When Costco won’t save you money

Eagle-eyed Show-Me Eats reader Pam noticed Costco advertising a “boneless porchetta roast” recently. Glad to see them jumping on the porchetta bandwagon, but there are a couple of problems that jump out at me.

First, it’s the wrong cut of meat.

Porchetta is made from a half of a hog, from the loin around the ribs and down to the belly. It’s not a leg (as seen here) or a shoulder, though both may render passable results. I’m willing to let this slide.

The second, more significant objection I have is with the price. Sure, $139 to feed 40 people isn’t terrible, but it amounts to twelve dollars per pound. I paid $100 for a 27-lb. Berkshire torso from Newman Farms. That’s nearly a quarter of the price per pound, for better pork. Granted, you still have the opportunity to screw it up this way, but if you’re not a total chickenhead about it, this would clearly be the way to go. Still, I’d be interested in how good the Costco product turns out; I have to give them credit for thinking beyond boring old pork loin.

For the record, my second (and more successful) porchetta was sourced from the Crockers and ran about $4.50 per pound.

Pam, if you do load this into your cart sometime do tell us how it turns out.


Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

4 thoughts

  1. I can’t tell you how tickled I am to be making my ShowMeEats debut. hehehe I saw that thing and I could only think of one person who would appreciate it.

    I don’t plan on purchasing it anytime soon, but you never know. I thought about the price too and you make an excellent case for doing it yourself and I definitely agree, but for one thing…I don’t own a smoker. I hadn’t really considered this to be a detriment in my cooking equipment, but then I read your bacon entry several months ago and was reminded in your column yesterday that I would really love to try it, so never say never!

  2. The smoker is an interesting question. I just finished going through the smoking section of Charcuterie, and found him fully advocating the purchased smokers that can handle hot & cold smoking automatically and so on. I can’t argue with that, but am always reluctant to buy new stuff.

    I have in my library several references, descriptions, and plans for traditional farm-type smokers, basically drafty sheds set over or along a pipe from a low fire. Even before learning about Michael Ruhlman, we had wanted to build one of these and give it at try. Now we’re even more likely to spend a day or two (in all our free time) laying out something like this and trying the old-fashioned smoking. It would be fascinating to compare the results with a modern unit.

    And, of course, when we get a pig and Scott moves in, he can help us.

  3. perhaps we should consider a community smoking shed. When I was little girl, my grandpa and his buddies had a group smokehouse for salmon they caught near their homes in Tacoma, Washington. They would take turns managing the fire and such. Since, I and my enormous black thumb would be death to a community garden, the smokehouse would be much more my cup of tea 🙂

  4. I like the sound of that…a good old fashioned barn-raisin’. I think what you’ll find is that there are innumerable options regarding smokers. Most of the modern stuff involves add-ons and conveniences. Mine’s a mid-level Brinkmann but I got it for $100 because it “was missing parts.” It wasn’t, just was misassembled, but whatever.

    Like most other things there is an entire industry devoted to selling you smoking equipment…most of which can be replicated on the cheap if you know what the end result should look like.

    The worst three hours (product-wise) of my life last year was at a smoking class wholly geared around you buying one of their $2000 smokers. The whole time I’m thinking “people have successfully smoked meat in cardboard…hell.”

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