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Costco meat

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I bought some beef a few months ago and noticed that 1/3 of it was fat...pure fat. I was very annoyed and a bit upset as meat isn't so cheap anymore. I let it go thinking that I got a bad batch. I bought some beef(flank steak) again a few days ago to make beef jerky and noticed that again, 1/3 was pure fat. Anyone with the same problem with meat from Costco? Maybe the location I go to has a bad butcher?

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  1. The Flank Steak @ Costco isn't butchered....it's simply repackaged.

    7 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      well, then they have a quality control issue. This never happened before.

      1. re: Monica

        If it looks like the image for *An Immovable Feast: Holiday Eating*, it's normal.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=raw+f...

      2. re: fourunder

        That makes sense as I seem to recall that the pack house cryovacs at Restaurant Depot have several whole Flanks per cryovac. Its been a while since I bought sub primals at Costco and I forget, do the cryovacs say Kirkland like most of their meat products or do they have the packers name on them?

        1. re: Tom34

          I seem to recall IBF...and I've never seen them remove fat caps or trim. Simply, the boxes on a cart, then on a sink where the spray hose is.. It leads me to believe they simply rinse and drain....then to foam trays.

          1. re: fourunder

            Yeah, I don't do a lot of Flank but a friend who owns a catering co does. I have been there when he breaks a case and he doesn't do much cutting & pretty much just runs them through a needler & tosses them in a plastic tub w/marinate & then into the walkin. He gets them from Sysco/Buckhead beef but they are probably trimmed to the same specs as what Costco gets. I know the fat cap thickness for strip loins 0x1 vs 1x1 but haven't a clue with flank.

            1. re: fourunder

              I don't know about flank steak specifically, but I see the guys at my Costco doing a LOT of trimming - there are usually 5 or 6 guys cutting and trimming in the glass-walled room behind the meat cases, with garbage pails full of fat scraps.

              1. re: biondanonima

                They certainly cut steaks from larger pieces...but I doubt they are buying the Flank with the Fat Cap attached....which really only requires you to pull to strip it off. It does not make economical sense for them for that particular cut. They may even cut up Flank to make Stuffed Pin-Wheel steaks....I just don't think they butcher or trim full pieces of Flank specific.

        2. I stopped buying meat from Costco after a batch of spoiled poultry and problems returning it. My mother complains about the meat from Costco because it is usually cut too thick for her. But she still buys it because of the price.

          17 Replies
          1. re: viperlush

            I tend to think that the problems may be location dependent. The location near me has both Prime and Choice cuts with the Choice being better than most of the local butcher places. Organic chicken has been pretty good also. Sorry for your problems.

            1. re: cstumiller

              In my many years of membership and buying meat at Costco I've only had the one problem with quality. When I had more freezer space I would buy roasts, ribs and steaks there. But since it's only the two of us and we are eating less meat (rarely any beef), I stopped. And my mom freely admits that her preference for thinner cuts is because she likes her meats medium-well and that the cuts are probably perfect for those who like rare or medium rare.

            2. re: viperlush

              I've seen people return shopping carts full of condiments, burgers, hot dogs and rolls midweek.....clearly from a party they had over the weekend... and Costco took them back. I couldn't imagine why they gave you trouble for what you have described. I thought Costco had an unconditional guarantee.

              1. re: fourunder

                Bought one of those 8(?) individual packages of 5(?) chicken thighs. Immediately stuck in freezer. As I defrosted half the packages over the course of a few months (4?) all were slimy and smelled bad so I tossed. Annoyed that I was slowly tossing away over $20 of meat, I emailed to see if I could return the remaining packages. I was unsure because past the expiration date, didn't have receipt, and didn't have a remaining package w/any of the pricing info on it. They said no problem. Still had doubts so I called my store. Said no problem. Brought what I had (still frozen) and guy at the return counter first didn't want to take it (I explained my emails and phone call) and then couldn't find any record of me buying it. Another worker overheard and told him to refund the average priced package that they in the case. He ended up refunding me the amount of a similar package I bought a couple years ago (fair of him and no complaint). He ended the encounter by saying that they don't take back things past the expiration date. I've never had problems returning anything else and only had the problem once with the chicken. If I had more freezer space and if the prices were better I would still buy it.

                1. re: viperlush

                  That would have gone directly into the dogs bowls.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    Don't think much of your dogs, do you?!?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Yes, I do. My dogs are raw fed.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        It's ok to feed them spoiled meat?

                        1. re: viperlush

                          A little slime and smell isn't going to hurt them. They have different digestive tracts than humans. They have enzymes in their saliva that kill bacteria, a higher acid stomach and a shorter digestive tract than humans that is designed to be able to safely digest carrion not the kibble full of grains that are in most commercial dog foods.

                          Having said that, I don't seek out rotten meat to feed my dogs but if I find some in the fridge I have and do feed it to them. There is no reason to waste it.

                          I've been feeding raw for almost 10 years and raised my youngest dog on it from puppyhood. I get most of my meat at Costco.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            Thanks. I'll add that to my list of reasons to at least attempt to feed raw when I get a dog.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              Off topic but I have heard that a lot of "dog smell" comes from both wet & dry dog food and that a real meat diet helps eliminate that. Any truth to that from your experience?

                              1. re: Tom34

                                Well there is still the occasional methane emission if that is what you are referring to LOL. But now that you mention it it's pretty rare and only from our older dog.

                                Beside the health benefits there is convenience of never having to pick up after them in the yard ( obviously we still do when out on walks or something). Since raw meat and bones are so highly digestible for dogs they "go" less often and what comes out basically dissolves to powder within a day or two.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    Within the last six months I bought a wedge of Parm thinking it was Pecorino Romano. Within a few days I discovered my error. I went to return it as I didn't need Parm at that time. They could not have been nicer but did explain that ANY food item that's returned (not sure if this applies to canned goods) get thrown out. That they can't take the risk of the food having been tampered with. I kept the Parm. So it's different than something not being right with the product but thought I'd toss this into the discussion.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      That's true, Costco will throw out all food returns.

                      1. re: treb

                        I can see why they have to but that's so sad.

                        Is it possible, if the meat is safe but just fatty, to take it to a shelter so it's eaten? Anyone doing that could still complain to Costco as a effort to get them to rectify the problem. It would just mean taking a financial hit that could be considered a charitable contribution.

                        Seems so much more productive for people and respectful to an animal that gave up its LIFE for the meat -- however fatty and disappointing.

                        (Yes, I am an aged hippie but still….)

                        1. re: rainey

                          Maybe an individual can do that safely and responsibily. Costco, as with most large markets, have no idea how that product was stored after it's purchase and there are potentially great liability issues from doing such practices of donating previously purchased perishables that didn't come directly from them. Costco does have programs where they will donate product to shelters etc. I've had the pleasure of Costco's generosity for a shelter project I assisted on in the past.

                          1. re: rainey

                            Seems so much more productive for people and respectful to an animal that gave up its LIFE for the meat -- however fatty and disappointing.

                            If you have ever been to a buffet...you have seen how disrespectful people can be to all food....

                  3. Haven't had a membership or been to Costco in several years. Bought a hunka beef tenderloin once... maybe size of a chateau briand. Cut it into 3-4 nice size filets and they were GREAT!! Tender, tasty, as good as Omaha Steaks, and significantly less$$.

                    1. I've never heard these kinds of complaints about Costco meat and I've been a member for twenty years and was on my parents membership before that. I've never had anything but great meat from them.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rasputina

                        I have been a member for at least 15 years and I have never had quality issues with Costco products but lately, I have been with their meat(beef actually). I asked my mom if she has been having problem and the first thing she said was, you too?? Probably the location I go to...I have just emailed them and I will see if they will respond.

                        1. re: rasputina

                          I can't say I really enjoy Costco's delmonico steaks. They almost always have a bit of gristle and sometimes even border on being tough. I will still buy meat there if it will be cooked low and slow (braised). I found a local grocer who sells choice beef from Canada, and I must say that it is on par with America's prime beef! I think I've been spoiled. As far as returns, I've never, ever had a problem with Costco. Just before Christmas, we bought king crab legs, already cooked. Took them home, heated them up, and they were really terrible. They smelled strong as soon as I took them out of the plastic bag they had put them in. If I had never before eaten king crab, I would have wondered what all the fuss is over it. These were obviously quite old. Even so, we ate them. Next day, peeved about it, because of the cost, I took my invoice back to Costco, told them about it, really not expecting them to do anything but listen and, lo and behold, they returned my money; all of it! I certainly could not complain about their customer service. I sometimes wonder if stores cook an enormous amount of seafood near the holidays, not sell it all, and it is old before you get it home. Had the same situation (not with Costco) with shrimp over the holiday as well.

                        2. No. That's very different from my experience. We have always had really good quality meats from Costco.

                          Was it, by chance, Prime grade? Prime simply has more fat marbled in the muscle. And some cuts have more fat cap on the surface.

                          1. Flank has a fat cap and great marbling. I've never had a problem with any meat, fish or poultry at Costco.

                            1. Never had that problem either. In fact, I buy probably 90% of my beef at Costco because of the quality.

                              1. I buy almost all of my meat from Costco, including LOTS of flank steak. Every now and again I get one where the thinner end has a lot of fat, but it's never so bad that I would consider returning it. However, I've returned lots of other things to Costco with no issues whatsoever, so I would just freeze it and take it back, or save the label and ask for a refund the next time you're there.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  I don't buy meat at Costco, because kosher meat is not available in the Connecticut branches. Yesterday I was in Costco in Milford, CT returning an unwanted holiday gift. The woman ahead of me at the return desk, opened a bag and took out 6 steak bones and the label from the package. She told the employee that her New Year's Eve guests complained that the steak was tough and she wanted a refund. The employee merely apologized and made the refund. This is just part of what membership dollars pays for...easy no questions asked returns.

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    "This is just part of what membership dollars pays for" and also contributes to higher cost. They were so tough but they ate everything down to the bones anyway?

                                    I thought that the CSRs at my Costco told me that customers are supposed to return like 2/3s of the product for a refund.

                                    1. re: Dax

                                      I thought the same thing, only the bones??? Sort of says something doesn't it.

                                      1. re: Dax

                                        "Bones"......That struck me too. I know its different circumstances , but at a restaurant , take a couple bites and its not cooked to order your are within your rights to ask for a replacement or not pay. Eat a substantial portion & then refuse to pay you face a possible theft of services charge.

                                        I hope Costco keeps track of returns via membership ID number to curtail fraud. I am sure Bagel man wouldn't but I am sure many would.

                                  2. A person from Costco just called me personally and he seemed to be serious about the email I sent. He said he is going to inspect the whole process in the meat department and offered to give me $25 gift certificate which is nice of them.
                                    I don't know if I sound like an annoying customer from some of the replies I read here but I normally don't really complain and have not returned any food item ever to Costco.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Monica

                                      It's what I like about Costco, they will always go out of their way for the customer.

                                      1. re: treb

                                        Unlike BJ's before the Sam's purchase....they refused to ring up 7 of the same items for me on the express line....which stated six. I dropped the items on the floor and requested them to cancel and refund my membership on the spot.

                                        1. re: fourunder

                                          I used to get so frustrated at our local Sam's Club because they didn't have any express Lines. I usually only had 6 to 12 items, often expensive perishables, and would get stuck in long lines behind people with 2 & 3 carts full. Its one of the main reasons I let my membership go. I understand they added express lines but I am elsewhere now, "Restaurant Depot"......you would like it there Fourunder......more meat than even you could cook
                                          :-)