Finally getting to my Beef Recap! It took a while to sift through the hundreds of photos I took in three days! On our first full day in Denver we toured three different stores – Safeway (same as Dominick’s around Chicago), a local specialty meat store called Tony’s (the irony was not lost on me!) and Costco.
I actually learned a lot about how beef makes it’s way to your local grocery store. I was always under the impression that store ads were based on what meat was closest to the sell by date, but actually the ads are prepared six to eight weeks in advance, so the ads dictate when the beef is purchased. Ever wonder what the difference is between the meat in the butcher case vs. what is wrapped and on the refrigerator shelf? Basically nothing. The butcher case usually has thicker cuts of beef and meats and show cases it to help you figure out what to cook. That meat only stays one day in the butcher case, and then is usually cute in half and then saran wrapped to go to the refrigerator shelf. And do you see the 50% off bin! Long time readers know this is the first place I look when grocery shopping. The “managers” specials are both cuts of beef and meat that are close to the sell by date, or cutting “mistakes” that don’t make the grade to be placed in the butcher case, but is still perfectly good to eat. If meat isn’t bought by the sell by date – it gets thrown out. Safeway has strict policies that they have to adhere to.
Safeway prides itself on providing both USDA Prime and Choice. What’s the difference?
Obviously prime beef is the most expensive as only 4-5% of all beef is deemed prime. If you are ever meal planning from your sale flyer, or actually standing in front of the meat counter and don’t know what to do – check out the Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner Interactive Butcher Counter. There you can select different cuts of beef, they will let you know if they are lean or not and what the best cooking method is.
Next up we went to Tony’s Market that is a specialty meat market. Holy balls if I lived in Denver, near Denver, within an hours drive of Denver, I would go to this place every weekend.
Tony’s has been in business for 35 years and when we were there at around 11 a.m. on a Wednesday, there were still about 30 customers in this small store – crazy! We got a behind the scenes tour to see how they prepare the beef. When we were there, cooks were pre-making kabobs for the case – the pictures of all the beef, meat, kabobs and chicken will all be sold and replenished before the weekend – the turnover is that great. 60% of their food sales are beef. They dry age their beef – you can see the difference between these two cuts – in the first picture the beef is a couple days old, and the second one is nearly 21 days old. Um, that dry aged beef is sold for $28 a pound and the butcher says that no one blinks an eye at the price and it’s not unusual for four dry aged steaks to cost $125. Wow.
I think most beef snobs prefer dry aged beef, because basically that’s how all beef was aged 30 years ago. Dry aging beef causes microbes and enzymes to help break down the connective tissue to basically make it more tender. Aged beef is able to breathe and lose water which purists feel increases the “beefiness” of the beef. Wet aging however is when beef is processed in plastic bags, so the beef doesn’t breathe, so it ages in its own blood, which other people prefer the taste of wet aged beef. I actually don’t think I’ve ever had dry aged beef before. Going to David Burke’s in Chicago is on my restaurant bucket list – they dry age their beef in a room that is lined with Himalayan sea salt. Um, yes please!
We ended our tour at Costco, where we bought lots of beef to take back to the National Cattleman’s Associations Test Kitchen – that was such a fun day! I’ll recap that tomorrow. . .um, for the record – that’s $419 worth of beef!
So if you don’t follow me on Instagram, or Facebook, you won’t know that after my first week of the 7 Day Carb Cycle I lost . . .
Yep! Not only did I lose 5.2 pounds, but 2.6 pounds of that was fat. I dropped 1 point in my BMI (which has me on the cusp of getting out of obese and to just being overweight!) and I have to tell you that it wasn’t hard to stick to the program.
- eat within 30 minutes of getting up
- doing “shapers” on low carb days first thing
- doing “shredders” 6 times a week – just 30 minutes, but increasing the intensity in 3-2-1 increments
- drinking a gallon of water a day
- no alcohol (I know!)
- eating every three hours
I know that seems like a lot of things to juggle, but just after a week I think I have this lifestyle down pat. I am eating real food. I am never hungry and never full. I did make my meal plan a bit easier this week by repeating many meals and making a quiche that will be my breakfast four days this week. I’ve also subbed in a protein bar in place of the protein shake. I tried a vegan protein powder over the weekend made of pea protein, and well, it tasted chalky and tasted like ass at the same time. Luckily my step-son Joe loves the protein powder I bought so I’ll be sending it to him.
So after enjoying my cheat day of tacos and pizza yesterday, I am all set to kill it this week too! Off to get my AM exercise in and I’ll probably have time for a walk this morning too. Make it a great day!