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'Prime' ground beef: worth it or gimmick ?


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a local chain of supermarkets in my area has started selling prime ground beef. they do not sell prime steaks, but they do age 30 days + choice meat and label that aged.

is this a gimmick? Does marbling matter once its ground? I asked them about it and they showed me a cryo-vacd shoulder piece ( pretty big Id say ) that they use for this.

in CA when I used to visit my father I went here:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/schaubs-meat-fish-and-poultry-palo-alto

they aged their own sides, prime, and their prime meat aged this way was mighty good. $$$$

Not the same as PB gets but ... they did use the scraps when trimming the prime 'prime' cuts and made ground chuck. this was no more expensive than safeway and made a stunning burger you could smell 'steakhouse' when you cooked it. but it was aged.

so what the view? Im leaning that it cant make much difference once ground. they sell the 90% lean for 4.99/lbs, and the 85 % for 4.49.

Im trying a burger 'plain sur la plate' to see if anything special is happening.

that being said after the true prime cuts come out of that aged side, what happend to the rest of that 'Prime' side?

Prime Round?

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I agree. but is there really such a thing as prime shoulder or prime chuck? Marketing? like the Angus stuff?

BTW this is also 'Angus'

this store chain in there larger markets age choice 30 days + for the 'High End Cuts'. initially they sold the T-bone Porterhouse for $24.99 then it went to 19.99

on sale I tried this aged choice when on sale for 14.99. cooked it very carefully med rare and found it didnt really have a lot of extra taste and was somewhat dry.

so choice aged didnt make it for me.

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those burgers sound delicious: $ 13.30 a lbs? a little more than $ 4.49 Ill remember to check what this stores 'service' counter ground beef goes for to compare to the 'Prime'

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Personally I wont buy into the "ground prime" hype. Its already tenderized being ground so thats a pointless benefit. Then theres the flavor, which im sure anything "prime" should be flavorful, but so is grinding your own "choice" chuck roast or brisket.

You are better off buying "choice" chuck or brisket and dry ageing it yourself with those drybagsteak bags and grinding yourself. It will blow away any of that "ground prime" your thinking about buying.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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the best burger meat i ever made was from 'chuck steaks' that looked like sirloin tips that I aged in the refig for a week and then ground myself. with a cuisinart using the pulse-chill-pulse until it came to the correct consistency.

having the Prime Non-Aged Chuck Burger tonight! let you know.

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the best burger meat i ever made was from 'chuck steaks' that looked like sirloin tips that I aged in the refig for a week and then ground myself. with a cuisinart using the pulse-chill-pulse until it came to the correct consistency.

having the Prime Non-Aged Chuck Burger tonight! let you know.

Im sure It will be good, but the question is if its really worth the price.

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I am not certain about the USA but in Canada the whole certified Angus label is a bit of a "don't look at the man behind the curtain " obfuscation.. Black angus is the most common breed of cattle raised for meat in Canada and the certified angus label is only available to black angus. So a little artful marketing , creates a perception of higher quality and plays on the snobbery factor, gets people to pay more for what they most likely will get anyway.. I would rather buy meat that looks good to me and take a chance that it might be hereford or charolais , both of which can be excellent anyway.

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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its not much more Im guessing than that same service counters NotPrime ground black cow.

I pay $1.99/lb for NotPrime ground NotBlack cow, If Im in a hurry and dont have time to grind or age my own chuck, in which I will pay no more then $2.49/lb. But as the poster above me said, there are snobs out there that will pay even more then your paying for that Prime ground for "choice angus ground".

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I fully aware that certified angus label is all smoke and mirrors, and to get this there only has to be a black cow somewhere in the field.

there is no where around where I live that you can get ground beef for less then mid to high $3 buck range and then have to buy too much.

Trader Joe's had 80 % for a while at 1.99 to get you in the store, now it a bit more. Im having the burger now, and its good. its 80%.

this seems to be a lot of smoke and more mirrors. I might compare it to that same service counter 80% as I can get just what I need and not a 3 lbs family pack that would go to waist.

so my view: more smoke, more mirrors. all marketing.

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I fully aware that certified angus label is all smoke and mirrors, and to get this there only has to be a black cow somewhere in the field.

there is no where around where I live that you can get ground beef for less then mid to high $3 buck range and then have to buy too much.

Trader Joe's had 80 % for a while at 1.99 to get you in the store, now it a bit more. Im having the burger now, and its good. its 80%.

this seems to be a lot of smoke and more mirrors. I might compare it to that same service counter 80% as I can get just what I need and not a 3 lbs family pack that would go to waist.

so my view: more smoke, more mirrors. all marketing.

You should invest in a foodsaver vacuum sealer and buy in bulk and freeze. I prefer to buy a chuck and grind my own then freeze. But if I buy 7 lbs or more i can get 80% ground beef for under 1.99/lb no pink slime and is everyday savings. If you vacuum and freeze imediately it thaws to the same the day i bought it even a year later.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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I do a lot of SV. I have the Weston vacuum sealer and love it. but I eat very little ground beef. so on the rare times I do, I get no more that 1/2 lbs.

Ive found that frozen ground beef never comes out the same for hamburgers as fresh. for meatloaf I use ground turkey as i prefer it.

this was just an experiment. it was good. Ill see if its any better than trader joes 80 %. my cat ( seen on the L ) wound enjoy the rest.

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I do a lot of SV. I have the Weston vacuum sealer and love it. but I eat very little ground beef. so on the rare times I do, I get no more that 1/2 lbs.

Ive found that frozen ground beef never comes out the same for hamburgers as fresh. for meatloaf I use ground turkey as i prefer it.

this was just an experiment. it was good. Ill see if its any better than trader joes 80 %. my cat ( seen on the L ) wound enjoy the rest.

Believe it or not, I find my burgers come out better if the patties are partially or frozen before they hit the hot grill. So I make the patties and stack a few of them inbetween wax paper and freeze them, then vacuum seal them in portions. I usually make a whole 7 lbs worth at a shot. Great for family picnics and blows any store bought frozen patties away.

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by frozen ground beef i meant GB that I had bought fresh and froze myself. but your observations are interesting and noted. no one of sound mind buy pre-frozen supermarket GB.

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by frozen ground beef i meant GB that I had bought fresh and froze myself. but your observations are interesting and noted. no one of sound mind buy pre-frozen supermarket GB.

Yes I know you meant GB you froze from fresh. I was just saying that I make my own frozen patties from fresh GB and if frozen imediately and vacuum sealed, and when thawed even up to a year later its hard to tell it was frozen.

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Snake River Farms in Idaho sells incredibly good Wagyu burgers. They're frozen and come in a box of 4 8oz. patties. I've tested them side by side with Choice grade burgers and my own ground burgers from choice cuts. The Waygu burgers beat choice hands down, but I haven compared them to other ground prime beef.

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this particular local chain

http://www.rochebros.com/department/About%20Us/1

has a 'service meat counter' with those black cows we all know about. and a regular 'wrapped' meat section that's not Black Cow or so. the service counter is ground through out the day. cant say how long the wrapped burger sits around but is ground in each store.

the 'prime' burger is 'prime' shoulder ie chuck that comes in large cryo-vaced packages.

there service counter no longer sells reg. angus ground beef: just the prime

the intro 'on sale' price for the prime 85 % is $ 4.49 the regular wrapped burger at 85 % is $ 5.29.

the other local chain is Stop&Shop and does not have a 'service counter' but they will cut to order if you ask.

Ill see what Trader Joes charges for 85 %. there meat comes in a blister pack, with inert gas of some sort in it to keep it read

and a sell by date. who knows where it comes from.

my interest is mostly economics and marketing, independent of flavor and value.

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I think those are in a different league.

But, in terms of the question, are they? Or should they be? It seems like it goes directly to the original question.

If ground prime is said to be better than all forms of ground choice (because prime steaks are better than choice steaks), shouldn't it follow that ground wagyu (whose steaks presumably are better than prime) must therefore be better than ground prime?

I'm skeptical myself, but if we accept the assertion as fact, then it goes a long way to answering the question.

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said to be better

this has not been said. at this point I think if indeed these cryovac's are from a Prime carcass its just a marketing thing

not so dissimilar than Woooooooooooooo Back Angus !!!!

I just find this so interesting.

people buy up the 30 day aged choice meat here and its well :huh:

for $ 20 / lbs one might look else where

but people are sooooo buisy.

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said to be better

this has not been said. at this point I think if indeed these cryovac's are from a Prime carcass its just a marketing thing

not so dissimilar than Woooooooooooooo Back Angus !!!!

I just find this so interesting.

people buy up the 30 day aged choice meat here and its well :huh:

for $ 20 / lbs one might look else where

but people are sooooo buisy.

Couldnt agree more. There is a fine line you cross when you go from (and im being modest here) $10/lb for choice ribeye vs $20/lb + for prime ribeye. Is it really worth 2x as much? I personally think not, and could not enjoy eating it knowing i payed that much. Now the price difference from select to choice is more reasonable when were talking only a few dollars per pound more.

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