Woman talking(L+r), Costco(c)

Jujumin Chu/Shutterstock @jesspryles/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Blade tenderizing ribeye is a crime’: Expert explains why you shouldn’t be eating steak from Costco rare

‘I’d rather die than eat a steak that’s above medium rare.’


Braden Bjella


Across the internet, shoppers love Costco. Internet users have posted videos expressing their admiration for the company’s hot food, generous return policy, and more. 

However, some have raised questions about the chain’s refrigerated and frozen foods. One user called out a questionable banana he purchased from the store; another issued a warning about the bagged, ‘triple-washed’ broccoli that is available for purchase in Costco.

Now, another internet user has sparked discussion after revealing a curious detail about Costco’s steaks.

The quirks of Costco steak

TikTok user Jess Pryles (@jesspryles) frequently makes videos on the topic of food—specifically, meat. According to her profile and website, she has a graduate degree in meat science and has spent years attempting to educate people about all there is to know regarding meat.

In a recent video, Pryles overlays herself with a popular Instagram reel that alleges that Costco meat might not be safe to eat at lower temperatures.

“Anything with the styrofoam in Costco or even if you go to Publix or anything like that, you have to cook them past 145, which is medium going on to medium well,” says Tyler, the man in the video posted by Instagram user Nicole Berry. “So you can’t even eat these at medium rare because they’re steel tenderized. And the thing with steel tenderization is there could be cost contamination with the, it’s almost like blades that are going in to pre-tenderize this.”

Why you should reconsider eating Costco beef rare

In her response, Pryles says the method of meat tenderization the man mentions is correct, though whether it’s safe is a little more complicated.

“All of the steaks at Costco are blade tenderized. Not sort of like blades, they’re literally blades. It’s this big machine with all these knives—they run it through, it makes the steaks even more tender,” she says. “So the idea is you as the customer has an even better experience with the meat at Costco.”

“Also yes, technically anything that’s been blade tenderized has a risk where the bacteria has been taken from the surface of the steak and pushed through the middle of it. And so the USDA recommends you cook it to a safe temperature of 145, which is well past medium rare,” she continues.

However, she goes on to note that, as the steaks have likely been cut and tenderized recently, “the bacteria hasn’t had a lot of time to form being pushed from the surface into the steak.” If one eats said steak the same day they purchase them, “the chances that you’ll get sick by cooking them to less than 145 are very, very low.”

Pryles then states that this is not common in the industry.

“The thing is, most grocery stores don’t do this. This is pretty unique to Costco,” she states. “Most places are not going to take prime ribeye and run them through a blade tenderizer because you just really, you really don’t need to. It’s just, it’s just unnecessary. So if they do, it will say it on the packet, but please don’t freak out.”

@jesspryles The costco steak viral video explained. #costco #steak #viralvideo @Nicole Berry ♬ original sound – Jess Pryles

Does Costco really tenderize its steak?

In short, yes, though this will always be noted on the label of the steak itself.

“Though Costco’s meat section is generally praised for its high quality, there may be some risk associated with its steak,” writes Hilary Wheelan Remley for Chowhound. “This is because many of Costco’s steaks undergo a process called mechanical tenderization. Mechanical tenderization is a process in which needles or small blades are used to pierce the flesh of steak in order to soften it.”

“Because the blades are reused over and over again, there’s a chance that bacteria could be transferred between cuts of meat. Additionally, bacteria on the outside of the meat could be punctured through to the inside,” adds Arianna Endicott for the Daily Meal.

As detailed by Pryles, this does in fact make the meat more tender; however, it should be noted if one plans to buy a tenderized steak and cook it longer after it has been purchased.

Commenters share their thoughts on Costco steak

While some expressed surprise at this practice, many remained unconcerned.

“Been buying our steaks at only Costco for 20 plus years, never gotten a hint of being sick from cooking them med rare,” said a user.

“Rare, I’d rather die than eat a steak that’s above medium rare,” added another.

“You have to reach a certain temperature to kill bacteria,” advised a third. “just read packages and make your own choices.”

In an email to the Daily Dot, Pryles responded to some users’ suggestions about cooking their steak sous vide.

“Sous vide works similarly to pasteurization—a ‘safe’ state can be achieved at a far lower finishing temp if you have a longer cook time,” she wrote. “Since sous vide is not widely used by most people, USDA guidelines are written to accommodate most typical cooking methods like grilling or pan searing.”

She then offered her thoughts on meat tenderization.

“Meat tenderization in general is a great practice, when used on the correct cuts! There are lots of muscles and cuts on a steer that are not tender and don’t make for great steaks, like the eye of round, for example,” she detailed. “But when we tenderize those cuts it really increases the eatability. So, it’s an easy and good way to create affordability by increasing the tenderness of cheaper cuts.”

“Also, usually tenderizing is done on very thin steaks, think like Milanesa,” she continued. “Because they are so thin, they tend to cook to a safe temperature in just a few minutes, so it would be very rare to have someone become sick from them.”

That said, she doesn’t recommend people try it at home without the proper tools.

“I definitely wouldn’t recommend people at home start stabbing their steaks to try and tenderize them, just by the best quality grade that you can afford,” she concluded.

The Daily Dot reached out to Costco via media contact form and Berry via Instagram direct message.

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