Beef tenderloin from Costco?
I am cooking beef tenderloin for my family Christmas dinner and I have found the price for tenderloin at my local butcher nearly twice the price at Costco. Is this a case of "you get what you pay for"? I know I will have some waste and have to do some trimming to get similar sized filets if I buy from Costco, but what about the quality? Does anyone have any feedback on the whole beef tenderloins purchased from Costco?
I've bought the whole tenderloins from Costco a couple times and been very happy.
The quality is superior to Safeway/Albertsons/generic grocer
One of the things Costco prides itself on is it's quality of products and their ability to save their customers money. If they can find a source for any product to save and increase their profit margin....quality will not be sacrificed.
Unless you are purchasing from a butcher who offers hanging beef only for his customers.... most butchers purchase cry-o-vac beef, the same that is supplied to other markets and commercial restaurants. Just the mere fact of purchasing from a butcher per se, does not guarantee quality beef. It all comes down to grades.
Costco sells only USDA Choice. Prime Grade is the best. Select Grade is below Choice. Standard is ungraded meat.
The grading system is used by Meat Packers and only if they pay the government for the service. The grading system has to do with the marbling(Fat) content which determines grade. Kobe beef for example is believed to be the best steaks due to their high fat content which results in a tastier steak if cooked properly.
Buying from Costco is recommended.
One clarification: Costco's contracts with their suppliers specify "USDA Choice or better", meaning that if the supplier runs out of Choice, they may have to provide Costco with Prime to meet the order. Every now and then, you'll find a sub-primal with a 'Prime' stamp on it. Not very often, but when I'm in Costco and have a little time to spare, I'll troll the meatcase, hunting for the 'Prime' meat. Buying USDA Prime at Costco's USDA Choice prices is the best of all possible worlds!
We find Costco meat to be very good. Their quality is as good or better than groceries. We have bought the tenderloins and cut filets, cooked the whole tenderloins. We have never had a problem with Costco meat.
Cook's Illustrated did a piece on whole beef tenderloin a couple of years ago (Feb 2005 issue). They gave several beef tenderloins the full test-kitchen treatment. The Costco tenderloin was the winner. For flavor, texture and price it can't be beat. You do have to trim it yourself, but at least you get to keep the chain to use for another dish.
I'll echo the other posters here to say that I've had very positive experiences with Costco's whole tenderloins. During the summer I love to cut one up into thick cubes and marinate for some of the most indulgent shish kebabs you will ever taste.
Alton Brown did an episode of "Good Eats" about where to buy them [Costco natch], how to trim them, and how to cook the various parts. You can likely find it on YouTube.