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Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Friday, April 6, 2012 12:47 AM

The Cremator
There are four levels of doneness (that we know of) in a Rutt's Hut hot dog (see the review). The "standard" is called a ripper, which is left in the fryer (yes, Rutt's dogs are deep-fried) just until the side rips open. You can also get an in-and-outer, which gets heated through but removed from the oil before it breaks open. Beyond the ripper is a weller, which is a well-done ripper. And then there's the cremator. That's a cremator pictured above. We've had cremators before, and we've always said that the dog with the crunchy outside and barely still-soft center tastes something like burned bacon.

What we learned today is that there are cremators and then there are cremators. Chris and I convinced Amy, on her first visit to Rutt's, that she must order a cremator to be considered a true Rutt's connoisseur (Amy likes, but does not adore, hot dogs). This turned out to be a big mistake. She took a bite, and we laughed as she looked for someplace to spit it out (that's right, we are still 13-year-old boys at heart). Bruce, who has enjoyed previous cremators, took a bite. Holy Mother of God, how long did they leave this dog in the fryer!

The surface was hard and crumbly, and it was cooked hard and crumbly straight through to the middle. What's worse, somehow, is how the hard, shattering dog seemed to have been dessicated by the frying process, and then behaved like a sponge, sucking in copious quantities of frying oil. Each bite left a mouthful of burned hot dog bits and a flood of oil. Ugh! We owe Amy big-time.

Thankfully, to erase that taste memory, we also ordered...
Weller and Ripper
... a weller (left) and a ripper (right), garnished with...
Weller with Relish... Rutt's famous and terrific yellow relish, along with a side of gravy fries:
Gravy Fries

Beware the Cremator!


Ahh, the Cremator! I tried one of those and my first Ripper with Chris at the 2010 NJ Hot Dog Tour. I get the appeal of both of them and Rutt's in general, expecially that relish! However, the oil tasted old to me. Its smell and taste permeated the whole dog which just didn't work for me. I don't know if the onion rings were fried in different oil but they were awesome!
Posted by billyboy on Friday, Apr 6, 2012 2:36 AM

I recall when I first asked Blackie's in Cheshire, CT, if they deep fried their hot dogs, they said, "No, we boil them in oil." It's interesting how theirs tend to elongate when done "well" (I've never asked for extra-well), whereas Rutt's seem to stay the same size.
Posted by Michael Stern on Friday, Apr 6, 2012 4:25 AM

Having had the privilege of growing up a stone throw from Rutt's I've eaten hundreds of "rippers" in my time. Cremators can be inconsistent and it depends on taste so I always stick with 'the ripper'. They don't put chilli on their dogs but serve it as a side dish and it's very good. Cheeseburgers dipped are also greatas are their famous handmade onions rings. Visitors would be surprised but they actually have a full menu in the dining room. My order for almost 35 years has been the same " 2 rippers, fries with gravy and tap beer" . Rippers with relish, that's the way to go. Feel free to dine in the parking lot where the seagulls dive bomb at your food like fighter pilots.
Posted by Bifpocaroba on Friday, Apr 6, 2012 8:19 AM

John Fox could probably explain why Rutt's dogs stay the same size. I know he has said they use a Thumann's dog that is specially made for deep-frying, but truth is, I never understood what that meant. What problems are they addressing when they make a dog for deep-frying? Perhaps it's a tendency for regular dogs to blow up in the fryer.
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Friday, Apr 6, 2012 10:09 AM

Yes, Rutt's dogs are made for deep frying. They have 2 extra ingredients that aid in frying. I don't know the exact chemistry behind it, but I've been told that the way these dogs are made causes them to better withstand the high temperatures of deep fat frying. The dogs themselves puff up a little. The outside is crunchy while the pink meat inside is tender and juicy. Schickhaus (originally made in Jersey) was the first to develop a dog for deep frying.
Posted by John Fox on Saturday, Apr 7, 2012 6:05 AM

But what does "withstand the high temperatures of deep frying" actually mean? Know what I'm saying? If a regular dog can't withstand deep frying, what happens?
Posted by Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle on Saturday, Apr 7, 2012 8:49 AM

Again, I'm not sure of the chemistry but I was told by someone at Thumann's that the deep fry dog adds semolina and soy protein concentrate that aids in frying. The dogs can be left in the oil for longer periods of time than a dog not made for deep frying. The outside can look different but the inside remains soft and juicy.
Posted by John Fox on Sunday, Apr 8, 2012 10:08 AM

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