Are you thinking about buying brisket at Costco? So, you’ve finally decided to make your best purchase of beef brisket at Costco! It can be unforgettable if you follow a few most valuable tips.
Alas, I had a lot of trouble buying the right brisket at Costco. Why? I didn’t know certain things about a brisket and Costco brisket that could help me have mine.
Finally, after learning about Costco brisket, I now get the best brisket at Costco. You can also, indeed… To help, I’ll be sharing my findings on Costco briskets.
Let’s get started….
1. Brisket grades available at Costco are only a few.
Though there are many grades of beef, as a customer, you’ll come across any, from prime brisket to wagyu beef brisket. You should know about each one to make a well-informed decision.
First, we have the Prime grade brisket, and according to USDA and the Canadian grading system, prime is the highest grade of beef. The prime cut comes with much more marbling than beef grades. It’s also softer than the other grades.
At Costco, mixing them up with choice grades is easy, so you should always look at the side for the USDA stamp. Unfortunately, the highest grade is also more expensive than the other grades.
USDA does not grade Wagyu brisket. It’s from a breed of cow in Japan, and a different grading system is used for it. It’s also known as American Kobe beef.
The Kobe Wagyu brisket is marbled well, but it’s expensive compared to other briskets. Besides the cost, you also have to pay the shipping fee for it. It’s worth it, thanks to the incredibly flavourful and soft meat.
Some people even rate it above the prime brisket, but this grading is highly unreliable. Plus, Wagyu brisket is not famous as it’s also more challenging to cook. Thus people go for prime briskets.
Select Grade Brisket
The SELECT brisket grade is the second-lowest grade of meat at Costco. It has the lowest fat because of which this meat is firm. If you buy it and want to cook it, we suggest you dip it in some brine to achieve more tender and moist meat.
However, if you’re smoking for a competition, it’s better to go with Prime/ Wagyu brisket as you don’t want to end up with dry meat. To your goodness, being low grade, it’s not in demand; therefore, you might not find it at Costco commonly.
Choice Grade Brisket
Choice grade brisket is one of the most common brisket grades that you’ll come across at Costco. It has a small amount of marbling, but it’s more than the select-grade brisket. If you go to Costco, you’ll come across different choice grades, but they’re not all the same.
You must consider their size, marbling, and thickness when selecting them. It’s used in most competitions, which speaks for its quality, but you should still inject the barbecue brisket to ensure it stays moist.
Certified Angus Brisket
The beef briskets with this grade are highly juicy and tender, but only a few highest grade USDA Choice and Prime beef are sold with this label. At Costco, you need not search for this brisket, for you can better find the Prime brisket.
2. Costco’s labeling system determines the brisket quality.
As you already know, Costco sells different grades of meat; they’re labeled as follows so that you don’t buy the wrong one,
- USDA Prime Commodity Beef Brisket
- USDA Choice Commodity Brisket
- USDA Select Commodity Brisket
They also label the other ones similarly.
3. Costco brisket sizes are limited but pretty standard.
Most people shopping for briskets at Costco assume that the bigger the brisket is, the better it is, but that’s not true. The top contributor to the weight of the brisket is the fat, and more fat doesn’t mean more quality.
Lengthier and larger briskets sometimes have a flat ending in narrow strips of meat, which isn’t good. You want to make decent slides, so this flat type isn’t a good thing. Thus a shorter brisket can be better, but you should observe the end of the piece to figure out the thickness.
The thicker the meat is at the end, the better it will be for you! So, look for a brisket with the thickest flat that you can find! The sweet spot is between 14-18 pounds.
For your convenience, Costco is also selling the smallest brisket of 8 pounds, medium as 14 pounds and the largest brisket of 18 pounds range.
Among these you get:
- USDA Choice Commodity Beef Brisket with 18 lb weight on average
- USDA Choice Beef Brisket Flat with 8 lb weight on average
- USDA Prime Commodity Beef Brisket with 14 lb weight on average
4. The Costco brisket prices are a great attraction!
The prices of briskets are always fluctuating. You’ll pay for a brisket depending on the basic per-pound price and the brisket type. Now, in 2023
- The Choice brisket will cost you about 3.34$ per pound
- while the Prime brisket will cost you 3.64$ per pound.
While the prices were high in 2022: the Choice brisket was about 3.94$ per pound, while the Prime brisket was 4.94$ per pound. Thus, in the summer of 2023, the prices are lower than last year.
The best way to compare the prices at Costco is to relate them to grocery stores. As Costco sells briskets at wholesale prices, you can buy Prime brisket at Costco for about 20% less than a Choice or Select brisket at a local grocery store! While some online meat and grocery stores can cost you as much as 2X. That’s a huge difference!
5. What Costco Brisket You Should Avoid?
Let your low-consumption needs not tempt you. The low-weight brisket at Costco, e.g., 8 pounds, can actually be the flat brisket. With minimum fat, fewer juices, and a low flavor profile, this brisket can be a nice choice for preparing meatloaf but not smoking, grilling, or cooking a brisket in the oven.
6. Then, What brisket should you Pick?
If you don’t mind paying a few extra bucks for the taste deal, prime brisket is the best one. Its higher marbling will incorporate the proteins and serve you with the tastiest bites. It can win you a competition winner title, indeed, among your dear ones.
7. What size of Costco brisket should you pick?
Keeping the above-mentioned points in view, skip the 8-pound brisket, and you’ll be left with two options only: USD prime and USD Choice brisket. Among these, the Prime brisket is available in 14lb weight, which is ideal for smoking a brisket in any smoker.
What different parts of brisket you can observe to determine the brisket quality?
After you open up your store-bought brisket, you’ll notice the different parts; let’s look at each to help you make a better choice.
The point cut of your brisket is rounded, small, and just a few inches thick. This part of the brisket overlaps the flat cut and is made of pectoralis superficial muscles. The point cut and the flat cut are separated by the thick connective tissue known as the deckle.
This cut has more fat and cooks up to be super juicy and moist. It’s hard to cook because the thickness varies from half an inch to a few inches. The more marbling there is, the higher in quality it will be.
You can see the deckle pretty clearly in an untrimmed brisket as it lies between the point cut and the flat. It’s a big swirl of fat. If you want your brisket to lay flatter on the smoker, you’ll need to trim this part away. By doing this, you’ll cook your brisket more evenly.
When buying brisket at Costco, you’ll see the deckle has already been trimmed away, but if you come across a deckle, remember to trim it away!
When you open up your brisket, you’ll notice that one end has a square edge, thinner and flatter than the other end; this is the flat cut. The flat cut comes from the deep pectoral muscle of the cow.
It’s one of the most common cuts at Costco. This part is more significant than the point cut and makes up most of the brisket. As it cooks quickly, it’s also pretty popular among chefs. It’s also easier to cut out slices without hassle.
As the flat cut is thinner and, well, flat, it reaches the required internal temperature sooner. That’s great, but you’ll have to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook.
One side of the brisket is covered with a deep layer of fat. It’s about one inch thick and covers it from the point to the flat. It has soft and hard fat; soft fat melts when cooking, while hard fat doesn’t.
Both types of fat are suitable for moistness, but you shouldn’t leave them like that; trim the fat cap between ¼ and ⅛ inch and get rid of the extra hard fat at the point cut. This thickness is enough to keep your brisket tender and moist.
Can you buy a flat or point brisket?
If you’re too lazy to get a whole brisket and later trim and cut away at the parts, or when insane prices are driving you away, you might think to buy either the flat or point brisket instead of the whole thing.
Unfortunately, flat or point briskets are not available in the meat section at Costco, but you can get them in the pre-cooked refrigerated section! The smoked brisket slices are actually pretty good and might be valuable for your money.
With so many aspects to consider when buying a brisket atCostco, it’s no wonder many people fail to buy the correct one! But we hope that after reading through this article, you’ll be able to make a well-informed choice on the grade, thickness, and cut of the meat.
Bonus Info- Costco Brisket Also Wins in Taste!
Finally, when you’re about to fall in love with Costco brisket, know that Costco brisket is more delicious when compared with Walmart briskets. So, it can take your romance with your brisket bites to the next level…
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