I finally got around to it. After several years of running around the country rating hot dogs, I finally sampled the vaunted COSTCO hot dog. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of people who, after finding out I was the hot dog guy, asked if I had tried the dog at the bulk buyer's mecca.
I am not a COSTCO member, so I never had an opportunity. Plus, I rarely buy in bulk so a membership would not be in my best interest. I thought about just asking if I could buy a dog in their cafeteria, surely a man with my wiener wherewithal could open that door. But, I never got around to it. COSTCO it seemed, would always be there so why rush it.
Suddenly, just like the arrival of the deadline for filing income tax, it was upon me: an opportunity to gain access to a COSTCO and grab a dog. I was tagging along for some shopping and a stop at the giant wholesaler was in the schedule. While my companions snapped up deals, I saddled up to the cafeteria counter and ordered what everyone had been raving about: the COSTCO hot dog meal. It is a quarter pound dog on a bun. You also get an empty cup to fill at the fountain drink dispenser. The hot dog condiments (mustard, relish and onions) are in the seating area. All of this for the awesome price of $1.50.
It is a hefty dog, I will give them that. Add a generous portion of all three condiments and you got a pretty big dog there. I was ready to bite in and experience the nirvana that so many before me had enjoyed.
Apparently, COSTCO used to use Hebrew National franks for their dogs. Now, they use their own brand called Kirkland. Being a Hebrew National fanboy, I had high expectations for a frank that could displace my beloved HN all-beef meat torpedo. The texture of the dog was firm and tasted decent. Slightly salty, as a hot dog should be. The bun was fresh, the condiments acceptable. Although, I do think COSTCO made a mistake replacing the HN frank.
All in all, eating the COSTCO hot dog was sort of like the first time I had sex: I was expecting so much more, and it was over in a few minutes. At least I remember the hot dog's name.
Now that I have been to the hot dog holy land and returned, I can say that the whole COSTCO hot dog experience was...meh. A decent dog. What I think gets everyone excited is the deal. This is a big dog (I could only eat about 80% of it), and a drink for a buck and a half. That is a steal. If you are looking for a cheap lunch that involves a hot dog, it doesn't bet much better than that.
I am glad I finally checked that off of my hot dog bucket list. Given another opportunity, and if I was trapped inside of COSTCO while others shopped and was hungry, I'd do it again. But I won't be applying for membership any time soon.