By and large, I’ve been impressed with the meat selection at Costco. We hit the bigtime here in Syracuse (more specifically, Camillus) in fall 2014 with the opening of our very own discount warehouse of goodness. I like their chicken thighs, had success with their beef briskets and pork shoulders, and made tortas with the sirloin flap steaks from a recent trip.
I’ve long been disenfranchised with Wegmans’ meat. It’s average quality at higher than average prices, and the company’s insistence on organic has driven out shelf space for some products (for instance, ground lamb and pork shoulders of less than 5 lbs.). If all were right in the world, I would buy my meat exclusively from a place like Side Hill Farmers, but that’s impractical living across town. So, I try to do as much as I can at Nichols since they have in-store butchers and everything is packed right there. If I’m going to going to buy meat in large quantities to use and freeze, which is now a possibility with my Foodsaver, I certainly will not do so at Wegmans. I’m more apt to do that at Costco.
Costco puts an emphasis on the quality of their meats, but so does everyone else: Wegmans, Nichols, Wal-Mart, among them. It’s the balance of price and quality. Check out this 2013 piece from Beef, which focuses on the warehouse store’s quality/value equation:
The reason is simple. Costco’s beef program offers beef of outstanding quality at the lowest possible price. As with its other merchandise, Costco adds only 13% to what it pays for its beef. The result is that Costco offers incredible value (quality vs. price) in its meat cases, which also include fresh pork and lamb.
So, controlled markup and quality product. It makes a lot of sense, particularly when you are comparing apples to apples. Or chuck roast to chuck roast. Speaking of which, I picked up 5 lbs. of chuck roast for about $4.50 per pound and put half of it into motion for a batch of slow-cooker barbacoa.
WHAT WORKED: The ancho pepper sauce combined with the beer brings two flavors together as the cooking liquid. Ancho chilies have heat, but the most important thing they do is add a deep smoky and earthy flavor. I used a Dogfish Head 75-Minute IPA, which is an exceptional IPA made with maple syrup and one of my favorite DFH beers. The beer leaves a residual hoppy flavor that enhances the peppers.
WHAT DIDN’T: When using your slow cooker, one must keep two things in mind: 1) The cooking insert is very hot. 2) After removing the cooking insert, remember that the metal lining of the cooker is very, very hot.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Medium
BEST FOR: A cook-ahead dinner or if you have time on a weekend day to get something going.
SERVE WITH: Tortillas and black beans for tacos or burritos, or cilantro-lime rice for something tortilla free.