16 Seafoods You Should And Shouldn't Buy At Costco

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You don't plan a trip to Costco unless you're looking to seriously load up on supplies. The enormous wholesale retailer offers massive quantities of everything from home goods to a wide variety of food. Are you having a massive dinner party and need 40 steaks? Costco has you covered. While Costco may not be ideal for quick supermarket trips that only require a few items, it does an amazing job of giving its customers enough food to squirrel away in a backup freezer that'll last them for days, if not weeks or months.

In that vein, it seems as if Costco has almost everything in the sea available for purchase. That's great news for everyone who likes to take an oceanic plunge when it comes to a meal. But, with such a large variety there are bound to be some bad apples mixed in with the good ones. Before you roll out to Costco to scoop up some seafood, keep in mind these options that are worth your appetite's time and the ones that warrant you swimming back to shore.

Buy: Cedar Plank Salmon with Hickory Maple Sauce

If you've never bought salmon that was prepackaged on a cedar plank, you're missing out. Cedar provides a unique smoky flavor that adds a great layer of flavor to the fish. This is why the Cedar Plank Salmon with Hickory Maple Sauce at Costco is a great buy for anyone who loves a combination of sweet, savory, and smoky. This hits all three of those tastes well. It's also a great introduction to cedar plank aromas for those who've never tried it before, especially given that the plank is already prepped and ready to go.

The aroma from the pre-soaked and pre-sauced cedar plank lends a nice layer of smokiness, but it's the hickory maple sauce that helps this salmon take off. The glaze is thick but not overwhelmingly so, while the sweetness of the mix balances out the savory flavor of the fish nicely. Sure, that does mean the overall sugar content is elevated, but you also get a hefty amount of protein and a fantastic meal on top of it all.

Don't buy: Trident Seafoods Frozen Alaskan Pollock Fish Sticks

Children might hesitate to take a bite of a salmon filet. The look of it might throw off their appetite as they imagine its previous life as a scaly fish swimming in the ocean. However, quite a few kids suddenly hop aboard the fish train if the sea dwellers are presented in stick form. As adults, though, many of us stray away from fish sticks as our tastes mature. Trident Seafoods Frozen Alaskan Pollock Fish Sticks is one good reason why.

Each bag comes with 60 uncooked and panko-breaded fish sticks. The picture on the bag makes it look as if the oven-baked result will have delicate golden-brown casings with beautifully flaky interiors. This is not the case whatsoever. The breading is way too thick and you feel like you're munching on fried panko instead. The fish on the inside is minimal and bland. 

In terms of nutritional value, three sticks have about a third of a gram of sodium, which isn't great, either. You do at least get 12 grams of protein per serving, but with food this unsatisfying, we think you'll want to seek your protein elsewhere.

Buy: Coconut-Breaded Butterfly Shrimp

Initially, it might seem weird to combine the flavors of shrimp and coconut. The two are in no way similar, so why would anyone think combining the two flavors would be a great idea? Well, good thing someone decided to walk out on that culinary limb because coating shrimp in coconut and dropping them into the deep fryer is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy these little succulent crustaceans. That's what makes the Coconut-Breaded Butterfly Shrimp at Costco such a great investment.

One of the biggest concerns when buying frozen fried food is how the breading does or doesn't hold up. For some products, thawing and cooking deprives the food of all of that desired crispiness, especially if you use the oven instead of a deep fryer. However, that's not the case here. Pop a tray of these golden brown suckers in the oven and it won't take long before you get a batch of delicious shrimp with a slightly sweet and nutty breaded coating.

Don't buy: Aysen Coho Salmon Filets

Whenever you buy fish that touts itself as "sashimi quality," you expect it to be the best grade of fish you can get. Since sashimi is consumed raw, vendors need to make sure that every cut is truly okay for human consumption, lest they want a lawsuit on their hands. The Aysen Coho Salmon Filets at Costco are certainly stamped "sashimi quality," but sadly, this is still salmon you'll want to avoid.

After thawing, the texture of the fish falls apart into gnarly, rugged pieces. According to one upset customer, "The quality of fish was really bad. After defrosting it started falling apart, looks very old or was defrosted before." That's never a texture you want in any kind of food, let alone a delicate fish. Another turnoff is the amount of fat in just one serving, namely 25 grams of fat and five grams of saturated fat. If you love salmon, you'll likely be eating more than just one serving, making this a tough proposition for a healthy diet.

Buy: Rastelli Market Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

If you love seafood, it's hard to look at a crab cake and turn away. The lump of succulent crab meat just screams at you to indulge, and when a crab cake is made properly using high-quality crab meat, few seafood dishes can rival its texture and flavor. Luckily, crab cake aficionados can rejoice in the fact that the Rastelli Market Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes make crab cakes everywhere proud.

The cakes are portioned in lumps of four-ounce jumbo crab meat, meaning that these things don't skimp on the juicy meat. All too often, crab cakes are mostly made up of binders meant to keep a disappointingly skimpy amount of crab together. No so here. One Costco customer said that these were "unbreaded, delicious, generous, and worth every penny." Another said these were nothing less than "the best frozen crab cakes I've ever had."

Don't buy: Trident Seafoods Alaskan Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgers are normally a fantastic option for people who want the ease of a handheld meal but don't want to consume red meat. Ideally, a salmon burger is packed with salmon flavor but not overly fishy. It should also have a delicate texture similar to a lovingly prepared salmon filet fresh out of the oven or off the grill. Sadly, these requirements mean that Trident Seafoods Alaskan Salmon Burgers is a serious purchasing mistake.

These burgers aren't overly fishy, but they don't pack in nearly enough salmon flavor. Not only that, but the consistency is tough and gummy, making for a disappointing burger experience. One Amazon shopper noted that the ho-hum taste and texture weren't worth the price, even with the addition of some spices from the pantry. Perhaps you'd be better off portioning off some extra time and making your own salmon burgers at home.

Buy: Northwest Fish Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Cheddar Bacon Burger Patties

Sometimes you're in the mood for a burger, but you want more surf than turf on your plate. That means it's time to slap a fish patty between those buns and have at it. The Northwest Fish Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Cheddar Bacon Burger Patties are an excellent way to get some delicious fish in your diet while also lending subtle bacon flavor to a surf-and-turf experience.

Each patty has a boatload of salmon flavor with a hint of Wisconsin cheddar and bacon for a nice trio of taste. The cheddar and bacon take a backseat to the salmon, though surely you wanted that when you bought the stuff in the first place. Each patty wallops you with 37 grams of protein, too. Don't limit these to lunch or dinner, either. Costco customers note that these can make for a pleasing breakfast addition as well.

Don't buy: Northern Chef Boom Boom Shrimp

How could you not pass by a package that read "Boom Boom Shrimp" and not stop? It's such a fun name, and shrimp is just an all-around great seafood option. You can toss them back like little succulent morsels of ocean popcorn, and they pair well with a lot of different dipping sauces. Sadly, the fun name of the Northern Chef Boom Boom Shrimp at Costco doesn't result in a fun eating experience.

The intense amount of breading is the biggest issue here. The bag states each shrimp has just a light coating of batter. However, once you pop one of these in your mouth you realize that's not the case at all. As one customer shared, "I wish I could give zero stars... For the price it was horrible. It was all crust/batter NO SHRIMP!!!" Plus, with a name like Boom Boom, you'd think there would be something special about these shrimp, apart from the fact that they're fried. Nope. All told, it's a big disappointment.

Buy: Northwest Fish Wild Dungeness Crab Sections

What kind of crabs are so tasty they deserve to be thrown in a dark prison? Dungeon-ess crabs, of course. But seriously, any seafood enthusiast who takes a particularly fond interest in crabs knows Dungeness crabs are some of the best out there, known for their tender meat and sweet flavor. One issue that can plague crab legs is the lack of meat in them. That's exactly what makes the Northwest Fish Wild Dungeness Crab Sections a great buy. It's a whole lotta succulent crustacean.

Each pack comes with 10 pounds of crab legs that are fully cooked and ready to eat. What's more, these things are some seriously thick, hefty limbs. The crab meat is bursting with its characteristic sweetness and a subtle oceanic flavor, and Costco customers love it, lauding the product not only for its taste but the ease of handling and generous portions of meat.

Don't buy: Kirkland Signature Raw Sea Scallops

Scallops are kind of like the filet mignon of the ocean world. They both sit on the plate as glorious, glistening medallions, and, when cooked right, the texture of both is like butter. When you want a truly delicate and silky seafood meal, you opt for scallops. So, why wouldn't you snag yourself a bag of Kirkland Signature Raw Sea Scallops at Costco?

There's one big, frustrating reason you may want to leave these in the freezer case: texture, texture, texture. Scallops are meant to almost melt in your mouth. But with these, it seems that no matter the cooking time or method you use, you'll still be confronted with rubbery medallions of disappointment. That frustrating texture also throws the flavor off, as the scallops don't pack that delicate buttery taste you crave. They're rather tasteless. Combined with the tough texture, they're simply not worth your money.

Buy: El Rey Del Pulpo Octopus Tentacles

We get it: Octopus tentacles may not be the most enticing thing to look at. Picturing those sucker-filled extremities dangling off one of the oddest sea creatures in the world may not be your idea of great food, but anyone who's explored the world of those eight-armed sea dwellers knows that their meat is deliciously delicate and chock full of gentle ocean flavor. That's why the El Rey Del Pulpo Octopus Tentacles are a great find at Costco.

Octopus tentacles can be cooked in a variety of ways and, as long as you follow the instructions, the result is tender meat that falls apart in your mouth. You can even literally cut it with a fork. If you pair it with the right foods, the taste will feel balanced. Even better, these tentacles pack a huge amount of protein, barely any fat, and almost no carbs. One Costco customer even said that this product brought back memories of a lovely Spanish vacation and a seaside dining experience they'll never forget.

Don't buy: Northwest Fish Warm/Cold Water Lobster Tails

When a freshly boiled lobster is plopped down in front of you, chances are that you know exactly which part you're most excited about: the tail. It houses the most meat, while few eating experiences rival the satisfaction of breaking through that bright red exoskeleton and pulling a huge chunk of succulent meat. This is exactly why so many have been let down by both the cold water and warm water lobster tails from Northwest Fish.

Firstly, when you know you're about to tackle a lobster tail, you expect something that's going to have a very satisfying amount of meat. However, that's not the case with these, as many Costco customers were quick to note.  Freshness also seemed to be a problem. "These are horrible," one customer wrote. "Smelled very fishy even when frozen and they were not rotten. Tried to eat one and threw it away." Some even claimed that their lobster was downright rotten.

Buy: Northwest Fish Bacon Wrapped Scallops

How do you make most foods infinitely better? Wrap them in bacon, of course. Bacon adds an ultra-savory umami flavor sensation that's nearly impossible to replicate with any other product. That's why, if you love bacon and seafood, the Northwest Fish Bacon Wrapped Scallops need to find their way into your shopping cart and eventually make their way into your stomach.

The scallops are plumpy and buttery, which tastes especially pleasing with the strip of bacon wrapped around each one. As the scallops cook, the bacon fat seeps into the meat, producing an astoundingly delectable bite. Just leave it to the Costco customers to convince you. One wrote that "This is the best quality pre-made frozen bacon wrapped scallop I have ever had." Not only are they delicious tasting, but one customer wrote that they're also aesthetically pleasing. "The bacon is wrapped nicely so they are easy to cook and look beautiful when you serve them." You gotta love food that's both delicious and pleasing to the eye.

Don't buy: Kirkland Signature Smoked Salmon

Even people who enjoy a filet of oven-cooked salmon can shy away from the fish when it's been smoked. Smoked salmon can have a very intense salt-forward flavor that can immediately turn people off, especially if they're sensitive to sodium. But if it's been properly cured and smoked, salmon will have a delicate texture that's slightly oily and just a bit salty. It shouldn't be so salty that you feel like you need several glasses of water. Ultimately, smoked salmon needs a carefully balanced flavor. That's why you should avoid the Kirkland Signature Smoked Salmon.

Each package of smoked salmon comes with six servings of two slices each, meaning that one package should feed three people. However, anyone who loves smoked salmon knows that it's not filling, so it's easy to toss back a whole package without even thinking about it. But with just over 600 milligrams of sodium per serving, going overboard with this product could be quite detrimental to your blood pressure. On top of the massive salt intake, the salmon doesn't have the delicate glistening texture you want, either. It's somewhat dry and falls apart when you try to remove a piece.

Buy: Kirkland Signature Lobster Bisque

For many seafood lovers, lobster reigns supreme. It sits proudly on top of the hierarchy of ocean creatures — though it was once considered low-quality fare — and it's no mystery why many think it deserves top billing. Its meat is sweet, slightly salty, and has a juicy firmness that pleases the palate. If you don't feel like putting in the legwork to crack a whole lobster apart, you can always enjoy a creamy bowl of lobster bisque to get that wonderful flavor paired with the silky, buttery texture of a bisque. That's what makes Kirkland Signature Lobster Bisque at Costco a delight.

A proper bisque shouldn't be too thin but also shouldn't be so thick that it's difficult to eat. This soup has a wonderful silky texture that coats your mouth but not in an obnoxiously intense way. The lobster flavor is super prevalent and every sip makes you feel as if you're indulging in a super juicy chunk of lobster meat. "This is a lovely bisque, not too rich, not too light. I think the thickness and flavors are just right," one very pleased Costco buyer wrote. Another even compared it to an expensive lobster bisque at an upscale restaurant they had, concluding that it wasn't as good as the Costco variety.

Don't buy: Ahi Tuna

If you ask any random person if they've ever eaten tuna before, a lot of them will likely tell you they consumed it in the form of tuna salad, derived from a can of the stuff grabbed off a supermarket shelf. A lot of people haven't actually had a gorgeously deep-red tuna filet. That's a shame. Ahi tuna, also known as yellowfin tuna, is one of the most popular types of the seagoing fish to come in filet form and can taste wonderful when prepared correctly. At Costco, you can purchase a case of individually packaged Ahi Tuna steaks, but if you're seeking out a great ahi tuna meal, direct your attention elsewhere.

No one wants to bite into something and feel a rush of salt on their palate, but that's what happened to one Costco customer, who noted that these filets were salty in the extreme. Others wrote that the tuna wasn't fresh and definitely tasted as if it had been sitting around for too long to make it as a raw or cooked ingredient. If you can, it's better off to look up a reputable fishmonger to help you tell if your seafood is actually fresh.