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Kirkland Frozen Raw Shrimp

I am so disappointed with this product. I purchased the 2lb (907g) bag of shrimp (peeled, with tails still attached). The frozen shrimp looked plump and attractive. The defrosted shrimp looked a whole lot smaller and were sitting in a pool of salt water. After cooking them in a minimal amount of olive oil, there was another large puddle of salty water and some very medium-sized cooked shrimp, not large as the package stated. I understand that all shrimp are a little more plump when frozen, due to the expansion of water molecules. I was expecting a bit of shrinkage, especially since water and salt are listed as ingredients, in addition to the shrimps, but come on!!! The shrimp varied in size from small to barely medium, yet the package states 31-40 shrimp per pound. I highly doubt that. I buy frozen shrimp from my regular grocery store and the same 31-40 per pound look like medium shrimp when cooked. I will never again buy Kirkland Signature frozen shrimp of any size, peeled or unpeeled. It seems to me the company is brining smaller shrimp so that they weigh in heavier when frozen. The initially attractive price tag now strikes me as a ripoff. If I pay for 2 lbs of large shrimp (at whatever price), I expect just that. In hindsight, I so wish I had weighed the entire defrosted bag AFTER draining off the pool of fluid.

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  1. 31 - 40 are small to begin with (approx. 1"). Just sayin.....

    2 Replies
    1. re: letsindulge

      I edited my initial post. 31-40 per pound are called medium-sized, not large. I still maintain that the shrimp were downright scrawny once defrosted, and that there was quite a bit of variation in size from one shrimp to the next.

      1. re: letsindulge

        I would tend to agree 31-40 are what I would consider to be small shrimp not medium.

      2. Coming at it from another angle, maybe the shrimp were defrosted too quickly. If you try to speed up the process, say, by running them under the tap, shrimp tend to deflate and shed a lot of liquid. Next time you could try defrosting in the refrigerator to see if it improves anything.

        1. It's Costco. I mean, really, did you actually expect the shrimp to be very good? Surely there must be a better place to buy seafood. There are at least a dozen or more in my area.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            If 1sweetpea promises to NEVER buy Kirkland Shrimp again are they eligible for the free pirate ship too? (Good job getting that thread shut down on the NJ board!!!....lol )

            1. re: jrvedivici

              What's with the hostility people? Where I live, there's no such thing as fresh shrimp. Frozen, or else previously frozen, is my only option. Are you universally panning Costco's products? I've bought perfectly good wild pacific salmon, halibut and cod at Costco. Even the farmed fish is pretty good, for what it is. Turnover is high, so the fish is fresher than at my typical grocery store and fish market. Excuse me for trying to save by buying in bulk. I bought 4 lbs of shrimp that day. I had no reason to think that the shrimp would be more heavily brined than any other company's frozen shrimp. They were. That's my chief complaint.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                Since your responding to me I'm not sure what hostility you are speaking about? My two comments were agreeing with letsinduldge about the size of the shrimp and my next post was to MGZ (who is a known contributor on our local NJ board) about a running joke we have about him building a pirate ship (on NJ board it was for people to stop going to Joe's Crab....here I was carrying the joke over). As you can see the second comment was directed at MGZ since I hit reply to his comment directly and really besides referring to you.....was not directed towards you at all. Sorry if you felt hostility but there was none intended by me.

            2. re: MGZ

              Well, there aren't "at least a dozen or more in my area", but thanks for the judgement, MGZ. I live nowhere near the sea and the only freshwater fish that is local to me is perch. There is one seafood store in my very small city and it SUCKS. It has poor selection and no guarantee of impeccable freshness. The store has given over half of its display cases, refrigerators and freezers to sausages, meatballs and cheeses. If I want lobsters, I have to go to my grocery store for them. They frequently look half dead in the tank. It IS sad that Costco might carry the best fresh fish in my town, but I'm not too snobby to shop there.

              1. re: MGZ

                Costco used to carry decent, unsalted frozen shrimp, but now it's all brined...and therefore ruined for most applications. Don't buy shrimp with added salt - sends a message to the companies doing this.

              2. I don't buy shrimp too frequently at Costco but when I do, I usually go for the 21-25 size. They are only a dollar or two more per pound than the smaller ones, and I feel like they're a much better bang for my buck. That said, if you are unhappy with what you bought, either return the remainder to Costco or just go to customer service and lodge a complaint, and they'll refund your money. Costco has the best return policy I've ever seen.

                1. I've had those shrimp, they are 31-40 per pound. I generally thaw, rinse and pat dry. Not sure you did that but, they cook up well, used them in a pealla dish and they came out tender. BTW - the content weight is based on the 'product net weight' not the fluid. ALso, I like their Tiger shrimp, they're much larger and better quality, remember that 2lb bag you purchased was about $14.

                  1. I am really disappointed in Costco's seafood overall because I like to buy my seafood fresh and wild. You cannot find wild shrimp at Costco, let alone fresh ones. Also, it seems that most of their fresh fish is farmed. I suppose if you're not the pickiest of seafood eaters, some farm raised talapia will float your boat, but I can't stomach their seafood.

                    I heard tiger shrimp are farm raised in close quarters, and they eat each other's fecal matter (I saw this on Dr. Oz). I would refrain from their tiger shrimp.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Tudor_rose

                      'it seems that most of their fresh fish is farmed.' Not so, if you look at the selection they have a large selection of wild caught and they have huge turnover ensuring that it's fresh. BTW - most shrimp are frozen and as with most crustascians, like lobster, they're bottom feeders, no matter where you buy them.

                      1. re: treb

                        The only fresh fish (or thawed out) that I saw at Costco was farmed, and the only wild fish I saw there was frozen. Perhaps your Costco has more selection than mine. Most shrimp are frozen, but I have been able to obtain fresh shrimp on rare occasion at Whole Foods. Nothing better. When I cooked it, the texture was like nothing else.

                        1. re: Tudor_rose

                          Most seafood is flash frozen at sea, even sushi grade fish, that's reality. As for shrimp, if you can get 'truly fresh' that's a plus but, it's rare to find at super markets, even Whoie Paycheck. Personally, I wouldn't take a so called TV DR's word for fact vs opinion. Last week-end Costco had wild caught halibut, salmon, sole and ahi tuna just to name a few.

                          1. re: treb

                            Our Costco in Hoover, AL sometimes has wild caught salmon and trout but they run out quickly. It is very possible they have been previously flash frozen. We see a lot more farmed trout and salmon here than fresh. Luckily we have markets that have more local Gulf fish flown in almost daily. Wild is better than farmed almost always IMHO but I do not mind the farmed due to cost if I am sectioning/freezing then using a some type of mainade (ie miso) or rub.

                        2. re: treb

                          (RE: treb...don't know how my post made it down here)

                          in other words: ALL shrimp, wild or farmed, eat whatever is on the floor...including fecal matter.

                          If you want to hope your shrimp to have a diet lower in fecal matter, buy wild...but, remember, the rest of a wild shrimp's diet includes dead/rotten fish parts and whatever garbage and pollutants humans throw into the ocean.

                        3. re: Tudor_rose

                          Here in Souther California I see fresh, wild caught fish quite often at CostCo. Salmon and halibut in particualr when they are in season. Fresh shrimp are not seen in the area with the exception of spot prwans (be prepared for sticker shock). Frozen shrimp are perfectly acceptable if frozen and thawed properly. For wild caught, shrimp, I have not seen it at CostCo.

                          1. re: mike0989

                            Maybe we just aren't as culinarily refined as some others on here, but, I also think frozen shrimp taste fine...it's when they add salt to them that absolutely ruins them for me. I'll add my own salt, thanks.

                        4. I am on the west coast and, fresh shrimp is much harder to find here and way more expensive.

                          So I buy frozen from quality sources (Costco included). And I never buy frozen shrimp already shelled, I swear, the shell seems to protect them somehow and buying them without - more water damage.

                          I buy the EZ peel shrimp, give them the fast thaw in running cold water - and I have always been happy.

                          As for counts? Yeesh, I swear, every place lists it different. Some folks will list the 31-40 counts as large. Some will list it as medium. So don't go by what they call it, go by what YOUR experience with the counts is.

                          As for small? 31-40 is not small. 50 - 60 is, or, some places even sell 60 - 90.

                          Take a deep breath, buy the shell on frozen shrimp, thaw carefully, and try again. I wish you much happy cooking!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: happybaker

                            Always buy shrimp with the shell on. You can use them to make shrimp stock so that you can make sauce with them. I buy shell on shrimp, and use the shells to make stock for my jambalaya. You should always buy raw, shell on shrimp. If you're throwing away the shell, you're throwing away flavor.

                            1. re: Tudor_rose

                              yes, the more shell the shrimp has, the better.

                              Even if the shrimp was bought peeled and only has the end tail/flipper part, you can save those a make a small amount of stock...it'll take a while to save up enough, but those will make enough stock for one or two small dishes.

                          2. I bought those and learned my lesson - do not buy brined frozen shrimp of any brand. The salt does something to this shrimp that makes them practically inedible, imo.

                            Size issues aside, the brine bleaches them so they don't turn their signature appetizing orange when cooked. Then, the saltiness overpowers any actual seafood flavor and doesn't allow one to add any other salt containing seasonings (soy sauce, etc).

                            The only thing these brined shrimp might be acceptable for is throwing them in a pot of water and making a stock...even then, you'll end up with a fully salted stock that isn't going to give you any leeway for later seasoning, if desired .

                            1. I sold shrimp for twenty years. As far as frozen IQFP&D shrimp goes Costco sells only chemical free, no added Sodium tripolyphosphate, so I would consider them about the best you can buy of that genre. Terms like jumbo, ex large, collasal mean nothing in the industry. Shrimp are sold by "count" or pieces per pound. Farm raised shrimp mostly suck. Try to locate "wild caught" shrimp either from the Gulf of Mexico, Southern Atlantic
                              Ocean states (S.Carolina, GA or FL) or Central & south America. They are very hard to find in retail but most good chefs insist on them.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: zackly

                                i was delighted to find frozen, shell-on, raw wild caught shrimp at costco about a month ago. up 'til recently, they've only carried farmed, which i won't buy. these were great--2 lb, around $26. can't recall the count, but they were nice sized--maybe 21-25s? from the gulf of mexico.

                                1. re: chez cherie

                                  Cherie-consumers are becoming more aware of the superiority of wild caught shrimp and asking for it. That coupled with the fact that the shrimp aquaculture industry is struggling to meet worldwide demands due to diseases in the ponds that have decimated production recently.Many of the supermarkets I regularly shop @ offer at least one wild shrimp item, usually a U/15 or 16/20 Gulf brown or white headless. Sadly, my Costco only offers farm raised Black Tigers or White Shrimp (P. Vannamei) the two species that represent most of the world's farmed production.

                                  1. re: zackly

                                    I've had great success in emailing Costco Corporate with requests.

                                  2. re: chez cherie

                                    Damn. I wish I'd seen this before I went to Costco today. I will have to return and see whether my store carries wild shrimp. That would be a vast improvement over the farmed, brined crap.

                                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                                      They have been carrying frozen wild shrimp lately in Woodinville.