Imagine waking up on a Sunday, excited about searing a mouthwatering piece of red meat over lump charcoal. It’s a ritual, a tradition. But what happens when your beloved cut of meat suddenly disappears? This is the predicament that befell me when I set foot in the Costco Wholesale on Los Feliz Boulevard.
The Mystery of the Vanishing Ribeye Caps
As I hurried to the meat section, my heart set on several packs of ribeye caps, I was met with disappointment. The prized cut, also known as the spinalis dorsi, had mysteriously vanished. The ribeye cap is a marvel of taste and tenderness, created when a skilled butcher trims a whole ribeye roast, separates the meat from the bone, and rolls it into a log, securing it with twine. It may be pricier than an average steak, but for me, it was pure meat gold. It was the star of my Sunday cookouts, the cut that wowed my guests.
A Lamentation and a Quest
I stood there, searching in vain for the USDA prime-grade steaks, panic creeping into my heart. I approached a meat cutter, hoping for an explanation. And then, the dreaded words: “We no longer sell that cut. It was a companywide decision made a few weeks ago.”
Speechless, I grieved the loss of my favorite steak. We checked out, my wife Laura and I, defeated. She made desperate calls to other Costco stores, only to be met with the same disappointing response: goodbye ribeye caps.
The Elusive Cut
I turned to social media, sharing my frustration with friends. Some offered condolences, while others suggested alternative sources. But therein lies the problem: few mom-and-pop butcher shops carry ribeye caps. And if they do, you must order in advance, hoping they know how to cut it. This cut was elusive, rare, like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Meat hunting, hauling, and smoking were my passions, and I had carted more than 150 pounds of hard-to-find cuts on airplanes. I scoured butcher shops and carnecerias from Santa Barbara to San Diego to Ridgecrest, always having a cooler in my trunk.
The Ace in the Meat Lover’s Deck
In Southern California, where tri-tip reigns supreme, the ribeye cap was my secret weapon. With just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a sear over high heat, it had the power to make my guests weak in the knees. It was my culinary ace, the epitome of flavor and succulence.
The Tale Goes On
As I shared my anguish with thousands of fellow meat enthusiasts on Facebook, confusion flooded the comments. Some claimed they had recently purchased ribeye caps at Costco in San Diego, Washington, and Colorado. Others lamented the absence of the cut in Georgia and Maryland. Even a Costco meat cutter in Seattle expressed surprise, stating that he had just cut two cases of prime ribeye steaks, including cap steaks.
The lack of consistency only deepened the mystery. Costco’s corporate office remained tight-lipped, declining to comment on the matter. It left me wondering where the customer service had gone, especially when loyal shoppers paid a membership fee to support the company.
The Quest Continues
This weekend, I will embark on a new journey. I will scour butcher shops, hoping to get lucky and find ribeye caps. Perhaps I’ll even buy a ribeye roast and separate it myself. But one thing is certain: that fateful Sunday when my grill sat idle, when I ground a tri-tip for meatloaf instead, will not be repeated. With or without Costco, I will indulge in my passion for fine cuts of meat, determined to satisfy my carnivorous cravings.
Source: Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ