In my pursuit of amazing meats for my grills and smokers I decided to see what my local Costco could offer in terms of Wagyu beef.
It turns out that Costco has three levels of Wagyu available but they need to be purchased online as they usually are not available in the stores. You will occasionally find some fresh Wagyu in some stores but it is not a product that I recommend.
Let’s take a look at these different Costco options and, since you have to order them online, if there are better online alternatives.
The three types of Wagyu sold by Costco are:
- A5 Wagyu Imported from Japan
- American Raised Wagyu and Black Angus Cross Breed
- American Raised Full Blood Wagyu
Imported Costco A5 Wagyu
Costco has a supply of A5 wagyu that is imported from the Kagoshima prefecture of Japan by Authentic Wagyu, LLC. The breed of cattle is Kuroge, also known as Japanese Black, which is the same breed raised for the majority of Wagyu in Japan including that from the Kobe prefecture.
Every five years Japan holds a “Beef Olympics” to select the best beef in the country and the latest winner (2017 Olympics) was Kagoshima Black Beef. So, if you are looking for the serious hard core best A5 Wagyu that you can buy, then Costco can hook you up!
A5 Wagyu Price at Costco
On average A5 Wagyu will cost you about $100 per pound.
Costco currently offers a 12 pound boneless A5 Ribeye Roast for $949. This comes out to a cost of $79 per pound and is the best value that I have seen for A5 Wagyu. As a reference point, online meat retailer D’Artagnan sells an 11 pound boneless A5 Ribeye Roast for $1,499.
I have seen some people finding “two packs” of A5 strip steaks in the freezer section of Costco that are priced at $99.99. I am actually happy that the Costco in Baton Rouge does not sell these in the warehouse so I will not be tempted to spend the money!
Here is the current (2021) price list of A5 Wagyu from Costco (Online order, delivery included)
- A5 Boneless Ribeye Roast (12 lbs) = $949
- A5 Boneless New York Strip Roast (11 lbs) = $899
- A5 Tenderloin Roast (6 lbs) = $749
- A5 Filet Mignon Steaks (3 lbs) = $629
- A5 Brisket (10 lbs) = $599
- A5 Texas Clod Heart Roast (7 lbs) = $499
- A5 Striploin Roast (6 lbs) = $499
- A5 Top Sirloin Medallions (4 lbs) = $449
- A5 New York Strip Steaks (3 lbs) = $449
- A5 Flat Iron Steaks (4 lbs) = $399
- A5 Ground Beef (8 lbs) = $199
- A5 Strip Loin Shabu Shabu Slices (2 lbs) = $189
American Wagyu Black Angus Cross at Costco
Costco offers a lower grade of “Wagyu” beef that is sourced through D’Artagnan.
This beef is raised in the United States and is a cross between Japanese Wagyu (yes, I know that phrase is redundant) and American Black Angus. The percentage of genetics from each breed is not disclosed.
This cross breed is becoming more common in this country and is usually marketed as “American Wagyu”.
American Wagyu is significantly less expensive than imported A5 Wagyu. As an example, Costco offers an American Wagyu 12 pound boneless ribeye roast at a price of $499 which is half as much as the A5 product.
Is American Wagyu Beef as Good as A5 Wagyu?
I am going to give you a mixed answer on this.
Let me start by saying that I have had American Wagyu steaks several times and they were magnificent. If you buy American Wagyu you will be getting some seriously high quality beef.
That being said, there is really no comparison between the two grades. A5 Wagyu is a completely unique product. If what you LOVE is A5 then American Wagyu is not an acceptable substitute.
But here is the thing…A5 Wagyu is such a unique product that many Americans are very disappointed when they try it. The extreme marbling, and diverse fat profiles, creates a flavor and texture that is not anything like your traditional ribeye steak. If what you LOVE is a USDA Choice grilled ribeye then it is not a guarantee that you will enjoy A5 beef.
Beware of American Wagyu in the Fresh Meat Section!
Every now and then some Costco stores will carry fresh American Wagyu in their meat counters. It pains me to say this but you do NOT want to buy this meat.
At first glance these look like beautiful steaks. Upon closer inspection of the label you will see that these steaks have been “Blade Tenderized” and as a result should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. This is the exact same thing that Costco does with tri-tips, flap steaks and many of there other steaks.
It is absolutely insane that Costco would ruin such an amazing piece of meat with blade tenderization.
FYI…blade tenderization is the process of poking the steak with a bunch of needles to break up the meat fibers and make it more tender. The process of poking holes in the meat takes any bacteria that might be on the surface and pushed it to the interior of the meat. The increased bacterial load inside the meat is why it must be overcooked to be safe to consume.
American Raised Full Blood Wagyu
This is an interesting option that has me scratching my head a little.
Costco is selling a 41 pound “Locker Pack” of Wagyu for $1,999. This works out to a cost of $48 per pound which is only slightly more expensive than the Wagyu/Angus cross.
The beef is raised in Washington state and is from the same company, Authentic Wagyu, LLC, that imports Costco’s A5 product from Japan. The company says:
- “Authentic Wagyu never combines Wagyu genetics with U.S. Angus or any other bovine that is not 100% Fullblood Wagyu.”
- “Authentic Wagyu’s 100% Fullblood Wagyu is as close to Japanese A5 Wagyu as you can find.”
The content of the Locker Pack includes:
- 8x – 20 oz Rib-Eye – 10 lbs
- 8x – 20 oz CC NY Strips – 10 lbs
- 2x – 8 oz Hanger Steaks – 1 lbs
- 4x – 8 oz CC top sirloins – 2 lbs
- 6x – 8 oz tri-tips – 3 lbs
- 2x 8oz Fillet Mignons-1lb
- 1x Brisket flat deckel off – 10+ lbs
- 8x – 8 oz ground beef patties – 4 lbs 80% Lean 20% Fat
I have not tried the beef from this company but here is the link to the Locker Pack on Costco if you want to check them out.
Alternative Online Suppliers of Wagyu Beef
There are other online retailers of both A5 Wagyu and American Wagyu that you may want to consider before buying from Costco. Let’s take a look at two different options. By the way, there are affiliate links in the sections below.
A5 Wagyu From Meat n Bones
Meat n Bones is on online meat retailer that has a supply of A5 Wagyu from the Miyazaki prefecture. This is the beef that won the Japanese Beef Olympics in 2007, 2012 and was runner up in 2017.
I like Meat n Bones because they have a wide selection of steaks to choose from including picanha, sirloins, baseball, ribeyes, etc.
American Wagyu From Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms (SRF) is the brand that really popularized the concept of American Wagyu. They have a strong wholesale operation and sell to many of the top steakhouses in the country.
I have bought from SRF and have always been delighted with the meat.