The 7th NJ Hot Dog Tour is over and an amazing time was had by my little group. This year was my 5th tour; my co-worker who came along also attended last year’s tour but this year he brought his wife. They both had an awesome time and want to come again next year. We planned on giving ourselves plenty of time to travel up from the Shore but I think we were unrealistic with how long it would take us because we pulled into a completely empty GHI parking lot at 10:30am. Even though we got a great parking spot, we had to wait 30 long, agonizing minutes until they opened. Watching the employees prepping food and preparing to open and knowing we couldn’t have any is a form of torture no mortal eater should have to endure. We ended up wasting time by crossing the treacherous 5 points intersection to go to 7-11 (nobody dared have a hot dog there though, we’re serious eaters not suicidal) in search of caffeine and small snacks. We made it back to GHI after recrossing said treacherous intersection a second time and a lovely first hot dog was had by all.
Big thanks go to John “Mr. Television” Fox for his usual amazing itinerary and vast hot dog knowledge. (I just saw the Italian Hot Dog Food War episode, it’s always nice to see someone you know and like on TV). Also, thank you Benzee for the organizing and advertising of the tour. It gets bigger and better every year. Special thanks to Screenbear (aka John Fox’s protégé) for narrating the second bus and being an all around good guy. A special hello goes out to Nathan’s champion Steve Keiner. He was a cool guy to talk to and was among his minions on the tour. Special thanks also go out to the owners, managers and staff of the stops we visited. Their hard work and gracious hospitality even made standing on line or sitting outside in the sun waiting for dogs tolerable.
Now, on to the reviews. (I know you’re getting antsy) I’d like to preface this by saying that my preference is for all beef dogs and I think my thoughts and opinions represent this, but maybe it’s just the nitrates talking. On that note, I’ve eaten so many hot dog preservatives over the years I think I’m going to live forever. Ok, must focus, back to the reviews.
Galloping Hill Inn:
The usual starting point and a stand where beforehand I always say I’ll skip it this year, but that never happens. Someone needs to remind me next year to eat breakfast the morning of the tour so I won’t be starving when I get here. The roll was soft and bakery fresh but is too big for the dog. I did like their beef and pork dog more this year, but still prefer an all beef dog. You also have to love a stand that offers birch beer out of a keg. Any beverage that has the word beer in it pairs perfectly with hot dogs. I had mine with mustard and relish and it wasn’t a bad start to the tour. My compatriots each had a dog and we all shared an order of gravy cheese fries which were excellent.
I love this place! How can you not love a hot dog stand that’s unintentionally retro? A stand where even the dust has a history (authors note: I am not stating, implying or making any statements regarding unclean conditions at Rahway Grill. The above dust comment was said in jest. Thank you, Management) so yes the place is cool and the chili was awesome. The dogs were ok. My dog did have a nice snap but I think it’s the spice profile that I didn’t love. I love my all beef dogs but prefer Sabrett, Nathan’s, and Hebrew National to the brand served here. The chili was incredible and I had mine with coleslaw as well. The cool creaminess of the coleslaw mixed with the heat of the dog and the chili work very well together. My friend Lee loved his chili dog, but his wife learned that she doesn’t like natural casing dogs.
Ok, so not only did my group not get the discount, but we ended up having to sit outside at an umbrellaless table in the sun, we were one of the last tables to get our order taken, and the waitress screwed up my order! Maybe I’m wrong here (It happened once in 1994), but for some reason I thought an official Syd’s dog was boiled THEN finished on a grill. And that’s what I asked for, but instead I was brought two dogs. One boiled and one grilled. I hate wasting food, the poor cow sacrificed his miscellaneous parts to make this hot dog, but there was no way I could eat 2 foot long dogs and still eat at the other stops so…”gasp” I only ate half of each dog. I did prefer the boiled dog to the grilled one though. I ordered my dog naked and was planning on putting mustard on it but there wasn’t any on the table and it was hot and I didn’t feel like going to another table to get some so I ate my two half dogs plain like an eight year old. I ordered a vanilla milkshake as well and I opted for the “cheaper” regular one. Cheaper is in quotations because technically it was, but anyone who was there understands what I’m trying to say. Also, just like some others have said I too thought it was a bit thin and milky as opposed to thick and shakey. (Is shakey a word? Yes I believe it is because I said so). As the food arrived to our table, the group of tour goers who had already finished eating was growing larger than my gut, so we quickly ate and we paid the waitress. Obviously that was our financial mistake as we paid full price.
A usual tour favorite because of the food, the hospitality, his personality, and oh yeah free beer! This year I opted for a pushcart dog with the wonderful chili. I wasn’t in the mood for an Italian hot dog and I’d just had 2 halves of 2 foot long dogs at the Garage so that’s why I did what I did. The chili is unique and extremely flavorful. I may just order a bowl of it, if Jimmy buff’s is a stop on next year’s tour. The dog was quite good, it was perfectly cooked and wonderfully topped with the chili. The lovely couple that came with me shared an Italian hot dog, I don’t remember if it was a single or a double but regardless they loved it.
As much as I love adding new stands, carts, trucks, trailers, stadiums, etc to my hot dogs eaten list, I’m not a fan of the Greek spiced chili served at Texas Weiner joints , and my friends were getting full and really wanted to save room for Rutt’s Hutt so we skipped Getty Grill and that made all the difference as you’ll read below.
We ditched all ya’ll and walked over to Papaya King. Unfortunately no free shirts this time, but also no line!! For the first time all day I was the first, last, and only person in line. It was like I had my very own hot dog stand all to myself. It was mind boggling. I had to very quickly decide what I wanted because there was no line!! Ok I’ll shut up now. I ordered a dog with mustard and relish and thoroughly enjoyed it. The snap was crisp and it was a usual wonderful Sabrett dog. The wimps I was with also skipped Papaya King as well. I do apologize for their lack of gastro fortitude. We walked over to Corrado’s and had some fun wandering around the beer and wine making store as well as the wholesale food market.
What else can be said about New Jersey’s second most overrated hot dog stand behind Hot Dog Johnny’s? If you couldn’t tell I’m not a fan so I skipped Rutt’s and stayed in the parking lot talking to people. I think I had a better time and my arteries thanked me. My friends being from Ocean County, dove head first into the hype and got 2 dogs each. They liked them so they were happy. My friend got pulled over on the ride home so I was happy. I really am a nice guy, I swear, I just have an awful sense of humor. If you didn’t find my write up amusing A) I don’t care, I liked it and that’s wha’ts important and B) Go click that little “X” in the corner of your screen. For everyone who does it, Microsoft will send you $100. Seriously they will, go check out Snopes.
We all had a great time, it was cool seeing everyone again and I’ll see you all next year.