Things You Need To Buy At Costco Before Your Next Summer Cookout

Summer brings with it warm weather, sunshine, and a need to cook good food with good friends. However, the rising cost of food has put a damper on these warm summer gatherings. In 2022, the price of food increased by more than 11%, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture — a percentage that is predicted to continue rising. However, once again, Costco comes to the rescue and is here to save your summer cookouts.

As a wholesale store, Costco is well known for selling large quantities of food at reasonable prices. Also, in addition to its regular assortment of foods, Costco rolls out some special items each season, and summer is no expedition. Costco is basically a one-stop shop for all things cookout. From food to cooking essentials, Costco has you covered.

However, we know walking in can be a little intimidating; that is why we have rounded up all the things you need to buy at Costco before your next cookout. The items on this list will lead to an affordable and memorable event with your favorite people.

Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs

It is hard not to think of hot dogs when thinking of Cosco. Of course, everyone is familiar with the famous $1.50 hot dogs and drink combo at the Costco food court, which undoubtedly is one of the best deals around. However, Costco does not leave its hot dog game to the food court. Costco offers a triple pack of 12 hot dogs through its home brand Kirkland, making a grand total of 36 links — and these are not low-quality hot dogs either.

Kirkland hot dogs are made from beef and do not use any by-products, fillers, or corn syrup. It can always feel like a gamble when going with a generic brand over a known and trusted entity, but Costco has done a great job building the reputation of the Kirkland brand. Some commenters on Reddit even mentioned that they prefer the Kirkland hot dogs to the name-brand Hebrew National.

When you go to buy, just be sure to pick up the red and black package of Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs, not the blue package of Kirkland Signature Beef Dinner Franks, as the latter is larger and will not fit in a standard bun; there are also fewer to a package. While both are delicious, for feeding the masses, get a pack of the Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs.

Kirkland Signature Ground Beef Patties

Costco has certainly made a name for itself in the hot dog market, but we understand that sometimes you need a hamburger instead of, or in addition to, a hot dog. While homemade hamburgers are tasty, they can also be time-consuming to make and not practical for all cookouts. Thankfully, Costco also understands this and offers Kirkland Signature beef hamburger patties.

In typical Costco fashion, this is not a small package of hamburgers. It is, in fact, 40 total patties. The hamburgers come frozen, so you are able to buy them ahead of time and store them until use. They are 1/4-pound each of 75% lean, 25% fat goodness. If you are looking for something on the leaner side of things, Costco also offers a lean version of the patties, which come in a 24-pack. These patties are the same size and are perfect on their own or for holding all the delicious hamburger toppings.

Beyond and Impossible Burgers

Not to leave the meat-free among us out of the mix, Costco carries not one but two major competitors of the plant-based patty world. Each might be available in different areas, so we included both. So no matter where you are, there will likely be an option.

The first is Beyond. Each container holds eight 1/4-pound patties. When you eat a Beyond Burger, expect to consume a delicious patty made with peas, mung beans, and rice. The second burger is the Impossible Burger. They also come in a 1/4-pound size, but instead of eight patties, you get 10. Impossible Burgers are completely plant-based with no animal ingredients.

Both burgers have a meat-like texture and flavor, but Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are notably different. This can make it hard to choose. Even fast food giants can't decide. McDonald's uses Beyond Meat in its plant-based option, and Burger King uses Impossible. You can either grab a pack of both where available or pick your favorite one. At the end of the day, your cookout will not be complete without one of these plant-based burgers sizzling on the grill.

Don't forget the buns

Now that you have your burgers and dogs, you need something to put them on. Now it is time for buns. When you get a Costco amount of meat, you also need a Costco amount of buns. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the local grocery store buying pack after pack of tasteless hot dog and hamburger buns.

It's true that not all store-bought buns are up to snuff, but Francisco Deli's hot dog buns are heard to hold your hot dog and anything you can throw on it. One reviewer on Sam's Club specifically commented that these buns would hold up to any and all toppings you heap on them. Costco sells Francisco Deli hot dog buns in packs of 16.

To go along with hamburgers, Costco has offered a number of options in the past, including Pepperidge Farm buns and Kirkland Signature Artisan Buns. These are both good options, but for us, the winner is Rainbo 4-inch Hamburger Buns. Not only does Rainbo give you a huge quantity of 24 buns but similar to the hot dog buns, they scored high with reviewers for holding together during the meal. Nobody wants a bun that will fall apart halfway through.

Heinz Grill Pack

Now that you have your burgers, buns, and dogs, it is time to top them. When it comes to condiments, this is no time to cheap out and go with the knockoff. Especially when it comes to ketchup, we all know Heinz reigns supreme. This is no surprise, considering the company basically invented the modern-day version of ketchup.

While we love Kirkland brand products, we are happy to see that Costco is carrying a Heinz condiment pack that just can not be passed up. Each pack contains two 31-ounce bottles of ketchup, one 26-ounce bottle of sweet relish, and one 28-ounce bottle of yellow mustard.

This pack has nearly everything you could want for a grill day and at that unbeatable Costco combination of price and volume. Why buy individual bottles of condiments for more money, or purchase unwieldy-sized bottles when you can simply buy this pack? The Heinz Grill Pack is a must-have for your next cookout.

Finlandia cheese variety pack

Inflation has hit food hard over the past few years, but it has hit dairy products particularly hard. Milk and cheese have both seen large jumps in price, which can make you feel the squeeze when trying to find high-quality cheese for a reasonable price. While American cheese tends to be cheaper and certainly has its place in the kitchen, sometimes you want real cheese, and thankfully Costco pulls through.

Costco sells a number of fine cheeses at reasonable prices, but for a cookout, the variety pack of Finlandia Premium Cheese Slices is where it's at. We like this pack for a number of reasons. First, it is just a lot of cheese; two total pounds, to be exact. Second, it tastes great. Reviewers on Influenster rave in particular about the Swiss, which, yes, is included in the multipack along with cheddar, colby jack, and monetary jack. This pack gives people different taste options, which is a nice bonus on top of the generous size.

Kirkland Signature Mac and Cheese

You cannot have an event without sides, and one of the best sides in the world is, of course, macaroni and cheese. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying Kirkland Signature Mac and Cheese, let this be a sign that it is time.

Kirkland Signature Mac and Cheese can be found in the prepared food section of Costco near the deli. This ready-to-bake item comes fully prepared, allowing you to keep it in the fridge until just before you need it, at which point you can remove the plastic top and place it in the oven to bake until ready.

Kirkland manages to strike a nice balance between being flavorful and interesting enough as a baked mac and cheese to entice adults while still being a fully kid-friendly option. Of course, in typical Costco fashion, each pan is pretty large. Costco charges by the pound for this item, so you can sort through to see if there is a slightly larger or smaller one to suit your needs. Do not worry, though — even a small container is not going to be small. This is Costco, after all.

Tortilla chips and dip

What is a party without chips and dip? One of the best deals around at Costco is the Kirkland Signature Organic Tortilla Chips. Many of us have encountered the problem of opening a bag of chips only to find it is mostly air. That is not a problem here. Each pack of Kirkland Signature Organic Tortilla Chips weighs 40 ounces. For some context, even the party-sized Tostitos Original is just 17 ounces. Kirkland brings more than twice that to the table.

Not only that, these tortilla chips are delicious. The chips are practically universally beloved by reviewers on abillion, who cite the perfect amount of saltiness and ability to stand up to any dip as some of the reasons for their love.

Speaking of which, Costco is not slacking in the dip department. To go with your Kirkland Signature tortilla chips, there is the Kirkland Signature Organic Salsa, which comes in two 38-ounce jars. To round that off, you can also add in a triple pack of Wholly Guacamole. Or mix it up a bit with some caramelized onion and Gruyère dip — a dip Costco shoppers would put on just about anything.

Reser's Potato Salad

Another classic cookout favorite is potato salad. It is cool, usually creamy, and the perfect accompaniment to a hot burger fresh off the grill. Once again, though, potato salad can be time-consuming to make, so we do not blame anyone for wanting to outsource this task. In the refrigerated section of Costco, you will find Reser's Potato Salad, and you should absolutely pick it up for your next cookout.

While packages of potato salad at your standard grocery store range from just 16 to 32 ounces, to Costco, that size is child's play. A tub of Reser's Potato Salad from Costco is five full pounds. You might even have leftovers. Reser's Potato Salad is a creamy mayonnaise-style potato salad made from an old-school 1950s recipe featuring celery, onions, and sweet pickles. There is no corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors in this — simply classic homestyle potato salad.

Potato salad is one of those foods that is incredibly individual to the eater; everyone has an opinion on how to make the best one. But it is worth noting that Reser's receives generally positive reviews from sources like Influenster. If you want to jazz it up to make it your own, some of the reviewers recommend adding some dill or additional salt and pepper.

Bagged salads

With all the heavy food surrounding a cookout, you need something a little lighter to brighten up the plate. Salads make an excellent source of refreshing crisp texture and lightness to balance out the rest of the food. But spending time washing, trimming, and cutting vegetables to make a good salad is more effort than it is worth when Costco provides you with beautiful, lush, colorful salads.

Now Costco offers a range of pre-bagged salad kits with everything you need to make a heaping bowl fit for the masses. One of the best is the Taylor Farms Asian Cashew Chopped Salad, which features crispy wonton strips and cashews with greens and is topped with a delicious sesame vinaigrette. That being said, the ingredients do contain cilantro, which can be divisive.

If you are looking for something that may have a bit more mass appeal, the Eat Smart Sweet Kale salad is an absolute must. It comes in a two-pack of 14 ounces each. The mix includes broccoli stalks, cabbages, kale, chicory, brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds and is topped with a poppyseed dressing. It is crunchy, a little fruity, and a hint sweet. It basically hits every note you could want. Plus, the whole thing comes prewashed and ready to eat. Simply dump the contents into a bowl and top it with the dressing, and you are good to go.

Bush's Original Baked Beans

When it comes to baked beans, there is one name that stands out amongst the rest: Bush's. Nothing compares to the flavor of Bush's beans, which are made with navy beans, cured bacon, brown sugar, and a secret blend of spices that we will sadly never know, despite Duke the dog's best efforts.

You will be happy to hear that Bush's mouth-watering slow-cooked beans, which are one of the top-rated baked beans from any brand, are available at Costco in a size fit for a crowd. It is 7 pounds, 5 ounces of beans, to be exact.

If you do not want to commit to opening that many baked beans at one time, Costco still has you covered. Costco offers the same great Original recipe in an eight-pack of 16.5-ounce cans. This is actually more total beans than that massive 7-pound, 5-ounce can, but it allows you to only open as many as you need at the time.

Kirkland Signature 12-inch pie

Of course, we cannot forget dessert. Costco's bakery is pretty fantastic. In fact, in a survey we conducted, respondents voted Costco as the best grocery store bakery. One of the best items for a cookout that you can get from Costco is pie.

As they say, what is more American than apple pie? Costco's Kirkland Signature apple pie is delicious, as are many of the other rotating flavors, including cherry, four-berry, pecan, and pumpkin, as well as others.

The thing that really sets Kirkland Signature pie apart from competitors, though, is the size. Most pie is made in a nine-inch tin. Costco pies, however, are a full 12 inches. A three-inch difference may not seem like much, but that causes a serious increase in the volume of the pie. The nice thing is, no one has ever complained about too much pie. Costco pie makes a great cookout dessert and will add a touch of sweetness to the festivities.

Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water

When it's hot outside, you don't always want a drink that's super sugary — but you may still want bubbles. Sparkling water is the perfect combination of refreshing and carbonated. Costco carries a couple of different brands of sparkling water regularly, but when it comes to a cookout, Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water blows the competition out of the water.

Each variety pack of Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water comes with 35 cans, with a mix of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. The seltzers are free of sweeteners and sugar and are made with natural flavors. Costco also sells the big-name brand LaCroix in a pack containing the exact same flavors. However, that pack is smaller, containing only 24 cans, and is more expensive.

Not only that, but when Costco first premiered its Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water, discussions on sites like Reddit abounded with people comparing the two. The general consensus was that the two tasted nearly identical, with some preferring the Kirkland Signature over LaCroix. Save your money and cool down with the Kirkland Signature Sparkling Water.

Kirkland Signature beer (variety pack)

If you're lucky enough to be in a state where Costco is able to sell alcohol, and you are not taking advantage of it for your gatherings, let us be the ones to encourage you to do so. Recently Costco has seen huge bumps in sales in its alcohol department. The beer, in particular, makes up 1/5 of the total alcohol sales. Costco sells a large number of beers, including both popular name brands and, once again, its own Kirkland Signature line.

Everyone has their favorite style of beer, and the nice thing about the variety pack is that it allows people to grab whatever suits their tastes best. The variety pack changes every now and again depending on supplies but often includes four types of beer, including an APA and stout. None of this would matter if the beer were terrible. However, the beer is ranked surprisingly high in many ways.

You may be wondering: Who makes Kirkland beer anyway? In order to keep up with production demands, Costco uses several different suppliers, depending on the area. One of its suppliers, Matt Brewing Co., won awards in 2020 for its Kirkland IPA and Pale Ale, which were ranked two of the best worldwide. Your guests will thank you for providing such high-quality brews.

Weber Genesis II Gas Grill

Now, of course, you cannot have a cookout without a way to cook outside. If you find yourself in need of a new gas grill, Costco has a high-quality option from one of the biggest and most trusted names in grilling: Weber.

Costco sells the Weber Genesis II E 335 both online and in-store. This is a propane gas grill with enough room for at least 20 burgers at a time. In addition to the main grilling area, there is a side burner where you can cook veggies or stir up a pot of beans, all without leaving your grill to run inside.

While it is always tempting to go with a bargain brand, this is one item worth going for the name brand. The Weber Genesis II receives top reviews and comes in at a competitive price. The grill can be over $1,300 at some locations online and in-store, but at Costco, it starts at just over $1,000. All that and a 10-year warranty make this a steller purchase for your cookout needs.

Charcoal and wood pellets

Finally, though, not everyone wants a gas grill. There is something about a charcoal or wood fire that gives a specific and desirable flavor to anything cooked on it, and neither we (nor Costco) want you to go without fuel for your charcoal grill. There is much debate about which is better, lump charcoal or briquettes. Lump charcoal tends to burn hotter and is a generally cleaner way to power a charcoal grill, but it also tends to be more expensive — except for you because you know to buy yours at Costco.

Costco sells bags of Kamado Joe Big Block XL Lump Charcoal in a 40-pound bag with 24 fire starts. The reviews on Costco's website are pretty unanimous that this is one of the best, if not the best, lump charcoals on the market today. But if you are more of a briquette person, we get it. Briquettes tend to hold a steady heat better, leading to less burn, and do tend to burn longer. For this, Costco sells a two-pack of 18-pound Kingsford Competition All Natural Briquettes.

Finally, if you are going for a smokey barbecue and need wood pellets, Costco also sells a 40-pound bag of wood pellets from its Kirkland Signature brand. The reviews left on Costco's website rave about the quality for the price, with some mentioning the in-store price as being even lower than the online one. In addition, the pellets are said to have a clean burn, with moderate ash, and have no artificial flavors. All of this makes for an exceptional cookout experience.