Prime beef for almost the price of Choice at Costco, but you're the butcher

Once, or twice, a year, Costco has a deal on Prime beef vacpacks. Usually, it is advertised as $25 off per package. In the midwest, this averaged to less than six bucks a pound for NYStrips, which, in my opinion was amazing, both in price and quality.

In the Charlotte metro area, it is is around eight fifty a pound, which compared to the competition (Harris Teeter, Publix, Food Lion) isn’t bad.

In my experience, the quality of the beef, although graded equally, wasn’t as good in Charlotte. Let’s chalk that up to the environment and assume that both are equal. Even at $8.50/lb, this is good for me. The only catch - you have to carve it yourself. This means that you have to know how to carve it, and what muscle/fat to remove before cutting it into steaks.

I generally buy two vacpacs per year from Costco. I’ve forgotten the average price per pound pre-carving, but it’s down to about $9.00 per 2" NYS (Charlotte prices). Although not great, it’s acceptable, which is what I presume is Costco’s aim. To me, their mid-west beef is FAR uperior in price and superior in quality.

Again, the only gotcha is carving it yourself. If you haven’t done it before, youtube is your friend … your very good friend. :grinning:

And if you vacuum pack them after carving as I do, they’re good for at least 9 months in a manual defrost freezer.

1 Like

This is an automatically-generated Wiki post for this new topic. Any member can edit this post and use it as a summary of the topic’s highlights.

I haven’t heard of the vacpacks. I really like Costco beef. Every so often when there, I buy the large paks of ground beef. Average price but top notch Prime quality. When home I cut approx 2 pd packages & freeze.

I buy their steaks also. Now I’m going to check out those vacpaks. True the carving might be to much.

We have another pretty good CA grocery chain that carries Prime meat, Raley"s. Often they bag up 4-5 Tri-Tips together, untrimmed at $4.95. But they will trim, spice & single package up for free. The large bag runs around $49+.

I like Costco but I can’t us my Double Cash Citi card. So I don’t shop there very often.

The prices must vary by region. They routinely have whole prime ribeye for $10/lb and choice strip for $8. I’ve got a prime striploin dry aging that’s almost finished. 40 days in already.

Or is it an extra $25 off that? Thanks for the tip. I’ll look for them.

I portion them and vacuum seal them for the freezer as well. The vacuum sealer really helps, and you can toss them directly from the freezer into sous vide if you like.

It is $25 off of the price on the package. You are right about regional price differences. The discounted price in the Midwest worked out to about $6.20/lb. Don’t forget that is the pre-trimmed price. I don’t recall why, but somewhere in my memory says to add almost 10% for trim waste.

If you purchase one of these, and are unfamiliar with trimming them, check out youtube for a couple of videos. You can’t just trim the fat and slice them into nice 2" slabs. There is a muscle (or maybe two) that must be removed before slicing into steaks. If you forget that, you will be reminded every time you eat one of what a “great” deal you got. :smile:

I might be buying a different product, then. I just cut it into slices then trim a bit of the fat cap from each steak. Or I’m doing it wrong :frowning:
.

2 Likes

That’s the right product. Without trimming that muscle, I find a big section of the steak to be way too chewy. Properly trimmed, you should have less than 5% of the steak left on the plate. At least that’s the way I eat it. :smile:

1 Like

I must be a caveman because I eat almost the entire thing except for one tiny little tough section.

3 Likes

Wait…you trim so only 5% is left? So 95% of what you bought is thrown away?

I believe he’s referring to removing the little strip along the edge in step 3 of this tutorial. There’s meat in it but it has a tough membrane on it,

https://www.weber.com/US/en/grill-skills/mastering-red-meat/steak/butchering-a-strip-loin/weber-34428.html

1 Like

The opposite. What’s “left on the plate” is what you arent eating.

1 Like

That’s it, but this video (starting at about 6 minutes) shows it a little better.
Cutting a strip loin into strips.

ETA: Also, all of that fat you’re trimming is a great beginning for a winter suet cake for the birds. Just remember to pull the beef out. You only want fat and whatever nuts, seeds, and other ingredients you add for the birds. Otherwise, you may be attracting bears,coyote,gators,raccoons, etc.

1 Like

Exactly!

I’ve heard the trim from a dry aged roast makes pretty good hamburgers when mixed in with regular ground beef. Gonna try it.

1 Like

It should certainly intensify the flavor, but where are you getting dry aged roasts?

This young man earlier was talking about dry aging prime striploin. Couldn’t tell if he got meat at Costco. But the dry aging caught my attention.

DIY using Costco meat and umai bags in a regular refrigerator. They’re special plastic like goretex that lets water out but nothing in.

1 Like

This looks interesting, despite their use of “artisan”. :slight_smile:

If you try it, please update with the results.

I’ve done something similar but without the umai bag. When making Montreal smoked meat, I apply a dry rub, then stick in the fridge for 21 days before smoking. I was a little nervous at first, but there is enough salt in the rub to prevent spoilage.

1 Like

I’ve been curing corned beef too, but those just go in an ordinary vacuum bag. It’s unlikely to spoil with the proper amount of pink nitrate salt in it. The bag is just a container but the vacuum sealing will speed it up a little bit. Your Montreal pastrami sounds awesome.

The consensus is that the dry age bags work but they’re expensive, and it takes longer versus just dedicating a separate refrigerator to it without the bag. You need a separate fridge so that you can create higher humidity than the normal fridge will allow.

There are a lot of good resources for this on Reddit in the charcuterie section

1 Like