Anomalies in meat pricing

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by atomicsmoke, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I believe most of us here really enjoy cooking cuts such as briskets, shanks, tails. Not just for the excellent flavours you are rewarded with but because these cuts are (or at least used to be) inexpensive.

    Have you noticed the trend (going on for many years already) - the price of these cuts increasing much faster than premium cuts and not being linked to beef price increases in general?

    Ox tail is a classic: used to be dog food, butcher would give you a bag for free. However after increased immigration from the Carribean, the demand soared and now you might pay almost as much per lb as you would for bone-in rib steak.

    Same with brisket: I used to buy flats from Costco (Canada) not just for smoking , but for stews, ground meat, etc. They were the cheapest cut in the display, yet a nice looking slab of meat. Not anymore. You can buy sirloin for less $/lb now.

    Don't start me on lamb. Or soup bones.

    Turkey necks? A few months ago they were around $1/lb. Now they are more expensive than fresh turkey leg.

    Is this really supply and demand or is it just plain old gouging?
  2. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I always get peeved by meat pricing too! Tough, chewy cuts that take a lot of love and care to get to their delicious tender state are selling for more than "premium cuts". Short ribs are a classic example. Used to be cheap as all hell but they became very "chefy" for lack of a better word and now they charge the same for them as they do for rib eyes or strip steak. Skirt steak which requires careful cooking and marinating is selling for 11.99 a pound choice! Most places charge a fortune for brisket as well! The only thing that has been steadily cheap is pork butt or picnic shoulder. I just pray it can stay that way. Food trends up the demand unfortunately and we live in a time where everyone is a foodie of some sort and its hip to transform less desirable pieces of meat into delicious meals. But hey, everyone of us on this site is probably increasing the prices of ribs, butts , bacon, sausage, etc. hahaha because we all cook like its our job even when in most cases it's not.
  3. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's why I don't buy Brisket and most likely never will, it's over rated. I can get Prime Rib on sale, near the same price and in this case cheaper....

    I went to buy some stewing Beef for a stew I was making and ended up getting top round much cheaper go figure!!!
    • Brisket $6.27 a pound
    • Prime Rib $6.25 a pound

    • this pic is a year old but you get the idea.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
    diggingdogfarm likes this.
  4. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    "I can get Prime Rib on sale, near the same price and in this case cheaper...."
    Strange but true.

    Brisket flat (trimmed) 7.72$/lb
    Flank steak $8.18/lb
    Prime rib $9.54/lb
    Striploin whole $8.63/lb
    Sirloin $3.17/lb

    Regular prices. Rib, strip go frequently on sale, so they can cost less than flank/brisket which never go on sale.

    Pork loin $3.17/lb
    Whole pork shoulder $2.49/lb

    The meat retail model is literally upside down.

    Can pastrami be done with sirloin?
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Supply and demand!   Overall GP% in a meat department ideally is 24%.  Sales tend to balance themselves;  one week it is chuck, next week it is hind, etc, throughout the whole department of many varieties of fresh, packaged, frozen, smoked, lunch meats, etc. A good manager follows one simple rule, the first loss is your best loss.  You can tell by the condition of the meatcase - fresh, bright, well-packaged, no leakers, no dark meat; the manager is doing a good job with a well trained crew.  Then it just gets poorer after that, as does margins and overall condition, and manager replacement is in order.  
  6. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lamb is crazy expensive here in Ohio. A few years ago a local grocer had good deals on lamb from about 50 miles away, but no more.

    Heh, lamb bones with a little bit of meat for $1.99/lb, season and roast them and make the house smell great. Then pick at the meat and use the bones to make a stock for a bean soup...
  7. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Supply and demand.

    Butchers have to get creative to make their profit margins and so do Chefs. So we will look for what is in the price range we can afford to have on our menus. Yes we need to have the couple standard cuts, but what was once very cheap has now become common on the menus. The cheaper cuts can be sold as specials or dressed up as premium dish and sold for the same price as a premium cut. A new cut we are playing with is a Manhattan Cut Strip steak. It is cut from the same loin a NY Strip is cut, but broken down a bit diffrently. This way you can have a smaller cut on the plate, but with a much higher profile. A 6oz Manhattan is twice as tall as a 6oz NY, but with proper plate design you would not notice as much the lack of width of the cut. You are getting the same thing just looks diffrent. For the butcher or processing plant, they can sell a miss cut at a higher price then before.

    But as a whole you will see all meats are much higher due to production costs have gone way up. I was told another big reason the beef prices have jumped is due to Japan coming in and buying out a couple markets and now sitting on millions of pounds of frozen beef. Something due to the earthquakes several years ago. A little foggy on the full story.

    I am hearing they are going to be changing the names of pork cuts to match more in line with beef cuts. Cant wait to see the price reactions for that one.
  8. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit

    The Kroger I shop at has a manager's special section for meats that will expire the next day, which I freeze or cook by that date.  They are heavily discounted and I shop that section first.  They load that section daily in the morning and it's usually gone by evening.  Their boneless pork loins still go on sale  for < $2lb. in their regular meat section.  The Schnuck's, Hyvee and Shop 'n' Save around me  are always significantly higher.

Share This Page