What You Don’t Know About Costco’s $1 Hot Dogs


Costco: Probably the only place in the world where you pick up a multipack of kombucha (or literally anything), restock your diaper supply, fill your gas tank for next to nothing, and – perhaps the most enjoyable aspect – enjoy a hot dog with a drink for just $1.50, all at the same time.

The latter has made the warehouse one of the most popular in the nation and beyond. But what do you actually know about this infamous hot dog? Besides that it’s delicious, cheap, and makes your Costco trips more enjoyable, of course.

Here are 9 things you may not know about Costco’s hot dog:

  1. It’s been around for 34 years.

    That’s right, Costco’s hot dog was born in 1984. And the price tag hasn’t budged once in that time.

  2. They never shrunk it down.

    Ever notice if a price remains the same for so many years, the product will miraculously get smaller? That’s never been the case with the Costco hot dog. In fact, the dog has actually gotten bigger, standing in at 10 percent plumper and longer than when it started at a quarter pound. The drink was supersized as well; in 1984, it was 12 ounces and now it’s 20 ounces— with free refills to boot.

  3. It was first sold in a hot dog cart.

    Back in the day, your favorite hot dog was sold via a hot dog cart in front of a warehouse in San Diego, California. The very first hot dog cart operator was actually someone who still works at Costco: Jay de Geus. Don’t worry—he’s since been promoted and is currently Costco’s regional food-service supervisor. The cart was given to Costco by Hebrew National, the former supplier of the hot dog.

  4. They made a brand switch.

    Hebrew National was actually the supplier of the original foot cart and was the brand that original fans loved. But they closed down in 2009, so Costco had no choice but to make the switch. That’s when they started selling their own Kirkland brand dogs, and they haven’t looked back.

  5. Your dog may be a little soggy.

    If you’ve experienced an extra soggy Costco hot dog, you’re not imagining it. There’s a reason for the mush: Costco chefs steam the buns, which creates quite a bit of moisture when wrapped in the foil. Sorry not sorry— it’s what makes them unique!

  6. They’re healthier than other fast food.

    At such an attractive price, you’d think there were tons of gross chemicals and gunk in the dog. But no, each one is made with 100 percent beef—no by-products, corn syrup, phosphates, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors. (We can’t say the same about Burger King’s flame-grilled hot dogs.)

  7. Japan makes the dogs differently.

    You’ll only find Costco hot dogs made with beef in the US, but in Japan, they make them with pork. So if you’re craving a pork Costco hot dog, you’ll just have to travel the world.

  8. They aren’t making money on them.

    I mean, how can they at the price point, right? That’s not surprising, but the fun fact is that the combo deal is actually referred to as a “loss leader.” That means that even though Costco isn’t making money on them, enough people are attracted to the price to get their fix and then go shopping, and leave Costco way ahead of the game, even if they’re technically losing money on the hot dogs.

  9. They sell an insane number a year.

    100 million. Let us reiterate in pure freak-out fashion: One. Hundred. Million. Hot Dogs. Actually in 2015, they sold 128 million. That’s actually ridiculous. That’s four times what they sold at all the major league baseball stadiums combined!

How badly do you want a Costco hot dog right now?

Sources