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Costco butchers

Bobfrmia Jan 31, 2012 03:46 PM

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.

  1. boogiebaby Jan 31, 2012 05:09 PM

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

    1. mrbigshotno.1 Jan 31, 2012 05:11 PM

      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. jayt90 Jan 31, 2012 05:16 PM

        Those windows slide open; just knock on the glass.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90
          Bobfrmia Jan 31, 2012 08:11 PM

          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. c
          cstr Feb 1, 2012 07:16 AM

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

          17 Replies
          1. re: cstr
            mucho gordo Feb 1, 2012 10:20 AM

            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
              sunshine842 Feb 1, 2012 10:57 AM

              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
                cstr Feb 1, 2012 12:44 PM

                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
                  mucho gordo Feb 1, 2012 02:40 PM

                  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
                  boogiebaby Feb 1, 2012 04:02 PM

                  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
                    mucho gordo Feb 1, 2012 04:05 PM

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

                    1. re: boogiebaby
                      PommeDeGuerre Feb 2, 2012 12:33 AM

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

                      1. re: PommeDeGuerre
                        jayt90 Feb 2, 2012 04:54 AM

                        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
                          mucho gordo Feb 2, 2012 09:52 AM

                          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
                            sunshine842 Feb 2, 2012 10:06 AM

                            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
                              mucho gordo Feb 2, 2012 11:59 AM

                              Point taken, sunshine

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                ferret Feb 2, 2012 12:08 PM

                                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
                                cstr Feb 3, 2012 09:31 AM

                                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
                                  Chowrin Feb 7, 2012 06:37 PM

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

                                  1. re: Chowrin
                                    sebetti Feb 16, 2012 03:31 PM

                                    The stew meat often has a higher price per lb.

                            2. re: boogiebaby
                              Effort Feb 9, 2012 11:51 AM

                              Have had the butchers cut for us.

                              1. re: Effort
                                boogiebaby Feb 9, 2012 04:20 PM

                                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. a
                          acgold7 Feb 3, 2012 11:50 AM

                          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
                            cstr Feb 3, 2012 02:30 PM

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

                            1. re: acgold7
                              WIWInegirl Feb 6, 2012 04:27 PM

                              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
                                monavano Feb 6, 2012 04:33 PM

                                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
                                  WIWInegirl Feb 6, 2012 04:51 PM

                                  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
                                    monavano Feb 6, 2012 04:55 PM

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

                                    1. re: WIWInegirl
                                      sunshine842 Feb 7, 2012 11:08 AM

                                      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
                                      mutti Feb 9, 2012 11:49 AM

                                      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
                                        monavano Feb 9, 2012 11:55 AM

                                        Me? What steaks? Not following...

                                    3. re: WIWInegirl
                                      LuckyCharm Feb 11, 2012 02:18 AM

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

                                      1. re: LuckyCharm
                                        sunshine842 Feb 11, 2012 03:53 AM

                                        one-day passes

                                      2. re: WIWInegirl
                                        Bobfrmia Feb 15, 2012 07:32 PM

                                        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
                                          chez cherie Feb 16, 2012 05:34 PM

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

                                          1. re: Bobfrmia
                                            Stephanie Wong Feb 17, 2012 07:27 AM

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

                                            1. re: Bobfrmia
                                              cstr Feb 17, 2012 09:30 AM

                                              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
                                                Bobfrmia Feb 18, 2012 08:58 AM

                                                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
                                              sebetti Feb 16, 2012 03:37 PM

                                              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
                                                cstr Feb 17, 2012 09:27 AM

                                                "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.

                                          2. ipsedixit Feb 8, 2012 05:26 AM

                                            Costco will not customize your meats for you.

                                            What's wrapped, is what's offered.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              hawkeyeui93 Feb 9, 2012 12:05 PM

                                              I have asked them to cut meat before, especially if they have it available and uncut.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                goodfoods Feb 19, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                This is not true, I am able to have the butchers customize steaks and lamb chops to my liking, never had a problem.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  hawkeyeui93 Feb 19, 2012 08:35 AM

                                                  Completely untrue in my part of the country. If a meat cutter was on duty and they have the type of meat I want customized on hand, they have gladly complied. If a meat cutter is unavailable and all that is behind the counter is a "packager," then I can see the issue ....

                                                2. m
                                                  MHasse Feb 9, 2012 11:15 AM

                                                  My son has been a meatcutter at Costco for several years in NW Illinois.The meatcutters are VERY aware that they are not "butchers" and are ok with that. As previously stated Costco pays a good wage and has better then average benefits. They can do that only by limiting labor intensive customization. I suppose more customized cuts could beoffered but would you be willing to pay 3-5 dollars more a pound or would you rather cut it up yourself and save the $$?

                                                  Also, if your kid cuts meat at Costco,customization is ALWAYS possible....;)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: MHasse
                                                    chez cherie Feb 11, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                    customization is always possible, whether your kid cuts meat at Costco or not. DIY customization, to your own exact specs.

                                                  2. CindyJ Feb 19, 2012 07:58 AM

                                                    I've asked for thicker steaks, and wasn't able to get them.

                                                    1. g
                                                      goodfoods Feb 19, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                      I have done this several times. I know they sell by weight per package and they seem to have a minimum weight, so I ask them to usually give me half the weight per steak, or lamb chops, as I do not like them too thick, and give me twice as much, so if there is 3 in a pack I end up with 6 in a pack, in the end they equal the minimum weight Costco sells them by. Have never had there butchers say no, in fact they have been more than happy to accomodate me.

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