These franks were introduced about a year ago at certain food distributors in central and north Jersey. Hatfield wanted to make a quality beef frank to compete with Sabrett. I don't even know if they are available in Pennsylvania, as the Pa. market is geared to milder tasting dogs. I don't much care for the standard Hatfield frank. But the angus beef frank is exceptional. I first saw them at a distributor last summer but balked at buying the 5 lb minimum. The guy on duty told me of a cart nearby that switched to this brand from Sabrett. Unfortunately, it was past closing time, but I went back and really liked the dog. It had a rich beefy flavor that I preferred to the Sabrett dog from the cart a few blocks away.
I was in Restaurant Depot this week and came across these dogs again. This time I sprang for the 5 lb bag (only $13.00 and change wholesale) and threw a few in water when I got home. They were incredible; just as good as I remembered them. I also cooked one on the backyard grill. This is one dog that tastes as good in water as on the grill.
I wanted to see how these dogs compared to some of my favorites, so I went to a few places and got a dog of each kind still cold. I tasted Hatfield's, Usinger's Angus, Best, Sabrett, Grote & Weigel all beef, and Thumann's. For me, it's hard to pick a favorite since some of them have different flavor characteristics. Thumann's is the only dog that wasn't all beef. But the Grote & Weigel dog clearly wasn't as good as the other beef dogs. It lacked the flavor and spice. Father & Son in Linden used this dog, switched to a different dog, and then switched back. I wonder if they changed the recipe. Let me add that I cooked all of these dogs on a griddle. Usinger's has a unique spicing, with spices that you don't normally find in hot dogs. This dog has the widest array of flavors. Sabrett is spicy with garlic and papricka dominating. The Hatfield beef dog just had a rich beefy taste where you can taste the spices, but they weren't overpowering or dominant. Best's is sort of between Hatfield and Sabrett as far as spicing. Thumann's is a different animal. Which was my favorite? I don't know. My wife and son both picked the Hatfield frank. For me, the Grote & Weigel frank wasn't as good as the rest, the Thumann's dog was mild compared to the others, and the Sabrett was a little too spicy/garlicky, although this is the dog I get when I'm in the mood for this. On the backyard grill, Best is as good as there is, but on the griddle Hatfield and Usinger's really stood out.
I'm glad that I have access to Hatfield's. I wish that Usinger's was available in my area. Only one place I know of has it, but they have the low fat skinless version. Anyone know if the Hatfield frank is available in South Jersey/Pa., or is it just shipped to north jersey? In any event, it is well worth seeking out.