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Thread: What’s the best quality ribs?

  1. #1
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    What’s the best quality ribs?

    So I was just at costco and I noticed that they have “Smithfield” ribs. They have baby back and St. Louis style. They are $28 for three racks. That is cheap. But are these good ribs? I do get the prime brisket from there and it’s amazing. But what about the ribs? I usually get ribs from the local meat market for $30 for two racks of baby backs. I want to cook the best quality ribs and I’ll pay a little more. I don’t make them all that often so not worried about the small extra cost. Where do you guys buy your ribs? Maybe getting a relationship with a local farm would be best?

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    If you want better quality you should find someone who sells heirloom breed pork. For most standard, non-enhanced pork sold in the U.S. I don't think it matters all that much. They're all using the same breed of hogs.

    I've used Costco ribs many times, though their switch to Smithfield pork is fairly recent and I'm not sure I've used those. The ribs I've cooked in the past have all been fine.

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    I'm looking for the best though not just fine. If I'm going to open a joint or sell my BBQ it needs to stand out. The brisket from Costco is great. I mean I could go for crerkstone farms but those are really pricy.

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    I never used Smithfield anything. I buy ribs at BJ's, and sometimes from the local supermarket (Publix). I also bought ribs from Omaha Steaks and from Snake River Farms. If I was putting them in order of quality, it would be 1. SRF; 2. Omaha Steaks; 3. BJ's; 4. Publix. I also had ribs from the PX at the air force base here, courtesy of a friend who's ex military -- those, too, would be ahead of Publix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBz View Post
    If I'm going to open a joint or sell my BBQ...
    For this, rather than looking at Costco wouldn't you want to dig into your own roots of culinary school and training, seek out beef and pork growers and harvesters (or suppliers), and make your own decisions about quality?

  6. #6
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    Those are my thoughts. Lol though I did not go to culinary school. If I had to do my life over again though I would.

  7. #7
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Bob Correll's Avatar
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    IMO, making any grade of meat taste great comes from the pitmaster, not the highest quality meat.
    Put me, possibly you, and Harry Soo in a contest cooking identical ribs from Costco and guess who wins.
    Give Aaron Franklin a Select grade brisket to cook and guess what kind of magic happens.

  8. #8
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
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    Bob beat me to it but I totally agree I've seen and tasted some low quality meats turned into culinary masterpieces by very talented cooks. It's the cook or chef or pitmaster that makes it happen.
    "Rescuing just one dog won't change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one dog."

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    If you read Aaron franklins book you would remember that he talks about using prime brisket. He also recounted a time that he was forced to use choice and it was the only bad review critics gave him. He also mentions that select brisket is not going to be good no matter who cooks it. No good bbq joint is using choice. No matter who cooks it, it won’t be as good as prime. The top bbq joint that does use choice is snows in Texas. They’re doing something right with that choice. Everyone else is using prime. The quality of the meat definitely makes a difference. I make killer ribs. People say they are the best they have had. But I made some ribs from a local chain called Schnucks. I have twice used them because I didn’t want to have one test sample. Their pork is just plain awful. No one is making good food with that pork. And I was wrong costco doesn’t use Smithfield. They use swift. Smithfield is what a couple other local grocery chains use. If I even realize my dream and open a place then I will find a good farm that I trust to get my product from. I really like the ribs from a couple of local butcher shops. Anyway I’ll keep trying. Let’s hope my dream works out.

  10. #10
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBz View Post
    And I was wrong costco doesn’t use Smithfield. They use swift. Smithfield is what a couple other local grocery chains use.
    I was confused when I read your original post about Costco having Smithfield ribs because they've had Swift ribs for many years.

    You'll find certain varieties of Smithfield baby back and spareribs at Walmart and Sam's Club, among other places. Smithfield has four categories of baby back/spareribs:

    • "Extra Tender" ribs are injected with a solution. I cooked these ribs a couple of weeks ago and they were fine, but I prefer a non-injected rib. These ribs are used with great success by some competition BBQ teams. Available at Walmart.
    • "Fresh Pork" is their basic rib product.
    • "Prime Fresh Pork" is a premium version. Available at Sam's Club.
    • "All-Natural Pork" is a no steroids/hormones version. I'm starting to see this one at Walmart.

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