I took a trip to Green Village Packing Co. in Chatam yesterday. First time there, but I have had their franks previously and described them elsewhere on Roadfood. The place was mentioned by Roadfooders John Lockadema and Ken. I found out that they do NOT make the franks there, but that they are made at Schmalz Provisions in Springfield. Schmalz uses meat from animals that have been slaughtered at Green Village's slaughterhouse. So does Kocher's as well as other meat packers. When I had these franks I said they were as good as any German style beef/pork frank that I had. Today I wanted to compare them to 3 other favorites.
I did a taste comparison between Green Village/Schmalz, Thumann's, Union Pork Store, and Kocher's. All are 6/lb. I was mistaken when I said the Franks I received from Green Village were 8/1. They are long and thin as are the Thumann's. Kocher's and Union Pork Store (true butcher shop franks) are shorter and thicker. Schmalz's regular franks are the same exact ones Green Village sells. Schmalz also makes a pork/veal frank, private label franks, bratwurst, and other meats. They make the franks for Lutz's which are their private label franks sold in supermarkets. They also make the franks for Hot Dog Johnny's. Another instance where there is a special recipe made. The franks made to Johnny's specifications are skinless and bland compared to the regular franks.
All franks in this tasting were purchased in the last 2 days and were fresh. Last time I compared Green Village franks to one from the Union Pork Store, the Union Pork Store frank was maybe past it's prime.
All the franks were eaten plain and water was used to cleanse my palate. By plain I mean no condiments. I had them on hot dog buns, but after eating half of each dog, I discarded the buns. Since I was by myself, I knew the identities of the dogs. I usually have a helper and compare what I'm eating blindfolded.
The results: I couldn't pick a winner! All were equally as good. 3 of the 4 were almost identical in taste. Thumann's has a unique taste that is easier to pick out. These 4 are the best examples of beef/pork franks I've had. You can possibly throw in the Galloping Hill Inn dog, Hartmann's, and Lutz's. The last 3 weren't included in the tasting today. Thumann's and Schmalz were longer and thinner, while the pork store franks were shorter and thicker.
Schmalz/Green Village had a tighter casing. The other 3 were softer in texture, but again practically identical in regards to taste. The recipes and spicing have to be similar. Regarding price: Thumann's $5.99/lb, Green Village $4.19 plus tax for about 1 1/2 lbs. Kocher's $8.99 per lb. Union Pork Store $5.99 lb. I went to Schmalz's store and bought 5/6 of a lb (5 franks) for $2.38.
Kocher's franks were purchased at John's Meat Market in Scotch Plains. If you buy them at Kocher's they are $6.80/lb. Karl Ehmer's in Hillsdale may even charge less.
These are my favorite examples of German style beef/pork hot dogs. I suggest comparing them yourself. Union Pork Store is close to me and convenient. I can buy as little as 1 if I want. They are as fresh as can be and as good as the best of the best. Thumann's can be bought at any supermarket. Schmalz's is fairly close to my home and a bargain at $2.38 for a package of 5. They also sell slightly longer franks (same recipe) behind the deli counter but are the same recipe. Kocher's are excellent franks but John's charges too much for them. If you are near Ridgefield Park or Hillsdale, I suggest getting them there for less. According to one of the owners of Kocher's, they sell their franks to to about 40 or 50 stores. Many are delis and butcher shops that claim them as their own.
<message edited by John Fox on Fri, 08/26/11 3:01 PM>