I have been doing some research on whether or not it’s worth it to get a membership at Costco. I have not made a final decision on this yet. One of the factors I was looking into was the cost of meat, particularly beef. I headed over to my local Costco yesterday to see what they had to offer in terms of selection and price on their packaged beef. Below you will find a list of what I found at the Costco location in Ann Arbor, Michigan (please note this list has been updated as of April 30th, 2015 to reflect current pricing). Prices and selection could vary depending on where you are at. I also include some tips on how best to prepare each type of beef.
Background on my Meat Knowledge
Much of my meat knowledge has come from reading the Niman Ranch Cookbook. Besides having amazing recipes it has a lton of information on everything you wanated to know about meat and how it is produced. I cannot recommend this book enough. It changed the way I looked at meat and helped me turn out some mouth watering meals in my kitchen. If you are interest in some really top notch beef and other meat recipes, I highly recommend picking up the Niman Ranch cookbook.
Grades of Beef and Prime Beef
One thing I wanted to point out is that Costco carry some prime beef. Most grocery stores don’t touch the stuff. Generally all you will find is choice beef, but some select in really cheap stores, but for the most part prime beef is used in restaurants. Check out my post – What is the Difference Between Grades of Beef? – to learn more.
Costco Beef Buying Guide
|Flat Cut Brisket||$6.99/lb|
|This cut requires long cooking time. It's great for smoking or BBQ. Also is the best choice for making corn beef. To learn more about brisket check out this post.|
|Whole Ribeye||$6.79/lb (2013 price)|
|This is the entire ribeye. It's a large chunk of meat. The price per pound is really low for ribeye. You can cut it up for steaks or roasts. Check out this YouTube video on what you can do with it. Please note that they didn't have any Whole Ribeye in stock when I visited in April 2015 so the price is still the 2013 price.|
|The steak are more expensive then the whole cut. Under $10 a pound for ribeye is not a bad price at all – probably one of the cheapest prices I have seen lately.|
|Not as expensive as the steaks. If this roast was bone-in and a prime cut it would be prime rib. You can use this to get close to restaurant prime rib in your own kitchen.|
|Most places just called these Filet Mignon. This is a cheaper price than most places. But I would recommend buying a whole tenderloin and cut the steaks yourself.|
|Cheaper than the steaks and you can cut it into roasts as well. I like Alton Brown's recipe for Tenderloin roast.|
|Whole Tenderloin Peeled||$19.99/lb|
|Same tenderloin but it has been peeled and trimmed for your convenience. That's a lot of extra money per pound to pay for convenience. Better for learning to do it yourself.|
|Prime New York Strip Steak||$14.99/lb|
|This prime beef steak is great for the grill (probably the only thing I would do with it)|
|Choice New York Strip Steak||$6.99/lb (2013 price)|
|The choice option is a ton cheaper here. You have to decide if the prime is really worth the additional $8/lb!|
|Whole New York Strip||$8.29/lb|
|Get a whole NY strip and cut into steaks that you can make whatever thickness you like.|
|Prime Top Sirloin||$9.99/lb|
|Great grilling option. Or you can broil it. I have tried Alton Brown's recipe for Broiled Sirloin and it was good. You can also braise it. It's a good value for a prime steak.|
|Whole Prime Top Sirloin||$7.69/lb|
|For prime beef it doesn't get any more affordable than this.|
|Choice Top Sirloin||$7.79/lb|
|If you have the extra money in your budget go for the whole prime sirloin and cut the steaks yourself. You will be getting a higher grade beef for 10 cents less per pound!|
|I love to broil these things. They take a marinade better than any other cut of beef I know.|
|This cut comes from the upper back part of the cow. It's tougher than the sirloin. It is also lean. Dry cooking methods tend to dry this cut out. I would stick to wet cooking methods with this cut.|
|Good for stews and BBQ. I haven't worked a lot with them as fatty cuts of beef tend to give me heartburn.|
|Eye of Round Roast||$4.99/lb|
|Makes for a cheap yet still flavorful roast when prepared properly. Check out my post on how to prepare eye of round roasts.|
|Round Tip Roast||$3.89/lb|
|Less tough than other round roasts. It still needs a wet cooking method. Braise it. Cut it up for stew meat. You can roast it but you need to do it slowly and not past medium.|
|This is my go to cut for pot roast. It has the enough fat and it tasty when you slow cook it. One of my favorite pot roast recipes is my Moroccan Pot Roast.|
I did like some of the prices, especially for the whole ribeye. I have paid $4.99/lb and $5.99/lb for whole beef tenderloin in the past (at the right time of year) so I think I am not impressed with their price. I have made this same kind of list of beef found at Sam’s Club, so you can do your own comparison.
What you purchased beef at Costco before? What did you think? I would love to have your comments below. Also make sure to check out my post on Buying Bison at Costco, and why you might want to give it a try over beef.
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