I love to cook, bbq, roast, etc. and am looking for a recommendation to buy meat at reasonable prices. Specifically, looking for Pork Butt, Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs for a bbq I'm throwing for 25 people next week.
For the last 2 years, I've been a Costco fanatic (Hawthorne location is much cheaper than the Marina del Rey location) and buy tenderloins and then butcher them up (remove tendons, silver skin, etc.), buy flap steak, short ribs, pork chops, spare ribs, and now they have some great organic chicken as well. I've tried 99 Ranch Market, Marukai and depending on the sales, Albertsons, Vons/Pavilions, and Ralphs. Overall, here are my impressions:
1. Costco -- very good for tenderloin, but you need to be choosy about which ones you pick. Cost is o.k.. Cheaper than Ralphs and other supermarkets and way cheaper than Gelsons or Whole Foods. More expensive than 99 Ranch Market and Marukai. When they sell Prime grade meats, especially their Rib Roast (Prime Rib) or filet, it definitely is a bargain when you factor in quality.
2. Ralphs/Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions -- in general, they've been shifting to lower grade meats and you're lucky if you even find Choice. One of them calls it Rancher's Cut, others call it something else. Quality is o.k. but not as good as Costco. Price fluctuates depending on the special of the week. Just got some great Pork chops (2 inch thick) on sale at Albertsons for $2.99 per lb.
3. 99 Ranch Market, Marukai, various Korean markets in K town -- Especially on sale, meat can be quite cheap at any of these places. I bought tenderloin for $4.99 per lb at 99 Ranch about a month ago. However, you definitely got what you paid for. More stringy, and definitely not Choice quality tenderloin. The NY and Ribeye were also pretty cheap, $3.99 per lb., but again, not as good as the Costco and definitely not as good as Bristol/Gelsons/whole Food. My thought is although cheaper, I'd rather eat meat less often and not buy my meat here. One exception are the short ribs cut kalbi style which although a little fatty, are still o.k. and trying to find this cut elsewhere can be difficult.
4. Gelsons/Bristol Farms/Whole Foods -- The meat can be excellent but you pay an arm and a leg for it. On the cost vs. quality scale, it just doesn't fit into the budget and I like meat too much to make it into a special occasion meal. to justify buying meat at these places.
Any other suggestions?