Let’s Be Frank – Grass-fed Dogs Are Better

Goodlifer: Let's Be Frank - Grass-fed Dogs Are Better

I remember meeting Sue Moore very well. Our chance encounter took place in San Francisco, in front of the Ferry Building, during one of the smaller, weekday Farmers’ Markets. Never before had I seen a business card listing the occupation “meat forager,” but Sue’s did just that. In fact, she was the meat forager for the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley at the time.

Since then, she’s moved on, but her dedication to meat has not ended. In 2005, Sue and partner Larry Bain started Let’s Be Frank, a company devoted to producing hot dogs. Given the typical hot dog’s reputation as junk food, that might sound like a surprising move for someone who used to work with Alice Waters—unless, of course, you’re one step ahead of me and have already figured out that these are not your standard-issue franks.

Let's Be Frank dog. Photo by Karen Steffens/Gourmet.

Let’s Be Frank dog. Photo by Karen Steffens/Gourmet.

Let’s Be Frank works with local farmers who raise their livestock in a humane way. That means pasture-raised animals and family farms in the area (not conglomerates thousands of miles distant), as well as a commitment to both healthier agricultural practices and sustainability. No antibiotics, steroids, or hormones are given to the livestock, and the “dogs” are prepared without the use of nitrates or nitrites.

Let's Be Frank uses only choice butcher cuts from grass-fed beef for their Franks, and they have a cow map to prove it.

Let’s Be Frank uses only choice butcher cuts from grass-fed beef for their Franks, and they have a cow map to prove it.

There are four varieties: Spicy Italian Sausage (made from pork), Bratwurst (ditto), Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs, and an Uncured Beef Frank. There’s even a Devil Sauce, a spicy condiment to top your franks. I’ve tasted only the Beef Franks, but they are terrific! I was doing a comparison taste-test of a few brands of hot dogs a couple of years back, and they were my favorites by a very long margin. The Beef Franks have a slightly coarser texture inside than many other hot dogs, which I didn’t mind at all, and an earthy, reddish-brown color. More important, however, they were the juiciest hot dogs I tried, they didn’t overwhelm me with salt, and they contained a mouthwatering blend of herbs and spices. I’m not normally a regular consumer of hot dogs, but I’ll admit to finishing off my package of these in record time.

Yup, that's Colin Powell getting a LBF hot dog.

Yup, that’s Colin Powell getting a LBF hot dog, with owner Larry Bain.

To me, these hot dogs are what good food is all about. Good food has real people behind it, and it’s made with care and a conscience. If you agree, I hope you’ll try these “dogs.” Lucky enough to live in California? You’ll find the Let’s Be Frank shop at 3318 Steiner Street in San Francisco, or look for their cart at the Warming Hut at Chrissy Field (the latter is open weekends and holidays only).

Let's Be Frank operates a cart in SF and a trailer in LA, look for them on the road.

Let’s Be Frank operates a cart in SF and a trailer in LA, look for them on the road.

There’s also a Let’s Be Frank trailer in Los Angeles that sells these products, in addition to a number of retailers in and around both cities. If you don’t reside in The Golden State, don’t despair. Although there is no online ordering, this company does ship! Just drop them a line telling them what you want, and they’ll take it from there. Forget about the hot dogs you ate as a kid; the motto here (“dogs gone good”) says it all!

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. love this.
    as a relatively new meat eater (after 17 years veggie/ pesco) so great to see the consciousness of the new meat suppliers!
    love that your site goes from vegan to hot dogs, too… it’s still how i eat & great to see that reflected.

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