What’s the best hot dog you can order when the craving strikes? For us, it’s the hot dogs from Costco Food Court. Coming in at just $1.50 with a soda, this is a deal that’s both delicious and hard to beat. We’re not the only ones who think so. as these hot dogs have been tremendously successful for Costco. But for such a low price, it does leave us asking ourselves quite a few questions about this Costco staple. With that in mind here are the Top 10 Untold Truths About Costco Hot Dogs.
10. It Started As A Hot Dog Cart
This may be hard to believe, especially as the Costco food court is so popular and offers an array of great-tasting food, at super cheap prices. But the entire idea started out as a simple hot dog cart. Back in the early 1980’s Costco was playing with the idea of selling food to its customers, but not wanting to waste too much money on a venture that might not work, they put a hot dog cart outside their warehouse in San Diego. The hot dog cart was an instant success and actually brought more people’s attention to Costco. While these days the idea of eating food while shopping at Costco seems obvious, at the time it was a bold move by the wholesalers. A move that paid off big time as a lot of people nowadays actually go to their local Costco for the food first and then shop second.
9. Costco Loses Money On Their Hot Dogs
The truth is that Costco loses money every time it sells a hot dog. At only $1.50 for both a hot dog and a soda, that means Costco is losing money on every hot dog, but the company couldn’t care less. They know that no one goes to Costco just for Hot Dogs, they know you’ll buy something else, if not this time then the next. So they might lose money on the hot dog, but they will recoup it from you in other ways eventually. Think of it as a reason to get you in the door: you go in for the $1.50 hot dog, but you leave with a cart full of stuff. They do the same thing with their infamous rotisserie chicken. This is a tried and true marketing tactic and leaves people with a good feeling about the company like they aren’t trying to squeeze every penny out of you. Costco knows this, and they have been using it to their advantage far beyond just the cheap hot dogs. That said, the $1.50 Hot Dog and a Soda deal is one of their best and believe it or not has been available for the same exact price since 1985. Companies have raised the prices of their popular fast food many times over in the same time span, but not the Costco Hot Dog special. For comparison’s sake, a McDonald’s Burger only cost around 50 cents in 1985. But check your receipt the next time you eat at Mickey D’s and see just how much the prices have gone up. But not the Costco hot dog and soda deal, still at just a buck fifty. In the long list of things beloved about Costco, the $1.50 hot dog special is way up there.
8. Soggy Buns!
While the Costco hot dog is a monumental success and one big reason to go to Costco, there is one downside to it, and that is the bun. We’ve all been there; lining up at the Costco food court, luxuriating in those tasty smells. All the food looks so good that we spent the first part deciding if we want the pizza or the hot dog. Once we’ve decided on the hot dog combo, we order it and start tucking into that beef goodness. However, about halfway through the bun starts to get soggy and by the end of the hot dog, we are left with a mouth full of mush! Unfortunately, this is all down to how Costco cooks the hot dogs and their buns. To mass-produce so many hot dogs, Costco boils their weiners and as a result of this, there is a lot of moisture just waiting to get out. The trick is to eat the hot dog as quickly as possible so the moisture doesn’t have time to soak the bun. Hold on to that hot dog for too long and the bun will start fall apart, and that tasty treat you’ve been looking forward to could be ruined.
7. Does Costco Still Have Hot Dogs?
There is a myth out there that Costco has stopped doing their all-beef hot dog combo at a lot of their stores, opting instead for a healthier version of their signature food. For all those in fear, you can breathe. The great Costco food court has not stopped selling the all-beef hot dogs anywhere in the country. And rest assured, the original all-beef hot dog combo is here to stay. Costco has been hinting at a menu change for some time now but they have no plans to ditch their hot dog. Recently, the company began rolling out new vegan and vegetarian food items. But don’t run off and buy every Kirkland hot dog you can find in fear that they will disappear off the menu anytime soon. The $1.50 Costco hot dog deal will remain. The fact is, Costco sells so many hot dogs that it would be silly to discontinue it. While adding vegan and vegetarian options is a good thing, the hot dog will always remain. It is reported that Costco sells somewhere in the region of 100 million hot dogs each and every year. To put that into some kind of perspective: that’s four times the amount of hot dogs sold in each Major League Baseball stadium combined. Four times! That’s a whole lot of people who love hot dogs.
6. The Price Has Never Changed
There are many people these days that look back to the good old days and wish they could go back there. In days gone by the world was less complicated, the world was quieter, smaller even, and everyone was friendly. Or at least that’s what those people will have you believe. The real reason that a lot of people yearn for the days gone by is that most things were a lot cheaper and you could get more bang for your buck. Those people might be happy to know that the Costco hot dog combo has never changed its prices. Through a lot of inflation, plus many recessions and crashes, the Costco hot dog combo has remained at $1.50 since the very first one was sold way back in 1985. The reason for this is that Costco sees their food court as an extra incentive for people to sign up and shop there. Not only that but selling great food at low prices can help take the sting out of their yearly membership fees.
5. The Combo Is Actually Bigger Today
As we have mentioned on our list of the top 10 untold truths of the Costco hot dog, the price of the hot dog combo has never changed. While this fact brings us plenty of joy, you would expect the meal to be smaller as the price is so low. After all, isn’t that what most places that sell fast food do? They either increase their prices to match the inflation of the world, or they give you less food. Sometimes companies actually do both! However, not only have Costco kept their prices the same but they have actually increased the amount you get. When Costco’s hot dog combo first debuted you got a quarter pound hot dog with a 12-ounce soda. Now you get a 20-ounce soda, plus free refills, and the hot dogs themselves are 10 percent bigger and longer. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to work out that you get a lot more for your money today. This is just another reason why the Costco hot dog combo is such a winner with customers and fast food fans.
4. What Kind of Hot Dog Does Costco Use Now?
One of the big untold truths you might want to know about the famous Costco hot dog is what wiener they actually use. The Costco Food Court hot dogs are actually just Kirkland Signature Beef Wieners and are widely available at all Costco stores. All of which should surprise no one, but what’s actually surprising is that this wasn’t always the case. Up until 2009, Costco Food Court actually used Hebrew National Hot Dogs. Also surprising is that the decision to go away from Hebrew National was not Costco’s choice. The availability of the wieners for their hot dogs from their suppliers simply stopped, so they looked internally to solve this issue. While some were angered by the sudden halt in serving Kosher dogs, a lot of other people were pleased with the change. Kirkland Brand Hot Dogs are 10 percent bigger, 100% beef and made with USDA choice cuts and are free from additives, artificial ingredients, and food coloring. So when you dig into that Costco hot dog goodness, you’re actually eating one of the healthiest hot dogs in the world, and it’s not going to leave a big dent in your wallet either.
3. And Now For The Ingredients Bit
We all know that hot dog wieners are not very good for you. On top of that, we have all read horror pieces about the type of meat, and part of the animal, that makes up a hot dog wiener. While the thought of all those ingredients might make you go off hotdogs forever, you can actually feel a bit better about eating the Costco hot dog. The Costco hot dog uses Kirkland brand wieners and they include 100 percent beef. The other less exciting ingredients are: water, dextrose, salt, spices, sodium lactate, garlic, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, paprika, and sodium nitrite. What the Costco hot dog does not have is those nasty add-ons such as artificial flavors, colors, phosphates, corn syrup, or in fact any other ‘fillers’ which a lot of companies use to bulk up their wieners. They also contain no by-products and they are completely gluten-free. While other companies use a long list of bad ingredients and chemicals in their hot dog wieners, Costco is all good and natural, mostly. So you can feel okay about eating a Costco hot dog as they don’t contain anything too bad and they are super cheap too. So go on, why not have another one!
2. They Don’t Sell Beef Hot Dogs In Japan
In most Costco stores, in particular across the US and Canada, the hot dogs that you will find are the Kirkland 100% beef ones. However, across the world in Japan, they don’t sell beef hot dogs, they actually sell hot dogs made from pork. The rumor is that Costco tried their infamous beef hot dogs on Japan but the Japanese customers didn’t like them. Whether that’s because they didn’t like the taste of beef or that beef isn’t as popular in Japan as it is in much of the world, that we are not sure of. But the decision was made to switch the hot dogs to pork, and Japanese Costco customers have never been happier. According to many people who have visited a Japanese Costco, the pork hot dog tastes just like any other Costco hot dog. We’ll have to take their word for it on that. The decision from Costco to switch from beef to pork in their hot dogs isn’t that surprising as Costco offers a lot of food that is tailored to regional markets. While Japan has a pork hot dog, in South Korea, you can get Teriyaki bowls; in Canada, you can enjoy a tasty poutine while shopping in Costco; and while down under in Australia you can get meat pies. While there may be plenty to choose from in your local Costco, in all Costcos you can get your hands on their hot dog and most people do.
1. The Food Court And The Infamous Hot Dog
It’s fair to say that the Costco food court has reached cult-like status. With plenty of references in popular culture, from TV shows to movies, the food court is the place to be for so many people. Not only is it a good place to eat while you are shopping at Costco but it has become a place to meet people too. A couple from San Diego actually had a first date at a Costco food court and three years later they went back and had their wedding there. While the idea of having a date, or wedding, at a Costco, may well appeal to more and more people, most of us go there for a great snack. After over three decades of the food court, the number one item that Costco sells is still the hot dog and soda combo. They are fast, cheap and extremely tasty. Plus they aren’t as bad for you as most fast food and you get a soda with refills as well. All for $1.50! All of that makes the Costco hot dog combo a great choice. But there is more: if your hot dog is cold or if you are not satisfied with it, then they will give you a fresh one. Not only that but you can add an array of toppings to your hot dog free of charge. Some stores still have topping dispensers with things like onions and sauerkraut. But if your Costco doesn’t have them, or you can’t find them, then ask for the toppings at the counter.