The fifth-largest retailer in the world, Costco, is currently making beef accessible to the masses, and is doing so without cutting any corners.
However, is the beef selection alone worth a Costco membership? If you’d like to find out, here are 15 things to know before buying Costco beef!
15 Things To Know Before Buying Costco Beef In 2023
1. The Costco Beef Selection Is Diverse
Costco sells no less than 11 cuts of steak, including NY strip, ribeye, filet mignon and flank steak.You can also find whole cuts and roasts, as well as ground beef options.
Some people find the Costco meat cutters to be particularly helpful when it comes to selection, as they can customize cuts (to a point) or offer plenty of advice for preparation and cooking.
2. Shoppers Find Costco Beef to Be Great Quality Meat
Despite reservations from some, Costco beef is actually good quality and is a food product that anyone can be proud to serve their friends and family.
“…Costco’s beef roasts are undefeated,” the author at Costco Grill Dad writes. He continues, “Some of the best meals I’ve ever cooked are…prime rib or tenderloin from Costco.”
Additionally, on rather-be-shopping.com, the author contends that the “beef, chicken and fish sold at Costco does tend to be of higher quality than what you’ll find at many of your local grocery stores.”
3. Even Employees Love Costco Beef
If you have ever worked in the food industry, sometimes you start to develop an aversion to what you sell. However, it’s well noted that even Costco employees purchase and love the meat from their own stores.
For example, one Costco meat cutter hosted an AMA (ask me anything), stating: “I know I’m biased because I work at Costco…but I honestly cannot buy meat from anywhere else other than Costco.”
They continued, “The quality and prices are far superior than most stores.”
Even the person behind the counter, seeing the nitty-gritty of the Costco beef processing/packaging is a fan.
4. Costco Beef Prices Are Quite Affordable
Costco tends to price its beef lower than your typical grocery stores. For example, in 2021 the NY strips are priced at $7.99 per pound, while at Wegmans (a popular Mid-Atlantic chain with a reputation for great meat), you’ll pay $10.99 per pound.
As well, a choice ribeye roast costs $10.99 per pound at Costco, while at Wegmans, that same boneless roast sells for $11.99 per pound.
Finally, Costco organic ground beef costs $5.50 per pound, and a similar product at Wegmans costs $6.59 per pound.
5. Costco Beef Sticker Shock Can Happen
Despite the lower prices, the sticker shock at Costo beef is still very real, because you’re not just buying one pound of beef, but are doing so in bulk.
Therefore, $27.50 for the entire package of ground beef can make you feel as though you’re not saving anything.
However, the opposite is true, as you just have to think of it in terms of what you’re saving for the next month when you aren’t buying beef every week and spending $7 per pound each time.
6. If You’re Buying Costco Beef, You Will Need Freezer Space
Unless you’ll be using/cooking everything immediately, you will have to freeze your Costco beef for later (however, Costco beef, like most meats, freezes and thaws wonderfully).
7. You Can Save on Costco Beef By Being Your Own Butcher
One of the easiest ways to make your Costco beef fit in the freezer better is to butcher it yourself, which is also one of the best ways to save money.
Eat Like No One Else reports that the price for Choice NY strip steak at Costco is $7.99 per pound, even though you can buy a whole choice NY strip roast for just $5.99 per pound.
Therefore, all you have to do is cut it into steaks at home. One major benefit of that is that you can decide how thick or thin you want your steaks.
8. Get Costco Beef Really Cheap By Talking to the Meat Cutter
Rather-be-shopping.com also reports that stores sometimes receive a large volume of beef that they know can’t all be sold in time.
To help move it out, they’ll sell it at a discount – perhaps 30 to 40 percent off!
So, if you’d like to take advantage of such a deal, just talk to the meat cutter and ask if they have any beef they need to get rid of.
9. Talk to the Meat Cutter About Costco Beef If You Have Any Questions
Your Costco meat cutter can answer any questions you have, so don’t be afraid to ask. By asking questions, you can better decide if Costco beef is right for your flavour palette and if you’re getting a good deal for the price.
10. That Is Real Wagyu Costco Beef
TikTok was all abuzz when Costco started selling A5 wagyu beef “like it was nothing.”
Some people on social media have expressed skepticism about its authenticity, but the truth is that Costco sells real, high-quality wagyu. These cuts are still $99.99 per pound, but the average price for a pound of this meat is $120.
11. Costco Even Sells USDA Prime Costco Beef
For a beefy experience that’s a little easier on the wallet, Costco also sells USDA Prime beef.
Prime beef is a label only given to top-notch cuts of meat with the most marbling and comes from younger (and therefore, more tender) cows.
12. Try Shopping for Costco Beef on the Weekend
Cnet.com recommends that you try shopping for Costco beef on the weekends.
Since the weekends are usually a busier time to shop, the meat cutters tend to put out “extra-impressive cuts” for the larger crowds.
13. Pick up Some Costco Beef Flank Steaks
Costco sells the ultra-versatile flank steak cuts, which are usually priced below $7 per pound. These thin cuts are the easiest to marinade, and they’re often used for stir-fry’s and other similar dishes.
14. The Company Tries to Source Its Costco Beef From the U.S.
Costco isn’t super transparent about where its beef comes from, but the company does attempt to source it from the U.S. whenever it can.
However, that’s not always possible, so some beef (organic ground beef, specifically) tends to come from international sources like Canada and Australia.
15. Make Sure You Cook Costco Beef Thoroughly
Some of your Costco beef cuts may be at a higher risk of bacterial contamination because of the machine method of tenderizing.
Basically, the same metal prongs are used to puncture holes into the pieces of meat, over and over again, to make the cuts more tender.
When those same prongs are used for many, many pieces of meat, the chances that they can pick up bacteria and then spread it to every steak they touch is higher.
Therefore, check the label, and if it says “mechanical tenderization” you might want to skip that cut or take extra care to cook it to a temperature where it will kill any possible bacteria.
Costco beef is a terrific solution for budget-conscious shoppers who have plenty of freezer space. From their Choice rib roasts to their A5 wagyu steaks, Costco beef has something for everyone and at a great price.