There’s two types of people in this world. Those that wander through life aimlessly looking for quality meat at a good price, and those that have discovered the wonders of Costco’s meats.
Alright, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But, ever since I discovered the wonderful world of Costco’s meats, I’ve been hooked.
But guess what.
That’s good news for you because I’ve tested firsthand what Costco has to offer and can tell you exactly what to look for.
So, for all you lamb-lovers out there, here’s everything you need to know about Costco Lamb Legs, from the types they sell, to how much they cost compared to other suppliers, what to look for, and how to best cook them.
Being a large wholesaler, Costco does provide a fair bit of variety in its selection of lamb legs.
Really, there are a few notable differences between brands and qualities. But the main differentiator in the lamb legs offered by Costco is bone-in lamb legs vs. boneless lamb legs.
Bone-In Lamb Leg From Costco
As a generalization, a bone-in lamb leg will often take longer to cook, but have a more savory flavor.
Bone-in lamb legs also hold their moisture and dry out less easily. As you can imagine they are also a fair bit larger than boneless lamb legs too.
Because of these qualities, bone-in lamb legs are best roasted in the oven or smoked in a smoker.
Costco offers a few different brands, but we tested the most popular and common variety, the New Zealand Spring Lamb Legs.
Boneless Lamb Leg From Costco
Boneless lamb legs are just as popular as bone-in, being faster to cook and offer more options in terms of how you can cook them – from the instant pot to the oven, to the smoker, to the spitroast.
By far the most common and most popular option of boneless lamb legs from Costco is the Kirkland Signature Boneless Lamb Leg.
How Much Does Costco Lamb Leg Cost?
The price of Costco’s leg of lamb can vary considerably depending on the type you get, which state you’re in, and whether it’s on special or not.
However, what you’ll find is:
- New Zealand Spring Bone-In Lamb Legs, which are pasture-raised and grass-fed, cost $6.49 per pound.
- Kirkland Signature Boneless Lamb Leg comes out to be $7.59 per pound. Although it’s a touch more expensive since it’s boneless you’re not paying for any of the bone!
- Costco also offers a Grass-Fed New Zealand Lamb Premium Selection, which includes one boneless lamb leg, 4 frenched racks, and 8 loin chops, for $114.99
How Does Costco’s Lamb Leg Price Compare?
So it all sounds well and good, but how does Costco’s price of lamb leg stack up against other competitors in the market?
Well, if we take boneless lamb legs for example:
- Costco: $7.59 per pound (Kirkland)
- Walmart: $8.74 per pound (Marketside Butcher)
- Kroger: $8.49 per pound (Simple Truth)
- Other Local Groceries: $8.00-$10 per pound
Is Costco Lamb Leg Good Quality?
Here at GrillSimply, we’ve heard it all. From organic, grass-fed, hand-fed, Angus, Wagyu, dry-aged, the works.
Without going crazy or getting too pedantic, here’s why we considered Costco lamb leg to be a solid 9/10, high-quality meat.
- They’re Grass Fed
- No Additives
- Premium Grade
- Raised Ethically
When you grass-feed lambs, they tend to have higher Omega-3 fatty acids, which results in a healthier product.
It’s because they’re “healthy fats” that lower your triglycerides. If you have high amounts of the latter, you may be at risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, the meat becomes more nutritious because it contains vitamins A, B, and E, which are excellent antioxidants.
When it comes to the taste and texture, grass-fed lamb is a lot leaner and has a good distribution of collagen (connective tissue).
When cooked low and slow like when roasted or smoked, it provides a more desirable mouthfeel and a much more tender and juicy result.
Costco claims their lamb products don’t receive any kind of additives, antibiotics, or hormones. Although additives are used to help preserve and stabilize the meat’s color and flavor it’s obvious they’re not good for us.
Since Costco’s lamb legs don’t have additives, they have a more natural flavor and they’re safer to consume.
By now you may or may not be familiar with meat’s standard grading system of quality. In beef, it normally ranges from select, to choice, to prime – being the top grade.
The level of grading is determined by the overall quality of the meat, including fat content, marbling, grains, and color.
All of Costco’s lamb legs are of premium quality, helping with the overall flavor, tenderness, juiciness, and texture of the meat.
Whether you’re entirely concerned with how ethically raised the animals are or not, you have to agree that it’s always better knowing animals are taken care of as much as possible in the farming process.
Costco has an entire animal welfare program, as well as also supporting the Five Freedoms of Animal Well-Being.
What to Look For In Costco Lamb Leg
Now, as we know, just because the packaging looks the same, doesn’t mean the meat inside is all of equal quality, no sir-ee.
So, before choosing your Costco lamb leg you should examine the meat to ensure you’re getting your every penny’s worth.
Here are the main factors to look out for:
As discussed, the type of lamb leg you choose will have a pretty major impact on how you can cook it, how long it’s going to take, and the overall result too.
Bone-in lamb legs have a more intense lamb taste. It’s all thanks to the flavors of the marrow and bone that seep their way into the meat as it’s cooked.
However, the downside of having the shank bone still attached is the increase in cooking time and difficulty in slicing and carving the meat.
On the other hand, boneless lamb leg is easier to slice and carve because there’s no obstruction. Further, it roasts and grills more quicker. And fits more easily into an instant pot or slow cooker.
Of course, the downside is that boneless lamb legs can more easily dry out and become tough!
When it comes to lamb legs, bigger doesn’t always mean better.
But, what you should be 100% sure of is that you’re getting a big enough lamb leg to serve all your guests.
Usually, you want to aim for half a pound of raw weight per person if it’s boneless, or more like 0.6 pounds of raw weight if it’s bone-in.
This individual measure of lamb per person accounts for the lamb losing up to 20-30% of its weight during the cook too.
There are a few pretty easy ways to gauge the freshness of the lamb leg.
The first is by looking at the color of the meat. Fresh lamb should have a distinct pinkness to the meat, with a creamy-white fat cap and marbling.
If the meat develops a darker brownish tint or a murky grey fat then it’s likely losing its freshness.
It’s also important to note that Costco’s lamb legs might not be as fresh as can be, as most of the time they are coming from different countries – like Australia and New Zealand.
In these cases, it’s likely that flash-frozen lamb is being shipped to butchers here across the United States, then processed and packaged from there.
Quick Tip: Another quick way to ensure you’re getting the freshest lamb Costco has to offer is to check the expiry date of the meat. If you know you’re not cooking the lamb immediately, choose a lamb leg with the furthest away expiry date!
How To Cook A Costco Leg Of Lamb
Alright, so you’ve got your lamb leg from Costco. Now what?
Well, the choice is now up to you on how you want to prepare this glorious centerpiece.
Regardless of whether you’ve chosen a bone-in or boneless lamb leg, here are your options:
Smoking Costco Lamb Leg
My personal favorite, smoking a lamb leg from Costco.
Keeping it rather simple, you can smoke a Costco lamb leg by:
- First make small slits in the fat cap of the lamb, about 2 inches from one another.
- Then insert some sprigs of thyme and garlic cloves into the fat itself.
- Get your smoker preheated to 275°F. Use hickory for a strong smoke or apply for a subtle smoke, both are great smoking woods for lamb.
- Rub your lamb leg with oil or butter, and season with salt or pepper, or your favorite lamb rub.
- Once your smoker is up to temp, start smoking your lamb until it reaches 160°F in the deepest parts for a nice medium doneness.
- Rest your lamb for 15-20 minutes, carve, and serve!
Decadent, subtly smokey, and incredibly juicy. Is there anything that beats a perfectly cooked smoked lamb leg?
Roasting Costco Lamb Leg
Time for the classical approach: the finest roast lamb leg feast.
Again, you can jazz things up if you like, but sometimes the simplest approach gets the best and most reliable outcome.
You can roast your Costco lamb leg in the oven by:
- Ensure your lamb leg is adequately thawed.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- (Optionally) make slits in the fat cap of the lamb and insert sprigs of thyme and garlic cloves for an ultimate aromatic experience.
- Apply a thin layer of oil to your lamb leg and apply your favorite spice mix or simply salt and pepper.
- Oven bake until it’s reached your desired temperature (but at least 145°F for food safety)
- Rest for 20-30 minutes, carve it up nicely, and get ready to serve!
Easy, delicious, and failsafe – every time!
So after testing Costco’s bone-in lamb leg, we are confident in giving it a 9/10 for quality, and 10/10 for taste (because I cooked it!).
We opted to smoke Costco’s lamb leg, but have roasted them in the past, and even made pulled lamb from a Costco lamb leg too!
Remember, bone-in vs. boneless makes a huge difference, and always seek out the freshest product you can.
Luckily, at Costco, you know you’re getting top-quality lamb leg at one of the most competitive prices in the market.