I tagged along with a friend to his local COSTCO, mostly to see what hot dogs they were selling. In their processed meats section, I found the Kirkland Beef Dinner Franks. The packaging boasted they were the same franks sold in the snack bar. The USDA label indicated they were made by J & B Sausage in Weimar, TX. I then bought one in the snack bar. I had the same experience as John Fox; it was already wrapped in foil and stored in a steamer box. I tried it and thought it was pretty good, but not as good as Hebrew National. It was the first time for my friend; he also did not like it as much as the Hebrew National. He asked someone working there what was up with the hot dogs. The employee replied they recently converted and he used to love the Hebrew Nationals but doesn't eat the new ones himself anymore. The new ones remind me of Budweiser - not the greatest beer out there, but one most people would not demand their money back for. COSTCO's taste tests were probably legit; they picked a formula they thought most people would eat. I didn't see John Fox's most recent comments before going to COSTCO, but my other impressions are similar to his.
But ScreenBear's glowing review of the franks consumed in San Diego, CA was nagging at me. So I did a little digging. Remember when COSTCO was going on about the kosher meat shortage and the shut down of Best Kosher? What they didn't tell you was that they own and operate a meat processing plant in Tracy, California and were already adding a hot dog processing facility to the building. I found the information on page 5 of the May, 2011 edition of Costco Today, a house organ for COSTCO employees: http://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/2/49263/92530/pub/
The article on page 5 states the operation in Tracy is already up and running and will eventually supply all food courts in the US. So, could ScreenBear have been eating one of the Tracy-produced franks and not one of the Weimar-produced franks?
At the COSTCO, I asked the counterperson if they were using the same franks sold back in the meat section. He just gave me a blank stare and a shrug. So, hard to tell what they are supplying in any given COSTCO at any given point in time without dumpster diving. The plant number for Tracy is 15832. While digging, I found a lot of articles about the extraordinary food safety procedures they use there. I guess they don't trust ground beef and hot dog production to the usual e.coli purveyors any more.