US Food Safety Recalls and Tips
Tabelog Reviewer burgerdogboy

Posts Tagged ‘Hot Dogs’

Gilberts Froman Frank Review

Gilberts Froman Frank ReviewBased 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.

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.

Find Gilbert’s at a store near you, or shop online.

Gilberts Froman Frank Review


Couple of Duluth Disappointments

Kawika and the Minnesota posse hit a couple of places in Duluth recently, and were disappointed across the board.

The local Marcus theater has five buck night, and apparently they try and make up for the reduced admission with a giant price on a hot dog combo – $8.75 for a dog and soda.  The good news should have been that the franks are high-quality beef weenies from Chicago’s Eisenberg, the bad news (beside the price) was the dogs had been on a roller/heater for so long as to be nearly inedible. Food outlets that use dog rollers should toss product from time to time. Common sense.

Duluthians were so excited about the opening of their first Panera bread store, that they lined up the night before the grand opening. The posse went for sandwiches.

It’s funny, Panera does make so many great breads, and do a lot of good in their communities.  But they fall down on the ingredients used in their sandwiches, it’s been my opinion, and the posse came away feeling the same way.

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog


Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog


Panera Tuna Sandwich

Panera Tuna Sandwich


Panera Duluth Review

Duluth Lobby

Panera reviews

Coney Island Recipe – Hot Dog Sauce

I love coney island style hot dogs, which are not to be confused with chili dogs.  Coney islands follow a basic formula of a natural casing wiener, adorned with meat sauce, chopped raw onions, and yellow mustard.  There are variations of them around the midwest, usually at shops started by Greek families two or three generations ago.  Some of the more famous include American Coney in Detroit, Skyline and Gold Star in Ohio, and of course, Deluxe Coney in my home town of Duluth.

On occasion, I make my own sauce at home, whipping up a batch large enough to consume immediately, and freeze the rest in sandwich bags to take out whenever I have the urge over the succeeding couple of months.

My recipe has been developed and fine tuned over many years, and is similar to the sauces listed about, but not identical.  Each establishment has their own ‘secret ingredient’, I am sure.

Coney Island Style Hot Dogs

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 6 C water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 4 t chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 4 t cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2  finely diced onions, one for broth, one for assembly later
  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
  • High quality, natural casing hot dogs (I used Usinger’s)
  • Buns
  • Yellow mustard


Bring the water to a boil, and add and stir in the tomato paste. When thoroughly mixed, add the dry spices and herbs. Now here’s the twist, which is different that I usually would have done in the past, but it really works for this. Crumble the beef RAW into the broth, and the onions, and simmer for three hours or until reduced to a thickness that you prefer. You may have to further crumble the beef while cooking with a wooden spoon or potato masher, but chances are the hot water will do the job for you.  I usually end up cooking for considerably longer than three hours, reducing my concoction to a thick and meaty sauce.


Steam or griddle fry your dogs, place one on a bun slathered with yellow mustard. Ladle a quantity of chili to your personal preference and dust with diced onion.

Pictorial, step by step:

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

6 C water, 6 oz tomato paste

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Spice / herb combination

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Water, tomato paste, spices boiling


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Crumble raw beef into ‘soup’



Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Usinger’s of Milwaukee, NC wieners


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Finely diced onions


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Lunch time!



Coney Island Recipe



Parkview Beef Wieners Review

Parkview Hot Dogs ReviewI have written about Parkview brand before, the in-house mark for processed meats at the discount grocer Aldi. These hot dogs are produced at a plant in Albert Lea, Minnesota, which was previously owned by Minnesota old-timey brand Schweigert’s, who make the official hot dog of the Minnesota Twins ( nearly 600,000 sold at the park this season).  Both the plant, and the current Schweigert’s brand are in the portfolio of Cargill these days.

The dogs come eight to a one pound pack, and the first two ingredients on the package are beef and water.  That’s a good thing, with pan shrinkage virtually unnoticeable.

The sausage has a very fine grind, and an extremely mild flavor. At 8/pound, a hearty bun is recommended, perhaps an S. Rosen Poppyseed, or equivalent.

BTW,  as pictured here?  I put the slices in the weenies prior to cooking, just for effect.

Parkview Hot Dogs Review

Parkview Beef Wieners Review

Letter from a Sabrett’s Fan

Robert, in New York, sent along some thoughts that I am happy to repost.  Thanks for the note, Robert.


I was born before World War 2

Food was scarce Do not remember much growing up,

At age 16  I started to eat Hot Dogs when I worked in New York City.

There was a little Sabrett hot dogs stand on the corner of the Custom House.

A hot dog was $.15 cents and the soda was a dime.

I would help the little old Greek lady set up.

After getting out of the Army I went back to work and she remembered me.

The prices changed but she still sold me a hot dog and soda for the same price.

Now at 76 …… I am still eating Sabrett Hot Dogs.

Why is it that you receive something that says you ‘won’ and then they ask you for money to send it.

Some of us try to help others -

I volunteer at a hospital.

All I have is my old 9-11 memorial Harley and a hell of a lot of memories.

If you dislike Firemen – Soldiers – Policemen, you are a fool or Terrorist ….if not for them you would not be here….

I was a Volunteer Fireman age 18, Soldier age 21, EMS Policeman age 25.

God Bless us all.

Algonquin, IL – Fradillio’s

Fradillio’s is another locally owned “hot dog centric” food establishment in the far northwestern ‘burbs of Chicago.  Featuring the best in local suppliers, Fradillio’s offers hot dogs and polish sausage from Vienna Beef, and Italian Beef from local favorite supplier Devanco.

I went with a bacon cheeseburger, cooked on the charbroiler, with a great bun, and it was delish.  Crinkle cut fries are on tap, served with just the right crispiness and lightly salted.

Fradillio’s offers a complete catering service, where you can feed a family or a crowd;  fill up about 30 persons with 5 pounds of Italian beef, a pan of mostaccioli, a pan of Italian sausage, a large bowl of house salad, and 10 loaves of French bread for $175.  Many other options and sizes available, including wings, ribs, hot dogs, and the like.

Fradillio’s is located at the corner of Highway 62 (Algonquin Road) and Randall Road, at the north end of the Randall Road shopping ‘mecca’.

Fradillio's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Oscar Meyer Selects Angus Smoked Uncured Beef Franks

Whoa, that’s a long name.  Saw these the other day for the first time, when I was in the hunt for my usual brands, premium casing dogs like Usingers or Vienna Beef.

These were $3.99, for a 14 oz, 8 frank package;  they are bun length, and a bit redder in color than most grocery store dogs.

Ingredient list, and what a relief not to see “mechanically separated turkey and chicken” as one runs into so often lately:  Angus beef, water, dextrose, cultured celery juice, vinegar, sodium phosphates, cherry powder, lemon juice solids, flavors, extractives of paprika.

That’s pretty normal stuff.   Dextrose is a simple sugar found in plants, generally used in the curing process of meats, but these are uncured, so it is most likely a flavor enhancer.  Sodium phosphate is used as a preservative instead of nitrates. Dextrose contributes to fermentation which creates some portions of flavor.  All the rest is what it is!

As to putting “Angus Beef” on a label?  80% of beef cattle in the US are Angus, so that’s not a premium point.  I understand that “Certified Angus” is a big deal, if you see that on labels.

Point?  They’re tasty.  And for being a skinless dog, I’d put them on my ‘regular’ list.  With all beef franks, I usually get Nathan’s or Hebrew, but now I have a third choice.

And moms?  Remember to dice the dogs if feeding them to toddlers.

oscar meye

Joliet, IL – Steak ‘n Shake Steak Dog

First the  “Steakburger”, now the “Steak Dog”.  I’m a fan of Steak N Shake, have been for years, even though they never seem to be located in my part of the country, I stop when I am able.   My previous forays have been written about here.

This trip a mere dunk in / out as I was making my way across  “Main Street USA” (I-80) in Northern Illinois, Joliet to be exact, in search of Jake and Elwood.

The Steak Franks are 100% beef, chunks of sirloin, and are offered in varying styles, including “Chicago” (mustard, diced onions, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, pickle slice, and sport peppers); “Chili Cheese” (Genuine Chili, shredded Cheddar ’n jack cheese, and diced onions); “Carolina Slaw” (mustard, diced onions, and creamy coleslaw); “Cheesey Cheddar” (grilled onions and smothered with loads of melted Wisconsin Cheddar).

I had a dog and a burger.  The dog’s beef flavor is great, one of the best for a skinless.  The only downside here was both buns were a bit “dry”.  They shouldn’t fall apart.

Steak ‘n Shake makes frequent references on their menu to “Genuine” chili, and I have no idea what that means, do you?  BTW, I saw billboards on my trip for S n S offering $3.99 all the pancakes you can eat.  Yummers.

Menu online, as is a locator.

Steak N Shake Steak Dog

Steak 'n Shake on Urbanspoon

New Orleans, LA – Dat Dog

A pal invited me to the haute dog place in New Orleans, “Dat Dog”, and it was over the top delicious on the tubular nutrition vehicle offerings.   Unimpressive website that tells you nothing, but the experience and first bite tell you everything.

These are quality sausages, made by a variety of purveyors.   My pal went for the crawfish dog, ground crawfish, seasonings in a casing,  it was damned good.

I opted for two selections, a traditional german wiener, and a “Slovakian”,  which was pure pork, seasoned, lightly smoked.

Both were excellent.

Fries were highly seasoned crispy shoestrings, adding cheese is a mistake, go with them naked.

Selection of beers, lots of outdoor tables, incredibly noisy, cash only.  Uptown neighborhood Nola, near the snooty college Burgerdogdaughter went to.

Earlier review by NOLA reporter here.

Dat Dog New Orleans

Slovakian, German Wiener, Crawfish


Dat Dog on Urbanspoon

Usinger’s Meats – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I wrote a bit about Usinger’s the other day.  Here’s the rest of the story, as I prepare to dig into their natural casing “Old World Recipe” wieners.    Pretty straightforward ingredients with these pups,  beef and pork,  water, spices, sugar,  salt, paprika, and a couple of the sodiums as a preservative, in a natural lamb casing.   My kind of dog.  Mrs. Burgerdogboy will be sorry she missed out on these, she loves a good hot dog.

Back to the story.

Immigrant Fred Usinger Sr. arrived in Milwaukee from Frankfurt (!) in 1880, took over a little butcher shop in downtown, and eventually married a niece of the former owner.   Four generations later, family members are still running the company, which has grown to become a Milwaukee institution with a national reputation, in fact, Usinger’s hot dogs were the official supplier to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake.  That’s recognition!

Usinger’s makes a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, in addition to deli meats.   Their hot dogs are described by many as “the best in the nation”, and received that accolade also in a 1984 book called “The Book of Bests“.

If you can’t get to the Upper Midwest, then just type in the URL, press click, and enjoy these great products at home.

Buy Some Stuff

Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! (burp!)