Everyone wants the best, right? You want to drive the best car, live in the best neighborhood, get your child into the best college, etc. So naturally if you are a steak lover you want to eat the best steaks – so you want Prime beef. It is suppose to be the best quality beef that your money can buy. It’s what you find in all the top dollar steakhouses. But prime beef can be hard to find in the grocery store. In fact most stores only carry choice beef with maybe some select. Costco is one of the few major chain stores that does carry a selection of prime beef. But before we dive into selection and price, I first want to give you a little lesson on what prime beef is.
What does USDA Prime mean?
Beef in America is graded by the USDA. The first thing you need to look for is a symbol on the package that says USDA Prime. For the defintion of Prime Beef, we turn to what the USDA says : “USDA Prime is the superior grade with amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. It has the highest degree of fat marbling and is derived from the younger beef.” It’s all about the how much fat is running through the meat and how old the animal was. Younger beef is more tender. If you can develop good marbling in a short time, then you will have prime beef. This isn’t easy to, it requires perfect timing, which is why most beef isn’t prime.
Where Costco’s Prime Beef come from?
Unfortunately I could not find this information. I heard they get beef from U.S., Canada, and Australia but nothing more specific than that. The downside with a company the size of Costco is that it is hard to track the sources of their meat. I wish there were as good as Whole Foods Market is about sources, as you can easily trace their meat back to the source.
Below you will find a table of prices that I found during my April 2015 visit to Costco. Prices and selection may vary in your region, check stores for exact pricing.
|New York Strip||$14.99/lb|
|Whole Top Sirloin||$7.69/lb|
Not a giant selection by any means but enough to get a good steak. If you buy the entire Top Sirloin and slice it yourself your getting a prime steak for $7.69 per pound, which is 10 cents less per pound that a choice sirloin steak (according to my April 2015 visit to Costco), so it’s a great deal but only if you really have the money to spend on a big chunk of meat at once.
If you want to spend the big bucks and get a truly great steak, I would opt for the Ribeye over the NY Strip. In my opinion it Ribeyes are more flavorful and since their the same price might as well go with the more flavorful cut.
Have you ever bought Prime Beef at Costco? Please share your experience in the comment section below. Was it worth the extra money?