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The saddest beef I ever did see...

So I'm hosting a BBQ tomorrow night. I'm disabled and have a difficult time getting to the grocery store, so I often order my groceries online through a Safeway company here in SoCal (Vons). Most of the stuff they bring is great, with a few exceptions (like potatoes are sometimes mushy or they'll crush the tomatoes in the bottom of the bag).

Anyway I almost exclusively buy meat from a nicer grocery store with a butcher. I figured I'd just get it from Vons for tomorrow and save some serious $$. I ordered several packs of organic chicken breasts, pork chops, and a tri-tip.

The chicken and pork look great. The steak--not so much.

I'm no meat connoisseur, having been a vegetarian most of my life, but is this not the saddest most awful looking piece of meat?? Can I serve this to guests? The package was also leaky; luckily they put it in double plastic bags so it did not contaminate everything.

Should I grab a good one for triple the price at my butcher? I can cook this one up and feed it to the dogs I guess.

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  1. That photo really does the meat justice. In real life, it's more of a pale grayish-pink pile of mush.

    1. IMHO, if it smells ok, use it.

      1. Don't settle for in inferior product. Call them, have them pick it up, and give you a refund.

        1 Reply
        1. re: critter101

          I think I will. This is the only thing I absolutely *hate* about having groceries delivered--not being able to scope out and choose my own stuff. I don't doubt they have nicer cuts of cheap beef but I'm sure they pawn off the ugly ones on us unsuspecting folk.

        2. Looks like a trimmed select grade tri tip to me (not a great pic).

          Why are you put off/ worried?

          63 Replies
          1. re: Brandon Nelson

            It's the color mostly. And the texture, though maybe it was just sloppily cut or packaged.

            I'm used to buying Prime only, so is this just what select beef looks like? The eerie light gray? It looks more like an old piece of chicken than beef.

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Safeway Select is crap.

              I'd recommend getting better beef.

              1. re: monavano

                Okay, good to know. Never again!

                Will either return it or if it's too much of a hassle, cook it for the puppies.

                To the butcher tomorrow. Thanks.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  I pick up Safeway steaks in the clearance bin and cook them up for my doggies.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    If the meat isn't good enough for you to eat I certainly wouldn't feed it to the dog. Bruin eats what I eat, If I can't eat it, I toss it. if Something upsets his stomach, I'm the one that has to clean his mess,

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      It's low-quality, but not dangerous and certainly edible.
                      Why waste it?

                      1. re: monavano

                        Agree. I don't think it's unsafe--I would NEVER serve my dogs meat that I thought was spoiled or off. Forget having to clean up a mess, god forbid it would make them extremely ill or kill them.

                        I don't have issue with serving my dogs meat that *looks* unappetizing. They swallow it without chewing anyway. And they eat unseasoned rice, oatmeal, and potatoes, carrots I drop on the floor, etc. Ugly beef would be a welcome addition to their bland repertoire.

                        1. re: nothingswrong

                          agreed - while that beef may not look great to you - to my pups it would be an unthinkable treat!

                      2. re: mucho gordo

                        I agree. My cat eats better than me. Usually if it's not good enough for him, I'll eat it :)

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          So true. People have told us that when they die they want to be reincarnated as our dog, We'll give him a piece of whatever we're having with the exception of things dogs can not have.

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            Our dog always got some of our food. And in the last couple of years of his life, I decided that maybe it was wrong to feed them dried up chemical nuggets from a bag just for our convenience, so I cooked his meals for him for two years.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              I did the same thing, sandy. Getting a few tears just thinking about it.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                I used to cook for him but the vet said no more people food; just lite kibble until he sheds a few pounds. He should weigh about 130; he was at 151. I still manage to slip him a morsel or two but not as much as before. He loves a bit of pepperoni pizza crust.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  What about feeding him veggies? My dogs go nuts for raw carrots. I always save carrot peels for them and they go wild. My vet recommended giving them as much raw/cooked veggies as they can tolerate. Typically mine will get a serving of cooked potatoes/yams, a handful of raw carrots, and a few cooked or frozen green beans, peas, or broccoli in with their dry food. Sometimes also some oatmeal, rice, or scrambled egg.

                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                    We haven't given him peas but he does like the others. Again, the vet said giving him too much carrots or beans was not good for him as he gets gassy. We were giving him carrots as a between meal snack as well as with dinner.

                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                      Oh, I see. My pitbull has a very sensitive tummy, but she can eat carrots by the pound with no issue. She also gains weight very easily (as in, too much weight) but the carrots don't cause that either.

                                      I was just trying to think of something healthier that might not cause weight gain but I guess all dogs are different :)

                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                        Right now, he's on Science Diet Lite for large breeds with no people food at all (wink, wink).

                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                          Lol. Dogs make that cute begging face for a reason--because it works.

                                    2. re: nothingswrong

                                      While growing up we had a Chihuahua who loved to lay down and hold a large carrot between his paws, gnawing it like a bone. Once when my Dad was digging carrots in the garden, putting them slightly behind himself in a pile, we watched from the patio while the dog dragged away every single carrot, one at a time. He put them in a pile at the base of a big tree, and was happily eating one, when my dad turned around to gather up the carrots, which were of course gone. The look of astonishment on his face was priceless.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Very cute, sandy! My dogs are similar. As soon as I take carrots out of the fridge, they are convinced it's for them and they start "dancing" in the other room. They can tell when I'm chopping or peeling carrots versus a potato or other veggie. It's super funny!

                                        The boyfriend brought home a bag of carrots last week for him to snack on and the dogs were immediately at his feet with their best "Hey, I'm a good dog" faces on. I'm convinced they think carrots are dog treats and not people food.

                                        I had to put chicken wire up around my raised vegetable beds because I found my pitbull in there digging up carrots. She ruined all three rows I planted but I couldn't get mad. It was very cute.

                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                          Hey, it's outside, it's theirs. At least they're not eating poop (hopefully).

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            Oh dear. My pitbull does on occasion. My vet said she's healthy as can be, but I've read it's from nutritional deficits. When I catch her doing it, it's time for some supplemental nutrition. She's had a finicky stomach and lots of allergies since she was a pup, and I can see that her diet really affects her overall health.

                                        2. re: sandylc

                                          That's perfect, I can totally see my little guy doing that. my Chi thinks everything is food and will hoard what he cannot eat -I have caught him stealing jalapenos off of my plants) my big pittie on the other hand is suspicious of everything and inspects each item before he will take it.

                                          I like to play "food or not food" with them with bits of whatever (dog safe) foods I am preparing - mostly the chi says "food" and the pit says "not food" but they are both wholly terrified of lemons - it Is the best way to scare them right upstairs to bed.

                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                            I had a min pin through a girlfriend that loved onions and oregano. Go figure!

                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                Well, this minpin powered though all that. Her name was Bianca, after one of Jagger's wives, and she never batted an eye at an onion.

                                              2. re: rudeboy

                                                My Chi loves "oregano" - he will jump right up into your arms and beg for it - he's a found on the street dog and hood like that. My pit-mastiff just gives a raised eyebrow like McGruff.

                                              3. re: JTPhilly

                                                I remember you wrote that about lemons on another thread. I always have a few around, and I'm going to try it with them next time I have one cut up.

                                                I have a tangerine tree in back, which drops fruit year-round. I try to keep up with them, but I can't.

                                                The dogs have never paid attention to it until recently when the boyfriend started juicing them daily for some damn good OJ. He was picking them, and tossing the ones that were damaged across the yard over his shoulder... The dogs went on HIGH ALERT thinking it was a game of fetch and started chasing them around, picking them up and running off with them. They both tried to eat the flesh but spit it out and made this awful face. And then continued to chase after new ones and try to eat the flesh, make the face, spit it out. They did this over and over, and will still do it when the bf is out there picking.

                                                I often wonder what the hell kind of memory dogs have.

                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                  I had a dalmatian that loved to chase soap bubbles, at first. She eventually learned that the taste wasn't all that attractive.

                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                    Lol! That is super funny to me for some reason. I know my dogs would do the same.

                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                    LOL! Sometimes they are dumb

                                                    OTOH my big one still checks the corner where he caught a possum years ago - I think its what he dreams of when his paws twitch - thankfully he dropped it on command - i am sure that is one of his life regrets.

                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                      Oh dear, possums. My pitbull snagged one once at night and very quietly sauntered off to the back of the yard to bury it in a shallow grave. Save it for later, I think. The gardeners came later in the week and knocked on my door. They don't speak English, so they kind of guided me outside, across the yard, and held up this rotten possum. I said "What do you want ME to do with it?" I ended up having to pay them $20 to take it away.

                                                      This has happened a few times now. The pit likes to hide the little critters all around the yard.

                                                      My favorite disgusting incident happened with my little dog (Chi/min-pin mix). She's under 10 lbs, very tiny. She came bounding into the house one morning years ago and jumped up next to me on the sofa. As I was petting her, she made this cute little face, big black eyes looking up at me. Suddenly and without warning, she vomited up a completely intact sparrow. I jumped up, horrified, and she just sat there wagging her little stubby tail.

                                                  3. re: JTPhilly

                                                    How about ginger? That's one of those foods that bites back.

                                                  4. re: sandylc

                                                    All of my dogs have loved carrots. Except one greyhound that refused to eat any vegetable matter. Once in awhile I dumped some meat/veggie mixture into her kibble and she dug in heartily but somehow she pushed all the veggies out of the sides of her mouth. The wiener dog lurked underneath her so there was virtually no clean up.

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      What a doggie contrast - when they go for walks, can the weiner walk along directly underneath the greyhound?

                                                      My Chihuahua liked SOME peas. He would pick through them, eating some and depositing the rejects on the floor.

                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                        Yes! They are both gone now but they could and did. We got a lot of comments.

                                                        She totally mothered him and he bossed her around.

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          The smaller dog always seems to boss the big one around. My little one is the size of a small cat and will squawk with a fury when the pitbull nudges her in her sleep. Sometimes she'll force the pitbull out of their shared bed even. Although the pit does put her in some uncomfortable positions.

                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                            in my house the dogs my rule me, and the little dog may rule the big one but we all know who is boss... also the pickiest eater.

                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                              My cat rules me. Even while supposedly "sick" my uncooked steak disappeared from the counter last night. Good thing I'm not germaphobic

                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                Ha! I'm glad Take is still hunting and gathering. Did he eat it, or just hide it?

                                                              2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                So cute! My dogs do not like cats... at all... wish they did.

                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                  Aww. I feed my dogs from the dinner table often--either leftovers, or I save them something purposely--but I reprimand them when they beg or try to steal food. My boyfriend said once "Think about how annoying it must be to have to eat the same dry bland-tasting dry food day in and day out for your whole life. Of COURSE they're going to beg for something different."

                                                  That made so much sense to me as someone who loves food in all its endless variations.

                                                  My dogs got to split a pork chop last night. The pitbull was hesitant, as she's never had pork before, but my little terrier mutt was ALL over it. I also saved them a grilled chicken breast and some veggies.

                                        3. re: monavano

                                          I agree I no longer buy meat from Safeway and I don't think I've ever bought Select.

                                        4. re: nothingswrong

                                          Light grey spots, especially around where stickers on packaging were placed is normal. It was cut a couple of days ago time, light, time in an open retail case will all cause that. It is completely fine to cook and serve.

                                          Prime tritip? You must be used to paying better than $10 a lb for that.

                                          1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                            Yes certainly. I've never personally bought this cut before but I know what a good looking steak should look like, and that ain't it.

                                            I follow a low fat diet so when I buy steak, I do buy prime filet or filet "tails" typically. The butcher I buy my beef from is more expensive than Safeway obviously. A piece of flank is usually $30+, 2 filets are around $30-$40. Ground sirloin is around $15/lb. I will see what the tri-tip costs tomorrow when I go. Maybe I will have to substitute another cut if it costs too much. I'd just like something fairly economical for a large crowd. I can't afford to buy 10 ribeyes, for instance.

                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                              Wow, those private butcher prices are up there.

                                              Do any of your supermarkets sell CAB "Certified Angus Beef" (or) Excel Sterling Silver (or) IBP Chairman's Reserve. These are all in the top percentage of the choice grade and often as good as the bottom of the prime grade at 1/2 less $$$$.

                                              You could grind your own sirloin for between $4 - $6 pound.

                                              For parties, Top round (London Broil) from the above top choice brands is great for a party. I usually do (3), 1 rare, 1 med rare & 1 well. There is always left over well done which I feed to the dog.

                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                That is good to know about the higher choice grade labels. They do sell choice meat where I go, but I've always just paid a bit extra for the prime, since I guess I want the best considering I eat meat so rarely.

                                                I was looking at top round but didn't know what to do with it. I really haven't had many different cuts of beef in my life. My mother always bought filet mignon, skirt steak, tri-tip. That was it. Then I was a veggie for most of adulthood, and on the rare occasion I eat beef, I spring for a filet.

                                                Glad to learn about all of this though! I'm filing it away for future use :)

                                              2. re: nothingswrong

                                                "I follow a low fat diet so when I buy steak, I do buy prime filet or filet "tails" typically."

                                                This doesn't make sense to me. Grading is based on fat content. Why would you buy higher grade for less fat?

                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  I didn't mean anything about the grade. I meant the cut was lower in fat.

                                                  I buy prime because as I stated, I figure I eat meat rarely enough that I might as well get the good stuff. The store I get my meat at doesn't have choice filets anyway.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    I'm sure he can. Typically they will cut you whatever you want. I've never heard him say he didn't have something in back.

                                                    After all, we are just going to do chicken tonight. The bf is picking up a few extra breasts right now.

                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                      Well, chicken is great. I personally love chicken. For next time, flap meat is a reasonably priced, super flavorful cut.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        Choice grade Sirloin Flap (185A) bid $$ today (71,000 lbs total traded @ $5.20 lb. Avg) With a typical 20% to 30% markup your looking at between $6.25 - $6.75 LB.

                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                          To me that's reasonably priced for beef. I generally eat grass fed beef so it's comparatively less and compared to ribeye and filet it's reasonable.

                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          Is flap meat the same as flank or skirt? I was on my way to get a flank steak yesterday but the bf talked me out of it, saying he's only ever had it as taco/burrito filling and it would be weird.

                                                          I know that not to be true, but didn't feel like getting into it since he was the one doing all the grilling. He totally saved my butt and helped out big time tonight. Also, every ounce of chicken, pork, and corn he grilled were eaten, even with what I thought would be waaaay too much, even for leftovers.

                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                            Flap meat is not the same. The trade # is 185A. It is also known as the sirloin tip. All 3 can be Googled for specifics. Whole flap is 3 to 4 lbs avg.

                                                            TASTE: Very strong beef flavor. Takes marinate well. Often cooked on both sides & then thin sliced across grain. I cut into 3/4" - 1" thick strips across the grain, marinate & quickly seared over high heat. This increases the char surface. Many also cube and cook on a skewer. IMHO, real charcoal with a licking flame is this meats calling.

                                                            Whats important to know about flap is that it is not a tender cut and cooking it well done makes it shoe leather & too rare and its like eating a chewy gum ball. Med rare (cooked but still red) seems best IMHO.

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              Medium rare flap...any day of the week! It's my #2 favorite steak after hanger.

                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                Thanks for the info. You are like a beef encyclopedia!

                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                    Color - it wasn't packed in carbon monoxide, so the myoglobin has turned from pink to gray.

                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      I agree, it looks like a steak that has seen some oxygen. If it doesn't smell and isn't slimy I'd eat it.

                                                2. That meat looks light enough to be pork. Texture seems kind of smooth for tri tip.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: divadmas

                                                    Yeah I thought they'd accidentally brought pork instead of beef.

                                                    1. re: divadmas

                                                      I'm with you, that does not look like beef to me!

                                                    2. What cut is it supposed to be?

                                                      Do you know what grade it is?

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: sandylc


                                                        I assume it's select, since it wasn't labeled otherwise. That was the only grade they offer online unfortunately or I would have gotten better. I've never had select meat before; mom was always very picky about her beef.

                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                          Wow. No choice of even choice? When I was a kid, It was Prime all the way and Choice if we were slumming.

                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                            They had prime ribeyes but they were $15 apiece and I'd need at least 8 or 9 and that's a bit out of budget for this casual shindig.

                                                            I'm thinking I might just cut out the beef altogether and grab some more chicken. Kinda boring, but I think everyone coming eats it, so it'll be cheap and easy.

                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                              Lucky you - when I was a kid, all we got was "USDA Maybe."

                                                              I was confused about the cut in the OP. Now we know it's a tri tip. If it isn't slimy and has no off smell, I'd freeze it for later and buy another cut for your party. No need to take any chances..

                                                              1. re: rudeboy

                                                                "I'd freeze it for later and buy another cut for your party. No need to take any chances..."

                                                                I say this in as nice of a tone of typing as I can, but why would you save meat that you felt you were taking chances with?

                                                                I did end up throwing it away. I hate to waste food like that, but it was really leaking badly and just looked awful after a night in the fridge. I eat meat maybe once or twice a year anymore, and the bf is on a diet where he's only allowed fish and poultry, so it would have gone to waste unless the dogs ate it. I know I could have frozen it but the freezer was jammed to capacity with an ice cream cake for the party and bags of ice, and the fridge was packed with all the food for the party.

                                                                C'est la vie.

                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  Why would I say it? You asked for advice, and I gave it. I'm just hesitant to just toss things out. I was in Bangladesh in most of January, and that affected me deeply. They don't have the luxury of just throwing things out because they don't like the color.

                                                                  1. re: rudeboy

                                                                    I was just curious what you meant by "No need to take any chances." Did you mean not to take chances by serving the meat to guests? I know many here on Chow will cook/serve themselves things they feel are risky, but wouldn't serve them to guests, for fear of making everyone ill.

                                                                    I feel the same, except I wouldn't serve it to myself or my boyfriend either if I was worried about it at all. I'm immune compromised with a bad stomach disease, and I simply don't want to make my bf sick enough to miss a day (or more) of work. I know others feel differently, but I personally can't take chances with my food. Not for neuroses' sake, but for my physical well being.

                                                                    I can understand your trip to Bangladesh affecting you that way. I lived on the streets for 2 years when I was younger and it affected the way I looked at food and wastefulness quite a bit. My boyfriend was raised to never waste an ounce of food, and he will stuff himself beyond comfort so as not to waste anything. But even he took one look at that tri-tip yesterday and said to chuck it. I've never seen him throw away food in the 3 years we've been together, but he didn't even hesitate. So I guess the meat really did look bad in person.

                                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                      I meant to say "don't chance serving it to guests," but if the immunity is compromised, definitely don't eat it. I'm not there and can't see the meat, so I guess I was thinking that it was an over reaction. But now I understand. I'm sorry.

                                                                      1. re: rudeboy

                                                                        No worries. I just wasn't sure what you meant.

                                                                        I too thought I might be overreacting, which is why I posted the photo for this thread. I really didn't think the meat was off or rotten or unsafe necessarily. I'm still not sure, as I didn't touch or smell it much.

                                                                        I just know that if my boyfriend (the big meat eater/griller) thought it looked bad enough to toss. He'll eat practically anything for the sake of not wasting food. He didn't even think it was worth cooking up for the dogs.

                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                          Old beef that is entering the rotting stage WILL smell.

                                                                          If I didn't want to bother cooking it I would throw it in a 500 degree oven or grill for a few minutes to sanitize the surface, then quickly cut into cubes, then into the freezer for a short time to stiffen it up, then into the electric grinder with some precooked bacon for burgers.

                                                            2. re: nothingswrong

                                                              Select I would maybe use for stew or stir-fry - I wouldn't serve it on its own.

                                                          2. It's probably fine. It looks to me like it's been sitting in some moisture and that if it was at one point vacuum sealed, the seal broke. They're not really supposed to sell it with a broken seal (assuming that it was, at one point, sealed) and you can probably get your money back, but it also should cook up with no problem, as long as there isn't a weird smell. Beef generally rots from the outside in, so any greenish or cheesy-smelling pieces can be cut off and the meat inside will be fine. I actually prefer the taste of slightly older beef, but it's a personal thing. That one doesn't look so far gone that the taste would be super different anyway. I'd serve it to guests and eat it myself. Once it's cooked, you won't be able to tell the difference.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                              I'm not so much concerned about it being off or unsafe, just that it looks very unappetizing and off-colored. I didn't open the package, but sniffed inside the (leaky) bag and it smells totally fine. It is not discolored with shades of green or mold at all.

                                                              I guess I was more curious if this is normal for cheaper beef, and if anyone else would feel weird bringing this out in front of guests. I come from a big meat-eating Greek family, where the raw meat is always ceremoniously carried to the grill, and everyone "oohs" and "aahhs" a bit. Lol. I would not be at all proud carrying this hunk o gray out in front of everyone. Let alone if it also tastes bad. I don't see the point in serving people mediocre food.

                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                You're not planning to eat it raw right? The color will change when you cook it.

                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                  It's actually normal for any beef that has been sitting in damp (ie. its own blood). Even the super-expensive grass fed beef we sell at work looks like that when the vacuum seals break or when the trays get little pools of blood in them. First it turns a greyish colour, then a pale greenish colour and gets a cheesy smell. If you're not seeing any green or cheesy patches, you shouldn't even have to trim it. It will look and taste perfectly fine once it's cooked.

                                                                  If I were serving it to guests and wanted the ceremony and the "oohs" and "aahhs" as the raw meat is carried to the grill (which does sound fun), I'd probably give it a good spice rub to cover up the grey . Once it's cooked, nobody will know the difference.

                                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                    Blood is drained from the beast after slaughter. The red fluid is a combination of water and a protein called myoglobin. No blood.

                                                              2. Can you marinate it and make kebabs from it? Maybe Korean-style?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  That's actually a good idea. I'm going to have the bf take a look at it when he gets home. I need a second opinion (in person), as I'm too strict with this kind of thing.

                                                                  That might be the way to go if we end up cooking it. Otherwise, it'll just be chicken.

                                                                  Incidentally, I called Vons and they refunded my money no problem. I said the package was leaking and it looked off-colored and unappetizing. They said to do whatever I want with it.

                                                                2. I also don't think there is anything wrong with the meat; it could be that it was wrapped up for a long period of time or it's injected with some type of solution but personally, I'd marinate it up and throw it on the grill as long as it is not smelling. No way would I toss it; it would go back to the store before I would feed it to a dog.

                                                                  1. Nothingswrong, can you get to a Ralphs easily? They have trimmed tritip on sale starting Wednesday, and honestly, I find their quality for tri way better than what Von's puts in their meat cases. [and I totally understand the ease of delivery issue that Vons brings!]

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nikkihwood

                                                                      There are two Ralphs stores close by. I was going to try Gelsons since their meat department is close to the front of the store. I can make it about 4 minutes walking before I pass out. Ralphs always has their meat in the back so I avoid it. I do recall before all of my medical issues that Ralphs always had better meat but I haven't been in one in years.

                                                                      If it's on sale starting tomorrow, maybe I'll make a run for it!

                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                        Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't see anything wrong with the pic. Don't they normally spray something on meat to make it stay red? Anyhow, I'd cook it up, take a taste during the party, and decide game time whether to serve.

                                                                    2. Vons sells what they call Ranchers Reserve. This a fancy world for Select. Fortunately, tri-tip is a fairly well marbled piece of meat to begin with. Season and cook slowly to medium rare. slice against the grain and you should be fine.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mike0989

                                                                        I agree. I always marinate my tri tips in a mustard-based sauce for a few hours before grilling for taste and for bark. No one will notice outside color after it's cooked.

                                                                        Tri Tip isn't steak.

                                                                        1. re: 512window

                                                                          Oh, yeah, meant to mention that, too - about it not being steak.

                                                                          1. re: 512window

                                                                            Was going to mention that too, but held back - I was thrown off by the use of the term steak, as the pic did not look like a steak.

                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                              I have seen/bought meats labeled as tri-tip steaks. Are they mislabeled?

                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                I guess I use the term loosely, as in steak=beef. I know it's not accurate; sorry for any confusion.

                                                                            2. I never buy beef from Vons--any Vons store--it's just not good!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Befana

                                                                                Sadly some on-line grocery stores will send people (they will have on your file that you are disabled BTW if you've ever told them) second grade groceries. Their demographic actuaries have all the stats about how many people who order on-line will go to the trouble of sending anything back. After all, they figure if some one is unable to or can't be bothered going out to the store how interested are they in going through the hassle of sending something back?
                                                                                Sorry for your troubles.

                                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                  I've wondered about this. My boyfriend's been telling me to complain and call for a refund every time anything is wrong, but I don't want to go through the hassle for a squished tomato that cost me 15 cents. I guess I should start doing it.

                                                                                  I have noticed that my first several orders were the most immaculate produce and meat, and slowly over the last year it's declined. A couple weeks ago, I ordered 3 russet potatoes and all of them were green and sprouting, with black bruises and rotten inside. Why would you stick those in a customer's bag??? The chicken they've sent is fine, but every type of beef I've ordered in the last few months has been nasty.

                                                                                  They've also twice included already-opened jars/bottles, crushed/popped bags of chips, and a moldy container of raspberries.

                                                                                  I guess I'm on their "does not complain, give her the bad stuff" list. That will have to change!

                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                    That's disgusting. They would be hearing the sharp edge of my tongue - at the management level. Take pictures and howl your head off.