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Jul 19, 2009 08:14 AM

Prime Steak (at Costco?)

I'm in the mood for steak, and just saw this article. Has anyone been able to find prime beef at Costo; how did you prepare it...more importantly, how did it taste?

Portion of Wall Street Journal Article...
For years, Brian Wong, a 25-year-old technology consultant in San Jose, Calif., longed to buy USDA prime beef. He had tried it at an expensive steakhouse, but whenever he looked in supermarkets or at Costco for the beef with the Department of Agriculture’s highest grading, he was told they didn’t carry it.

So when Mr. Wong saw a cut labeled USDA prime at Costco—selling for $9.99 a pound—he was so startled that he knocked on the window of the butcher department. “I asked them, ‘Is this a joke? Is it really prime?’ ” Mr. Wong says. The rib eyes he bought were the real thing: They were “more tender, more juicy” and more “delicious” than any other steaks he has cooked, Mr. Wong says.

(Due to the slowdown of sales in upscale steak restaurants, the article says prime meat has now become available at places it has never been in the past--at great prices!)

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  1. According to the costco website they do sell usda prime here is the link

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikiliz

      Yippee--just called my local Costco and they carry prime NY steaks!!!

    2. The Costco I go to has prime beef on a hit-or-miss basis. Last time I was in they had whole untrimmed strip loins for $8 and NY Strip steaks for a couple bucks more per pound. I got the whole loin (seems like it was 12 or 14 pounds) and cut it into steaks and a couple of roasts.

      The meat is great. I prefer simple preparations. Salt liberally, let stand for an hour or two on the counter, then either sear in a cast-iron pan and finish in a 275F oven, or just toss 'em on the grill. (When grilling, note that Prime beef is especially susceptible to flareups. More fat = more drippings = more potential for a grease fire. Have a squirt bottle of water handy, and don't leave the grill unattended.) Regardless of prep method, be sure to let the meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

      The main thing with Prime beef is not to cook the meat past medium-rare. The primary difference between Prime and Choice beef is the amount of intramuscular fat. The more you cook the meat, the more fat melts and runs out into the pan or onto the grill. If you like your steaks well done, save your money and buy Select meat.

      13 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        I usually don't salt steaks before cooking (but do brine my chicken). Wasn't there a post about this a while back--makes the steak juicier?

        Last time I grilled some Porterhouse steaks, I seared them on high on one side, then turned them and moved them to the low heat side of the grill (while I was shooting before the sun went down). They came out nicely; served them with a Tuscan style "sauce" of olive oil, fresh rosemary, garlic, and dash of lemon juice--very tasty.

        1. re: Funwithfood

          Telling you, dry brining is the way to go.

          I do like a nice olive oil or butter blend to go on top, but not necessary on prime steaks. Save it for less fatty cuts.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            I really need to give that method a try. How much time would you recommend, and how much Kosher salt per pound? BTW, do you rinse (and pat dry) before cooking?

            1. re: Funwithfood

              I'm tellin' ya, it's the bomb. I wouldn't cook a steak any other way.

              Let's see, I just bought two steaks, bone in ribeyes that weighed total of 2.30 lbs.
              So, I would say, if I was salting alone, I would use about a tablespoon of kosher salt, per steak. These particular steaks are being frozen for later, so I also seasoned with Mont. steak seasoning blend and Lawry's garlic powder, and decreased the straight kosher salt b/c blend already has some coarse salt in it. But, make sure it's kosher or coarse salt, never table.

              And I do not rinse and dry the steaks at all. I leave them in the fridge for up to 2 1/2 days! Uncovered, on a rack, over a sheet pan. The longer you leave it in, the less moisture on the outside, sometimes look a little desicated, but they sear beautifully, and crisp the skin on poultry like you wouldn't believe, esp. if you can roast with convection. Now, I do have some special conditions that allow me to do this. I have a second full fridge in the garage, that was original to the house, but we replaced it to be a beer fridge b/c all it would do was freeze my produce & eggs! It stays at about 39 degrees F, and when you fill it up, it gets colder. Already tried replacing the thermostat. No good.

              So I can almost recreate a dry aging situation. I have never taken the relative humidity level, so I can't call it aging, but the steaks, and chops, roasts, birds and poultry pieces that I dry brine regularly come out beautifully juicy, tender and fully seasoned. And not so much so that you can't make a sauce from the fond. Never have oversalted yet. It beats a water brine for something like a turkey! Been doing this for 7+ years. Try it, you won't be sorry.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                Well, I salted the steaks on Monday and cooked them on Friday. The flavor was concentrated and rich, but the meat had a stringy texture, which was atypical and off-putting. I would definitely recommend a cabernet reduction to cut the richness. I'm not sure what caused the stringy texture. Next time I will cook the steaks within the first couple of days for comparison sake. So, I'm on the fence technique-wise until then...

                1. re: Funwithfood

                  Not sure what would make them stringy either. You used Kosher salt, right? Never had that happen. Try for only a couple of days next time :)

                  1. re: Funwithfood

                    How thick were your steaks? I'm a big advocate of the salt early technique but 4 days is a long time.

                    1. re: Funwithfood

                      4-5 days? You're approaching corned beef territory there.

                      1. re: Funwithfood

                        I cooked one of the steaks the next night...unfortunately a bit too long (very little pink), but the texture was much better, and the flavor was not compromised at all. Because I felt like the richness of the steak on night #1 necessitated a cabernet reduction, I made this for steak #2. The sauce *greatly* improved the eating experience.

                        Either the night #2 steak was diffferent, or the night #1 steak was undercooked...? This rich steak is much better with a complementary acidic sauce; my Cabernet reduction was perfection! Also, next time I will dry brine for no more than 3 days. Kosher salt in the amount of 1 Tbsp. for 2.5 lbs seemed just right, but not sure the impact of more...

                2. re: Funwithfood

                  There was a discussion awhile back about the following article on salting to turn a Choice steak into Prime. Interesting article if taken with a grain of salt :-)

                  1. re: RondoChar

                    I'm being overly anal here, but dry-brining a choice steak doesn't turn it into prime meat any more than dry-brining a chicken turns it into a duck. I've got no quibble with the method, but the characterization is simply incorrect.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      I agree. It totally has to do with the marbling.

              2. Our Costco has Prime Ribeyes and NY strips. The taste is and tenderness is outstanding well worth the extra $$ as compared to Choice; ours sells for $9.99 lb. The ribeyes are20oz and we cut them in half for the two of us. I grill on the BBQ until medium rare.


                1. our Costco in soCal has decent prime steaks. I usually buy the bone in rib eyes at the same price as above. Very good, although I doctor them just a little with a good salt rub, maybe Mont. steak blend, and dry brine them in the fridge for as long as I can before charcoal grilling. Superb, as long as dh doesn't overcook!

                  1. My husband was surprised to find prime steaks at the Restaurant Depot. Perhaps more evidence of the downturn in upscale dining....

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: roxlet

                      It's been on the news......ranchers have increased the size of the herds of their beef cattle to keep up with restaurant demand. Now that restaurants are in a slump, we're reaping the benefits of too much prime beef. (much of it on sale at Costco)

                      1. re: MIss G

                        I don't think they consider it a sale price. Just their price for prime beef right now. Get it while you can!

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          Costco ribeye for dinner tonight. The price and quality just can't be beat. We are choosey when picking which package to buy, grill to rare, and enjoy the meals that follow tremendously.

                            1. re: MIss G

                              I agree this is a great deal. Our local COSTCO has had the prime beef for months, so it's obviously not just a promotion. Love those rib eye steaks.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                I don't think it's a promotion either, they really don't tend to promote anything. And we've had them here for more than a year, so I think it's just the economics of it all for the warehouse. They're still making some money off of it.