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Where to get good deli franks

Or... which brand to buy?

I'm a big fan of Hebrew National all-beef franks. But I also like a traditional natural casing deli frank (with pork) as well. In CT, they have Martin Rosel's, which are quite good. Up here, we have Kayem's, which aren't.

So where should I go if I want a good natural casing frank, and which brand should I look for?

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  1. I get my fresh PEARL hotdogs at Russo's .Great on the grill .

    3 Replies
    1. re: bostboater

      PEARLS are the Best of Boston for sure!

      1. re: sinned61

        Specifically, Pearl's Kountry Klub brand. They sell them at Star's/Shaw's in the deli case loose, not prepackaged, about 1/4 lb each, still connected together in a string. Incredible crisp natural casing, great flavor.

        1. re: BobB

          They also have them at Restaurant Depot. I think they are about 14 to a pack, maybe more, for $15 or so.

    2. I like Pearls too, but if they look like they've been hanging around the deli case for a while(it happens more in the winter), I get Boar's Head knockwurst.

      1. Michael's deli in Coolidge Corner has Pearl dogs, and also great pastrami, corned beef, and much more.

        1. yes to Pearls (I get mine at Michaels or Russos but they are widely available) and I also like Aaron's kosher knockwurst from the butcherie

          1. Market Basket offers the best regular pricing on Pearl's natural casing beef.

            Hannford offers Nathan's natural casing beef regular price for a bit under $4; occasionally, some Stop & Shops that carry them (usually only in the warmer half of the year) have a better price on sale, but Hannaford has by far the best regular pricing.

            You can usually find Boar's Head natural casing beef in Stop & Shop, too.

            The only place I've found Sabrett's natural casing beef locally in the past was Hilltop's shop.

            I think I used to be able to get Grote & Weigel natural casing beef at Roche Bros, but it's been a long time since I bothered looking.

            No one locally carries Karl Ehmer. Sad to say.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              I picked up some Nathan's recently at Baza on Highland Avenue in Newton. I order a bunch of Karl Ehmer's online and put them in the freezer. I especially like the long franks.

              30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

              1. re: Karl S

                Johnnie's Foodmaster carries a lot of the Grote & Weigel products, although not certain if they have the packaged dogs. At the deli I think they have pearl and dietz & watson, plus pearl packaged in the meat case, but more expensive on the pearls than Demoula's. Karl do you know who carries Blue Seal Kielbasa and maybe their dogs (not kosher)? I swear I have seen it around and their dogs which I have never had but would be curious to try. McKinnon's comes to mind as where I might have seen the dogs, although they don't have the kielbasa. I wish Demoula's would carry Blue Seal instead of Leidy's. For something different you could try the frankfurters from Karl's sausage kitchen.

                1. re: itaunas

                  I am not familiar with Blue Seal (not a Pioneer Valley guy) but their website makes clear that their kielbasa and franks include pork. Not kosher. And natural casings are almost invariably non-kosher (making things kosher from the lower half of an otherwise kosher animal is usually prohibitively expensive for industry - IIRC, you have to carefully remove one of the nerves or vasculature intact in order to make that part of the critter kosher - sheep are kosher, but generally not the sheep intestines used for the casings; hence why you don't see corned beef round in kosher delis, just the brisket or some other part of the upper half of the steer).

                  The franks at Karl's Sausage Kitchen are very mild, not kosher-style (that is, not spiced up and garlicky all-beef, even if the meat/casing is not certified kosher). They are good for their style, but not what I recommend to folks wanting a kosher-style dog. They are the kind that should classically be scalded in barely simmering water for 7 minutes, and served in pairs with a German roll and mustard (the classic serving method for franks in the Vaterland).

                  I've forgotten about Foodmaster and Grote & Weigel products; can't remember if they have their franks.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Just to clarify... I said in my original post that I'm looking for non-kosher franks.

              2. Enjoyed some smoked Stillman's pork hot dogs today. They also carry beef and are at many area farmers markets, including Copley, Lexington, Belmont, Bedford, Brookline, Charlestown and Cambridgeport.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Spenbald

                  Those are very tasty, picked some up last weekend for the first time and non-kosher, pork casing.

                2. Boars Head beef dogs with natural casings available at many local supermarkets. I like it better than the Pearl's (my 2nd favorite) and Hebrew National (not bad, but I find it a tad too salty).

                  1. I had the opportunity to try North Country Smokehouse natural all-beef franks before their release (which I believe is today). I have no idea of their availability - perhaps Whole Foods and the like - but I can say that they are, at least to my palate, the bomb. (I am a Pearl fan, btw.) They also have the added benefit of being made from whole muscle chuck, and they contain no nitrites/nitrates. Not even reduced celery juice. And the beef was raised w/o hormones and antibiotics for those who care. One note, though: they are very smoky, as North Country products tend to be - not quite mini beef kielbasas, but heading that way.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: almansa

                      ZOMG -- that smokiness sounds great! Please let us know if you learn more about where to find these babies around here.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Karls in Saugus. Still great and snappy!

                        1. re: yumyum

                          Here's what I know: Cronig's on the Vineyard is the only retail spot for now. They are still waiting for USDA label approval - shouldn't be too much longer.

                          1. re: almansa

                            Thanks. Dammit, before I fell in with this crowd I could go years without even thinking of hot dogs. Now I'm trying to convince myself that 2 Pearl dog suppers in 1 week isn't excessive, so long as I eats lots of vegetables.

                            1. re: Aromatherapy

                              Aromatherapy sounds like you are falling behind there! I think you need to add a Brazilian hot dog to the list which like Speeds is a full meal (although I haven't found an excellent one in Boston, maybe Trina's can add it to the list). And you could start the new week with arroz con pollo with hot dog pieces at El Kiosco in East Boston (I think they even use catchup in place or addition to the hogao). It sounds a bit weird and impossible to finish, but its tasty and weirdly addicting.

                              El Kiosco
                              972 Saratoga St, Boston, MA 02128

                                1. re: itaunas

                                  Gee, now my grilled dog (charred bits!) w/mustard & onions seems practically health food! Think I'll have another...