Hey all, I have been buying my meats generally from my supermarket - Gristedes. I was making goulash and I needed to buy beef chuck cut into 1" cubes. Instead of paying the usual $3.99/lb at Gristedes, I bought a lb from Whole Foods at $5.99/lb. Whole Foods said it was organic, not treated with any hormones or anti-biotics, etc..
I made the goulash last week with the WF chuck and it was amazing tasting. It was maybe the best beef I've had in a long time! It was so tender and almost disintegrated in my mouth. Kind of reminded me of kobe beef actually.
In the interest of supporting my local businesses, I paid my first visit in my lifetime to a butcher shop near me called East Village Meat Market in the polish district of Manhattan. I asked the guy that barely spoke english for a lb of beef chuck. He astutely asked me what it was for and I replied that it was for goulash. He knew exactly what I meant and took a slab of meat and sliced up 1" cubes of it for me. I have to admit I was pretty impressed and really liked the experience.
I just finished cooking it using the exact same recipe (except I mistakenly forgot to add the caraway seeds!!) and the meat was tough, felt more "dry" and lacked that same texture and flavor the WF's beef seemed to impart. Only supporting fact I can think of is that beef chuck at the butcher might have had slightly less marbling.
Cost isn't really an issue, I am trying to eat wholesome foods preferably (but not required) not treated with chemicals, drugs, etc.. I also prefer to support my local businesses so I would prefer to shop at a local butcher even if the quality/cost is marginally unfavorable.
Any thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated. Any advice on where to shop or how to find a good butcher is of course welcome as well.