There are four levels of doneness (that we know of) in a Rutt's Hut hot dog (see the Roadfood.com 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...
... a weller (left) and a ripper (right), garnished with...
... Rutt's famous and terrific yellow relish, along with a side of gravy fries:
Beware the Cremator!