Gilbert's Craft Sausages
Gilbert's Craft Sausages is a new company in Sheboygan County Wisconsin that opened late last year. You can check their site here for info about them: http://gilbertssausages.com/
Thanks to one of the co owners, Eric Romberg for posting about his company and specifically about their beef frank called the Froman. I've never heard about Gilbert's before but their hot dog sounded good. Described as a quality craft sausage with a unique collagen casing and made from whole cuts (not trimmings) of beef sirloin. Wisconsin may be the best state for sausages. It's up there with New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut when it comes to hot dogs alone. Usinger's is one of the finest hot dogs available.
I had their beef dog (called the Froman) last night and again tonight. Last night my son and I compared the Froman with a Nathan's (natural casing), Vienna Beef (natural casing), and a skinless Hebrew National. All were heated (not boiled) in water. The Vienna frank was good, but not as good as the other 3 in both of our opinions. We both liked the Nathan's and Hebrew National a lot, but we preferred the Froman. It is just as it's described on the site. Individually wrapped and cooked in the wrapping so that it can stay in the fridge for a long time (6 months) without having to be frozen. The frank itself is between 7 and 8 to a lb; closer to 7. It has a nice soft collagen casing that differs from a regular collagen casing. It's called a collagen co-extrusion casing, which is basically a collagen casing that they are able to dial the thickness up and down in minute increments to get the snap they want. The result is a casing that has the snap of a natural casing dog, but doesn't leave the chewy, rubbery bits behind like a natural casing.
The texture of the casing is excellent as is the texture of the meat. The meat is nice and firm and juicy. As for flavor, this dog has plenty of it. Very nicely balanced without being overpowering in the spice department. I would say that this dog has more in common with the Chicago style than the New York style of beef frank. But it's better than any Chicago brand I've had although Romanian Kosher franks are close. The spices are more paprika than garlic. Sometimes I might be in the mood for a very spicy Nathan's, Usinger's or Sabrett. Other times a less spicier beef dog like Best's or Gilbert's. And there are times that I prefer a milder German frank with no garlic and easy on the spices. That's why it's so hard to pick an absolute "best" hot dog. There are different dogs for different moods. But I will say that I haven't had a higher quality frank than the Gilbert's "Fromans" all beef dog. Made from whole cuts (not trimmings) of all beef sirloin, this dog is a winner. It's as good or better than any beef frank I've had. And that includes Best's and Usinger's
I ran to Best's this morning to get some of their natural casing 8's to compare with the Froman's. I heated both in water and then put them in a hot skillet for a minute or 2. Both tasted great. Best's a little spicier, Gilbert's a little more tender and milder. Two of the best beef dogs I've had along with Usinger's, Sabrett, and Boars Head. Again it depends on the type and level of spicing you prefer and the mood you are in. No beef dog fries up better than Best. I have yet to grill the Froman. But Best's makes the Syd's dog which is excellent chargrilled. Heated in water and/or lightly grilled in a skillet, both are excellent. Gilbert's beef dog tastes exceptionally good prepared this way as the casing is nice and light and keeps the juices in.
I will definitely be ordering this frank in the future. Franks this good remind me of the care and quality that goes in to hand crafted beer. I highly recommend Gilbert's Sausages beef (Froman) dog. It may just be the best hot dog you ever tasted.