Can you buy pork shoulder at Costco? Yes.
The meat cut is definitely on the available list from the store, along with dozens of other cuts as well as far larger pieces of meat that you won’t find in a typical grocery store meat section or butcher.
The reason being, Costco is a warehouse distributor first.
It stocks and moves large bulk goods and food products to smaller businesses that need that kind of warehouse support.
The beauty of the store is that it makes the same inventory available to the consumer if you are willing to buy in the quantities that the store sells.
So, you’re not going to get a plateful of pork shoulder, you’re going to get a 8-member family cut of the meat.
In other words, plan for storage until you’re ready to cook.
Does Costco Sell Bone in Shoulder?
Again, short answer: yes. The Bone in option is definitely available at the store, and many folks rely on Costco specifically for this purpose.
Grocery stores tend to cut their meat down to dish-sized servings.
That often means getting rid of the pork shoulder bone to size the selling package to a smaller container set and product offering in the store.
Granted, you may be able to make a special request with the local grocery store butcher or a specialty butcher shop nearby, but the standard packaging doesn’t usually include the bone.
What’s the Difference Between Bone in and Bone Out Pork Shoulder?
Pork shoulder gives a consumer a wonderful combination of benefits.
First, it’s great-tasting and juicy when cooked right.
Second, it’s darn right affordable for a big family meal without breaking the bank.
The same can’t be said for beef tri tip cuts, for example.
The meat cut itself originates from a pig’s shoulder area, and it comes with either the bone included or not.
It also comes with a lot of fat, which adds flavor and juices as well as some tendon etc., depending on the butcher’s trimming.
All of this mix comes into play when the meat is cooked slowly instead of fast, causing the fat and similar to melt off and infuse the meat with the related liquids.
And that in turn makes for a great-tasting meal.
Bone in versus bone out affects the taste of pork shoulder as it is cooked.
The marrow in the bone has a lot of protein and fat, which cooks and leaks out into the surrounding meat.
That in turn changes the flavor as well. Without the bone, that additional taste factor doesn’t occur.
Some will argue there’s no difference because the fat already in the meat overwhelms anything else when cooked.
Others will argue the opposite.
It boils down to personal taste.
Folks are definitely advised to try both types of cooking pork shoulder if possible, since personal experience tends to be the best teacher.
Is Costco Pork Shoulder Good Quality?
Hands down, the quality of Costco’s meat products is premium and cooks wonderfully.
In many cases, the cuts and grades are better than what one finds at a typical grocery store because the meats are in larger sizes, fresher, and haven’t been stored as long in smaller sizes.
Additionally, Costco meats have less cutting and exposure to tools, which cuts down on bacteria and additional contamination along the way while being processed.
However, even if a customer ends up with a bad batch, which can happen with any food product and manufacturer, Costco’s return policy is top notch.
With a receipt and membership proof, they will take the return without argument and put you back to status quo.
Oftentimes, customers can choose between either getting the value back as a gift card for a future purchase or as a return of payment, either cash or a credit card refund.
What’s a Good Price for Pork Shoulder?
Generally, $1.99/lb. tends to be a common price one will see for pork shoulder at Costco.
Keep in mind, while this is higher than grocery store prices which, discounted, can be as low as $1.50 to $1/lb., the quality difference of the meat sold is very noticeable and different, as well as the cut size.
So, if you’re penny-pinching and cooking a small meal, then by all means save a few dollars and focus on what’s offered at your local grocery store.
But if you’re looking to really make a big bang for a meal and serve a lot of folks, then obviously a bigger package at Costco with their quality meats is going to make far more sense.
Remember, if you’re preparing a big meal, there’s a lot of other items and foods you will need to finish out the meal as well as provide for guests.
The beauty of Costco is that everything you need to serve a big group is in the same location as the pork shoulder.
And that actually saves you money as well instead of spending it on fuel running around or buying the other goods in smaller packages at higher prices.
Put it all together, and a big meal shopping trip at Costco can save a considerable amount of money, even if the meat price is slightly higher than a grocery store’s offering.