Photo: Jennifer Causey

Costco is a mecca of all things holiday. From inflatable snowmen families to red wine by the case, if you need it for the holidays, Costco has it. But the discount mega store also has another very important item you should be buying for your holiday dinner: beef tenderloin. We shopped major grocery stores to find the best prices, and Costco wins. We'll tell you how much you can save and where else you can look for good deals on the big holiday meat purchases.

December 16, 2016

I had never been inside a Costco when our Executive Editor Ann Taylor Pittman introduced me to the mega store last week. As a one-person household, I rarely have a need for 5 gallons of any consumable at one time (unless we're talking wine, of course), but Ann, and a few other Costco fans on the Cooking Light staff, tried to convince me that the membership price was worth paying because of the deals on food, specifically meat. Unconvinced, I agreed to the field trip. Specifically, I wanted to see if I could land a better deal on beef tenderloin than the hefty price tag I paid last year for my family's dinner.

Costco Beats Everyone's Beef Tenderloin Prices

It turns out, if you're in the market for a beef tenderloin for your Christmas dinner, Costco is the only place you should go. Their beef tenderloins come at two price points: $10.99/lb and $19.99/lb. The less expensive option nets you a a piece of U.S.D.A Choice beef that is between 5 and 9 pounds and untrimmed. That means you will still need to trim the meat of its fat and silver skin. If you'd rather an experienced butcher do that, you can pay $19.99/lb. This gets you a "peeled" beef tenderloin of USDA Choice (look for the word on the price marker).

To make certain of the big price savings, I also shopped three more national grocery stores. The price points:
Whole Foods: $19.99/lb for untrimmed beef tenderloin, $29.99/lb for trimmed beef tenderloin
Fresh Market: $15.99/lb for untrimmed "Premium Choice" beef tenderloin, $19.99/lb for untrimmed USDA Prime beef tenderloin
Wal-Mart: $15.99/lb for untrimmed beef tenderloin

I did stop at a local grocery store, Publix, which is a common store throughout the southeast and east coast.* Their untrimmed beef tenderloin is available at $13.99/lb, but their butchers will trim the meat for you without extra charge. That's a sweet deal if you can find it.

If beef tenderloin is on your family's menu for this holiday, be sure to swing by Costco for the meat, if nothing else. They also have great deals on fresh fruits and vegetables and cheeses for a holiday cheese board, so look around. Just don't skip the beef. Then, when it's time to cook, make sure you follow our step-by-step for the ultimate beef tenderloin. When you invest in a quality piece of beef, you need to treat it with respect in order to get the best flavor and texture. We can show you how.

*Cooking Light's offices are in Birmingham, Alabama, so prices may be different for your community. Before you buy, check with your local stores to confirm prices.