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Thread: Buying meat - frozen or never been frozen ?

  1. #1
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    Buying meat - frozen or never been frozen ?

    We have a local meat market that takes pride that nothing they sell has been frozen. I bought four slabs of spare ribs there this morning for $2.75 pound. Had another errand that took me to the grocery store where I shop weekly, and they had a meat sale in progress with frozen spare ribs at $1.69, same brand name, Hormel. That's about $16 diff I paid for unfrozen.

    What's your preference ? Do you think it makes a diff ? I gotta think it does , but maybe not worth a $1 a pound.

    Btw, the meat market sells quality, its really just a butcher shop and has a cook shack in the parking lot with a big offset. Here's some tomahawks, bone in rib eye, and tri tip from this meat market.....



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    Part two of this question ............. the Hormel ribs at the meat market were " Natural Choice "

    https://www.hormelfoodservice.com/brand/natural-choice/

    Frozen ribs at grocery store were " Always Tender "

    https://www.hormelfoodservice.com/brand/always-tender/


    Anyone have insight to the diff ?

  3. #3
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Bob Correll's Avatar
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    As I suspected, the always tender ribs are enhanced, check down the page a ways.

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    When meat is frozen the water in the meat forms ice crystals that will pierce the cell walls. When the meat is defrosted, fluid that was locked up inside the cells can now escape. I can almost always tell the difference between fresh and frozen meat. To me it's particularly noticeable with ground beef. The fresh always tastes better and juicier.

    With ribs I suspect it matters less because you're cooking them to the point that most of the water is going to be driven out anyway, depending on collagen to provide the sensation of moisture. Whether I would pay $1/lb. more for fresh would probably depend on how many I was buying and how rich I felt at the time. Paying $1/lb. more for non-enhanced meat, that's a no-brainer. Always go for the non-enhanced product.

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    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    I load up my freezer when meat is on sale. Bought whole or half cows/pigs for years and kept them in the freezer for over a year and enjoyed every bite.

    Tim
    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

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    TVWBB Emerald Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    It seems to me that the thawing method is even more important than the freezing method, the SLOWER you allow those aforementioned ice crystals to melt, the less cell wall damage. Think about fish! If you can allow fish to thaw as slowly as possible, the better end product you will end up with.
    Melt for mush, thaw for....?
    Chaw simply does not seem any “better”.
    Time to check my KFC!
    BUT, frozen is without doubt less “toothsome” than fresh, no doubt in my addled mind.
    Last edited by Timothy F. Lewis; 08-09-2018 at 04:48 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Well, after reading this, I'm happy with my purchase from Wheeler Meat Market

    I knew turkeys were enhanced, and ya have to watch for that if ya gonna brine your turkey. But I'd not paid attention to ribs or other meats. I will from now on.

    Gotta say though, when they're frozen, its hard to read all the fine print on the package due to frost and ice. Its even hard to get a good look at the marbling of the ribs. I've always just picked up a package of spare ribs, without paying much attention.

    And I found when Googling " Always Tender " , that the price of those ribs is always lower than " Natural Choice " . Hormel must produce far far more of the enhanced ribs, thus create a larger supply. Have to pay a premium for " Natural Choice " . Sort've like 100% gasoline and 10% ethanol pricing.

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    TVWBB Pro BFletcher's Avatar
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    I don't feed my fam fresh beef or pork; that way they'll never know if they're missing out, lol. But seriously, I nearly always buy beef and pork during what I consider a good sale price. Hence, the majority of it gets vacuum sealed and frozen. But I also don't shop at a true butcher and have only once bought a prime grade steak as opposed to choice or Angus and usually shop somewhere like Kroger or Meijer. Our household just simply isn't very discerning or demanding. Wednesday evening I moved a Tri-Tip and a couple baby backs to the fridge for the weekend

    None of this answers your questions; I'm just babbling.

  9. #9
    TVWBB Emerald Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    There used to be probably ten or twelve real butchers in Kalamazoo. Now, there are maybe two left. One is pretty close but, I don’t use them unless I want something specific, they do some “unusual” butchering, like butterflying filet mignon, some odd pork configurations too.
    I miss the old “Hoekstras meat market” hanging beef in the back, hanging pigs, you could have them cut you anything! They did freezer bundles too.
    I do try to make the most of my meat purchases and when a good deal appears, I do my best to take advantage of that to be sure. But, I seriously try to allow enough time for the slowest thawing possible, texture “can” be pretty close but, “speed thawing” I think, breaks down cell structure and may return more mushy texture.
    Call me a brook too, I feel like I’m just babbling too Fletch!
    Last edited by Timothy F. Lewis; 08-10-2018 at 12:08 PM.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  10. #10
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    I'll join the babbling party as well.

    I am lucky I have a butcher 10 minutes from my house. I have been shopping there for the past 10 years since it opened. I can count on one hand the number of times I have shopped at a grocery store for meat since it opened. For me the look and color of some of the steaks and chicken at the local grocery stores turn me off. I know I am paying more and may need to forgo having a steak as often as I want but the quality I feel is noticeable. Being a loyal customer for as long as I have been I also enjoy the social aspect of chatting with the butcher and employees.

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