More talk of Inflation is dominating news cycles.
People are slowly coming to the realization that “transitory inflation” was a mass lie to ease people into a much harsher reality.
Disclose.tv @disclosetvJUST IN - U.S. producer price inflation jumps 9.6% year over year in November, much higher than expected and highest increase on record.
So today is all about maximizing your US Trash Tokens for getting the best value beef 🥩 at the Supermarket…
Two New Octopod Culinary Launches are now LIVE and ready to be ordered!
This has been months in the making.
Supply chain issues on top of learning the Ecom landscape have made this a full-on bootcamp and now glad to be able to provide Top Tier kitchen gear for your cooking to excel!
Octopod Classic Chef’s Knife:
The Flagship knife for Octopod Culinary is now officially available.
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Get Yours Here ➡️ [LINK]
As above, orders placed through Dec 23rd will receive FREE shipping in the US.
There will be further product releases, all placing a priority on premium, aesthetic and lasting quality cookware for you and yours!
Let’s Talk About Beef, Baby!
Food prices have gone up across the board substantially and the reality is we can expect further increases. This would be no surprise at all for you if you have been hearing the warnings of this for over 12 months from BowTiedBull etc.
One thing you can do is buy non-perishables in bulk. Rice, Beans, Lentils, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper… and we are seeing a large increase in chest freezer sales for people looking to stockpile meats in bulk.
These are great strategies everyone should be adopting.
However, there are times that you have to go to the SuperMarket and buy beef. (Yes, even better if you have a wholesale club membership).
A last minute dinner with friends comes up, you forget to pull something out of the freezer, etc etc… Life happens
What follows below are some tips and tricks to get the best quality/tasting beef straight off the shelf and maximizing your value.
Most people think that when you pull a prepackaged cut of beef off the shelf that they are all the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Then you have people that USDA Choice is better than Select, but not as good as Prime. This again, is false. And what follows below is a guide for you to easily beat the system.
To understand how to find the best value and outsmart the system, it’s important to know about the USDA grading system.
Most know the standard quality tiers: prime > choice > select, but there’s some important nuance we need to flesh out <pun intended>
The USDA Grading system was put into practice all the way back in 1917. This was used to provide a benchmark quality metric for meat purveyors and grocers that would provide a frame of reference.
As technology and animal science has evolved there have been some modifications, updates and changes but the TLDR is, the higher the grade, the higher the price paid, for what one assumes to be a higher quality (marbled, flavor) piece of beef.
So how are the Grading Tiers determined?
There’s a few components but the most influential and important is the grading by marbling. USDA Graders evaluate the amount and distribution of marbling in the ribeye muscle at the cut surface after the carcass has been ribbed between the 12th and 13th ribs. This marbling is the primary determination of the quality grade.
Here’s a quick reference for the Grades:
Select: Widely available in the retail market. It is much leaner than U.S. Choice and tends to be less tender or juicy. (*tends to, remember for later)
Choice: Widely available to consumers in supermarkets and restaurants. This beef has good fat & marbling, although less than U.S. Prime. U.S. Choice accounts for roughly 50 percent of all graded beef.
Prime: This is the highest grade of beef with the most fat marbling. This meat is very tender and only accounts for about 2.9 percent of all graded beef.
Now depending on the manufacturer there sometimes levels within each grade. Especially with the Choice Grade.
Eg’s would be “Upper 2/3 Choice”, presumably being the top 66% within the Choice Grade; and so on. You probably wouldn’t see these in the Supermarket but be aware they exist.
So if you are working on a budget why not just buy select, choice or prime, based on price?
Because an important consideration to keep in mind, is that the Marbling Metric (as defined above), is measured at one place on the cow (between ribs 12/13). Animals are not exact replicas of each other. Even within breed, depending on genetics, environment, diet and a host of other factors, fat is stored differently by each animal.
So while the process of measuring marbling between ribs 12/13 makes a nice baseline for quality grading, there is a SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF VARIATION between animals and within quality grades.
You want to be in the habit of looking at the beef you are buying and observing the degree of leanness and marbling.
2 Select Pieces of Beef can have vastly different marbling.
As an example, when 🐙 was shopping for the SuperMarket Steak challenge, found a Select Beef Tri-Tip with incredible marbling. It jumped out when I spotted it. I checked it against the other Select and Choice grades surrounding and it wasn’t even close. Saved 30%+ per pound by just looking for marbling. Best Value: Confirmed
*Note: There is a difference between marbling and fat storage. Marbling presents and well distributed flecks of fat among the muscle in question. These render while cooking adding to tenderness, juiciness, and mouthfeel. That’s why it’s such a prized metric that people pay more for. This is different than fat storage where animals will accumulate fat in between muscle seams, etc. This will present as large fat caps, of pockets of stored fat within various muscles. This type of fat usually needs to be trimmed (less final product to eat) or is much harder to render)
You want marbling.
When you are at the SuperMarket, first check any sales/clearance sections. These may not be readily marked. Oftentimes you will find Prime Beef marked down and can find some bargains.
For example, same shopping trip 🐙 found a clearance Prime Beef Center Cut Sirloin Steak with nice marbling… coming in ~20% less than the regular listed Choice Grade Center Cut Sirloins.
Moral of the Story:
-Be an active looker for marbling when shopping for any beef.
-USDA Grades are a Guide, not a Law. Animals have large variations of fat storage; Marbling Grade is measured in just one place on the cow.
-Check the Meat Section for Sales and see if you find a good value bargain. Just because a Prime cut is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s automatically better… again… use your eyes to scope out that marbling!
If you missed it on Twitter, dropped the First Result of the Supermarket Steak Challenge.
The Tri-Tip trial will be posting soon… and Friday’s Substack will be a deeper dive on successfully grilling Tri-Tip to perfection… and an insane/EZ sauce to drizzle after it’s rested and sliced.
Don’t Forget, Free Shipping on the above items… Order Now and You Should Have in Time to Place Under the Tree 🎄 🎁
Until Next Time!