After talking about the choice Vs Prime steaks at Costco on another thread I decided the only real way to get to the bottom of this was to do SxS tests. I'm starting with Top Sirloin steaks and will follow up with Rib Eyes and NY strips in the future. I also mentioned that the meat cutters seem to really hack up the meat in our area. We have some thing like eight Costco's in our area and I frequent four on a fairly regular basis so this is not a single unit issue. I'll post photos of the poor cuts as well.
I spoke to a meat cutter who indicated that all of the Prime beef Costco is getting is imported from Mexico and graded in the USA and this is how they are allowed to use the USDA Prime rating. I searched through a stack of packages and could not find any Prime Top Sirloin with a USDA inspectors roll stamp. I picked the best package of both the prime and choice I could find. When I show the SxS comparisons they will be of the best steak from each package. Sadly the prime steaks were cut even more poorly than the choice. Both packages were roughly the same weight. Choice was $3.49 a pound Vs $4.99 for prime.
I did a tasting with three others. Three agreed that the choice had a better flavor or was "beefier". Every one agreed the Prime was more tender. When I told every one that the Primes were roughly $6 more for the package every one agreed the Choice was the better buy.
I want to be clear that we only tested a few steaks from one store and while this is subjective my hope is that it is better than no direct comparison at all.
Lets start with a shot of what a properly cut Top Sirloin should look like.
The first image is NOT Costco meat.