How does Costco Cook their hot dogs? (cooking guidelines)
In this article, we will answer the question “How does Costco cook their hotdogs?” and discuss how ready-to-eat meat foods are cooked, the importance of cooking hot dogs before eating and the risks of eating hot dogs without cooking them first.
How does Costco cook their hot dogs?
Costco cooks their hot dogs for a sufficient time to effectively achieve the target of 6.5-log or 5-log Salmonella reduction in the process, following the Regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture (1).
Although hot dogs are cooked meat products, the cooking following specific cooking regulations is required for ready-to-eat meat products, such as the Costco hot dogs.
How are ready-to-eat hot dogs cooked?
The ready-to-eat hot dogs are cooked in a way to ensure the reduction of 5-log of the Salmonella count of the product. The internal temperature of the food should reach the value of 145 °F (63 °C). This is possible through cooking at 145 °F (63 °C) for at least 3 minutes (1).
The cooking method is not specified, however, the USDA advises that through microwave cooking there could be gaps in the cooking process that are considered unsafe.
At higher temperatures, the cooking time can be reduced. This is the recommendation of the United States Department of Agriculture regarding ready-to-eat cooked meat products and must be followed by fast food stores in general.
What is the importance of cooking hot dogs?
The importance of cooking hot dogs before eating is safety. Hot dogs are perishable products and need to be stored refrigerated or frozen and consumed within their shelf life.
Hot dogs are produced with different types of meats, including beef and pork, added with seasonings, starch, fats and other additives, and although they are previously cooked or smoked or both (2), they should be cooked due to safety issues (1).
What are the risks of eating hot dogs without cooking?
The risk of eating hot dogs without cooking them first is having a foodborne disease. Microbial contaminations of hot dogs can occur during the production, packing, transporting, storage, handling and cooking.
The most important bacteria related to hot dogs is Listeria monocytogenes, which can develop at refrigerated temperatures in many raw and cooked food products.
Infections caused by Listeria cause symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, stomach pain and diarrhoea and can be dangerous in the case of pregnant women, leading to miscarriage (2).
Other pathogenic bacteria that are commonly found in this kind of product are Salmonella and Escherichia coli, which can also have been reported to cause episodes of food outbreaks related to the consumption of ready-to-eat hot dogs (3).
How to cook hot dogs at home?
To cook hot dogs at home, a higher cooking temperature is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. Differently from the cooking recommendations for ready-to-eat hot dog products, home-cooking hot dogs should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 160 °F (71 °C).
To cook hot dogs at home, clean the cooking place, wash hands frequently, use clean utensils and avoid handling uncooked and cooked ingredients simultaneously. Use fresh ingredients and do not keep cooked food or perishable food at room temperature for more than 2 hours (4).
Cook hot dogs by boiling or grilling till the internal temperature reaches 160 °F (71 °C) measured with a food thermometer.
What is the shelf life of Costco hot dogs?
The shelf life of Costco hot dogs is 2 hours at room temperature. Either consume the hot dogs within 2 hours or store the hot dogs in the refrigerator or freezer. Keeping leftover hot dogs at room temperature favours microbial growth and can lead to foodborne illnesses (2).
When opting for storing it in the refrigerator, pack the hot dogs in an airtight food container or a zip-lock bag, remove the air and place it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days (3).
To store the hot dogs in the freezer, place them in an airtight food container or freezable food plastic bag and place them in the freezer for 3 to 3 months.
Other FAQs about Costco that you may be interested in.
In this article, we have answered the question “How does Costco cook their hotdogs?” and discussed how should ready-to-eat hot dogs be cooked, the importance of cooking hot dogs before eating and the risks of eating hot dogs without cooking first.
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Usda.gov. [cited 2023 Sep 13]. Available from: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-12/Appendix-A.pdf
Usda.gov. [cited 2023 Sep 13]. Available from: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/hot-dogs-food-safety
Sommers C, Fan X, Niemira B, Rajkowski K. Irradiation of ready-to-eat foods at USDA’S Eastern Regional Reasearch Center-2003 update. Radiation Physics and Chemistry. 2004 Sep 1;71(1-2):511-4.
A summer grilling how-to [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 2023 Sep 13]. Available from: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2020/06/05/summer-grilling-how