My Guilty Pleasure: Costco Hot Dogs

Elizabeth Salaam’s recent Feast! blogs celebrating lunch at Target and Ikea, and Ed Bedford’s tribute to 7-11 hot dogs got me to thinking about one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the Costco hot dog.

Food courts are the booty call of dining. Cheap and available, but not necessarily satisfying. I rarely eat at them, but I’ll definitely make an exception for Costco.

My favorite is at the Costco Business Center on Othello Avenue at Balboa (correction: Convoy) in Linda Vista. It’s smaller than most, and doesn’t have everything the traditional Costco has, but it’s usually not crowded and the parking is good.

You know the drill. Cash only, order at the window and grab your food.

For $1.62, tax included, I’ve got a ¼ all beef dog and a 20 ounce soda with refill. I love the way the foil wrapper steams the bun. Crank on some chopped onions, a good squirt of yellow mustard, and does it get any better than this?

It’s juicy, beefy, salty, and has a bit of chew, all wrapped in soft, pillowy white bread. Worth every guilty bite, and there’s no walk of shame the next morning.

Costco Food Court

Various locations, hours and menu items.

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This just makes me sad. Isn't there a local spot worth covering instead?

When the hubs and I were broke and lugging around a still-nursing infant, date night occasionally took place on a Sunday afternoon at Costco. These days I, too, get much pleasure from paying less than $5 on lunch for 2.

Costs are bound to rise without pink slime?

Two complaints: these are more like lukewarm dogs. I never had one hot from the steamer. And things aren't the same since they switched from Hebrew National to Kirkland. They must have hired a different rabbi to perform the circumcisions.

The plot thickens. My son was an avid fan of Costco and one thing he would mention was the fact that they had top-of-the-line Hebrew National franks. Costco can get just about anything it wants from suppliers for its private brand. Too bad that their venture into Kirkland hot dogs isn't working out. Twister, I doubt that pink slime was Kosher.

Risking the obvious reference, I just feel the need to say that bigger is not always better. Wrap some bacon around that bad boy, grill it slowly over low heat. Toss on some jalapenos and other condiments including picante and grill those onions, you can't go wrong. The dog doesn't need to stick out of the bun unless we're at Dodger Stadium.

Costco Business Center on Othello and Convoy (not Balboa), is in Kearny Mesa (not Linda Vista).

You're right, Convoy and Othello. Thanks for the correction. Linda Vista is the neighborhood I got from this source for the zip code 92111 -

Great place to take a date cheaply. You can even splurge on dessert - churros.

What's a "¼ all beef dog"? One quarter beef?

I have never been in a single Costco that accepts anything but cash in the "food court". I have though, on many occasions, seen people turned away who wanted to use credit or debit.. As far as I can tell, none of their POS terminals currently have card swipe capabilities.

The reason Costco switched to Kirkland brand from Hebrew National was due to a shortage of kosher meat, thus the inability because of Kosher hot dog suppliers to meet the demand.This was because the plant that made about 60% of all kosher meats was raided by the feds for immigration violations 3 or 4 yrs ago and went bankrupt. Some locations switched to Sinai brand temporarily, but Sara Lee, which owned the company that made Sinai, discontinued all kosher meat products. According to an article in Costco's magazine a couple of years ago, they sell 100million hot dogs a year and apparently no one can supply that many Kosher hot dogs.

The logistical and economical concerns of that problem are mind boggling.

The CostCo dogs are still among the best around, although I am with those who are willing to pay another 50 cents to get the old dogs back. A few tips for CostCo dog enthusiasts: Ask them to wrap the dog and the bun separately. That way you can towel off the excess water from the dog and keep your bun from getting soggy. You know you can ask for kraut, right? Use the lid of the kraut container to hold the kraut back while you squeeze the container to remove the excess juice . . . again to keep your bun from getting soggy. If you like hot links, grab a packet of the red pepper they provide for pizza and sprinkle it on your dog before dressing it. Really kicks it up a notch! If you like Chicago style dogs, chop up a fresh tomato and pickle and smuggle it in with you. Add onion and mustard and enjoy the envious glances of your hot dog eating colleagues.

The old dogs??? Costco/Price Club has been using the Hebrew National dog since the beginning.........I agree it is the best deal going.

Oops..I had no idea Costco stopped using Hebrew National.....I take it from everyone here that the Kirkland brand is NOT a Hebrew National dog under private label to Costco....

Also, when Price Club first came out with the chicken Cesar salad it was only $2.99, and that too was a great had gone up to $3.99 last time I checked but don't know the current price.

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