One rule to live by: Never settle for subpar meat.
I’m always on the prowl for a quality cut, but I’m not always looking to spend the big bucks.
Meet my old friend, Costco.
Although we’ve been pretty impressed with Costco’s meat quality, we had to put Costco corned beef to the test.
Here’s everything you need to know before buying Costco corned beef, including the different types Costco sells, what they cost compared to other retailers in the market, and whether Costco corned beef is good quality.
Corned beef can come in many shapes and sizes, tastes and textures, and from freshly brined to canned.
But, when it comes to Costco, they really only provide three notably different types of corned beef.
These are corned beef round, corned beef brisket, and canned corned beef.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll be getting from each product.
Costco’s Corned Beef Round
The first thing to know is that beef round is naturally lean, and can dry out more easily than fattier cuts.
But, when prepared correctly, corned beef round delivers a truly great texture and a beefy savoriness that feels almost unrivaled.
When it comes to Costco, the most common corned beef round you find is the Shenson brand, Premium Butcher’s cut – which comes from the rump of the cow.
Shenson’s Corned Beef Round is a delectable piece of corned beef, complete with its own dank spice seasoning to further flavor the meat over the cooking process.
So long as you cook Costsco corned beef round in a bit of liquid, you’ll be blessed with a tender, juicy, and decadent corned beef.
Costco’s Corned Beef Brisket
Corned beef brisket is much fattier by nature, and requires a bit more slow cooking for the tenderness to come right.
One common finding is that they either have too much fat, or not enough!
There are a few corned beef briskets that pop up from time to time at different Costcos, from the famous Paddy O’Neil’s corned beef brisket to Shensons corned beef brisket.
Corned beef brisket from Costco is certainly a good close second to Costcos’ corned beef round.
Costco’s Canned Corned Beef
In our humble opinion, Costco canned corned beef doesn’t quite live up to the quality and taste of the fresher variety.
The texture is “faker” and the taste is much duller.
However, there is a time and a place for canned corned beef, and the Hereford or Bill Baileys brand is pretty good, considering it’s canned!
Is Costco Corned Beef Good Quality?
So, does Costco corned beef pass the test in terms of quality?
It’s quite clear that Costco corned beef is sourced from some of the best butchers around, both locally and across the country.
Although it’s not luxurious by any means, Costco corned beef is tasty, tender, and inexpensive – no matter what type you’re buying.
Costco is able to keep its prices low through bulk buying and wholesaling, but their focus is still on quality and freshness.
Best of both worlds, I reckon.
Price Of Corned Beef From Costco
They say you can’t put a price on happiness, and corned beef certainly leads to happiness.
But, I say if you can get the same quality of meat for less, well, I know which one I’d be picking up.
Luckily, fresh (not canned) corned beef from Costco doesn’t come with a premium price tag, and even without mega sales you’ll be able to pick up a piece of corned beef for under $5 a pound.
Costco corned beef averages between $3.60 per pound (sale price) and $4.79 per pound (regular price), which is a fair price for quality corned beef.
However, these prices may vary depending on your state, the time of year, and the exact corned beef you’re looking at.
How Does The Price Compare To Other Retailers?
Sure, Costco’s known for it’s competitive prices, but how does it actually stack up in the market?
Well, we went from store to store looking at the general prices of fresh corned beef products, excluding any canned varieties.
We ignored any specific sales, and looked at the normal advertised price of fresh corned beef:
- Costco: $4.79 per pound up to $5.99 per pound.
- Walmart: $5.89 per pound up to $7.99 per pound.
- Safeway Grocery: Averages from $7.99 to $10.99 per pound.
- Kroger: Averaging between $6.99 and $9.99 per pound.
Disclaimer: These prices can vary between stores, states, quality of corned beef, and more. But, in general, they give a good representation of cost amongst retailers.
What To Look For When Buying Costco Corned Beef
When you’re on the prowl for good corned beef, you don’t want to just go with any old hunk of meat, no, no.
Instead, when you shop around in Costco for corned beef, there are a few particular qualities you should look for in order to find the best cut of the lot.
These include spotting a quality cut, checking the weight and size, and gauging the freshness.
A Quality Cut
The best quality cut of corned beef will have a nice reddish pinkish tinge, with some clear white marbling throughout.
Don’t be concerned if you see a bit of a fat cap, it’s not necessarily a bad thing so long as it’s not too thick.
The meat should feel a little firm, enough so that you can press into it, without it feeling squishy.
Look for a nice uniform cut and avoid any that are wild shapes.
Weight, Size, & Shape
Picking the right weight and size are more important than you think.
Sure, it’s vital to pick a big enough cut to feed everyone you plan to cook for.
But, the weight, size, and shape also affect how it cooks and how fast it cooks.
If you’re cooking for a crowd, be sure to get at least half a pound of raw weight per person you plan to serve!
There are a few ways to determine freshness when it comes to Costco meats.
The easiest way to see the freshness is to look at the sell-by date. It should have at least a few weeks in it for it to be considered “fresh”, especially considering it’s corned beef and has been cured.
Then, look at the color of the cut.
Fresh beef should be red, or pink after the corning process.
If it looks at all grey or brown, then it’s likely not fresh and it’s probably worth reporting in all honestly.
How To Cook Costco Corned Beef
Although many different corned beefs have slightly different cooking instructions, there’s no denying that slow-cooking corned beef is the way to go.
Putting aside any differences between spice packets, brines, or seasonings that your corned beef may come with, here’s a failsafe way to cook your Costco corned beef:
- Get yourself a big ole’ pot, deep enough to hold the whole corned beef.
- Add the spice packets, seasonings, water, and your favorite beer (optional – but totally awesome) covering the whole piece of meat.
- Gently simmer your corned beef for between 2 – 4 hours, depending on the size and shape of your corned beef.
- Once your corned beef starts probing like butter (you can test tenderness with a fork or long skewer) it’s time to remove it from the pot.
- Let your corned beef rest and cool for 10 – 20 minutes, then start carving it up.
- Serve with cabbage and mashed potato for a classic dish, or pair it with your favorite veggies and sides. I ain’t judgin’.
Costco’s gone and done it again.
I wholeheartedly give GrillSimply’s seal of approval to Costco’s corned beef varieties, particularly fresh corned beef round or corned beef brisket.
It’s approaching a premium product, with one of the most reasonable price tags out there.
Sure, quality can differ between the brands and providers of corned beef. But as a whole, Costco’s corned beef is one of my favorites!