“Look at these two pieces,” said Bill, our Ranch Foods Direct tour guide. “The chuck eye and the chuck steak it comes from cost a lot less per pound than the ribeye, but it has more marbling and good beef flavor”.
The Colorado Springs Local Foods meetup group visited the Ranch Foods store and Bill showed us around. He answered our questions about where each cut came from and how to cook it during an extensive tour of the beef shelves of the refrigerator case.
We learned that different cuts of meat actually have different flavors! I didn’t know this and had to test it.
Sure enough, when I brought these pieces home and grilled them, they looked and tasted different!
You can bring the cost down even further by thinking past steak. Ranch Foods also sells a variety of roasts and they can tell you how to cook them. The roasts costs less per pound than steak and have the distinctive beef flavors associated with the cut they come from.
Another option, even less expensive, is stew. Bill pointed out that most people come in and buy stew meat to mix with store-bought broth, but you can make your own for a few dollars. Ranch Foods sells soup bones with lots of meat on them. A soup bone and a package of stew meat hardly costs anything. Put them in the crock pot with an onion, garlic and water, and you get a nutritious, meaty soup with very little effort!
They also carry soup bones with no meat on them, which delights home cooks and dogs to no end. The happiest dogs I ever saw here on the homestead were chewing some bones I had cooked into broth earlier that day.
At a friend’s suggestion, I made another kind of soup with a Ranch Foods product … chicken feet! They were all of $2 for the package. She said they have lots of calcium and collagen in them, and they add flavor to the soup. I couldn’t bring myself to roast them, a step one might take for extra flavor, but I did put the frozen feet in the crock pot.
I heeded my friend’s warning to strain the soup well before using the broth. The next day, I added vegetables and ate dinner!
Ranch Foods treats their animals well, a fact you can taste in the meat. They’ll tell you all about the ranch, what the cattle eat and how they are humanely slaughtered if you ask. If you have freezer space, ask the about their “cowpool” bulk meat. Meat bought in bulk costs less than by the cut and they offer a variety of cuts to choose from.
Stop in! Once you’ve tried Ranch Foods, you won’t even think of buying meat at the grocery store. There really is that much of a difference!
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