We compared Costco's legendary hot dog to Sam's Club's - and the winner is undeniable
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Costco and Sam's Club both serve food - and hot dogs are by far their most popular meals.
- Fans of Costco's hot dogs are diehards, swearing by the all-beef wiener.
- Ultimately Costco's hot dog is much better than Sam's Club's.
Members-only warehouse retail is big business. Walmart - and by extension, Sam's Club - tops the 2017 National Retail Federation's Top 250 Global Retailers ranking, and Costco comes in a solid second.
Sure, most shoppers come for the good bulk and warehouse deals on just about any item under the sun from toilet paper to Toshiba laptops.
But any true warehouse shopper knows the hidden gem of these stores is the food court. They're dirt cheap with little fuss, and lo and behold, the food is... good. Both Costco and Sam's Club have extremely similar food courts with standard quick American fast-food fare. But while they may be the same on paper, the difference is easy to taste.
Perhaps the most well-known menu item at Costco is the humble hot dog - people rave about it to no end, and the chain sells over 100 million dogs a year. While we've established that it's worth the hype, we were curious to see if Sam's Club's hot dog could have what it takes to unseat the popular favorite.
We know by now that Costco's food court is something to behold. Cheap, reliable, and delicious food is the cornerstone of its legendary status.
The hot dog is perhaps the most celebrated item on the menu — even more than the pizza. There are two main pillars of its popularity: price, and taste.
It's a darn cheap dog. For $1.50, you get a fountain soda and this enormous hot dog — it could very well be the best deal on the whole menu. The price hasn't changed since the chain began serving them in 1985.
The hot dog is very flavorful — it has a slightly smokiness to it, similar to kielbasa. It's shockingly hearty, and the quality belies its bargain price. With some mustard, ketchup, and relish on top — Costco has all three out, as well as onions — it's the perfect textural melange. Plus, the bun is surprisingly resilient in the face of several condiments.
Over at Sam's Club, the hot dog costs the same and it comes with a drink just like its competitor.
The size is only slightly smaller than Costco's, but the bun is a much more pedestrian affair.
And the dog itself is bland and a tad on the rubbery side. It doesn't have the same indescribable depth of Costco's Kirkland dog. And ketchup and mustard (no relish in sight at this particular Sam's Club) do little to save it.
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