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Jan 31, 2012 03:46 PM

Costco butchers

Just wondering if anyone has ever requested a smaller steak at Costco. With the price of beef I would love to be able to grab a couple 12-16 oz ribeyes, instead of the packages of ribeye roast looking monsters. I see the butchers back there behind the seeming bullet/soundproof glass. I know it isn't a Costco thing to do smaller size stuff, just wondering if anyone has ever thought to ask.

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  1. They sell cut ribeyes, usually 3 in a pack, but sometimes you can find 4 in a pack or 2 in a pack.

    1. I'd call them ahead of time with your membership # and request them, if you want 5+ lbs. or so, they might go for it. Give it a try!

      1. Those windows slide open; just knock on the glass.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90

          Yeah, I'll give that a try next time I'm out there. Just thought I'd check to see if it had been done before.

        2. You can go the the window and they'll take your request.

          17 Replies
          1. re: cstr

            Will they?? If I ask them to cut up a chuck roast, for example, into small pieces for chili, will they?

            1. re: mucho gordo

              what do you have to lose? the worst they can do is say no -- which puts you exactly where you are right now -- there's no downside, and I don't figure they bite...

              1. re: mucho gordo

                That may be asking for a little too much, as it would be processing the meat further than what's in the pkg. I thought you were referring to the quantity of steaks in a pkg.

                1. re: cstr

                  Is that a union thing that they can't reprocess the meat? I know at Ralph's, they have some who can cut the meat up for me and, I guess, meat clerks, who can't do it for me because of the union, so they say.

                2. re: mucho gordo

                  With Costco --WYSIWYG. The prices are lower because they are selling large packs of meat and don't provide any "extra" services. You get what's out there. Yes, they may go in the back and bring out some more trays of meat, but they won't repackage or cut anything for you.

                  1. re: boogiebaby

                    <sigh> That's what I thought. Thanks for confirming.

                    1. re: boogiebaby

                      Do you know that this is true from experience or are you assuming? I don't know either way, just asking.

                      1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                        Speaking from experience (I'm retired now) boogiebaby's points are correct. The steaks and chops are cut thick and presented in large trays so they can sell more meat to each shopper. They will prepare large roasts, $80 and up, with advance notice, but they would never cut down the amount in a standard tray, or chop it into stew pieces or ground beef, since that is already available.

                        They don't have any union contracts, but they have moved to meat cutters and automated machines rather than butchers, and of course, they cut from boxed packer meat in cryovac.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I understand what you're saying but, to me, it makes no sense. They want to sell the meat and I want to buy it; just not in it's present form. If they also sold it chunked up the way I need it, there would be no problem, but they don't. So, why not cut it for me rather than lose a sale?

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            because that's not the way Costco rolls -- they just don't do custom anything.

                            And they don't care if you don't buy it -- the guy behind you will...or you could do the extra work yourself to take advantage of the cost.

                            Like I said above -- it's zero-downside to ask them...

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Costco pays a decent wage and has excellent benefits. That's made possible by keeping staffing at a minimum, so the guy packaging meat is there to make sure the coolers are properly stocked. Having every other purchaser (or even a small percentage) call out a special request interferes with their assigned duties.

                              2. re: mucho gordo

                                Costco prices items based on volume. They can easily beat super markets prices in that way. So lets say, if you wish to make beef stew, you'll need to buy the large piece of meat and cut if into the style you require yourself. Personally, if I can save several dollars per pound and get better quality meat, I'll get out the knife any day.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  ... why not get their stew beef? do you really care which steak it came from?

                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                    The stew meat often has a higher price per lb.

                            1. re: boogiebaby

                              Have had the butchers cut for us.

                              1. re: Effort

                                I was at Costco over the weekend and asked if they would cut a large roast into steaks because I didn't want the precut steaks. The employee told me no, they do not cut any meat for customers. (I didn't actually want them to do it, but was asking because of this thread. LOL) This was in So. CA.

                        2. I'm still just trying to figure out why someone would want a smaller steak.

                          Do you mean thinner? Costco steaks are the perfect thickness for cooking, usually about an inch and a half, more or less. If you mean smaller diameter, that's going to be the same no matter where you buy them, and you'd have to just cut one in half and use the rest later.

                          Whenever I'm there, I always look through the packages of pre-cut steaks, and no matter what type I see, there are always a variety of shapes and sizes. Some, like Tenderloin and Sirloin, tend to be smaller, while others, like the New York and Ribeye, are naturally bigger due to the shape of the muscle.

                          It doesn't sound like the OP is asking for a smaller *package*, but if that's the case, just wrap and freeze what you don't need immediately.

                          If you really want thinner steaks, just buy the whole or half boneless ribeye or New York Strip and butcher to your own liking as the beast dry-ages in your fridge.

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: acgold7

                            I re-read the OP's post, I think you're correct, maybe looking for a mini cow!!

                            1. re: acgold7

                              I just visited a Costco for the first time, in Pewaukee, WI area. It's a new store. Offered USDA "Prime" grade beef, so I bought a package of NY Strips, nice and thick. b$ 16.99 a lb. Seasoned them and dry aged them overnight in my 38 degree fridge. Cooked on our pro grill, done perfectly (med rare.) These were the TOUGHEST and least flavorful steaks I've had in many a year. Very disappointed, we think the meat was mislabelled by mistake or by design.

                              Here in WI we can buy prime grade meats at many of our better supermarkets. I've had this grade from other supermarkets and in high end steak houses and the Costco prime grade steaks didn't even begin to approach what we normally use (Black Angus, which sells here for about $ 10 a lb.) I was really disappointed in this, now have a second steak which I may put into a stew to make it edible. I decided not to join Costco.

                              1. re: WIWInegirl

                                It's a big box store, not a steak store. Out of the thousands of products they carry, you're dismissing them over one disappointing purchase?
                                PS... if you were a member, you could get your money back on anything that you're not satisfied with. You might wish to read Costco 's article on their Prime beef program in the Costco Connection:

                                1. re: monavano

                                  Yes, I'm dismissing them over one disappointing purchase. I never give a vendor a second chance, since there's too much competition here which has not been "disappointing." I can get prime grade beef at several stores near my home. Beef for $ 17 a pound should not be "disappointing." And I won't drive 20 miles to buy it either.

                                  1. re: WIWInegirl

                                    Well, you're the one who knows what's best for you, even if your data is lacking.

                                    1. re: WIWInegirl

                                      By volume, Costco is the largest butcher shop in the US -- you don't get that way by mislabeling and supplying inferior beef.

                                    2. re: monavano

                                      You need to take your steak's back,regardless of them being cooked,they will refund your money,I travel once or twice a year to Costco at 250 miles a pop,I live in Arkansas,bought mushy smoked salmon,put in the freezer and returned to the kansas Costco,no problem on the return what so ever, make sure you save your receipt.

                                      1. re: mutti

                                        Me? What steaks? Not following...

                                    3. re: WIWInegirl

                                      How were you able to purchase the steaks if you decided not to join?

                                      1. re: WIWInegirl

                                        Despite the other replies, I have had the same experience. Last weekend I found what I originally said I wanted. 2 ribeyes, 16 oz ea.
                                        They looked great. Well marbled, nice fat cap.
                                        Inedible. Tough, gristle, total failure. Went right to the dog.
                                        Had that happen once before with the Prime ribeye.
                                        That's twice out of probably 20 times. I can honestly say I've had my best steaks from Costco, and my worst steaks from costco

                                        1. re: Bobfrmia

                                          take your receipt to customer service. they will refund your purchase. i like that about costco.

                                          1. re: Bobfrmia

                                            My local non-Costco used to comment, "sometimes it's just the individual animal" when he replaced the tough steak.

                                            1. re: Bobfrmia

                                              I've never had a bad ribeye, let alone a tough ribeye, anywhere. That part of the animal doesn't lend itself to a tough cut. How did you prep and cook it?

                                              1. re: cstr

                                                Let it come to room temp. Lightly salted. Toss in a preheated cast Iron for 2 minutes a side, finish in 350 degree oven for 4 minutes, perfect medium rare, Tough as leather.

                                            2. re: WIWInegirl

                                              There are other reasons to join Costco and this isn't a case where bad steak means bad store. In fact, if you care so much about your steak, why would you even think about buying it at Costco?

                                              That said, I agree with your assessment of their meat department and I've never been satisfied with their prime beef offerings. So I don't buy them.

                                              I do, on the other hand, buy many, many other things there that I'm completely satisfied with.

                                              1. re: sebetti

                                                "In fact, if you care so much about your steak, why would you even think about buying it at Costco?" I don't get your comment, I'd buy any beef from Costco before going to a super market.