Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip

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mrphil
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2004/05/12 12:53:07 (permalink)

Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip

I seem to be on a roadfood roll here, I have a request.. My wife sometimes works in Englewood Cliffs as part of her job. One Friday afternoon, I'm going to take the bus from the PA in NY and meet her after work.

Now comes my dilemma, where do I go on my excursion. I won't get this chance often. I first glanced at Rutt Hutt (from the hot dog show, hollyeats and numerous mentions here) This is in clifton and from the looks of mapquest is about 30 min away. Clifton also seems to be the location of the hot grill. Since both serve a different kind of dog, would these 2 places be a good introduction without us traveling all over the place. I don't know if I could hit a 3rd place. Would there be better choices? My decision is partly based on its proximity to her work site.

Hollyeats mentioned 2 other places that are much closer (CALLAHAN'S and HIRAM'S) They both don't seem to be anything special.

what do you guys think????
#1

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    howard8
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/12 14:56:43 (permalink)
    Rutts Hut is a long standing hot dog institution. Their dogs are deep fried and their relish is different than you will find elsewhere. In this area of the state, Rutts Hut would be my first choice. Its always fun to compare hot dogs if you have the time and appetite.
    John Fox the hands down NJ hot dog expert needs to guide you further. Good luck on your quest.
    #2
    signman
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/12 23:51:43 (permalink)
    Mrphil, Look for the big thread about NJ hot dogs by John Fox. You should probably try an italian style dog, as served in the Newark area. Personally I preferred the Hot Grill to Rutts Hut.
    #3
    garykg6
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/13 09:44:05 (permalink)
    what a fix to be in....my blessings! don't settle for 'it's too far to drive',get in the car and head for Union(about 1'2hr as the crow flies from Clifton)....find
    Syd's
    galloping Hill Inn
    windmill

    all good and many more places within 10miles(john Fox will be ringing in and tell you the rest)

    good luck!!!!!
    #4
    stanpnepa
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/13 09:47:24 (permalink)
    Rutt's and Libby's Lunch in Paterson (not on the site, but in the Stern's Roadfood book) were our two favorites of six Jersey dogs in a run last Winter. The Hot Grill is a bit like Libby's, but the chili just can't compete---and then you'd be missing out on those exceptional fries with gravy too. I wasn't that impressed with the Italian Hot Dogs---and I'm Italian---but my friend liked both Jimmy Buff's and Dickie Dee's.
    #5
    John Fox
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/13 19:08:01 (permalink)
    mrphil,

    If you only have time for 2 or 3 places, let me suggest coming to Union and sampling the dogs from Syd's and the Galloping Hill Inn. I believe that these 2 places serve the best dogs of their type. Syd's is a big charbroiled all beef dog that many (myself included) consider the best all beef dog around. Perfect texture, perfect casing, snap, and just a great blend of spices. They are expensive (now $3.29 for a 5 to a lb dog) but worth trying at least once. I live about 4 1/2 miles away from where these dogs are produced, so I just drive to the factory and buy them there to cook at home. I simmer them in water and throw them on the Weber and they taste exactly like Syd's.

    The Galloping Hill Inn is down the street from where I live. In fact, being that it is so close and convenient, I've had a sort of bias against this place. I'm one that likes to travel and search out different hot dog joints, and it's just too easy to drive the mile or so down my street to get there. I cook a lot of dogs at home, and when I go out for a dog, I like to make a trip out of it. But every time I have a dog there, it tastes unbelievably good. It is a quality dog, but I've always sort of chalked it up to being overly hungry, or too tired to travel. Well, it is that good!

    Last weekend I had a dog at the Galloping Hill Inn before going to Rutt's for 2 rippers and a pint of relish to take home. On the way home I had another dog at the GHI and had to admit to myself that I enjoyed it more than Rutt's. I think that I just like the flavor that grilling (in this case on a steel griddle) imparts. Tastes change, and I now enjoy Thumann's griller sold in stores more than their dog for deep frying.

    I wanted to compare The Galloping Hill's dog to Max's and the Windmill. A few days later I went to Long Branch and sampled the dogs from these 2 places. Very similar, but I give a slight nod to Max's. A little more flavor. On the way home, I went to the GHI. And again, I clearly preferred this dog. I would suggest that if you sample a dog here, get it with just mustard in order to taste the unique flavor of the dog. It is produced by Grote and Weigle of Conn. as is the dog at Max's, but the GHI dog has a different casing which affects the smoking process, which in turn affects the final flavor. Plus I think their griddle has much to do with it. I've bought this particular dog from the distributor and from the GHI (uncooked) and cooked it at home. Very similar, but not the exact same. When I cook the dog used at Syd's, and the dog used at Rutt's, I cook them the same way these places do, and the dog comes out identical. Not so with the GHI, but close.

    If you could, I would suggest going to the Galloping Hill Inn first. Located 2 blocks off exit 138 of the Garden State Parkway. Have one dog with mustard only. They also have a great roll made by Pechter's. I think the reason that this dog didn't recieve a higher score by Holly of Hollyeats.com is that he had his with chili. It's not one of the better chili's that you can get on a hot dog. Go back the way you came towards the Parkway, and a mile later you will come to Michigan Ave. Make a left and Charlies Famous Italian Hot Dogs is right there. The best Italian Hot Dog. Have a single and then head to Syd's. Or have a double if you aren't going to Syd's. The only problem with Syd's is that they close by 6:45. And they're closed Sundays.

    What I would really suggest to you is to take 2 Saturdays or a Saturday and a Sunday and visit 5 places. These places are representative of the best hot dogs in their respective styles. I would consider them the five must places to hit in Jersey. They are 1)Syd's for a grilled kosher style all beef dog. Father & Son, Jerry's, and Boulevard Drinks are also good. 2) The Galloping Hill Inn for a grilled German style beef and pork dog. Max's and the Windmill are also good in this style. 3) Charlies Famous Italian Hot Dogs. The best. Followed by Tommy's. Then Jimmy Buff's and Dickie Dees. 4)Rutt's Hut for a North Jersey deep fried dog. Better than others in this style because you can get them cooked to different degrees of doneness. Plus their relish is the best condiment. And I don't even like regular relish. Hiram's and Callahan's are good if you're near Fort Lee. 5) The Hot Grill for Texas Weiners. I like their chili the best. Meatier and better than Libby's in my opinion. Libby's has a lot of cloves and is very thin. Johnny and Hanges and the Texas Weiner joints on rt 22 are also good.

    If you can only make it to Jersey on a Fri. night and you want to be close by to where your wife works, then hit the Clifton places (Rutt's and the Hot Grill). But at some point get to Union/Kenilworth and try the other 3 places. If anyone needs directions or has any questions, feel free to contact me. And if you go, let us know what you think of the dogs. It's amazing the variety of opinions. I know people who only eat at Rutt's, while some of my friends (and my family) think their dogs are vile. My wife will only usually eat an all beef dog. Others I know think the beef dogs are too spicy. But these 5 cover the different styles that you come across here in Jersey.
    #6
    Bulldoggy
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/14 03:48:27 (permalink)
    Go to East Fishkill Provisions in East Fishkill, NY. This is probably the only German smoker/buthcher left. They make the best Brats, Weisswurst, Bauerworst, knockwurst in the east coast. They smoke meats and have real German potato salad. Oh yah, not to mention fabulous frozen custard.
    #7
    signman
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/14 09:05:59 (permalink)
    John Fox, you are amazing.
    #8
    mrphil
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/14 10:13:17 (permalink)
    I agree!!!! Thanks so much John!!! In fact this post, pretty much confirmed that it's a 2 day excursion to try all the different styles... I showed it to my wife and she agreed we should do this as 2 excursions (you can be quite persuasive!) So... we're going to do the Clifton ones first, and then about a month later we'll do the other 3! Once I've done each excursion, I'll report back. I am kind of surprised my wife is even willing to do this (she's the gym rat)
    But about a year ago, we did super duper weenie and swanky franks, she enjoyed that excursion, I am positive this will be even better!

    About how long would it take to get to Union/Kenilworth area from Engelwood cliffs and is the 30 min to clifton realistic?
    Thanks Again !!!
    #9
    John Fox
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/15 11:40:28 (permalink)
    I'm not sure where Engelwood Cliffs is, but I'm assuming that it's in the far north part of the state? Unless it's very far west, I can't see the trip from there to Clifton being more than 30 mins; probably less. I live in Union and it is only 17 miles from my house to Rutt's, and most of those miles are on the Parkway. I'm there way less than a half hour.

    I'm sure that you will love the trips to Clifton and Union. The places are unique as are the dogs. If you're anything like me, your taste is fickle. Sometimes I get a craving for Rutt's, other times only an all beef dog will do. Other times nothing satisfies me more than a dog from the Galloping Hill Inn. Anyway, if I could only have 5 places to get a dog, these five would be my choices.

    I also made the trek up to Connecticut to sample dogs there. I tried Walter's in Mamaronek, N.Y. on the way there along with Swanky Franks, Rawley's, and Super Duper Weenie. Walter's serves small dogs made for them by Boar's Head. They are split and griddled. The grill is sprayed with some kind of buttery substance. The dog is 1/3 beef, 1/3 pork, and 1/3 veal. I liked the cooking method and the extra grease, but this dog was rather bland and ordinary. A good snack, but not one of the better dogs out there. Vastly overrated in my opinion.

    Rawley's is a deep fried Roessler dog that is finished off on the griddle. I had mine with just mustard. It would have been better with the relish and bacon bits served with this dog, but I was interested in judging the dog itself. I was curious to see how this dog compared with Rutt's. It was good, but not in the same league as Rutt's.

    Swanky Franks serves a deep fried Hummels brand natural casing all beef dog. For a quarter extra, they will split and deep fry it instead. Many places in Conn. serve this frank. It is a good one. One of the better all beef dogs I've had with a tanginess that I detected also in the Roessler's dog, and to a smaller extent in the Miller's dog I had at Super Duper Weenie. Maybe it's a Connecticut thing?

    Super Duper Weenie serves a quarter pound pork and beef dog that is split and griddled. When I hit all these places, I just sampled the dogs with mustard only. When I went back to Connecticut to visit my daughter at school, I stopped at Super Duper Weenie on the way back and had 2 dogs, one of them a New Englander which I had with mustard, relis and bacon (I skipped the onions). This is one great dog! They get them from Miller's Provisions. This is one of the better beef and pork dogs I've had. I even like it better than the Grote and Weigle griddle franks served in most Jersey Texas Weiner places (the ones that grill, rather than deep fry the dogs). However, the dog served at the Galloping Hill Inn which is made by Grote & Weigel but with a different casing is even better. Too bad this is the only place that uses this particular dog. The company will sell it to whomever wishes to purchase it. After returning home from my trip I stopped at the GHI for my last dog. I liked this one the best, but Super Duper Weenie is close behind. Swanky's was very good also, but in a different style. Rawley's was good, while Walter's was just okay. I enjoyed my Conn. (and N.Y.) trip. And since you enjoyed yours too, I can guarantee you'll enjoy your Jersey trips. Let me know when you'll be in Union; maybe I can meet you.
    #10
    UncleVic
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/16 13:41:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by John Fox

    mrphil,

    If you only have time for 2 or 3 places, let me suggest coming to Union and sampling the dogs from Syd's and the Galloping Hill Inn. I believe that these 2 places serve the best dogs of their type. Syd's is a big charbroiled all beef dog that many (myself included) consider the best all beef dog around. Perfect texture, perfect casing, snap, and just a great blend of spices. They are expensive (now $3.29 for a 5 to a lb dog) but worth trying at least once. I live about 4 1/2 miles away from where these dogs are produced, so I just drive to the factory and buy them there to cook at home. I simmer them in water and throw them on the Weber and they taste exactly like Syd's.

    The Galloping Hill Inn is down the street from where I live. In fact, being that it is so close and convenient, I've had a sort of bias against this place. I'm one that likes to travel and search out different hot dog joints, and it's just too easy to drive the mile or so down my street to get there. I cook a lot of dogs at home, and when I go out for a dog, I like to make a trip out of it. But every time I have a dog there, it tastes unbelievably good. It is a quality dog, but I've always sort of chalked it up to being overly hungry, or too tired to travel. Well, it is that good!

    Last weekend I had a dog at the Galloping Hill Inn before going to Rutt's for 2 rippers and a pint of relish to take home. On the way home I had another dog at the GHI and had to admit to myself that I enjoyed it more than Rutt's. I think that I just like the flavor that grilling (in this case on a steel griddle) imparts. Tastes change, and I now enjoy Thumann's griller sold in stores more than their dog for deep frying.

    I wanted to compare The Galloping Hill's dog to Max's and the Windmill. A few days later I went to Long Branch and sampled the dogs from these 2 places. Very similar, but I give a slight nod to Max's. A little more flavor. On the way home, I went to the GHI. And again, I clearly preferred this dog. I would suggest that if you sample a dog here, get it with just mustard in order to taste the unique flavor of the dog. It is produced by Grote and Weigle of Conn. as is the dog at Max's, but the GHI dog has a different casing which affects the smoking process, which in turn affects the final flavor. Plus I think their griddle has much to do with it. I've bought this particular dog from the distributor and from the GHI (uncooked) and cooked it at home. Very similar, but not the exact same. When I cook the dog used at Syd's, and the dog used at Rutt's, I cook them the same way these places do, and the dog comes out identical. Not so with the GHI, but close.

    If you could, I would suggest going to the Galloping Hill Inn first. Located 2 blocks off exit 138 of the Garden State Parkway. Have one dog with mustard only. They also have a great roll made by Pechter's. I think the reason that this dog didn't recieve a higher score by Holly of Hollyeats.com is that he had his with chili. It's not one of the better chili's that you can get on a hot dog. Go back the way you came towards the Parkway, and a mile later you will come to Michigan Ave. Make a left and Charlies Famous Italian Hot Dogs is right there. The best Italian Hot Dog. Have a single and then head to Syd's. Or have a double if you aren't going to Syd's. The only problem with Syd's is that they close by 6:45. And they're closed Sundays.

    What I would really suggest to you is to take 2 Saturdays or a Saturday and a Sunday and visit 5 places. These places are representative of the best hot dogs in their respective styles. I would consider them the five must places to hit in Jersey. They are 1)Syd's for a grilled kosher style all beef dog. Father & Son, Jerry's, and Boulevard Drinks are also good. 2) The Galloping Hill Inn for a grilled German style beef and pork dog. Max's and the Windmill are also good in this style. 3) Charlies Famous Italian Hot Dogs. The best. Followed by Tommy's. Then Jimmy Buff's and Dickie Dees. 4)Rutt's Hut for a North Jersey deep fried dog. Better than others in this style because you can get them cooked to different degrees of doneness. Plus their relish is the best condiment. And I don't even like regular relish. Hiram's and Callahan's are good if you're near Fort Lee. 5) The Hot Grill for Texas Weiners. I like their chili the best. Meatier and better than Libby's in my opinion. Libby's has a lot of cloves and is very thin. Johnny and Hanges and the Texas Weiner joints on rt 22 are also good.

    If you can only make it to Jersey on a Fri. night and you want to be close by to where your wife works, then hit the Clifton places (Rutt's and the Hot Grill). But at some point get to Union/Kenilworth and try the other 3 places. If anyone needs directions or has any questions, feel free to contact me. And if you go, let us know what you think of the dogs. It's amazing the variety of opinions. I know people who only eat at Rutt's, while some of my friends (and my family) think their dogs are vile. My wife will only usually eat an all beef dog. Others I know think the beef dogs are too spicy. But these 5 cover the different styles that you come across here in Jersey.


    How I wish John Fox lived in Michigan.... Would make the great Chili Dog Venture so much simpler! But one must move on now....
    #11
    Hiram Callahan
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/16 14:26:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by John Fox

    I'm not sure where Engelwood Cliffs is, but I'm assuming that it's in the far north part of the state?


    John:

    Englewood Cliffs is just north of Fort Lee. Despite my screenname, I do agree that it's worth the time to go to Clifton or Paterson.
    #12
    John Fox
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    RE: Help me plan a Northern Jersey HD Trip 2004/05/16 15:12:17 (permalink)
    Thought it was a little north of Clifton. I've been to Hiram's and Callahan's many times. I like the Thumann's dog slightly better than the Sabrett beef and pork dog at Callahan's. Plus you can get a beer at Hiram's. Love the atmosphere at Hiram's. And it's the same dog as Rutt's and Libby's. I just like the fact that you can get one well done at Rutt's although I suppose I could ask for the same at Hirams. Both great places that I will be returning to soon.
    #13
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