Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Tristate Archive >
Oct 1, 2002 07:51 PM

Black Bear Meats

  • j

Is anyone familiar with the Black Bear product line made exclusively for Shop Rite? I love hot dogs and saw theirs in the Shop Rite, but was never moved to buy them. I thought they were some cheap off the wall brand. My wife starting buying their deli meats and they were fantastic! Best roast beef i've had. I liked it better than Thumann's and Boar's Head. They even have great salads.

I figured if their deli meats are so good; maybe their franks are too. I bought the all beef franks and was blown away. The best dog I've bought in a supermarket or anywhere else for that matter. The only dog that comes close is Usinger's Angus frank from Wisconsin. I contacted Shop Rite via their website and found out that the entire Black Bear product line is made for Shop Rite by Dietz and Watson of Philadelphia. Their meats are also top of the line. Was wondering what you think about Black Bear. Too bad they don't promote it more.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    Michele Cindy

    I really like Black Bear products too. Someone else posted good reviews on their dogs not long ago, and I plan to buy them for our next BBQ.
    I always bought Land of Lakes Yellow American cheese, for years. About a year ago Black Bear's White was on sale so I tried it, and have been hooked ever since. Even if Land is on sale I now only buy Black Bear. It has a much smoother taste. For cole slaw I still prefer Thumans.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Michele Cindy
      Mark DiBlasi

      Black Bear meats are, in my opinion, the same tasteless, salty, nitrate-laden crap that Boars Head and other "premium" deli meats are.

      I've tried seveal varieties of Black Bear, and found them consistently awful. Try a hot dog from Steve's in Greenpoint and see if you don't agree.

      1. re: Mark DiBlasi

        Really, Mark? What brand of deli meats do you think is superior? And Steve's in Greenpoint? Do they serve Black Bear Franks? I believe they are only available through Shop Rite. Try these dogs for yourself if you haven't already. Everyone that has tried them on my reccomendation has loved them. And I'm a hot dog nut who has tried many brands.

        1. re: John
          Mark DiBlasi

          I don't think any "brand" of deli meat is really very good. Some of it is OK, no more. It's convenience food.

          Steve's in Greenpoint is a Polish butcher shop that makes and smokes it's own sausages and hot dogs, and while some commercially made dogs are OK, Steve's(and
          other places that make fresh, natural casing products) are in another class. Black Bear Kielbasa, which I've had, just doesn't come close.

          1. re: Mark DiBlasi

            Forgive me; but I have no idear where Greenpoint is. What state? I'll travel pretty far to sample a quality frank. And you're probably right about a butcher shop's meats being superior. But I love Black Bear's Natural casing beef dogs.

            I live in Union, N.J. and we have a few German/Polish butchers in town. The Union Pork store makes the absolute best bratwurst I've had anywhere. And this includes Usinger's from Milwaukee. They also make a great German style beef and pork dog. Most of the time I like a kosher style all beef dog. These German delis also make all beef dogs, but they use the same subtle spicing used for the beef/pork dog which lacks the paprika and garlic. Union Pork Store, Gaiser's, Lutz's, and Fritz's in Union all make quality German style franks. Pulaski in Linden (Union County) and Schmidt's in Clark also make great dogs on the premises.

            1. re: John
              Mark DiBlasi

              Greenpoint is in Brooklyn, but that doesn't matter.

              John, what you describe actually confirms my point. There was a time when shrink wrap and deli meat were not known to each other, and the art of making this stuff depended on butchers who did things from scratch.
              And, in my opinion, patronizing the decreasing number of places that still do it the old fashioned way, as do the places you describe, is a good thing to do.

              1. re: Mark DiBlasi

                Mark & John,

                You're both doing us all a service by mentioning these still independent butcher shops, which I hope people are rediscovering. Having as many as possible mentioned on this site can't hurt. Thanks to the many German, Polish, other central and eastern European families who still carry on these shops. Let me offer several more..these in upstate NY.

                Pulaski's Butcher shop - Lenox Ave. - Utica, NY - a great variety of quality homemade sausages, Polish specialties at low prces.

                Hapanowicz Bros. - New York Mills, NY - Large and varied meat section with the best bockwurst I've ever had, including comparisons with the similar Weisswurst in Bavaria, Berlin. etc.

                A German butcher shop in Arbor Hill just up from the NY State capital Bldg. in Albany, NY. Across Central Avenue and over small bridge then on the right (forget the street name) - they make a large variety of their own cold cuts and sausage. Just across the street - a good Polish bakery with the crustiest bread.

                On the subject of small independent surviving bakeries..

                Heidelberg - a mile or so above Herkimer, NY on rte. 28 - on the right. Great bread, scones, pastries.

                Hemstrought's - rte. 5 in Utica, NY - breads and many cookies, pastries.

                Holland House - rte. 5A - Utica, NY - specializing in cookies, cakes, pies, pastries..

              2. re: John

                John - Mark has a good point if you happen to be able to visit a great pork store - there is no comparison and the pricing is not much different than Boar's Head's pricing.

                Anyway, let me add one more store to the list - in Ridgefield, NJ is Kosars. If they are not still there, I apologize. But, when I lived in Bergen County, this was the place to go. Incredible wursts, hot dogs, store roasted meats, their own hams, great macaroni salad and all types of potato salads - German families owned and operated. You could eat off the floor it was that clean.

                1. re: Chuck

                  Do you mean Kocher's? If so they're still there, and still great, I am happy to report!
                  Have you tried their frikadeller (sp?)?

              3. re: Mark DiBlasi

                To continue the "butcher shop" discussion and to expand the geography, here are some additional notes:

                * Fair Lawn, NJ, on the edge of Radburn nr. RR station at the intersection of Plaza Rd. and FL Ave. -- The Swiss Pork Store: leberkase, cervelat, what we call "chunky" liverwurst, bratwurst, weisswurst, bokwurst, knockwurst, schibling...all the familiar things, top quality, as well as a variety of breads, salads, fresh meat and poultry.

                * Garfield and Wallington -- plenty of Polish butchers there, I think.

                * Passaic -- Does anyone know if Kriebel on President Street is still there? And the Hungarian grocer near Dayton Ave.?

                * Even Market Basket in Wyckoff and Franklin Lakes beats the packaged things. I find their bratwurst and hot dogs good if a little bland; their sliced meats are top quality. They make a lot of their own -- roasted turkey, roast beef, liverwurst and bologna, etc.

                1. re: Mark DiBlasi

                  May I add to the growing list Miller's Stratford Provision on the Boston Post Rd. in Stratford, CT. Best German style franks ( hey, they're not hot dogs until you slip them into a bun ) and wursts this side of the Hudson and Housatonic rivers. Also, killer kielbasa, pastrami, black forest ham et al. All deliciously and freshly made on the premises by German trained butchers.

            2. re: Michele Cindy

              Yes - Black Bear American cheese is excellent - as good as Boar's Head and less expensive.

            3. I too have developed a liking for their Black Bear Deli Meats, But they don't seem to get scheduled delivery of the product.
              I like their Sandwich Pepperoni

              1. It's odd that D&W makes the Black Bear brand for shoprite, even though they do make their own which is quite inferior to the Black Bear. I'm talking about the Black Bear skin-on vs their DW New York style skin-on. It's not even close, the DW is much more bland in comparison.

                1. I always bought Thumann's franks but they are sometimes hard to find and expensive. I tried the natural casing Black Bear and they are our favorite now. I also bought their American Cheese which was delicious and comparable to Land of Lakes. My grandson swears by their roast beef which I have not tried yet but from here on, Black Bear is for us.

                  1. The original comment has been removed