Salami, and for that matter hot dogs, goes back to my earliest memories of food. Is there anything more fun for a kid than a hot dog? And growing up in Brooklyn, hot dogs, along with pizza, was the official food of the borough. We had Sabrett carts on many corners, and hot dog stands everywhere. But Brooklyn is also the home to the original Nathan’s, and going there was like a religious experience. I’ve had a lot of great hot dogs in my life, but they ALL finish second to Nathan’s in Coney Island (yes, Coney Island is in Brooklyn, folks).
But as much as I love Nathan’s, Hebrew National Salami also has a very special place in my heart. It was my grandfather’s favorite food. ”Poppy” was a Polish immigrant, and for my entire youth, my family lived in his and my grandmother’s house.
He didn’t just love salami, he used it as a medical treatment. If he had a cold, he cured it by eating a hunk of salami. If he hurt his arm, he healed it by eating a hunk of salami. When he was very old, he developed stomach cancer, and one particularly painful night, I suddenly stopped hearing his kvetching (moaning) from the pain, and assumed he went to sleep. In the morning I asked how he finally fell asleep, and he said, he ate a hunk of salami, the pain stopped, and he instantly fell asleep. See, salami even cures stomach cancer. Lol. Today, we know salami probably led to his stomach cancer. But even back then, processed meat wasn’t as bad as it is today. Still, no one can say salami was a health food.
My grandmother did all the cooking in the house, but every now and then, as a special treat, my grandfather would make me salami & eggs for dinner, the one thing he could cook. I’d watch him slice up the Hebrew National salami, cube up the slices, then put them in the frying pan, and while it browned, he mixed the eggs in a Yahrzeit glass (on the anniversary of a relative’s death, a candle, called a Yahrzeit candle, was lit to remember the dearly departed. When the candle burned down, you’re left with a glass, which we used to drink out of. Our entire collection of drinking glasses were old Yahrzeit candles). He’d add the eggs, and scramble them up with the salami, serving them while they were still a little wet, the way I still like my scrambled eggs today. He’d put a little dab of deli mustard on it and serve it up to me, just me and him enjoying a little breakfast for dinner together. My grandfather and I were inseparable when I was a boy, and salami & eggs is one of my greatest memories of him. I enjoyed it many times over the years since his passing, making it for myself just like he made it for me (except for the Yahrzeit glass). He also used to take me to the beach (people don’t realize Brooklyn is a beach town, but it is, with Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan Beach), and for lunch he’d always bring salami sandwiches, and a piece of seasonal fruit, like a plum. To this day, it’s what I crave when at the beach.
But when I went paleo, processed meat was one of the first things to go. No more Hebrew National salami for this cavejew. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the worst things you can eat these days are conventionally made processed meats, like bologna, and salami. But I have been searching the Internet for an affordable grass-fed beef salami for the last 4 years, and could not find one that meets my
anal strict paleo requirements, which are organic, low salt (and natural salt), preservative free, and grass-fed.
But I finally found some! And although it is affordable, unfortunately the farm is located in Wisconsin, so the shipping makes it a pretty expensive salami. But as a once in a while treat, I think the price is totally worth it to re-live one of my favorite childhood foods. The company/farm is called Uncured Natural Meats, and as I said, they are in Wisconsin. I’ve spent a good deal of time in Wisconsin (great place), and they actually call salami there Summer Sausage. Uncured Natural Meats calls their’s Summer Sausage too, and the Garlic flavored one tastes almost identical to Hebrew National’s salami to me! This salami is all grass-fed beef and it’s uncured and gluten-free. It’s also nitrate and nitrite free, with no preservatives, no hidden MSG, using only a little Himalayan salt (less salt than any other paleo processed meat I’ve found so far), and it’s all organic! Frankly, I don’t see the downside, and I’m even leaving out more impressive details about it, that you can read on their website for yourself.
Anyway, the salami was great, and as an added bonus with your order, they usually throw in a free sample of another of their products. Once they sent some smoked beef sticks, and I made a sort of chorizo & eggs dish from them. Delicious!
And once they sent me a sample of their all-grass fed beef hot dogs (they call them wieners, and in NY we also call them franks, or frankfurters, but they’re all hot dogs!). So I cooked them up with some organic low-sea salt sauerkraut, some onions, and some jalapeño, and gave them a try.
Holy cave-shit, they tasted so much like Nathan’s!!!! Until now, I’ve been eating grass-fed hot dogs from Applegate Farms, available in most health food stores. Applegate Farms dogs are delicious, but more like Hebrew National franks, than Nathan’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the difference between Nathan’s and all the rest, is the SNAP! Nathan’s uses a sheep casing, and gives the hot dog a great SNAP, or crunch, when you bite into it. Other franks are skinless, and although delicious, they don’t have that same SNAP. The Uncured Natural Meat wieners also use sheep casings (from healthy sheep), and that makes them remind me of Nathan’s a lot! Plus, they use half the salt that AppleGate Farms use, and it’s a much smaller company, with each batch of meat product being made on a date they put right on the package, so you know it’s a lot fresher.
I asked the company for a shipping discount for my readers, but they have not responded to any of my emails. I don’t think they have anything to hide, because their website is full of info, I just don’t think they’re that Internet savvy. Still, if you order enough, I think the shipping price is worth it. Not only do they have the best paleo salami and hot dogs I’ve tasted so far, but they also have a lot of other pasture raised meat products, like cuts of grass-fed beef, lamb, and chicken. Check them out!