Why Costco Stopped Selling Its Brisket Sandwich

In a review for Business Insider, writer Hollis Johnson described the Costco BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich as "with little to no doubt ... one of the best sandwiches I've ever had." Sold in a white cardboard ring, this significantly sized sandwich was highly-priced for the Costco food menu ($4.99, as reported in 2018), yet still highly affordable for that delicious barbecue treat of slow-cooked brisket. The two-handed sandwich dripped with smokey meats and creamy-sweet coleslaw, rewarding shoppers with both its size and taste on a pillowy white bread bun. 

A Costco cult favorite, this sandwich was already offered in limited locations, but as of 2020, it sadly appeared to be discontinued. "The brisket was taken away quite a while ago from the stores I've been to along the east coast. I'm incredibly sad too," shared one fan in spring of 2020 on Reddit. In the same comment section, another Costco shopper lamented, "Costco may giveth and Costco may taketh away." The wholesale chain themselves haven't said why they apparently stopped selling the popular meat-filled sandwich, but we think it could be for one of these reasons. 

Cost is often a factor in menu choices

As foodies noted that at the time, the $4.99 brisket sandwich was already the most expensive thing on the Costco food court menu. One Costco worker shared on Reddit, "I know this is an unpopular opinion, but as one of the people who used to work in the food court, I say good riddance. That sandwich was more of a pain in the butt to prep and go through all the procedures than making 50 chocolate nut-covered ice cream bars in a row." Factoring in the cost of labor, as well as the cost of food, this might be a reason Costco decided it was time to give the fan favorite sandwich the ax. 

There's also the idea that instead of offering the brisket sandwich full-time, Costco may have planned to bring back the menu item seasonally. A Reddit insider reports that "at some locations, Brisket will come back with the Chili seasonally(winter), and al pastor (summer)." Unfortunately, this information was shared around March 2020, and we all know what happened a few weeks later. COVID restrictions may well have ended the popular brisket sandwich for good. As of May 21, 2020, Costco had severely limited its food court offerings during the pandemic to simply sodas, hot dogs, and pizza slices, according to Eat This, Not That!

If the purpose of the brisket sandwich was to attract more Costco members to linger while dining inside the stores, we're going to guess that plan (like most of 2020) has been canceled for the time being. 

A healthier Costco is the new norm

Yet another reason for the disappearance of the Costco BBQ Beef Brisket sandwich may simply be an evolution of the Costco brand. The sandwich was meaty and delicious, but it wasn't exactly healthy. The reported nutrition info for this item was listed at 710 calories and 33 grams of fat per serving, according to Costco Insider. For those of you who are wondering, that amounts to about half the recommended daily fat intake for the average adult by the FDA. Costco Insider also shared that the sandwich contained 40 grams of sugar and a whopping 1,630 milligrams of sodium, which is just over half the amount of sodium the FDA suggests an adult consume each day.

We could see the brisket sandwich as a once in a while treat, but understand the decision to remove it from the menu if Costco was at all concerned with appearing more healthy. It's already been shown that Costco likes to create their own version of a known product, but with a healthier set of ingredients (such as Costco Oreos), so the idea that the nutrition of the brisket sandwich helped lead to its demise wouldn't surprise us at all.

Costco is making way for new menu items

While Costco fans have reported additional disappointments in the food court menu throughout the years (like the scandalous disappearance of the Polish hot dog), Costco chief Craig Jelinek pointed to new, healthier items they were rolling out, like the açai fruit bowls, organic burgers, and the plant-based al pastor protein salad (via USA Today). These new, more nutritious menu items represented part of a larger plan to appeal to the chain's health-conscious shoppers, says The Seattle Times, which included the move to add more vegetarian and vegan options to the Costco food court menu. The brand did, however, assure shoppers they could still expect to see the infamous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo, which Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal once joked would not leave the menu or fluctuate in price till "I'm dead."

It's possible that all these factors led to the BBQ beef brisket disappearing from Costco menus near you. All we know for sure is that it's gone, but you never know, it may come back.