi AU's logic, people should only buy the very very very best they can afford....which is a nice sentiment, but not really based on reality..... Heck I can afford waygu & filet mignon, but I don't always buy it.....in fact my family happens to enjoy cuts like chuck, skirt, flank & flap meat. That is such a typical first world attitude......

                                            3. I have been turning a blind eye to the rising price of ground beef over the last few years. Complaining to my husband here and there. But the last 2 months? Woowie. No more for us. Boycott time. Thanks for the wake-up call.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: miss_belle

                                                That may be more of a function of the harsh winter, hopefully not a jump in the trend.

                                              2. Ground beef has definitely gone up, due to the drought like others have mentioned. SO doesn't believe me when I say it costs more than chicken (even when on sale). He hasn't grocery shopped in over 2 years so he doesn't get it. The cheapest I usually see it (meaning the 80/20 "tube" style) is around $3.49/lb on sale. I buy it at Costco and I think it's $3.99/lb there for 88%.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                  Yeah, my Costco used to have 88/12 for $2.99, but on my last trip I noticed it had gone up to $3.99. My local stores usually have it for less than that (there are a lot of grocery stores in my neighborhood so they have to compete and one of them almost always has it on sale for $2.99/lb), so I've stopped buying it at Costco for the time being. I usually grind my own for burgers but if I'm going to cook it all the way through, the grocery store stuff is generally just fine.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    Yeah I grind my own too for burgers. I can usually stock up on Chuck Roasts when they go on sale for maybe $2.49-$2.99/lb. But, I can't get the small grind like they get in the grocery store/Costco and I like that better for things like casseroles, enchiladas, etc.

                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                      I've never used the small die for grinding.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Mine didn't come with the small die (I got it from a discount site so that's probably why). I send the meat through the large one twice but it's still just not small enough to get really crumbly like I like for certain applications.

                                                      2. re: juliejulez

                                                        Just put it through the grinder twice...that's what the supermarkets usually do.

                                                        1. re: The Professor

                                                          See above. I do put it through twice. It's still not as fine as the supermarket/Costco stuff.

                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                            Fine and crumbly are opposites. The more you grind it the more it will stick together. A single grind is for crumbly, double is for clumpy and sticky, whether it is coarse or fine.

                                                            But if you want it fine (as for meatballs or meat loaves) then you should just go online and buy the fine plate for your grinder and triple fine grind.

                                                      3. re: biondanonima

                                                        The $50 I spent for the grinder attachment to my KA stand mixer is the best money spent. We do about 10# at a time and use it for every thing.

                                                      4. re: juliejulez

                                                        I guess I should consider myself lucky then that I can get it for $2.49 a lb on sale at my Harris Teeter and its not the kind in the tube. I can get just a lb at that price if I want. I suppose I'll stop complaining. :)

                                                      5. CNN aired a story this morning on the rising cost of milk and beef.

                                                        30 Replies
                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          It's like the stock market, if I see a rising trend last for a year or more then I will become alarmed.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            Having lived in drought-frequent CA since the mid70s, THIS one has MY attention. No one I know (I'm 67ish) has ever seen anything like it. And that's what the scientists are saying: no one alive today has ever experienced a drought like this one. We are actively conserving water NOW. Since this is our third consecutive winter with these conditions, it's not rocket-surgery to figure it out.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              Sorry, folks. We screwed the pooch. This is the new normal.

                                                              We could probably put up all the solar panels and wind farms and other alternative energy sources that we should've years ago, but the planet's had quite enough of us, thank you.

                                                              This is where all the fun begins. Oh, and remember to thank The Masters Of The Universe, our friends on Wall Street, when dogs, cats and pigeons are on the menu. Horse meat? No longer a scandal, but a delicacy!

                                                              Sigh.

                                                              1. re: annagranfors

                                                                We were in Israel recently and they have a big desalination works. Yeah, it costs lots and lots of money but when it comes to water, well, we truly can't live without it.

                                                                1. re: annagranfors

                                                                  It would help if we stopped building in the desert. Vegas anyone?

                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                    oddly Vegas is one of the most water-planned, recirculating and efficient cities ever. (looks can deceive)

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      My cousins live there. No one should live there. It may been planned, and efficient, etc but the water still has to come from somewhere else. And those giant fountains? Gross excess.

                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                        Jg111, I do find LV bizarre and a bit obscene, but less water is consumed per capita than in most other cities of similar size. weird huh? a stronger argument would be against that of LA sucking the Sacramento/San Joaquin valley dry. and I would add to that list of where not to build: farm land, floodplains, wetlands etc.

                                                                        Chowrin, I seem to recall reading about the Ogallala's decline maybe 20 years ago. so nothing new, but nothing has been done about it either. I agree the loss of an aquifer is a more serious factor than a drought.

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          hill, many years ago when we were mandated to water ration in SF, we were watching the news and seeing Los Angelenos hosing down their driveways. That made us a little crazy :)

                                                                          Is a hundred year drought as serious as loss of an aquifer? 'Course with that kind of drought we in CA are going to be losing our whole damn water table I'm guessing.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            don't forget we need to make all the water in the water table available for fracking (yes, even in los angeles--a vote just came up in front of the LA City Council Land Use committee last week)
                                                                            we appear to have enough water to give the oil companies lots of it.

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                              Are you kidding me????? Now I REALLY want to scream. And here I'm posting "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down" signs in my bathrooms. Argh.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                buy a toto toilet. they have nearly waterless models now.

                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                  Wow, they have some super good prices now! Thanks.

                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                  c - I'd forgotten those flushing signs, worked for one person in a studio apartment, not so well in a shared 4-person flat (ewww)

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    I moved to SF in '76 which was a nasty drought. We're back to doing that but without the sign. So far.

                                                                            2. re: hill food

                                                                              Um, we don't suck it dry, our water comes from the sierras snowpack. It's the environmental legislation protecting the delta smelt that is sucking the bread basket dry.

                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                As I believe I wrote upthread, 85% of CA water comes from Sierra (single) snowpack melt. As of today, we're 75% below last year and that was a very dry year.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    yet it's the Sierra snow pack that feeds the rivers and reservoirs - ehh anyway - what really ticked me off were CA subsidies for cotton farms, a notorious water-needy crop that depletes the soil.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      What?????????????? Cotton farms? In CA???? Sheesh.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        there were down below San Jose around Fresno-ish.

                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                  hill,
                                                                                  yeah, but the aquifer is basically OUT now, in beef producing regions. Long term problem, now hitting critical.

                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                    And all that reclaimed water can be used for crops.

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      Las Vegas has no agriculture to speak of.

                                                                                  2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                    Say what? Las Vegas is built on a damn oasis (so's tucson).

                                                                                    It's Phoenix that is built where no rational person ought to build anything.

                                                                                    Now, yes, Las Vegas is way, way overbuilt, but there's been water there since forever.

                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                        Yep. Lake Mead. I'm kinda/sorta guessing that water could be better used.

                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                            yeah. you go look at the Ogallala. Then get back to me about trends.

                                                                        2. I live in beef country (rural Missouri) and last summer's drought forced the sale of huge numbers of cows all across the country. Cows that would ordinarily be producing calves for sale for beef. Don't look for relief any time soon, because it takes several years to bring the cow herd back up.

                                                                          52 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sparrowgrass

                                                                              Are there other countries around the world who could supply us beef like Argentina or Australia? I think there are laws that ban importation of beef from some countries. Are they in place to protect the domestic cattle industry or for health reasons? Could they be changed if there was a good source for cheap beef?

                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                Ground lamb from New Zealand and Australia is a great sub for ground beef in burgers, meatballs and meatloaf amongst other things and it's grass fed.

                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                  But it's not cheap, at least not that I've seen.

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    I'm used to paying $5-6 a pound for ground beef (grass fed,) so it's been comparable for me. If conventional ground beef continues to rise it may become very competitive.

                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                      Is the ground lamb from Australian grass fed also?

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        To the best of my knowledge, there are no lamb feed lots. From what I have read, New Zealand/ Australian lamb is grass fed and pastured throughout its life. American fed lamb is generally grass fed for most of its life but may be grain fed to fatten it before slaughter.

                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                          Never thought about that. Good point. Thanks.

                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                            but you can run a lot more lbs. of lamb on a plot than cattle. (terms are relative, meaning if one is looking to gain x amount for sale, lamb needs less amount of Y than cattle)

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                pasture mostly, putting out hay this time of year when forage is sparse but we don't crowd or limit our cows. they just wander as they please. some plan their fields to maximize output but we're sort of half-ass-haphazard. only run a much smaller # than the fields can support. no need to rotate.

                                                                                                would like to run sheep, but then would have to re-fence the whole damn place, get good dogs, build a shelter, figure out the shearing...

                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                              Um, kind of. They do offer some supplemental feed so unless it is marked grass fed it may not be entirely.

                                                                                          2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                            Me too, or more than that!

                                                                                            I also buy my bulk beef (by the side) from a local person and have it processed to my spec's. Sounds like prices will be similar to feedlot beef at some point.

                                                                                            Hmmm.... I might want to consider getting some Angus for my pasture after all.....

                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                              I am paying a similar price for grass-fed beef here in Canada too, from my co-op, and especially after reading this thread, it sounds like we are paying a very reasonable price (I have been wondering).

                                                                                              The prices are definitely going up and I just hope that with the price increase of conventional beef, it won't drive up the price of pastured beef by too much, and maybe even help to convince producers to raise more pastured beef.

                                                                                              1. re: vil

                                                                                                Me, too, but pastures need water, too.

                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                              It is at Costco, and it's all pastured. I like it from Oz, but not NZ. Too gamey, to my tastes. Trader Joe's has inexpensive beef in their freezer from NZ, did not like it.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                I wouldn't call Costco's lamb "cheap." Certainly costs less than other stores. And doesn't Costco source from both Australia and NZ?

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Mine is always Ozzie. May vary regionally? To me, considering how it's raised, it's at least comparatively cheap, like 50% less than U.S. lamb in my local stores, which I don't want if it's fattened on grain.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Do you mind if I ask what you're paying at Costco? We do eat a fair amount of it from TJ (I don't find it gamey and it is confirmed grass fed and finished.) It's $5.99 there. At Vons (Safeway chain,) it is $5.99 non-sale price but I usually have a $1 off digital coupon for it in my store account online.

                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                        The Costcos I frequent on Long Island usually have boneless leg of lamb for $4.99 a pound, shoulder chops for $7.99 a pound and racks for $11.99 a pound. The leg is really quite a good deal - I find that it has enough fat attached usually to be delicious ground as well as cooked med-rare.

                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                          And don't forget the bone-in leg makes an excellent Scotch broth. Easter's coming and I'm ready to pounce!

                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                            My Costco doesn't carry bone-in leg of lamb.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              And Long Island/NY it's a big thing. Costco is smart enough to stock regionally. Sorry for your loss.

                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                my Costco only carries the boneless, as far as I know, haven't seen it bone in. Maybe I just didn't look for it?

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  We only have BJs right now, to me they're all the same. I will remember to report back in April when we finally get our Costco.

                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                    Costco wins over BJs for quality big time, IMO. I've belonged to both, plus Sam's in the past.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      I cannot say until they open, but most in town feel the same as you! The bone in leg of lamb is seen around Easter wherever you go, so maybe you'd have to keep your eye out for it right around then? With Easter so late, maybe I'll be lucky enough to catch it there at that point, when the store opens.... I usually pick up one or two then to save to grill during the summer.

                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                  In our area sheep ranching is still an industry so I can get it locally and it's great.

                                                                                                          2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                            edit. someone beat me to it. I shop in the same area as biondanonima.

                                                                                                            But I've never seen shoulder chops at Costco, just leg, rib rack and loin chops, my usual purchase.

                                                                                                            Shoulder chops at my nearby grocery are about $11 per lb, for comparison.

                                                                                                          3. re: mcf

                                                                                                            I guess my point isn't whether imported lamb is cheap or better than US but rather it's almost always more expensive than beef.

                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              It depends on the beef you buy. In my case, lamb from Costco is considerably cheaper than the beef I buy.

                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                I haven't checked locally but then I'm not sure I could compare as my Costco, in beef, sells only loin chops, racks and legs and, in lamb, doesn't sell those cuts.

                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                  ?? Was one of those supposed to read "beef?" :-)

                                                                                                                  I buy only grass fed beef, hence the big diff.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    Oops, yep :) Thanks, I was able to edit.

                                                                                                                    So your Costco sell grass fed beef? I don't buy ground but I only remember seeing prime and not prime. I should look more closely.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      No, the grass fed beef I buy is from Oz, or local regionally. From other stores.

                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                      I was also reading that bison might be the new alternative to beef.

                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                        I really don't like it, so very lean, ruins the texture and taste for me. But they are very hardy and are being raised for food locally, on the island.

                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                          Bison is $10 a pound here and yes to mcf, very lean. I've only used it when I can add fat to the recipe.

                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                            Hmm maybe it's cheaper around here because they actually raise them nearby. But yes, I don't particularly care for it.

                                                                                                      2. re: zackly

                                                                                                        Beef is a commodity like wheat and corn. As far as I know, there is no prohibition on imports from the markets you cited. Heck, you can even import beef from Japan again. But it doesn't usually happen as the shipping costs will make it more expensive compared to domestic beef. If the price of beef is going up in the US, its going up pretty much everywhere. If the price of beef for sale in Argentina was low enough to be sold at a competitive price in the US after shipping costs, someone would do it. But I believe that's only happening for the premium cuts that people are willing to spend the extra $$$ on. That the interconnectivity of the global commodity market.

                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                          I don't have data to support this but I get the sense that not all of the planet is suffering equally in this drought.

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            Australia has been having very hot weather and drought for a few years now.

                                                                                                            1. re: masha

                                                                                                              See this article for more details on the impact that drought in Australia is having on cattle cultivation there, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9a85bc00-9e...
                                                                                                              Also note the comment about increasing beef prices "worldwide."

                                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                              Yup! warmest january on record this year!

                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                I am in Canada, and in a newsletter from one of the farmers whose co-op I am part of, he wrote a long article to explain for the price increase he will need to offer to his members.

                                                                                                                In addition to the drought of 2012 that increases the price of corn, he mentioned the US government's mandate that 10% of gasoline be ethanol, which is mostly from corn, in order to become "energy self-sufficient". This represents roughly 35% of the total US corn crop (according to the article). Consequently, more and more beef farmers are selling/renting the land to the cash crop farmers (who grow mostly corn, wheat and soy).

                                                                                                                The article cited other factors too, too long to list here.

                                                                                                            3. re: zackly

                                                                                                              I buy organic, 100% grass fed Australian beef at decent prices in one local supermarket, Fairway.

                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                Safeway sells Open Nature grass fed beef that is imported from Australia. It also sells New Zealand lamb.

                                                                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                  I think if the point of the OP is that Ground Beef is *too expensive,* these are hardly viable options.

                                                                                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                    What would you suggest as *viable* options given the obvious fact that there are no *viable* options and that implying there are *viable* options is magical thinking?

                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                      I've listed them all elsewhere on this thread. But grass-fed imported heritage open-range organic gold-plated livestock are hardly the solution for someone who is complaining that ground beef is too expensive at the supermarket at $4 a pound. The Open Nature you referred to is $6.59 a pound where I live, which is, by my math, *more* expensive, so not a solution.

                                                                                                              2. re: sparrowgrass

                                                                                                                sparrow - I'm also in rural MO at the moment and while we did see fewer calves this last year didn't have those issues (central MO down near Rolla)

                                                                                                              3. Sat., there is a Safeway grand re-opening near me that is featuring 93% lean (which is always more $$ than 80/20) for $2.99/lb.
                                                                                                                I'm stocking up.
                                                                                                                Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                                1. In this week's sale circulars, Food Lion has 73% lean ground beef for $2.49 lb. In competition, Farm Fresh supermarket has 75% lean ground beef for $1.99 lb in packs of 3 lb. or more; usually almost $5.00 lb here. I don't like my beef that lean but I guess I could grind some suet to add to it.

                                                                                                                  Speaking of which, in another store last week, I saw they had suet for $2.99 lb...for fat! I bought some last year for .99 cents lb to add to my venison for sausage making. So they're hiking up anything remotely containing beef product.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                    75% is on the "fatty" side as far as supermarket ground beef goes. We usually have 80/20 and leaner.
                                                                                                                    What blend do you usually like?
                                                                                                                    Thanks.

                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                      I'm curious about that too, because I picked up 73% by mistake one time and I didn't think I'd ever stop draining the fat off those pan fried burgers. They shrunk up to nothing. Never again.

                                                                                                                  2. I do not eat meat myself but part of the issue may be simple supply and demand- more demand created by the popularity of low carb and paleo diets that encourage eating even more meat than americans do in the first place (which is significant).

                                                                                                                    Explore other options, such as buying only half as much and adding lentils, or eating fewer meat-centric meals.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                      While I don't disagree with your supply and demand hypothesis nor using less meat, I will continue to go back to the drought and its long-term consequences. I don't think many people are even going to have a choice.

                                                                                                                    2. Bloomberg news is reporting that cattle futures prices reached a new high as herds fall to a low not seen since 1951, attributable to drought and high feed prices. Brace yourself for beef prices that will continue to soar:

                                                                                                                      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02...

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: janniecooks

                                                                                                                        And it's not going to be 'just' meat. I anticipate every US produced agricultural product is going way up in price. The country has got to figure out a way to get the water necessary to our farmers and ranchers. Bob isn't happy with me when I grouse about golf courses watering their fairways :(

                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                          shit. you think we're gonna find a way?
                                                                                                                          LOL. good luck, honey.

                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            Most golf courses use reclaimed water.....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              And reclaimed water can be used for crop irrigation.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                  No but that's not a real issue as I understand it. It's the water that's needed to grow the grass that the cows eat. Cattle ranching leaves a huge footprint.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                    But we were talking about beef, not lettuce. And you mentioned crops; grass for pastures is not a crop. Yes they need water for the pastures, but they will use hay & corn to feed the herd when grass is not plentiful.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                      It's the unusual herd that can exist all year on pasture grass. The ranchers buy tons and tons of grass hay and feed the cattle that. I was referring to the grass (and other) hay industry.

                                                                                                                        2. Welcome to the consequences of inflation plus a terrible drought here in the west, causing ranchers to thin their herds because they can't afford to feed them all......

                                                                                                                          1. Politics aside, there's still not much reason to pay more than about $2 a pound for Ground Beef. Go to any Warehouse store you like or a restaurant supply house and grind up a whole Shoulder Clod or Chuck. You can control the amount of fat. These very large pieces of meat are still under $2 a pound at most places. You can freeze enough to last a year or share with friends.

                                                                                                                            Time to be smart and proactive.

                                                                                                                            http://youtu.be/8rZLyPDWozY

                                                                                                                            Stop whining. Take control. The supermarkets don't control how much you pay for food. You do.

                                                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                Grocery Outlet is advertising Fresh Ground Beef this week at 3 pounds for $5.99.

                                                                                                                                I wouldn't use for rare hamburgers but should be fine if cooked well-done in casseroles and such, tacos, etc.

                                                                                                                              2. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                I'd like to know where a "citizen" (not a food service professional) can get any chuck cut @ $2.00#? I was @ Costco today looking @ chuck to braise and the cheapest was over $4.00. And how would I grind it? With a Kitchen Aid mixer grinder attachment?

                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                  Or a hand crank grinder that attaches to a counter or table top, or a Waring meat grinder as one example. Paid $49 for mine.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    I have one of those old hand grinders that anyone who wants it can have it! Just saying.....it's an antique but only cost me $5 or $10 at the thrift store. Discovered I don't really grind all that much meat after all. I'd like to think of it actually getting some use.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                    Prices can vary around the country, but anyone with a business license (or a friend of someone who has one if they go with you) can get into RD, and there are other warehouse stores out there. Costco Business Centers around here are open to all Costco Members and while beef prices have indeed risen, the Chuck and Clod roasts are nowhere near $4 a pound -- closer to $3. But you're right they are not $2 at the moment.

                                                                                                                                    But Ground Beef is about $2.50 and you can split the big logs into little packs and freeze them.

                                                                                                                                    Yes, I use my KitchenAid Grinder attachment at home. Best investment I ever made. If you have a factory outlet mall near you, there is probably a Kitchen Collection or something like that that sells them dirt cheap.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        It's a big fat hunk o' beef!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                          LOL... never heard the term, sounded British. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            Sorry I wasn't more technical, but it really is just a big hunk of beef as far as I'm concerned. Edible cheap beef!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              It said shoulder on the link I found.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                          Well, yeah, I called it a chuck roast in the video and someone wrote in to chastise me and said it was correctly referred to as a shoulder clod. So I guess *I* am the clod.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                            It's a great word, regardless of the actual meat meaning. Everyone should know it's from the shoulder so what's the big deal with the extra/duplicate terminology?

                                                                                                                                            I always heard it called "the clod", as opposed to "chuck". Chuck is after it's broken down to me. But I would never argue about it, haha, yeah right.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              You are more polite than my correspondent was.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                I love talking meat but I'm not snobby about it. At least you are talking primal cuts, how many people can say that nowadays?

                                                                                                                                            2. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                              Clod steak is huge here in California in all of the Hispanic markets. It is in all the weekly ads that come out. I would love to try some.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                Mom used to make nothing but Chuck Steak when I was a kid. If you can get to the Chuck Eye you're golden. Otherwise, consider *roasting* the Clod steaks low and slow until about 118F, then pull and hold for about 2 hrs. When ready to eat, throw on grill to get nice grill marks on each side for about 2 min per side. Let stand for about 5 min.

                                                                                                                                                If you like them closer to medium/medium-well, you could go as far as 128F in the initial roasting.

                                                                                                                                                You could also do this with a bigger piece and slice thin like London Broil,

                                                                                                                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                                                                                                                  in my barbequing days, chuck steak, especially the "eye" was my very favorite cut. for sure, it was the cut with absolutely the best flavor.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                      So my new understanding is the chuck is part of the shoulder clod, which is the name of the whole sub-primal. From the Shoulder Clod you get Chuck Roasts, Chuck Steaks, etc.

                                                                                                                                                      For me probably some of the tastiest and most economical cuts available if cooked properly, as you noted.

                                                                                                                                                      Consider the low and slow methods detailed above if you have the time, particularly with a roast.