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Nov 28, 2007 07:46 AM

half smokes not at Ben's

I am looking to bring some half smokes back to my parents in Michigan to bring some taste of DC. There is a cart in SE by my work which is the only place I have ever had them (warm off the cart, obviously). How can the half smokes be stored? Is it possible for me to have them without refrigeration for several hours? Also, is there any place to get them retail other than Ben's Chili Bowl? I live near Shirlington and hope I can get them closer to my house.

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  1. Canales Meats in Eastern Market is the ONLY local retailer I know of that sells the Mangers Brand halfsmokes that you can get hot at Ben's. Refrigerated, they come in mild or spicy; they're around $4.99 a pound. If you freeze them first, they'll keep for several hours. Cooking can be tricky; you need to cook them over low heat for about half an hour, or split them down the middle and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes each side. That's why they're called "half smokes."

    Beenie Weenie in Shirlington also sells cooked halfsmokes.

    5 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      I find it ironic and annoying that even though the Mangers half smokes are made in Baltimore, I don't know anywhere around Baltimore to buy them. I should have made a trip over to Eastern Market last weekend when I was in D.C.

      1. re: Hal Laurent

        Nobody at Lexington Market carries them?

        I tried calling the Manger's factory in East Baltimore, but they don't have a retail operation. They were willing to ship them to me, but their minimum order was something like 25 lbs. I was very tempted.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          > Nobody at Lexington Market carries them?

          Hmm, that's a good question. If I can find the number for Manger's I should call them and ask.

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            They're here:


            124 S Franklintown Rd., Baltimore, MD, United States
            (410) 233-0126

            Tell them they got people in Michigan who want their halfsmokes.

            It's so irritating walking into grocery stores and seeing every possible mutation of sausage but NO DECENT LOCALLY MADE HALFSMOKES. They got chicken blueberry sausage, curry turkey sausage, uncured veal sausage, tartar control sausage, but no halfsmokes. This is DC's contribution to local cuisine and we have to call wholesale meatpackers to find the stuff? I can understand muffalettas and cuban sandwiches, but this is a local birthright!

            1. re: Joe H

              Let me give a specific response for transporting food on an airplane: blue ice. Serious. Blue ice. I've carried gorgonzola dolce, Reggiano, Vermont butter, etc. on airplanes to cities for friends where I would make risotto and couldn't buy the ingredients locally. It works and will keep the half smokes refrigerated for a long time. How long? I've brought eppouises back from France before you could buy them here.

    2. I assume you are talking about taking them in their packages, not as finished dogs ready to eat as from a carry-out. You should be able to find packages of them in most supermarkets well east of 16th St. Used to be true anyway. Mostly Briggs brand tho. You could call Mangers back and ask what stores carry them. Probably also the DC Farmers Market near Florida and NY Ave. Perhaps Murray's Steaks, with stores throughout the lower income parts of the DC area. You won't typically find them West of R.C Park nor in the gentrified parts of downtown, etc. You might try the new Giant in Columbia Heights--I used to buy them at the old Giant there.

      As far as carrying them goes, they are just like hot dogs, i.e. fully cooked prior to being packaged for retail sale from the meat case, not to mention plenty of preservatives, and, truthfully, would be just fine without refrigeration for the duration of your trip to Michigan. Personally I'd just put them in my suitcase. I do stuff like that all the time and I've never had any problem at all.