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Comparison of Crowd Cow and Supermarket Chuck Short Ribs

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  • johnec00
    Charter Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 517
    • Orlando, Florida
    • Equipment:
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    Comparison of Crowd Cow and Supermarket Chuck Short Ribs

    Recently ordered some beef chuck short ribs and some chuck steaks from Crowd Cow. The beef was "Pasture Raised, Grain Finished" from Cottonwood Ranch. Firstly, the order arrived on the day promised and was very well packaged with dry ice, so it was still thoroughly frozen. Yesterday, we SV-Q'd the short ribs along with a rack of chuck short ribs from a local supermarket. both were trimmed of excess fat and the membrane. There was about 1/2 as much trimming from the Crowd Cow ribs. In the pictures below, the Crowd Cow ribs are on the right.

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    They were rubbed with Oakridge Black Ops rub and SV'd for 24 hours at 150ºF. Following that, they were smoked for about 2 hours with light cherry smoke. Here's a couple of pictures of the finished ribs:

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    Critique: Both my daughter and I agreed that the Crowd Cow ribs were noticeably moister and somewhat more flavorful. (She did not know in advance which was which). Both were a tad dry, but more on that below. Is the difference sufficient to justify ~$15/lb versus ~$5/lb? Purely financially obviously not, but I'm not doing this every day, and I know how to waste money much more efficiently on my boat, my pool, going to a crappy basketball game, or taking my grandkids swimming. To me, the attraction of Crowd Cow is some level of support for small independent farmers, so I will buy from them again.

    In an aside, the combined starting weight of the two racks was about 7 pounds and the weight of liquid from the SV purge was over a pound. I also noted the same effect on pastrami when SV'd first then smoked. I found that the pastrami is much better when smoked first then finished SV. This time, I followed the SV'Q instructions on the main site. Next time I will smoke first.
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 11430
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
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    #2
    Nice write up.

    Comment

    • Huskee
      Pit Boss/Manager
      • May 2014
      • 14271
      • central MI, USA
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      #3
      +1, great job!

      Comment

      • Steve B
        Club Member
        • Jun 2016
        • 2730
        • Rockland county New York
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        #4
        Thanks for the comparison.
        I do have to say. Both look really good.
        Nice job my brother.

        Comment

        • DWCowles
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 9760
          • Smiths Grove, Ky
          • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

          #5
          I have a rack of beef short ribs from Crowd Cow at home in the freezer. I think they weigh about 5 lbs and they came from a grass fed cow.

          Thanks for the comparison write up. I was going to do the same side by side test except without SV’ing. I think I still will.

          BTW, they both look delicious to me.

          Comment


          • EdF
            EdF commented
            Editing a comment
            We're looking forward to your findings!

          • johnec00
            johnec00 commented
            Editing a comment
            I look forward to hearing how yours turns out and what you think of Crowd Cow in general. My SV gizmo was a gift from the daughter who was joining me for dinner. Sooooo . . .
        • Frozen Smoke
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 1528
          • Northern Mn

          #6
          Anything grass fed or pasture raised only is going to be on the leaner side. This is evidenced by your first pic. Looks like you have more marbling in the store bought while the CC ribs look noticeably leaner. I'm a little surprised then that the CC ribs were more moist as you noted. That might have something to do with the SV which is something I know nothing about.

          Thanks for taking the time to do the comparison I have been tempted by CC for awhile but SRF and Creek Stone has been eating up the expensive meat off the internet budget lately.

          Nice choice on the Black Ops rub!

          Comment


          • johnec00
            johnec00 commented
            Editing a comment
            I've had so-called "grass fed" beef from a local farm around here, and agree that it had less marbling. I didn't care for it. The farm that the CC order came from claimed "grain finished". Not real sure what that means or how it's different from cattle finished in the large commercial operations. Maybe somebody here knows.
            Last edited by johnec00; March 24th, 2018, 12:20 PM.
        • Frozen Smoke
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 1528
          • Northern Mn

          #7
          I used to buy 18 month old holstein steers back when we had a hobby farm. My butcher told me to feed them calf starter for about 6 weeks and then turn them out to pasture but not before. I did and then butchered them about 6 months later. Some of the best meat I've ever had. Sounds like what they are doing is almost the same thing only in reverse.

          Comment

          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 6690
            • Republic of Texallence

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            #8
            Just ordered a CC tri-tip, can’t wait to get it and tear that puppy up. Great write up and comparison!! Thanks !!

            Comment

            • MeatMonster
              Former Member
              • Mar 2017
              • 606
              • Ellon, Aberdeenshire

              #9
              Great pics!

              Comment

              • Omega-Man
                Club Member
                • Mar 2017
                • 173

                #10
                Some thoughts on grass fed beef.
                • Less total fat.
                • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
                • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that's thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
                • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
                Grass Fed and Grass Finished is supposed to be even better but, yes, they are both leaner.
                The cows are treated better and if you have ever looked at the Crowd Cow site and looked at the pictures from each provider, the cows appear to be truly pasture raised and live a much better life.

                Comment

                • JoeSousa
                  Club Member
                  • Sep 2016
                  • 714
                  • Spokane, WA

                  #11
                  I had some Crowd Cow beef ribs from I believe Lil Ponderosa farm. Overall I really liked them. They weren't quite as decadently fatty as the standard grain fed beef I usually get but they were moist enough and had great flavor. If the beef ribs are available when I order again from there I will definitely buy them again.

                  Comment

                  • Spinaker
                    Moderator
                    • Nov 2014
                    • 10197
                    • Land of Tonka
                    • John "J R"
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                    #12
                    Nice write up! Those ribs look nice. I was happy with the service when I got my last package from them.

                    I just bought some Crowd Cow for my brother's birthday. Looking forward to what he thinks of it.

                    Comment

                    • Fire Art
                      Club Member
                      • Jan 2018
                      • 988
                      • Jackson hole Wyoming

                      #13
                      I’m not a big grass fed beef guy I like the corn grain finished beef but as far as the SousVide goes I like to dry brine then smoke then SousVide and seared ever thing I’ve don that way has been awesome

                      Comment

                      • radshop
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                        #14
                        It's been a long time since I've done beef ribs. You're making me hungry.

                        Comment

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