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Oct 2, 2009 09:38 AM

Cooking With Costco

Ok, most of you know it's true: quite a few small restaurants and caterers get many of their ingredients from Costco or other wholesale clubs like Sams and BJ's... and many of us who entertain regularly do too.

So we've had discussions of wholesale restaurant supplies and supermarkets... how about wholesale clubs?

So what are your favorite products, particularly those geared towards cooking ingredients? Any bargains? Anything to stay away from. For example many people love the wine selection- any recommendations? I occasionally buy the roasted chicken and make sandwiches, chicken salad and the carcass for soup. Or I've bought some par-baked bread which is really nice and far quicker than scratch. And I love the small sweet peppers that I don't often see in regular grocery stores. On the other hand, I've found some of the seafood to be over-priced and not all that fresh. And of course the ginormous quantities and type of packaging sometimes is difficult for the home cook to deal with.

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    1. I think that Costco' meat is terrific, especially their steaks and other beef cuts. I have also been pleased with their seafood. My dad and I made some mussels and pom frittes and were very pleased.

      1. i rarely buy meat or produce from costco due to the enormous size and the fact that i'm single, but their cheese prices area awesome, and i pick up occasional frozen things from them.

        also, the costco near me (pentagon city, virginia) has a coffee roaster in the warehouse. i believe its 8 dollars for 2.5 pounds of still-warm beans. thats pretty unbeatable.

        i've only bought seafood from costco once - mussels- and i was really surprised at the freshness and quality. i think they kept alive in my fridge for a whole week while i worked through the 4 or 6 pound bag. delicious.

        8 Replies
        1. re: kneelconqueso

          Yah, I can relate but, I prep and freeze meals, their quality can't be beat.

          1. re: cstr

            I wouldn't be a Costco member if I didn't have a chest freezer. Had a coupla pies go bad because my family couldn't eat them fast enough. Now half goes in the freezer as soon as I get home. I'm very happy with all the meat and fish I've tried. Splurged on lamb chops about a month ago and they were delicious. I got a whole tenderloin last summer for a special family event and it was fantastic, but I was grateful to recently find four small tenderloin steaks, very nicely trimmed for fast weekday meals. I still ended up freezing two of those little filets.

            1. re: givemecarbs

              At my Costco, you can purchase a half tenderloin for the same price p/lb.

          2. re: kneelconqueso

            As a singer person, how do you deal with the enormous size of their cheeses? The cheeses at Costco always tempt me, but I can't finish a 4 lb. block of cheddar myself.

            1. re: Humbucker

              I buy the 2 lb block, put it in a zip lock, lasts a loooong time.

              1. re: Humbucker

                Have you tried a vacuum sealer then keeping in the fridge? I've had a big pc. of cheese in the fridge that's been vacuum sealed for nearly a year and it (seems to be) fine!

                1. re: ClevelandDave

                  Vacuum sealing is the way to go. You can't beat $6 or so for 2 lbs of Tillamook cheddar. I also get the parm from Costco. I cut them in 4 oz portions and seal. No idea how long they last but I've never once had one go bad before I got to it.

                  1. re: achtungpv

                    +1 on food sealing cheeses. I just finished up the last of the Gouda from Christmas.

            2. most of the canned goods are national brands, and most of the kirkland stuff is also good quality. meats are always good, and since i don't object to eating a steak that has been in my freezer for a while the large quantity hasn't been a problem. i had one bad experience with trout, it was not as fresh as it appeared in the wrapper. just been more careful since then. costco is really good about refunds, but have rarely had to use it. sometimes i'll shop with a friend and we split some of the larger items, especially fresh produce. much as i enjoy spinach salad, there is no way i can eat a whole bag before it goes bad, and i just can't bring myself to freeze it and use it cooked in other dishes. hard cheeses freeze well for short periods of time as well. about the only thing i avoid is the stagg chili, i think its awful - apparently other people like it.

              1. Wine! They have a great selection... I normally go to my local wine shop, find out what I like, then hit Costco for refills. They have most of the simple table sorts of wines, and often they have more esoteric things as well. My favorite table wines from Costco:

                7 Deadly Zins (a Zinfandel) and Menage a Trois a blended table wine that comes in red, white and rose. I have only had the red and white though. Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay was nice too...(2007 I think)