With the weather warming up, barbecue season will soon be in full swing. The most cost-effective way to host your next barbecue is to buy items in bulk — but some food buys are better than others.
“Whether you’re having hot dogs or hamburgers, you can get buns for a crowd for less at Costco,” said Julie Ramhold, senior staff writer and spokesperson with DealNews.com. “Packages of 16 buns will set you back around $3, depending on your area and how you’re shopping, while shopping in regular grocery stores will mean having to purchase smaller quantity packages for potentially more overall.”
“Whether you want grilled vegetables to accompany ribs or fresh onions, tomatoes and lettuce to top your burgers, you’ll find plenty of produce at Costco,” Ramhold said. “As long as you’re having a large enough party, buying these items in bulk shouldn’t be a problem.”
According to Ramhold, Costco typically carries 10-pound packages of onions for around $7, eight-packs of ears of corn for $6, 24 ounces of mushrooms for around $4, 4 pounds of tomatoes on the vine for $7 and butter lettuce for around $7 for three heads.
“You can also find things like organic squash, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and tons of fresh fruit as well,” she said.
“There are a few different brands to shop typically, but you can expect to find Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs for around $17 for 4.5 pounds, four 12-ounce packages of Hebrew National Beef Hot Dogs for around $12 or 3.5 pounds of Nathan’s Hot Dogs for around $14,” Ramhold said.
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“If you want to make your own hamburgers, you can absolutely buy a ton of ground beef — think 7 pounds of ground beef for around $30 or so,” Ramhold said. “But if you want to shortcut it — no shame in that at all! — you can buy packages of patties that are ready to throw on the grill.”
Choose 15 Kirkland Signature 100% Grass-Fed Patties for around $26, 18 Kirkland Signature Ground Sirloin Patties for around $28 or 18 Kirkland Signature Angus Chuck Patties, also for around $18.
“If you need plant-based options, there’s a good chance Costco will have you covered there as well,” Ramhold said. “At my local warehouse, a pack of 10 Beyond Meat Burgers is about $18, while eight Impossible Burger Patties are about $13.”
“Obviously not everyone does burgers and dogs for a barbecue menu, so if you’re interested in other meats, be sure to check Costco for those as well,” Ramhold said. “You can usually find packages of bratwurst and kielbasa, but also ribs, chicken thighs, steaks, pork chops and more to satisfy every taste.”
Greg Larkin, founder of the Costco Food Database, especially recommends Costco’s chicken thighs.
“They are sold at $0.99 a pound and do extremely well on the grill or in the smoker,” he said. “The dark meat stays extra moist and juicy while the skin crisps up nicely. These are very good for feeding a large number of people.”
“It’s likely that most people are going to want chips of some kind with their barbecue meal, whether that’s potato chips or tortilla chips with some kind of dip on the side,” Ramhold said. “Costco offers up a few select varieties.”
These include Kirkland Signature Kettle Krinkle Cut Chips (32 ounces for around $6), Kirkland Signature Organic Tortilla Chips (40 ounces for around $6), Doritos (30 ounces for around $6) and Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips (30 ounces for around $7).
“You can find other varieties too, including Ruffles, Tostitos and even Late July items in some stores, so you should be able to find something that appeals to your guests without issue,” Ramhold said.
“What would a barbecue be without dessert? You can opt for grilled fruit with vanilla ice cream if you want — Kirkland Signature vanilla ice cream will set you back roughly $15 for two 64-ounce containers — or you can pick up an epically large pie or cake from the bakery section,” Ramhold said. “The double crust apple pie is delicious, runs about $11 and weighs about 5 pounds, plus, it should serve at least 16 people, according to the nutrition label. A chocolate or vanilla cake with mousse filling is roughly $14, serves 16 people and weighs about 4 pounds.”
“If you can be sure you’ll be able to use up 40 ounces of barbecue sauce, 132 ounces of ketchup, 80 ounces of ranch dressing and/or 64 ounces of mayo, then it may be worth buying these items in bulk,” Ramhold said. “However, if there’s a chance they’ll go off before you can finish them, skip it and opt for smaller containers from your standard grocery store.”
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