How to buy better Meat

February 5, 2008 Jasmine
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tip

We just recently got a Costco member ship again. Well, it has been about 6 months now but I haven’t had one for quite a few years. Joey and I love that place, always something new and lots of great deals on stuff. We are there at least once a week, sometimes twice. Eek! That was over Christmas though.

I never pay much attention to their meats. I remember a few years ago when I had a card they looked pretty expensive. SO I usually don’t venture over there. But the other day I was already doing some shopping and needed ground beef for some chile I am going to make. It was $2.59 a lb for 12% fat. That is not a bad price. What I was surprised at was how NICE the meat looked. I know that sounds funny, but it looked so nice, I had to take a picture.

It looked REALLY fresh. Then I remembered something I had heard before. Costco sells higher quality beef. That didn’t matter to me years ago when we were really penny pinching it. Heck years ago I didn’t even care if the beef was 30% fat as long as it was on sale for .99 cents a lb, I was good.

Now things have changed and although I like to be frugal, there are things I will pay more for to get the better quality. Like buying only Real AA butter. Margarine is .50 cents to $1.00. Real butter can be up to $5.00 a lb. At that price we were using hardly any. lol But I kept looking and I can get it at Smart N Final for $2.15 a lb or so and at Costco for $1.65 a lb. We have plenty of butter now.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is $20.49 at Staters for 101 oz or so. You can buy corn oil for $3.00 for 64 oz. I get the EVOO cause it is better for us and I prefer to cut cost in other areas.

SO now I am thinking I need to rethink buying fresh meat at Costco. I did a search last night on google and came up with all kinds of links about why Costco meat is better. Basically, there are about 7 grades of meat. The best is Prime, then Choice, then Select. From what I can gather Prime is usually sold to other country’s and sold to fancy restaraunt’s.

Choice is what is normally sold at Costco. You have a small selection at the regular grocery stores too but normally they sell Select. I am going to be investigating this further and comparing prices over the next few weeks and see if it is worth it. If it is just a little bit more, it probably is worth it. Here are some links for you to check out.
pic

Grading Beef

Grades & Cuts

How to buy Meat

Interesting conversation between a customer and an employee at Costco.

Then, I asked her about any differences in the food….

She said:
“The meat! I’m kind of a meat snob, and I used to only buy ‘prime’ cuts of meat. But now I buy all my meat here. It’s not prime, but it’s ‘choice’.”

The funniest part… You’d have thought someone set this up. The guy in line behind us said: “I’m a butcher. I used to have my own shop, but now I don’t. I only buy my meat from here now. She’s right. Their meat is really a lot better here — especially if you know what to look for. I buy the larger cuts at a lower price, then cut them myself.”

…I thought that was some very valuable information! Worth the price of admission, if you ask me.

Where do you buy your beef? I normally get meat at Stater Bros. and S& F but I may just start buying at Costco as well. I am going to take a look and see.

For more tips check out Tammy’s recipes!

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Entry Filed under: beef,household,Kitchen tip Tuesday

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chelsea  |  February 5, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Thanks! I have been frequenting out Costco lately and eyeing up their meat but not sure whether or not I should buy it, I will definitely take a closer look when I am there tonight!! Normally I buy my meat at SaveOn but that is only because that is where my mom buys here and I am scared to get it from anywhere else!

  • 2. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen  |  February 5, 2008 at 10:55 am

    This is very interesting. I had heard that. I hear the same about Sam’s Club, where we have a membership.

    I buy my meat at the grocery store because we try to eat mostly organic meat. Again, like you said, it is more expensive, which just means we eat less meat. But I would rather eat less than poison my body with all the crap that is in other meat.
    So that is what I have to see – if any of these warehouse supermarkets sell organic meats.

    And I applaud you for going for EVOO and REAL butter. Natural is always gonna be better for your health.

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  • 3. Sonshine  |  February 5, 2008 at 11:01 am

    I buy the majority of my meats at Sam’s Club and then the rest of it at a local grocery store(Family Fare). The reason why I buy meats at Sam’s is for the same reasons you listed…better quality but at an affordable price. I bring the meat home and divide it into meal portions and stick it in my freezer. πŸ™‚ I like going to Sam’s in the morning when they first open so that I can get some of their discounted meats. πŸ™‚ Here about a month ago I got that same type of ground beef that you got for like $1.50/lb just because it needed to be sold that day. πŸ™‚

    Oh have you checked Costco’s prices on the Olive Oil like in a gallon jug? I get Olive Oil in the gallon jug at Sam’s for $26. I also get canola oil at Sam’s. πŸ™‚

    Oh I tried Costco for a few weeks and after shopping at Sam’s for years I decided that I would stay with shopping at Sam’s. πŸ™‚

  • 4. jasmine  |  February 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Chelsea Yeah come back and tell us what you find out! I probably won’t be going again til Friday or so.

    Check and see if it has a grade label. You can always ask the butcher too.

    I remember glancing at the chicken breast before. I think it is about $3.00 a lb, Fresh Foster Farms but I usually always get the boneless/skinless breast on sale for $2.00 a lb at Staters anyways. I don’t remember what brand though. BUT what I find so convenient is the Tyson frozen chicken breast. SMart N Final does have their “generic” a little cheaper but I noticed they shoot it full of more salt saline solution. So I think I pay about $13.00 for 5 lbs of Tyson frozen bn/sk breast at S&F. So about $2.60 a lb.

    I did notice Costco had Tyson Chicken breast, bn/sk in the freezer section It was $16.00 for 6.5 lbs. = $2.46 a lb. So cheaper than S&F. I noticed it was also wrapped individually which we don’t really need cause when I cook chicken breast I usally make alot all at once and use it to put different meals together, then freeze. That would be convenient for an instance that I was just cooking for that night though, which does happen. I almost picked some up but remembered that S.B. has the fresh on sale for $2.00 a lb and I am going to make rosemary feta chicken with grape tomatoes and olives and I need it to be fresh. Tyson also says they don’t use steroids or added hormones. That in itself is enough to buy it. next week. πŸ˜‰

    JennDZ

    I will look next time I am there. I do remember seeing organic ground beef right next to it. It was 3 lbs for $12.00, so $4.00 a lb. Not sure how much you pay in the store. I have been wanting to go organic too. I also want to go grass fed only but the price is really high. We usually try to have a few meatless meals a week. Not really for cost so much but for health. The best way to live is lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole foods and some meat and dairy. We keep processed foods to a minimum and I try to cook often from scratch. We usually keep our red meat to twice a week. Most of the time we eat chicken and some turkey. I am bad though. When my meat consumption goes down, my cheese consumption goes up! lol I need to push the vegis up more. I agree with you that it is better to have less meat but better quality.

    Thanx for the compliment on more natural food. I truly belive that is what is wrong with America. It is this fast food/processed food mentality.
    More people focus on the meat and potatoes than on the vegis and fruit.

    People need to exercise and care about their health. I still have a ways to go but I have lost 80 lbs in the last 2.5 years by really digging into and reading about health, nutrition, food and exercise. It really does make a difference.

    SOnshine

    We don’t have a Sams club up here or I am sure I would be going there as well! lol Too bad cCostco didn’t have discounte in the a.m. I have a huge freezer! πŸ˜‰ $1.50 a lb, that is great.

    You know what I was skimming down that aisle and seen something that just said OLIVE OIL. It didn’t say EVOO though. 😦 That is good that Sam’s is working out so well for you. πŸ™‚

    Thanx for stopping in ladies!

  • 5. Natalie  |  February 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I buy my meat at the Real Canadian superstore and Costco. I have found lately that the meat is better at Costco and cheaper. I buy a roast and cut it into steaks.They have bulk packs of stewing meat, which I like, because the meat is not full of fat. I can use it just the way it is. There chicken is also usually at a better price. We are a fmily of 8 and so finding good meat that can go a little further is important.

    Regards,
    Natalie.

  • 6. Judy  |  February 6, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Gotta love Costco! We also shop there once a week. I am so loving this turn that I keep reading about getting back to natural eating practices. Seems like the new up and coming trendy thing…wow I never thought I would be trendy???!!!

  • 7. jasmine  |  February 6, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Judy,

    Me either! I guess we can be part of the cool kids club now. πŸ˜‰ It is a shame with how far mankind has come, the further we get with technology and all, what we really need is to get back to the basics.

    Natalie,

    Canada? Oh man. Everything is so expensive there! And the wages aren’t much higher. Not enough to warrant that. We have 7 in our little family here. So buying in bulk is a must and having a deep freezer is a blessing!

    Ladies thank you for stopping in!

  • 8. Dangerously Delicious Rec&hellip  |  February 12, 2008 at 9:22 am

    […] last week we talked about getting better quality meat at Costco. I did check and yes indeed their beef is USDA Choice, not Select. Select is what most stores sale. […]


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