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Your best items at Sam's Club

So, I constantly see threads about the best things at Costco, TJ's and other places but never see threads about Sam's Club. Is there some secret reason for this or is it that no one has started one ever? Or is there nothing that anyone likes at Sam's?

So, I'll start it with something we buy consistently at Sam's.

Cavenaugh brand spicy sausage! Sometimes it is hotter than others and that's when it's the best, but even if it's not the hottest batch we still like it better than others we've tried.

Found at both stores in the Austin area and now in Las Vegas.

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  1. The Italian cream cakes from the bakery are very good. I make my own pizzas and buy the dough frozen from their snack bar (it's not in the frozen dept. in the main part of the store) you get 18 individually wrapped dough balls to a case for about $16. They stretch out and make a nice 16" pie, also great for calzone or foccacia. I like the hot dogs at the snack bar too, Nathans Famous on a nice textured bun, Costcos dogs have gone way downhill in my opinion.

    1. A few weeks ago I got a box of 54 Starbucks K-cups for a little less than $37 at the store in Harrisburg, PA. That was a great bargain, considering the 10- and 14-cup boxes I'd been buying were running almost $1/cup.

      I buy mostly non-food items at Sam's these days since I don't live close to one anymore, but my parents bought a box of frozen breaded eggplant cutlets not too long ago that were good. I liked that you could bake them instead of fry them.

      1. I love Terra Verde's Grilled & Marinated Artichoke Hearts. I have read online that they are no longer available at some Sam's. I got mine in December, 2011 at the Sam's in Saginaw, Michigan. They are pricey, but so good with hardly any tough pieces.

        1. I use Sam's Club for most of my "staples" type shopping, I try to limit that to once a month with their "Click''n'Pull" service, in which you order on line and they have everything ready and waiting for you to pick up. Hey, as the old broad sitting on a tripod used to say, "Know thyself." Well, I do, and Click''n'Pull cuts waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on impulse shopping!

          I've been buying pine nuts from Sam's for about six or seven years now. They are from China, but I use them a LOT and no one has ever had that strange distaste problem associadted with some pine nuts. They're much cheaper at Sam's than anywhere else I've been able to find them. I also get my cryovac bags for sous vide from Sam's.

          In my specific Sam's club, they have some terrific fresh produce bargains. A medium sized on-the-vine heirloom tomato that is the best I've had since my grandfather gave up his Victory Garden in 1952! They also have a one pound plastic box (as opposed to bagged) of pre-washed and ready to dress "organic Sring Mix" of special lettuces for under four bucks. Do you know how much lettuce that is? I take about half of it and put it in a vacuum sealed container to keep it fresh longer, the rest I store in a "stay fresh" container to use as needed. Lasts me nearly a month.

          I buy Swenson's Chicken Broth by the case at Sams, along with canned tomato products from diced to sauce and paste.

          A few things from Sam's I wouldn't want to be without:
          Soule's Angus Carne Asada (grilled diced beef GREAT for instant tacos!)
          6 pound bags of Dole's frozen mixed fruit for smoothies
          Ditto for Doles frozen berry combinations
          In-store (no Click''n'Pull here!) USDA Prime beef (when they have it)

          Well, enough is enough. Take Sam's away and you will be assassinating my life style because my food budget would go through the roof!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            Prunes, raisins, and Silk Soy are the Sam's staples in our household.

            1. re: Caroline1

              Caroline1 I was just wondering about you the other day! Good to see you again or maybe I was just missing your posts.

              At our Sam's we mostly buy milk, school lunch snacks and paper goods.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  This is a good thread for me- I just joined Sams and don't have a TJ's or Costco in the state. I joined mostly for the cheese & craisins later garden things, but now I have more ideas thanks!

              1. re: Caroline1

                agreed on produce bargains! avocados are a great deal - i think mine are 5 for $3, out of season!

              2. Sam's has much better sandwich rolls than Costco, not as doughy, but costco does have the artisean rolls that are much too thick for sandwiches.

                1. Jimmy Dean turkey sausage muffin D'Light breakfast sandwiches for under 1.00$ per sandwich.

                  Egg beaters. I think per carton they are on par with Aldi prices. (1.80ish per carton.)

                  Land o lakes 2 lb block of Colby jack cheese..I think 3 something per pound.

                  1. Instant yeast. One-eighth the price of the supermarket.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: paulj

                        Two one-pound vacuum-packed blocks.

                    1. Stainless steel cart ( they call it a work table)


                      Great for extra counter and storage in the kitchen, out on the deck or patio, in the garage.

                      1. Sadler's Hickory Smoked Pork Loin

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chimayo Joe

                          Sadler's Smoked sliced brisket is worth the membership cost.
                          There have been a dozen or so BBQ places open where I live in the last few years. None can match the Sadler's brisket from Sam's. Costco has a much smaller version, while great, it's not quite as good as the big one at Sam's.
                          Also, just recently had the smoked pork loin. Agree that it is awesome as well.

                        2. right now you can find boxed Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuit mix. And it is good!!! This is the real deal. For just over $5 you get three pouches of 10-12 biscuits worth of mix. You get the biscuit mix and the topping mix. They do taste exactly like Red Lobsters. Little too salty, but I did not have unsalted butter for the topping. These are supposedly a seasonal item and will not be available all year long. Get them now before they disappear.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Black Diamond 4-year cheddar. About $11 per lb, and worth it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Steve Green

                              Omg, love this cheddar, best raw milk cheddar deal. I also like the selection of apples (hate those big plastic packages at Costco) and the frozen beer batter cod. I used to get the fish nuggets at TJ's but these are so much better and better price as well.

                            2. saw I already posted in this old thread and nothing new to add. So I edited out my comment.

                              1. G.H. Cretor's Chicago Mix Popcorn. It is so good, and if you buy it, there is so much of it.. and it is very easy to go overboard... You were warned.

                                The big jar of fresh salsa--although they no longer have 'Jack's' which was better because it had more flavor and onions.

                                The big double cookie-cake... I coach, and I took it to my team of high-schoolers, and I thought they were going to eat me next when they ran out of cookie-cake.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: GraceW

                                  I was surprised the first time I walked into the food section of Sam's Club. I had assumed that inexpensive, economy sized foods also meant cheap, poor quality, low taste. Right now I limit myself to a few staples and some fresh produce each trip, as I am very limited in storage space, but I hope to be moving soon, and with a basement (and hopefully basement 2nd fridge) hope to be able to do more shopping there.

                                  The things I do currently buy are the spring-mix lettuce, bananas (about 2/3 the price of the grocery store, and sold by weight), and boxes of mangos (pre-sliced, 10 to a box, for about 6.99 - my vice).

                                  My wife and I did most of the shopping for our wedding reception and rehearsal dinner there, drinks, plastic plates/utensils, deserts, breads, etc, and we saved a lot on all of it (we also bought way too much, I am still drinking cokes that I bought for our wedding).

                                2. Sam's Club carries Argo Baking Powder which is aluminum free. 60-oz container is $5.79. Argo Baking Powder was recommended on The Fresh Loaf website for making biscuits.
                                  Sam's Club also carries bulk packages of yeast. A bundle of Two 1-lb packages of Fleischmann's Instant Yeast is $4.00.

                                  1. In the Princeton, NJ area store they have a terrific spinach and artichoke dip (I can't recall the name on the container). And they usually carry party size bags of Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips for around $4 which is a steal.

                                    1. Just reread what I started this thread with and now I hate myself, Sam's doesn't carry these sausages anymore. I've found lots of places online with others complaining about it. The only place I can find selling them is a market in Northern Nevada and their shipping costs are sky high! So now have to find another spicy sausage.

                                      1. We only got a Sam's membership after we moved to state without a Costco. Now I have both again and while I prefer Costco I'm glad I can still get the big bags of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips at Sam's. They used to be at Costco, but they switched to their own Kirkland brand.

                                        I love the cherry limeade Fanta at the snack bar, never see it anywhere else.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: rasputina

                                          I was skeptical about the change in chocolate chips at Costco, but one day I was there and really needed them for some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And you know what, they're really good! Not too bitter, not too sweet, just about right for my tastes (of course, everyone has their own sweetspot for chocolate). They work really well for chocolate pudding, too.

                                          1. re: rasputina

                                            The Ghiradelli chips are seasonal at my Sam's - they were year round until Christmas 2012. Then last year they disappeared sometime after January. When I asked, they said they were a seasonal item. So I stocked up this Christmas, with 4 bags. They still had some on the shelf last week when I was in Sam's but were marked as seasonal on the tag. So they are going away sometime soon.

                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                              Oh thanks, maybe I'll go by there this week and pick up another bag or two before they are gone.

                                          2. We have memberships at both Sam's and Costco - there are favourite items we have at both that more than pay for the membership at both. We usually alternate and go to Costco one week and Sam's the next.
                                            At Sam's we can get big (2 actual full-sized pounds) bags of Peet's Major Dickason coffee beans. That might pay for the membership fee in a year, right there. :)
                                            We can buy single gallons of milk at Sam's, while at Costco you have to buy 2 or three in a giant box - we'd never use that much milk.
                                            The price of eggs is better at Sam's, but I don't quibble and just get them at whatever store I happen to be in - but I notice it.
                                            Only Sam's sells thin cut short ribs, which we like to make our own version of Hawaiian plate lunch. Can't get these at Costco, and we loooove them. My only quibble is they've started to put fewer in the package, I guess to keep the price on the entire package under a certain amount. One package used to be just the right amount for two full meals for us, and now it's more like a meal and a half. Maybe I should give in and buy two packages, but that feels a little gluttonous.
                                            Our Sam's has these addictive spicy almonds and cashews - I don't like cashews, but my husband does. I eat all the almonds. I haven't seen these in any other store.
                                            I always find a good cheese at Sam's. They have a beautiful Point Reyes blue cheese, among others.
                                            At least in the summertime, and maybe most of the year, Sam's sells giant bags of natural lump charcoal at a great price.
                                            ...I'm sure there's more, but those jump to mind. The other thing is our Sam's club is just nicer to go to - less crowded and hence less stressful - than either of the Costco's close to us. I'm glad to have a Sam's not too far from us.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: khh1138

                                              Costco has had single gallons of milk for years now.

                                              1. re: rasputina

                                                They just switched at my local Costco within the past year or so ....

                                              2. Whole choice packer briskets ... and the lemon cake is mighty fine. They also used to sell a private label Anejo Tequila called Calle Azul that got to about $10 a fifth towards the end of it being stocked in my local Sam's.

                                                1. We just had Gluten Free Kale, Hummus, and Chickpea ravioli from Sam's tonight and it was really good. $11 for 2 big containers (refrigerated). I've never seen it at Costco.

                                                  1. I buy so much stuff at sam's but these are a few that always stay on my list...

                                                    Pre-sliced containers of apples - $3.98 for 3 lbs. You really can't beat that price.

                                                    Organic baby carrots - huge bag and they are a little over $3

                                                    Bags of fresh broccoli... I think it is 3 lbs for a little less than $4


                                                    Dunkin' Donuts coffee

                                                    all baking goods - sugar, AP flour, powdered sugar

                                                    potstickers in the frozen section

                                                    string cheese and babybel for my cheese addicted children. Also they always have a great selection of cheeses... Dublinger White Cheddar is always a must.

                                                    Heavy Cream

                                                    Shredded Cheddar - The bags are $13 but it makes 14 2 cup packages and I freeze it. That is a tad less than a dollar for shredded cheese which is amazing!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: hottytoddysummer

                                                      I never thought about breaking down that giant bag of cheese and freezing some of it! Brilliant, thank you! (I really hate shredding my own cheese other than parmesan.)

                                                    2. I love Sam's and many of our regular items (big bags of popcorn, Chex Mix, granola bars) are a few bucks cheaper than at Costco.

                                                      I love their meat - it's always excellent, not injected, enhanced, or otherwise 'roided up. Chicken, pork, beef - all good. Can barely stand the grocery store stuff anymore.

                                                      Their rotisserie chicken, to me, is the best out there.

                                                      1. And Cavanaughs does not have MSG in it.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Nanzi

                                                          It has "natural flavorings", which can include glutamates.

                                                        2. I just found a one pound container of BelGioso brand burrata at the Sam's in Fishkill, NY on Sunday. It has 8 2 ounce burrata and cost $7.49. I haven't tried it yet, but I haven't seen burrata at Costco or BJ's in a long time, and never at Sam's, so this was exciting for me. Hopefully they are good. The normal burrata that I buy (TJ's and BelGioso's when the other warehouse chains carried them) are 4 ounce servings.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: MisterBill2

                                                            Update: the burrata were excellent. The brand is Belgioioso I was missing a couple of o's.

                                                          2. I just have to add my 2 cent's,first of all I belong to Sam's club but only because I have to.Sam's club is 70 miles away from me and the closet Costco is for me 200 miles away but I still make the trip 2 to 3 times a year and load up on all my meats and other needs, Costco gives us the best of products, Sam's could give a shit less. You started this blog Jan 12-2012 and here it is July 16-14 with only 40 some hit's does that not tell you anything??Not to mention they carry no special's during the Holiday's like Costco doe's.

                                                            1. Any updates to this would be great. Groupon was running a special for $35 for a membership plus a $20 Gift Card and some other free stuff so it was basically free to join for a year. We prefer Costco but the only Costco in town is about a 30 min drive vs 10 min for Sam's.

                                                              Plus Sam's is on the way out of town towards Atlanta so figured the gas savings alone would be nice. With that said, the gas was only $.06 cheaper per gallon than the gas station across the street. Costco seems to be consistently $.10 to $.15 less.

                                                              Cryovaced, brined baby backs were $3.99/lb but only sold in about $40 increments. That seems spendy for brined baby backs.

                                                              I did see that pre-cooked brisket mentioned up thread but it was not inexpensive.

                                                              Do they have a great return policy like Costco?

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Dax

                                                                They do not have an unlimited return policy like Costco. You may be able to get a refund on your membership fee if you are not happy (unless they somehow flag it as being from the promotion). I'm not sure what you are looking to hear. It's not as good as Costco for many of us but given that it's so convenient to you and it will cost you $15 not including the free stuff, I'd give it a try.

                                                                1. re: MisterBill2

                                                                  I bought the membership so now I am just looking for new suggestions for great itemst to buy at Sam's since the original thread started over 2.5 years ago.

                                                                  And I am not looking for unlimited returns, but want to be able to return a product which is not good otherwise I will never gamble on buying new (more expensive) items I know nothing about.

                                                                  1. re: Dax

                                                                    What sort of stuff are you interested in Dax? I mentioned the meat previously, and it remains one of the few places I buy meat anymore other than a local family-owned butcher shop (but they can get pricey). They have pre-packaged cold cuts that are quite good - not quite Boar's Head, but good. The sandwich bread is usually a good deal, as are the chips (2 big bags for $5 usually.) Hellmann's mayo is a bargain, but only if you buy the gallon jug - the smaller large jar is comparable to grocery prices. Snacks/candy etc. are usually pretty good. Butter! I forgot butter! 4 pounds for $8 to $9.

                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                      I tend to shop mostly at Costco for durable goods and Aldi for other items (bread, condiments, butter, some cheeses, chips, etc but rarely meat there) and supplement with Publix and Piggly Wiggly.

                                                                      We do not have Trader Joe's in BHM.

                                                                      I keep hearing that the meats at Costco are now needled but perhaps the ones at Sam's are not? Do they have prime cuts? Are they good deals?

                                                                      Good to see that granola is cheaper at Sam's.

                                                                      Is their rotisserie as salty as the ones at Costco?

                                                                      When we were there recently the loin back ribs were cryovac'd brine added and I prefer fresh which Costco sometimes sells.

                                                                      The shredded cheddar sounds like a good deal as it is much higher elsehwhere. 14 2 cup servings would suggest that it is 7 lbs of cheese though ... seriously? $13 for 7 lbs is nuts.

                                                                      Also, good to know about the 2 lbs of yeast. How long will an opened 1 lb package of active yeast last? How do you store it?

                                                                      1. re: Dax

                                                                        Hmmm. I can't answer most of your questions. The rotisserie chicken is saltier than Costco's (imho), but the meat is juicier and has more flavor. I usually pick the skin off, so it's not a problem for me.

                                                                        I also don't know about needled meat - beef is the only thing that Kroger hasn't ruined (yet), so I only buy pork and chicken at Sam's. I recently got shoulder pork ribs that were not cryovac'd. They were delicious and didn't have the ruined texture of injected meat. The chicken is pre-wrapped, but is not injected with anything, so it tastes and feels like chicken.

                                                                        Like I said though, chips are a good deal, and the butter (either salted or unsalted) is too.

                                                                        Sorry but I can't answer your yeast questions.

                                                                    2. re: Dax

                                                                      I have returned items at Sam's with no problems.