Hot Dogs Yeah!


One Pound Package Pastured Pork Hot Dogs

We sell a lot of loins, sirloins, tenerloins, pork loin chops, bacon and hams. That leaves a lot of other prime pastured pork like country ribs which only sell seasonally and pork roasts which are a slow seller. This is excellent meat, just not the high demand cuts. I’ve been looking for a good way to utilize the accumulating meat in a creative and delicious manner. Hot dogs is our first project along these lines.

Back in the fall we took a batch of meat down to the processor who makes hot dogs as their specialty. I toured their plant and was very impressed with the cleanliness of the operation. It is a small firm and they really care about what they do. After dropping off an initial batch of meat I began the lengthy process of getting label approval through the USDA/FSIS. That took a while.


Hot Dog Label Sketch

Finally, on Friday of this week we drove back down and picked up the hot dogs. The hot dog man had told us they came out deliciously. I had asked him to substitute maple syrup in the recipe instead of using corn syrup and the hot dogs were made with our Naturally Grown pastured pigs who are fed whey, pasture, hay, pumpkins and other good things. Additionally it is a smoked but uncured. This means no nitrates, no nitrites, no MSG, etc. No weird stuff. Just high quality pork, water, non-fat milk, maple syrup, salt and spices. Everything nice.


Pastured Pork Hot Dogs First Bites

We got in late last night and crashed so we still hadn’t actually tried the hot dogs until today. We finally got to try them ourselves today for lunch. The hot dogs are delicious! I’m ruined, I can never eat another kind of hot dog. I’m not a connoisseur of hot dogs or anything but even I could tell the difference in quality. It was a big moment after all this build up for us over the past six months of working to get to the point of sinking our teeth into the first hot dogs!

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Our hot dogs are showing up in local stores. We began yesterday and today making the first deliveries to the South Royalton Coop, Stone Cutter’s Brewery and LACE in Barre. On Monday we’ll be delivering to Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich, the Plainfield Coop, the Hunger Mountain Coop and the Uncommon Market in Montpelier, Vermont.

We also delivered two more big batches of our pastured pork to the hot dog man as the first batch is completely sold out ahead of time. In a few weeks we’ll be making another trip down for more hot dogs as well as our first batch of pork Kielbasa.

Outdoors: 29°F/18°F 3″ Snow today, 20″ snow on Wednesday & Thursday, 1″ Friday
Farm House: 52°F/46°F
Tiny Cottage: 57°F/50°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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21 Responses to Hot Dogs Yeah!

  1. Mellifera says:

    Congratulations! This is a pretty big moment, it sounds like.

    By the by, thanks for all your hard work on getting your products into the mainstream. I know so few small farmers who do so (in fact… you’re the only one I know of) that I would’ve thought it just couldn’t be done. I think there are a number of worthwhile effects of putting in the effort.

    One, as much as the glory of going out to a farm to pick up food directly is promoted, most people don’t have the time/ability to locate a farmer. (Most local farmers only do a few products, so it could be a full-time job just provisioning your household if you had to visit 10 farms to do so.) Because your stuff is on a grocery shelf, you’re actually displacing agribusiness in the food chain. Good job. : D

    Secondly, if small farmers never bother with the USDA, how is it going to know they’re there?

    Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of pasture-raised animals is you can spend your time marketing and tangling with the USDA instead of cleaning barns.

  2. Lisa says:

    Congratulations! Both for a great product and for thinking outside of the box!

    Wish your *dogs* were available here in TN. My husband loves hot dogs, both the regular ones tear my stomach apart!

  3. Granny Gardner says:

    Congratulations on the hot dogs. If I lived in the area I’d definitely try them out. I’m sure the keilbasa will be as big a success.

  4. Lona says:

    Congratulations! Isn’t it great when you see something you’ve worked so hard for actually come to fruition?

    I’m interested that meat can be smoked but not cured. Hmmm… (wheels are turning) Wonder if my butcher will do that.

    Just found your blog and I’m enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

  5. Kush says:

    The hot dogs sound delicious. It is great that you could find someone who would make them the way you wanted, i.e. maple syrup instead of corn syrup. Being of Polish heritage I would be even more excited to try some Kielbasa.

    Jim

  6. Anonymous says:

    My butcher is dying for me to cull my sow, as he wants to turn her into 600 pound of “whole hog Kielbasa.” I guess they literally put every cut of meat into the sausage. It’s a huge thing in eastern Europe (where he and most of his clientele are from), and he apparently has the entire batch sold, before I even bring him the pig!

    Good for you Walter, sausage is a big buisness and a good market for your lesser cuts. Ask around about whole hog sausage.

    Pete

  7. farmwife says:

    Way cool, Walter! I sure wish you were in Idaho :) You’ve certainly made me start thinking though — I may have to make some calls this year and see if *any* of the butchers here can make hot dogs. That would be worth using a whole hog for, as much as my family likes them.

  8. Hayden says:

    Wonderful news and congratulations! I love to see good local food out there… speaking as a consumer, it’s hard to find.

    I’m in California and have recently discovered a local hot dog with similar attention to quality and snapped up a package. What a delight! I hadn’t eaten a hot dog in years, but now they’re back on my personal menu. Hopefully you, and a few farmers like you, will feed the growing respect for local food.

  9. Quatrefoil says:

    These look fantastic – wish I could try some.

    I’m curious, though. What makes these ‘hot dogs’ rather than sausages? Is it the fact that they’re sweetened? Or is it just one of those linguistic differences between American and Australian English?

  10. Good question, Quatrefoil The naming is somewhat regional. Hot dog is a subset of sausage. Generally hot dogs are slimmer and longer than what people around here refer to as sausages. From Wikipedia: “A hot dog is a type of fully-cooked, cured and/or smoked moist sausage of soft, even, texture and flavor. It is usually placed hot in a soft, sliced bun of approximately the same length as the sausage, and optionally garnished with condiments and toppings.” Wikipedia also says that in Australia they’re referred to as frankfurts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on the hot dogs. I love the blog – you have given me some great ideas for my pastured pig operation. Who does you processing for the hot dogs and USDA slaughtering?

  12. Quatrefoil says:

    Thank you – that makes sense. For us, the frankfurt only becomes a hotdog once it’s in the bun. I do like linguistic diversity!

  13. Ed Bruske says:

    Lovely looking hot dogs, Walter. I remember a year ago after we’d butchered six pigs one of our crew made hot dogs in a Cuisinart. It looked like a quite a messy project.

  14. LJB says:

    Oh, I’m feeling mighty hungry! Do you suppose we can get Calista to sell your hot dogs at her South End Market? What a treat — ‘healthy’ hot dogs! I put health in quotes because I do best without milk and RNB does best without much salt buy hey, we get to splurge once in awhile for the sake of pleasure! *g*

  15. LBJ, Next time you are in South End Market in Bradford, Vermont ask Calista about carrying our hot dogs. I suspect she will as she already carries our pastured pork at her store.

  16. LJB, just a quite note to let you know that this week we dropped off six packages of our all natural pastured pork uncured smoked hot dogs with Calista at the South End Market. We also dropped of some at the Newbury General Store.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  17. KT says:

    Walter….
    when you worked a deal with the packer, did you have to deliver a certain amount of pork in order for them to proceed? do you provide them with pkg’ing? just curious. I find it fascinating you started producing your hot dogs!

  18. KT,

    350 lbs is the minimum batch size for the smokehouse where we get the hot dogs made from our pastured pork. Since it is such a long drive we do two batches or more at a time in order to spread the driving cost out over more product. They provide the packaging, we just have to provide a USDA/FSIS approved label that fits their specification.

    We also made fresh and a smoked Kielbasas with them which sold out immediately. I would like to do those again as well as a Salami. We just need to catch up with demand for pigs first.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  19. KT says:

    Walter I appreciate your taking the time to answer questions, it’s certainly appreciated!

    thank you
    kt

  20. C. Hebron says:

    Hi Walter,
    I’ve been following you on your site and your posts on homesteading today site. We have been switching our farm over to an all natural farm for the past few years. That, and direct marketing our product we are making a nice go at it. I have a couple questions that maybe you can shed some light on for us. We are just now selling our hogs directly and all natural. First off are there any cuts and/or parts of the hog (liver, tounge…) that I should ask for from the butcher that he would normally just toss if ther is a market for them. Also would you or your processor ever give out the recipe for the hotdogs so I could discuss it with my processor and see if is viable.
    I’m just trying to get the most out of my investment. Thanks C. Hebron, S.W. Michigan

  21. The only things we don’t get from the butcher are the guts (intestines, stomach, spleen, etc) and lungs. We specifically request the kidneys, feet, ears, head, tongue, tail, heart, liver, hocks, leaf lard, back fat, skin, shank bones and other bones. Otherwise the butcher throws those things away.

    On the recipe for hot dogs, it is very simple, pork plus a little milk, maple syrup and salt. The recipe is not the hard part. The issue is having the right equipment. The smokehouse who does our hot dogs has several special pieces of equipment: fine grinders, emulsifiers, stuffers, a hot dog linking machine and a casing removal machine in addition to the usual smokehouse and vacuum packing equipment. Without that special equipment it is very slow work to make hot dogs. So the trick is to find someone who has that equipment in your area.

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