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quality of costco meats and seafood

I live in Queens, and other than Trader Joe's, I know of no other places to buy fresh, quality meats and seafood that is reasonably priced. Currently, there is a Costco in LIC, and another one coming soon to Rego Park. I was thinking that maybe joining would help me get better food at a better price, but would appreciate some input from those who have already experienced Costco to share. I'm looking to purchase chicken breasts, ground beef, steak, shrimp and salmon. Could anyone share their opinions of what the quality is like for these products at Costco? Thanks a lot.

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  1. Well, Costco does vary from region to region and maybe even store to store. I will speak from overall view having sampled the goods in various locations.
    Steak-Their choice is terrible, their prime is usually very good value even at the rapacious stores that charge 12/lb, at 10, it is a no brainer. Not the greatest prime beef on earth but the value is excellent. It is still very good beef, straight up.
    Ground beef-Never buy this
    Chicken breasts-Never had from Costco
    Shrimp-Solid, worth it, overall, go wild if they have and smaller count/larger size.
    Salmon-Don't know, looks OK, price, not sure.

    Overall Costco is good for a few specific items, depending on where you live and what else is readily available.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dietndesire

      I buy all my meats and seafoods from Costco and have never been disapointed. Their Prime Rib roasts during holidays melt in your mouth. The ground hamburger has always been excellent! Salmon and other seafood excellent as well!

      1. re: dietndesire

        I would say unless you buy organic hamburger, Costco is, to the contrary, the ONLY place you should buy ground beef. There was a terrific expose in the New York Times about hamburger processing, and Costco is one of the only retailers with a rigorous testing process for pathogens in ground beef.

        I've had good luck with the meats I've bought at Costco, mostly the roast chicken and pork, some lamb. This is another one of those hippie-ish health concerns but one of the only things that bothers me about their packaging is that is has a lot of plastic cling wrap in contact with the surface of the meat. In an ideal world, it would be healthier not to.

        1. re: dietndesire

          Perhaps dietndesire meant "I never buy ground beef", not "You should never buy ground beef from Costco."

          1. re: dietndesire

            my god! where do you live?
            Costco's choice beef is Best in the Country, and I love it WAY more than most prime.
            Ground Beef from Costco is awesome -- mostly. Steak trimmings (and brisket) all the way.

            Maybe you like fat a lot more than I do.

          2. I go to Manhasset Whole Foods for freshly ground white turkey (get it the day it comes in) and buy a bunch and freeze them, use them for meatballs and burgers---for ground beef, either buy it from whole foods and freeze, or I go to Mitch's (Metro Meats) on Metropolitan ave in Forest Hills also for ground beef--he does it right in front of you so you can see the meat he's taking it from, he also has very good fresh bell and evans chicken breasts on the bone, or boneless, and the best prices anywhere I've seen--I either get it there or from whole foods in Manhasset---For steak, I don't eat it very often, but I like it from whole foods, and I also think Iavarone in New Hyde Park has a very good selection, and Costco is fine, also---Costco also sells organic chicken breasts that alot of people like, they are in a package---I also buy the frozen shrimp at Costco, I think they are fine, and good price..and most shrimp is frozen anyway most places and defrosted, except for fresh wild shrimp or maine shrimp---They have a huge selection of shrimp and many kinds of octopus at Park's seafood in Whitestone, but the place is so unsavory looking to me-- and it stinks inside which I don't like in a fish market, but they do appear to have a pretty good selection on lots of things, but prices were not inexpensive my any means, considering the lack of ambiance or cleanliness.....

            I don't buy stuff like that from Trader Joe's because the sources are questionable and they are always having recalls of their stuff like that...Also, when Costco has the wild salmon that's a good value, too. Also, stop and shop has the Nature's promise brand of meats and steaks and they are not bad, either--go to the one on Union Tpke in Forest Hills/Glendale.

            7 Replies
            1. re: janie

              Janie, about trader joe's I keep a vague eye on things but I can't recall anything about "the sources are questionable" and "always having recalls". When they have it I get the WILD SMOKED SALMON at COSTCO; TJ has it in stock more often and the price is about the same. I don't know if it's expecting too much but when I buy fresh at COSTCO [like I did 3.5 - the label said packaged 3/5 best before 3/11 the same evening when I unpacked there was a definite stench!! OK used immediately but I'm sure would be putrid 3/11.

              1. re: micheal

                Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate them!

                As to Trader Joe's recalls, I am not janie, but I can tell you that just about every time I've shopped at TJ's I see a notice posted on their cash registers advising the recall of one of their products. Last week it was for granola bars, and prior to that many other items I cannot recall.

                I'm pretty much done with shopping at TJ's. I bought some ground beef from them and had to throw it away the other day. I should've known better since it was a weird shade of pink/red that I've never seen. Worse still, they wouldn't cook through, even after almost 15 minutes! Any "normal" meat would've been dead/well done by that point, lol. Other meats I've purchased there were simply not up to par either, although the prices were high in my opinion.

                I will give COSTCO a try now and hopefully they will be a good fit for me.

                1. re: cherrypoprocks

                  Appreciate the info. but maybe another way of thinking about it is this - maybe TJ is doing a stellar job of highlighting stuff/problems - when have we seen notices like this posted at cash registers anywhere else???
                  Sorry,nothing to say on the awful ground beef!

                  1. re: micheal

                    TJ's meat is not very good, but I'm with Michael on the recall stuff--first I read about some sort of salmonella contamination in a plant somewhere in the paper and then I see a prominent recall notice at TJ's, whereas at Fairway or my local Met food, both of which also carry products affected by the recall, I never see a notice. So I give TJ's credit for making sure that recalls (usually not because of their processing but one of their suppliers who supplies everyone) are prominently displayed.

                  2. re: cherrypoprocks

                    at least with costco, if you don't like it bring back what you didn't consume... most people won't do that, but the fact is they allow you to...funny story, was in the return line many years ago, and this guy was in front of me with a bag full of steak bones, must have been over 70 in steaks..and he slams them down on the counter and says, "these steaks were tough as nails", the costco cashier, politely says, oh, sorry about that, and refunds his money.

                    1. re: janie

                      I understand that their practice is to smile, enter the transaction in the computer, and if there are a few more like this to refuse to renew the membership card..
                      I learned this when I gav e back about 60% of a striploin for a full refund, complaining about too much fat. I was both peeved and diffident. No problem at customer service.

                    2. re: cherrypoprocks

                      I have never shopped at Trader Joe's because there isn't one close to me but to rule them out because of the recall notices in the checkout area is absurd. All stores have recalls but they just don't post them for their customers to receive. Trader Joe's is just trying to help you out. Try doing a search of Walmart recalled products some time. You'll find dozens of food products but they will never post them in their store. I think its a shame that you throw a grocer out as a place to shop because they're being more honest than other stores.

                2. Hi cherrypoprocks,

                  At Costco, I've liked their roasted chickens, as well as the (uncooked) boneless skinless chicken thighs in the handy sealed packages. I haven't had the chicken breasts.

                  Costco is also a place I'll go for a decent brisket.

                  Their frozen shrimp for me has been ok in the past but nothing special.

                  Ciao,

                  Glendale is hungry...

                  1. Our Costco simply has the best meat in town.

                    We are blessed with a local fish supplier, so they one up Costco on seafood. Though Costco seafood is not bad.

                    For pork butts and brisket I hit our local Cash n Carry, a part of Smart n Final. Costco here does not do butts and brisket.

                    1. Mom says the lamb chops are great. If Mom says, I believe.