View Full Version : The Beef Thread

03-04-2013, 07:37 PM
For those of you who don't know me from other places, I'm the 5th generation to run cattle of a portion of the real estate I call my home. I'm also an insufferable beef promoter. This is a thread dedicated to all things beef: recipes, prices, preparation, cuts, storage, etc.

Starting off, I'll suggest that now is a good time to stock up on beef for the summer grilling season. Slaughter weights have been unusually high for this time of year, and the result is a seasonally high supply. We're starting to see some features and discounts at the retail level, which should continue for the next couple of weeks. Beyond that, all meat prices may spike as a result of sequestration. Under the rules of sequestration, the USDA will have to furlough meat inspectors for 22 days, creating a bottleneck in the supply chain, and a subsequent shortage of all types of meat. Meat processing plants have to have a USDA inspector to grade all the meat that goes through the plant, and without them, there is no meat. Choice beef set an all-time high retail price in January before this small glut hit the markets. My advice is to take advantage of it and stock up the freezers, particularly with the choice cuts like steaks and rib roasts, as I predict the shortage will have a greater impact on graded beef than it will on hamburger.

I may be the only one posting in this thread, but it's my own little form of community service for my industry.

FN Phat
03-04-2013, 09:08 PM
Thanks for the heads up. I definitely trust your good word, especially in regards to all things beef.

Jarid in Cedar
03-05-2013, 12:39 AM
Cowboy is a beef pricing savant. The money that he has saved me over the last 4 years would feed some small towns in southern Utah.

Thanks for the heads up. I am always in the market for cheaper rib roasts.

03-05-2013, 02:00 AM
Cowboy - I have several clients who are ranchers in Northern California. Another of my clients is the largest Cattle auction yard north of Sacramento and they have been warning me of this for the last few months - telling me to stock up on meat and invest in a large freezer.

You are definitely a cowboy-economist.

What is the reason for the high slaughter rates?

03-16-2013, 12:33 PM
I'm sad that Wal-mart doesn't have corned beef on sale again this year for St. Patrick's Day. $3.88/lb. for flat cut, and $2.88/lb. for the point. I'm going to make a huge pot of it tomorrow. Here's my recipe, as in, I have settled on doing it this way after trying a bunch of other people's recipes and determining that I like the taste that I achieved picking and choosing from the ideas of others.

2 large flat cut corned beef briskets.
1 quart Guinness stout
2 packets corned beef seasoning (they almost always come included in the corned beef vacuum pack)
2 heads of cabbage
8 large carrots
20 red new potatoes
1 can chicken stock

Open both briskets and rinse them under cool water until the jelly-feeling liquid has been removed (10-15 seconds each). Place the first one in a large crock pot, then open one seasoning packet and use all of it to cover the top surface of the brisket. Next, place the second brisket on top. If the size is too large, cut the second one to make it fit. Open Guinness and pour the entire bottle over the briskets. Licking the foam from the neck of an otherwise empty bottle is not against the Word of Wisdom. Open the 2nd seasoning packet and do as before, covering the top brisket. Cook on high for 4 hours.

After four hours, remove the juice from the crock pot and add it to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 can of chicken stock to the crock pot and lower the heat to low. Cut the heads of cabbage into fourths, leaving the rootstem intact (this keeps the leaves from separating while cooking), slice the potatoes in half, quarter the onions, cut the carrots into chunks (the size is according to your liking), and put them into the pot. Add the other 1/2 can of chicken stock. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling starts, reduce heat to a simmer. Check the potatoes and carrots after 30 minutes to see if they are done. If not, check again every 5-7 minutes until the reach the consistency you want. Remove from the heat, and immediately remove the vegetables from the pot, placing them on a large platter. Pour the pot likker into the crock pot, reduce heat to warm, and remove the top brisket. Slice the brisket across/against the grain into slices. Serve the brisket with a cabbage wedge, some potatoes, and some carrots. The onions can be eaten, but are mostly to flavor the cabbage. Guinness can make onions taste slightly bitter, so you may not like them.

If people want more, slice the other brisket. If not, slice it into sandwich-appropriate slices, and enjoy the next day on rye bread with sauerkraut, swiss cheese (or even better, Kerrygold Dubliner cheese), and a small amount of thousand island dressing (A homemade Reuben). The pot likker in the crock pot can be kept to use again the following day if you want to forego sandwiches and just make more cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to enjoy with the other brisket.

It's worth making two briskets because of the time required and the amount of Guinness needed to cover them. A small bottle of Guinness is too little, and the quart bottle is too much for just one.

I will be making this tomorrow before I go to church. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. I'm also gonna try make this Cook's Illustrated recipe for Irish Soda Bread, which I've never attempted to make before.


3cups bleached all-purpose flour (http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tastetests/overview.asp?docid=9804), plus more for work surface

1cup cake flour

2tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2teaspoons cream of tartar

1 1/2teaspoons table salt

3tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened + 1 tablespoon melted)

1 1/2cups buttermilk


1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)

3. Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top.

4. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.

03-16-2013, 02:27 PM
Guinness Stout

One for the cook, one for the broth. Two for the cook, two for the broth...

Thanks for the recipe, it sounds fabulous. I want to make this tomorrow as well.

03-17-2013, 04:24 PM


Joe Public
03-17-2013, 05:37 PM
I've never had that bread before, wuap. How is it? My corned beef is in the Tramontina dutch oven.

03-17-2013, 06:24 PM
I've never had that bread before, wuap. How is it? My corned beef is in the Tramontina dutch oven.

It's pretty good. The crust is crumbly and tastes like Saltine crackers. My wife decided to make colcannon soup too, so I'm not making another loaf, but if she hadn't, I'd make another one. It's quick and simple. It does, however, take 40 mins at 400F to cook, so it heats up the house pretty well.

03-26-2013, 12:21 AM
A repost from CS for my Ute friends:

I just got home from a very long (left the house at 5:30 am) but equally interesting day meeting with packers and feedlot operators in the Denver area, which is a major beef feeding and packing hub. The short of it is you consumers are getting screwed by the retailer. Last February, choice boxed beef was going out to retailers at $1.86/lb and retailers were selling it for $4.86/lb. This February, retailers paid $1.81 wholesale and moved it retail for $5.06. I've been saying for the past two years that the data show that after the $4.00 mark, the retail beef market became much less elastic, meaning that very few of the people willing to pay $4.00 would back off at $4.50 or $5.00. The retailers have seen this, and they're holding steady. They have pricing power, because there is much more beef on hand than people were expecting for this time of year, and they're happy with the amount of product they're moving. When people start grilling and supplies get short, they'll have to pay up to the packers, and that will be when they'll either have to hold steady and shrink their margin, or try to move retail prices higher. I suspect they'll increase prices, but they have plenty of margin to play with, and all it will take is Costco or Wal-Mart to blink and pinch their margins before all retailers will have to follow, leaving prices steady.

Back to what this means to you: I doubt prices will explode higher, given the retailers' strong margin position. Go ahead and stock up if you want to grill a lot this summer, but I would be willing to risk it rather than buy an extra freezer.

03-26-2013, 01:59 AM
USDS inspectors were specifically excluded from the sequestration and will not be working a decreased number of shifts. At least we will not have that pressure on the market this year.

Cowboy, thanks for this thread. I find the insider look at the industry to be fascinating.

Mac, I made your corned beef recipe. It was fabulous! My wife and I loved it, but our kids threw a big fit about the 'beer stew'. Dang kids don't know to shut up and enjoy a good thing. :beer:

03-26-2013, 09:34 AM
USDS inspectors were specifically excluded from the sequestration and will not be working a decreased number of shifts. At least we will not have that pressure on the market this year.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that, so thanks for the clarification. The industry finally convinced the administration that sequestration didn't need to affect the food chain, which was a huge win.

03-26-2013, 12:26 PM
Mac, I made your corned beef recipe. It was fabulous! My wife and I loved it, but our kids threw a big fit about the 'beer stew'. Dang kids don't know to shut up and enjoy a good thing. :beer:

Awesome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.