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Supermarket Hot Dogs


John
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I like many brands of hot dogs, but each one has to be cooked a certain way:

Best (Brand, not the best dog but very good) - has to be boiled

Ballpark - has to be grilled, maybe in the frying pan if the weather is afoul and you are totally desperate. If I am forced to boil them, they have to be buried under a pile of baked beans

Nathans - in the frying pan, maybe on the grill

Sabretts - have to be boiled (dirty water dogs, NOTHING LIKE IT!!!)

Thumann's - grilled of course

Hebrew National - good question???

Store Brand Hot Dogs - have to be on welfare with 10 screaming babies at home and the electric has to be on so I can plug the hot plate in.

The Man, The Myth

TapItorScrapIt.com

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Hebrew National are edible when you cook the same way as Nathan's (pan or grill); but they will be a little tough no matter what. HN lost their "knock" (pronounced as k-nock) some years ago. :sad: They used to really spurt and snap when you bit into them; no more. And they don't taste as good, either. How the mighty are fallen.

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All right, I'm going to have to go on a mission to find Black Bear franks -- you guys have convinced me.

roz, your post brings back memories of sitting around the table on Friday nights at camp humming out endless renditions of Shmulky's nigun. Yai, diddy dai, diddy dai dee dee, dai dee dee........

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Sabretts with naturals are great dogs. A close second for me is the Nathans dog with natural, but thats even harder to find in some cases.

Today, I saw 3 # packages of Nathan's natural casings at Costco for $9.99.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Costco carries Sabrett natural casings too (both the frankfurters and the hot sausages) -- also in 3 pound packages.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Earlier in the summer, I bought the Black Bear franks on sale; $1.99 if you have their discount card, $2.99 if not. They did advertise these franks in their circular. Once I recall seeing 3 lbs for $5.99. Last time I went, I assumed they were either on sale (as usual) or sold at a non sale price of $2.99. I wound up paying $4.99, which I found out is the regular price. Still worth it, but they are on sale a lot. Best's franks are on sale a lot at Shop Rite also. This week $1.99. regularly $4.50. And this is for skinless.

First time I saw Black Bear, I thought it was a cheap brand. It happenned to be on sale (I didn't know it was the sale price) so I thought it was some off the wall brand since I had never heard of it, and noticed the Moorestown, N.J. address on the label. I figured if it was any good, I would have heard of it before. But, as Steven said, they really don't advertise the brand much. I have heard a few ads recently on radio touting their quality meats "Old World European Style". And I did hear a radio ad 2 weeks ago on a Mets Game advertising the Franks. They mentioned that most Supermarkets offer a generic, ordinary brand of their own, but only Shop Rite offers Black Bear Natural Casing Beef Franks with "an old world flavor from an old German recipe" Something like that. You may hear it if you have the Mets game on in the car.

My wife starting buying a lot of Black Bear meats when they were on sale at Shop Rite. They were so good, I started thinking about their franks. I have a roast beef sub once in awhile at the pizzeria near work. They use Thumann's roast beef which I found to be even better than Boar's Head. My wife sometimes gets Thumann's roast beef. One particular time she got the Black Bear on sale. She told me she preferred it to the Thumann's. I had it, and had to admit that it was at least as good and probably better. I'll have to do a side by side comparison soon. Anyway, I figured that Thumann's and Boar's Head make quality meats, and I also like their franks; so maybe Black Bear made a good frank since their other meats are so good. I'm trying to find out more about Black Bear. I've been playing phone tag with someone from their company that I hope to speak with soon.

As for Usinger's franks, they were only available through their website until recently. Now they are sold at Foodtown. Their are 2 in North Jersey (Roselle and Colonia). The rest are in Monmouth County.

John the hot dog guy

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John, in terms of stocking up on hot dogs when they're on sale: How long do you keep them in the fridge? Do you freeze them for longer-term storage and if so do you notice any degradation? Do some types of hot dogs store better than others (e.g., with or without natural casing)?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I try not to buy too many hot dogs. On occasion (about twice in the last year) I had to buy 5lbs at once. This is because I was getting them from a distributor. I got the special Thumann's for deep frying that are used at Rutt's, Libby's, Goffle Grill, and Hiram's. I deep fry em to my taste (well done) and top em with relish purchased at Rutt's. I've found that they stay good for a few months in the freezer. The guy at Thumann's told me they can last a long time; but I've heard from Usinger's and others that you should only freeze franks for a month or 2 at the most before the flavor starts to deteriorate. And by all means, make sure they are frozen before the expiration date on the package. I've also purchased the Grote & Weigle beef franks used at Father & Son Luncheonette from their Jersey distributor. And last year I bought five lbs of Papaya King franks for $37.50 before discovering that they are actually Sabrett (see previous threads)>

Before opening a package of dogs; regardless of quantity, it is best to keep them in the fridge until you use them for the first time, or the expiration date pops up; whichever comes first. Assuming you use them shortly after purchasing them, I recomend wrapping the unused dogs in some kind of wrap and then putting them in a freezer bag. This works for me. I usually just buy by the pound, or even by the single dog if I'm getting them at a deli. I refrigerate, and use what I need and freeze the rest.

I eat hot dogs at home once or twice a week. I eat them out maybe once or twice a month on average. My family still thinks that's too much; but tough. I usually tell my wife that she should be lucky that I'm running to Rutt's Hut or Syd's, or Tommy's, or wherever, rather than to the local bar like many of my friends. This usually silences her. Plus it helps to have a daughter who works at an Italian Hot Dog restaurant. Whenever my wife doesn't feel like cooking, I pick up the phone and have an Italian Hot Dog. Or Cheesteak, or chicken, or even a salad.

I had some Schickhaus in the freezer for a little over 3 months, and they lost their flavor. My kids only eat Best; so I keep these on hand at all times. I like to go to their factory (4 1/2 miles away) to get them w/natural casing. There is a 2lb minimum. You used to be able to buy as little as a lb loose; but 2 or 3 years ago (maybe more) the gov't forced them to sell only in cryovac packages because a few people died of lysteria after eating Sabrett hot dogs. Available in 2, 3 or 5 lbs. I'll try anything, but I usually have only a few lbs at home at a time. Usually Black Bear, Best and Thumann's (the pork/beef ones for grilling).

John the hot dog guy

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John, by the way, I was out the other day and I happened to catch the delivery to Gray's Papaya. The Sabrett cartons were clearly labeled.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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How did you steal mustard and relish from Rutt's? They keep it right at the counter where you pay. Unless you are talking about the inside dining area? This reminds me of a friend who worked in a diner. She told me stories about the elderly coming in and asking for packets of ketchup. She asked them why they would request packets when there was a bottle on every table. The reason is that it's harder to steal a whole bottle.

Another friend of mine had a nut for an uncle. He would go into a diner and have coffee and talk to all the waitresses. He would go home, change clothes, and come back a few hours later asking the waitresses if his twin was there earlier. Then he would tell them that his brother forgot his medicine and would have a seizure if he didn't get it soon. He would act frantic and tell everyone to keep an eye out for his brother. Then he would go home, change, and come back as his brother and watch everyone go crazy trying to get him to take his medicine.

Another thing he would do is go into a diner dressed as a bus driver and ask the waitress if they could accomodate a bus load of senior citizens. One waitress quit on the spot!

Steven, I recently spoke with someone who works at Best in Newark, and he too, heard about Sabrett supplying these places. Like the Sabrett distributor and the person in charge of private label told me, it is simply too much trouble for a company to make many different recipes in large quantities; especially when they use natural casing. Different sizes are no problem; it's just the differring types. And I also recall someone from Jersey City telling me that one of the owners at Boulevard Drinks (a hot dog joint in Jersey City that cooks Sabrett's on a griddle and proudly advertises that they use Sabrett) told him that his franks are the same exact ones used at Papaya King. He knew this because he was told by someone from Sabrett.

As you can imagine, I was angry that I paid double the amount for 5 lbs of Papaya King dogs when buying them at Papaya King rather than Sabrett. But I was glad in another sense to make this discovery. As I said before, and since we are talking about Supermarket brands, all you have to do to enjoy the same frank as those served at Papaya King is to find some Sabrett with natural casing (10 to a lb) . These may not be available at a supermarket, but rather a distributor (there are many). But many supermarkets sell the natural casing 8 to a lb which is the one used by Katz's Deli. Just cook them on a griddle and you got a Katz's hot dog. I believe you can buy as little as a lb at Katz's. Compare them with the Sabrett's and I believe you will see they are the same. Let me know the results of any taste comparisons you do. I think you'll see a big difference between Black Bear and these other brands.

John the hot dog guy

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How did you steal mustard and relish from Rutt's? They keep it right at the counter where you pay. Unless you are talking about the inside dining area?

yes, from the inside dining area. it's so dark and smoky in there that i think you could walk out with a table and chairs and no one would notice.

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I love that dining area. Only ate there once or twice though. Looking to go back soon. Nice atmosphere, and the bar area seems like a great place to have a few beers and dogs. My son and I had some time to kill one Sunday recently so we headed up to Rutt's with the intention of doing just that. The guy behind the bar refused to let us sit there because my son isn't old enough to drink. I said that he would just have soda, but he still refused; even though the bar was less than half filled. Eagan's in North Arlington was a great place to go for a deep fried dog and some beer. Small take out area in the front with an eating area, and a lovely little bar/restaurant in the back. I used to have a few beers in the bar followed by hot dogs, cole slaw and fantastic gravy fries. The owners were given a ridiculous amount of money to sell the place. It is now a Rite Aid. Like we really need another one. Them and CVS are a sure sign that we are indeed in the end times. The damn Rite Aid also sits on the spot of the former Jahn's ice cream parlor and restaurant (like Friendly's only better) in Union, and the famous Parsonage Diner in Edison. I will never set foot in Rite Aid as long as I live.

John the hot dog guy

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Bought the larger-size (4-to-a-pound) of Black Bear and the casing-to-meat ratio is all wrong; the smaller ones (8-to-a-pound) are much better. I've given some additional comments here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Thanks for the post. You just saved me from buying a 3 lb package. That's the only size package available at my local Shop rite. I suspected that the 1/4 lbsize might be too big. Five or 6 to a lb and thinner in diameter might be better. Let us know how the Black Bear measures up to other quality beef dogs if you happen to do a comparison. When I did; I found the Black Bear to be tastier with a wider range of flavors.

John the hot dog guy

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John, if I do a comparison it's going to be with a minivan full of other eGulleters . . . at your house. I hope you like bulldogs as much as you like hot dogs.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I live in Allentown, Pennsylvania and if I had to choose my favorite supermarket hot dog, it would be: Ball Park Beef Franks, my second would be:Nathan's. But with 5 Yocco's Hot Dogs (the best "restaurant" hotdog) in my area, why would you settle for anything less! The ingredient that makes them perfect is their secret chili sauce recipe. So if you are ever in the Lehigh Valley, swing by a Yocco's and get: 3 Dogs w/everything, a large pierogie, and a 32 oz. red birch beer or a pint of chocolate milk; the components to the best meal ever!!! :raz:

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  • 1 month later...

I was in the Shop Rite in Clark today. This one is right off exit 135 of the Parkway and is one of the biggest and best Shop Rites. Excellent selection of hot dogs. The usual brands plus, across from the deli, they had Black Bear all beef, Sabrett, Thumann's, and Schickhaus; all natural casing. Black Bear and Sabrett are 2 of the three finest all beef dogs, along with Usinger's. Thumann's and Schickhaus are 2 of the best German style pork and beef dogs.

John the hot dog guy

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I picked up a pack of Boar's Head natural casings today at Stew Leonard's in Yonkers. I assume that on a national level those will have good availability. I'll report once I try them. Perhaps they will be an acceptable substitute for some of the harder-to-find regional brands.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I live in Allentown, Pennsylvania ...with 5 Yocco's Hot Dogs (the best "restaurant" hotdog) in my area, why would you settle for anything less! The ingredient that makes them perfect is their secret chili sauce recipe. So if you are ever in the Lehigh Valley, swing by a Yocco's and get: 3 Dogs w/everything, a large pierogie, and a 32 oz. red birch beer or a pint of chocolate milk; the components to the best meal ever!!! :raz:

Yocco's puts out a very good dog, but I've noticed some significant differences between locations. Had superb dogs (crunchy skin, moist spicy centers) out in Schaefer-land. Had dregs of bulldog in a bun in their Allentown hamilton blvd location (watch out, Momo!!)

John or Jamarmt- any idea who supplies Yocco?

The family is related to Lee Iacocca, father of the Ford Mustang

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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