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Mar 7, 2013 07:05 AM

Costco Ahi tuna...sushi grade?

I am assuming the ahi tuna at Costco is not sushi grade. I am wanting to make ahi poke, and most of the recipes call for sushi grade tuna. Any problems with using the Costco Ahi in it?

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  1. The term "sushi-grade" seems to get thrown around without anyone knowing what it really means... my dad is a sushi chef and I find it highly debatable on what gets defined as "sushi-grade". As a general rule, I look for "wild-caught" and "previously frozen" fillets. Fish caught for raw consumption is flash-frozen once caught to avoid making people sick.

    That said, you should be fine. If the quality of the tuna is anything like the salmon, it should serve your purposes just fine. I buy the salmon from Costco on occasion and slice it up to eat as sashimi or use in other raw dishes and we've never had any incidents. My only advice is to use it as soon as possible, no later than within 3 days refrigerated. You can tell when it's bad when it gets mushy and quite fishy-smelling.

    If you're highly concerned, I would look to your local fishmonger.

    8 Replies
    1. re: rinkatink

      I would be astonished if the Costco tuna isn't frozen on the boat as soon as it's caught -- most large fish is. How else so you think large fishing vessels can stay out for weeks and not have the early catch go bad? And the really valuable bluefin used in Japan for sushi is definitely frozen at sea -- at minus 70F on the newest boats.

      1. re: rjbh20

        Agree, most all fish are flash frozen at sea. So that toro that you were raving about yesterday was frozen.

      2. re: rinkatink

        Hi rinkatink,
        I love of our favorite sushi place and lately, i notice that my favorite salmon sashimi is mushy. I am wondering if salmon is not good quality. Your input is greatly appreciated.
        Sashimi Lover from California

          1. re: Thebe4

            Farmed and pumped full of hormones ! If it's really light pink it also shows you it's pink or chum or Atlantic farmed in Peru at costcos salmon farm

            1. re: KGB77

              There is no "Costco salmon farm" (and definitely not in Peru). Costco has sourced their salmon from Chilean farms in the past but is now sourcing from Norway.

              1. re: ferret

                Actually they sell both the farmed from Chile and a better farmed from Norway. If it's Atlantic it's farmed

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Exactly only way to buy Atlantic

        1. No, it'll be fine. Costco's ahi is usually pretty high quality.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ricepad

            Sad you can only say usually lol that's like saying " not really " Costco is in business to skip steps to assure highest quality meats and seafood !

          2. I don't go by names. I go by grade, IE: 1, 2, 3.

            #1 grade is what you will likely find in very high end Sushi restaurants. Price range is about $12.00 - $15.00 LB. and is typically supplied by high end seafood purveyors and usually has a paper trail.

            #2 grade is a common product supplied by many seafood purveyors. Price range is about $9.00 - 12:00 LB. Many very good restaurants serve this grade.

            #3 grade is what most retailers carry and also purveyors like Sysco & US Foods sell it in 10 lb cases. It is often cryovaced in portion size servings. Price range is about $7.00 - $9.00 LB

            These prices are off the top of my head and quite stale. Much imported tuna has failed inspection and been turned away in recent times which would put my $$ on the low side.

            Like quality beef, the markup on quality seafood is really not that high regardless of who is selling it so the ability to deeply discount it is not there.

            1. Study of one - I've had no ill effects from raw Costco tuna - both the frozen individually frozen pieces and the non-frozen pieces wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray.

              3 Replies
              1. re: KimMae

                I have had very good tuna as well from retail & wholesale clubs.

                I have also bought center cut loins of #1 grade Yellow Fin and #1 grade Big Eye from a high end purveyor friend and also bought whole fish at the dock at Viking Village in Barnegat Light NJ back in the day.

                The difference in quality is tremendous. By the way, so is the difference in price. Justification for the difference in price is up to the individual.

                IMHO, my answer to the OP would be if you can afford it and if its available I would go with a minimum of #2 grade tuna.

                If I went with #3, which is what you likely would get at a big box store, I would want it completely thawed and smell each piece prior to purchase. ANY odor other than that of the ocean don't buy it. Why, because big box stores and retail in general buy it frozen in 10 or 20 lb boxes. Often times it spent several months in a warehouse prior to arriving at the retail location and prolonged stays in a freezer, even when cryovaced, will result in a distinct fishy flavor that most people find unpleasant.

                I can buy 10 lb boxes of #3 Yellow Fin at close to what the big box stores pay for it. Have sent better than 25% of it back because of the problem in the paragraph above. I only buy #2 or better as a result.

                1. re: Tom34

                  Good tip for future, however the tuna is already bought, just wondering about the raw preparation of it.

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    My advice pertains to having a good product to work with and below are some tips to ensure you do. I am not however qualified to give advice on the safe preparation the product. Fortunately you are on the right site to seek advice from those that are qualified.

                    I would start by smelling it after its thawed. If all you smell is the ocean your good to go. If your nose crinkles and you keep re-smelling because the smell bothers you, try rinsing it under cold water and re-smell. If it still is not quite right to your nose, you probable have a little freezer burn. Trim an 1/8 inch off every surface with a very sharp knife and make sure you get rid of any flesh thats dried out and lighter colored that the center. Then rinse again under cold water and re-smell.

              2. I would have no problem with using the Ahi at Costco for Poki.