Based in northeastern Wisconsin, Gilbert’s Craft Sausages are touting their all natural, uncured line of franks and sausages. I picked up a package of their “Froman” franks, which I assume is a riff on the character of Abe Froman, the “Sausage King of Chicago” in the Ferris Bueller movie. Gilbert’s grew out of a passion two friends had for microbrews in 2008.
In addition to the uncured frank, Gilbert’s has a gluten free beer brat, a chipotle mozzarella lime smoked sausage, and an uncured smoked sausage with blue cheese.
“Uncured” meats are those without sodium nitrates or nitrites, which are commonly found preservatives in processed meats.
The ingredient list for the franks is straightforward: Beef Sirloin, Beef, Water, with 2% or less of the following: Seasoning Blend (Natural Spices, Paprika, Natural Flavors), Sea Salt, Sugar, Cherry Powder and Evaporated Cane Syrup, Cultured Celery Juice Powder, Sodium Phosphate, in a Beef Collagen Casing. (Celery juice, powder, similar are commonly used as preservatives in uncured meats).
The franks are packaged four in a pack, and come individually wrapped, which is kinda nice. They ARE spendy, however, at about $6.50 per four pack (10 ounces), (online price) or $1.62 per wiener. That’s steep compared to other premium products. I generally pay between $4 – $5 for a six wiener package of all beef, natural casing franks, which is my own preference.
I bought them today because they were in the ‘scratch and dent’ section of my grocer, and being sold at $2.00.
The first thing I noticed about the uncooked wiener was its smell, or lack of it. The slight aroma from the uncooked sausage is actually kind of sweet – as opposed to any kind of smokey odor I would expect.
Aside from the mildness, the flavor is similar to any all beef frank.
It’s a very fine grind sausage, and the collagen casing gives it a little ‘snap.’ Putting a little char on it adds to the ‘bite factor.’ Would I buy them regularly? Probably not at this price. On sale? Maybe. But I much prefer natural casings, but that’s just me, and a mere 5 % of hot dog buyers in the U.S. Buyers looking for all natural dogs and who eschew preservatives will really enjoy this company’s offerings.
Knowing how hard it is to launch a meat biz, and get shelf space, I greatly admire these guys for the progress they are making.