The itinerary for the 7th Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour is finally set. We try to add some new stops, keep a few favorites, and rotate some of the old favorites. It will be the same this year. We also try to arrange the stops so that they are a reasonable distance apart. Unfortunately we haven't been to some good spots to the far north like Hiram's and Karl Ehmer's, or to the Central/Southern part of the state such as Max's and Frankly Burgers. Perhaps we will change that up next year. But for now....
Our first stop will once again be the Galloping Hill Inn in Union. The only place that's been on the Tour every year. It's convenient (1/2 mile off the Parkway) to get to and we can all park there. We will be met by our bus coming from New York. The Galloping Hill Inn is in the top 3 hot dog establishments in terms of hot dogs sold. A couple thousand a day. And for good reason. They make an excellent German style beef and pork dog on a griddle, boardwalk style. Good snap and placed on a unique sturdy roll.
Other stops (not necessarily in order) will include The Rahway Grill. This is a repeat stop from last year because it proved to be the most popular stop (by show of hands) by a wide margin. And this includes places from the past like Syd's. They serve a special dog from Hatfield that is better than any of their others. Not even known in Philly. This is the dog I tried to get served at Citizens Bank Park rather than the cheap low quality dog that is there now. The Rahway Grill cooks this dog on a hot griddle and has a very good chili that was also well received. The dog itself has a rich beefy, smoky flavor. I've always liked it, but was surprised at how many people raved about it.
Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover will be another stop. They have been on the Tour the last couple of years. As most of you know, they are the originators of the Newark style Italian Hot Dog. Jimmy the owner is always there and takes great care of us. They offer regular hot dogs as well and their bolognese style chili is one of my 3 favorite chili's and is a great complement to their regular beef dogs from Best Provisions. Jimmy also serves a Schickhaus beef/pork quarter pounder that is excellent.
The Garage in Millburn will be a new stop on this year's Tour. They were supposed to be on last year, but they didn't open in time. They serve the old Syd's dog (5 to a lb natural casing Best's) and the Don's dog (1/4 lb Best), dogs from two legendary places that are no longer around. They are the only place (out of about 5) that serves the Syd's dog the EXACT same way Syd's did; boiled, than charbroiled. To many people (myself included) there was no better beef dog anywhere in the country. It will be interesting to see what beef dog is prefered by attendees this year; the Garage's Syd's dog, The Rahway Grill's beef dog, or the beef dog that will be described next. I consider these 3 the best in the area. See here for a more in depth description of the Garage. http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/The-Garage-in-Millburn-m581331.aspx
The Garage also serves a top notch burger. The dogs and burgers are expensive for a hot dog joint, but we will get the Hot Dog Tour discount.
Papaya King in Clifton will be on the Tour this year. They were on once before and proved to be a popular stop. We were all given free tee shirts when we went. A great grilled all beef dog. It is a natural casing Sabrett. In my opinion the best beef hot dog in New York and certainly one of the best in New Jersey now. A great spicy frank. The Garage, Rahway Grill, and Papaya King all serve the finest beef franks in the area; each with their own unique spicing. I will be interested to see what everyone likes best. These dogs are best enjoyed with mustard only or a minimum of toppings. If you want to sample chili, let me suggest that you put it on half the dog. Or move some over so that you can taste the actual flavor and seasoning of the frank and compare it to the others. Papaya King may have something special in store for us.
The Getty Grill will be another new stop. Located across the street from Papaya King. They specialize in Texas Weiners and they serve an outstanding one. I've eaten there while visiting Papaya King and was surprised at how much I liked their Texas Weiners because it's not a place that gets the attention that Libby's and the Hot Grill does and you don't see very much written or posted about them. They use the Thumann's frank for deep fring and top it with a chili sauce that is typical for the style. Thin, spicy, and with the slight cinnamon/clove flavor. This chili tastes exactly like the Hot Grill's by way of comparison. But the actual frank is better than theirs. And would you believe this hot dog joint is open 24 hours! Only in New Jersey.
That's six stops. This year we will add a seventh since some of the others are fairly close and the travelling distance will be shorter. The seventh will be Rutt's Hut. Perhaps the most well known hot dog joint in Jersey, Rutt's has been on the Tour before, but not for a few years. They serve a dog (Thumann's) made especially for deep frying, and prepare it perfectly. You can get yours cooked to different degrees of doneness. In-N-Outer, Ripper, Weller, Cremator. They are known for their relish, which is like no other. It's the only relish I will eat.
We will try to get all of the stops in by not lingering too long at any one place. One year we had two places left, but only time for one. We voted on which stop to go to.
If 7 hot dogs are too much too eat, I suggest sharing, not eating a whole dog, or not eating at a place you may not like. We have a good mix of styles on this Tour. Grilled boardwalk style beef/pork, deep fried, grilled kosher style beef dogs, Italian Hot Dogs, and Texas Weiners. One style of dog that we will not have is the trendy new "haute dog". It's not representative of a true Jersey dog.
I've spoken to some people in the media and it looks like there will be some coverage once again, so make sure you all look nice for the camera.
Those on the waiting list will be contacted this week. Less than 2 months to go and I'm excited. Once again we have someone from Canada making the trip. And someone from Maryland. Such is the allure of New Jersey hot dogs.