Welcome to Roadfood and to North Jersey. I think quite a few people here might not agree with you regarding where the hot dog capital of the world is. I say North Jersey. Chicago may have a stand on every corner, but then again, so does Manhattan. In fact there are more carts in New York City than there are hot dog stands and establishments in Chicago. But even they are not indicative of the variety to be had in New York State. The Hudson Valley is home to many fine hot dog eateries providing a number of different types of dogs including "coneys" and "white Hots". They also have a number of Greek owned joints making excellent chili on premise.
You ask, "what is the big fuss about Jersey Dogs?" I would say that there are quality franks available from commercial producers like Best, Sabrett (originally a Jersey dog) Thumann's and Shickhaus, and the many European butcher shops throughout the state that make their own, as well as a variety of hot dog styles and types. In Chicago there is one basic type of hot dog referred to by many as a "salad on a bun". And over 80% of all hot dog establishments use one brand of dog, Vienna Beef. Don't get me wrong. I think Vienna is pretty good, but milder than the quality all beef dogs available here. But better suited to blend in better with all the ingredients included in a Chicago Hot Dog. A spicier dog like Best or Sabrett would throw everything out of balance.
I've had Leons. It is a good dog, but a beef/pork blend, which is different than Vienna, David Berg, Red Hot Chicago, Best, Sinai 48, and other popular brands from Chicago which are all beef.
Here in North Jersey we have quality dogs that are deep fried, griddled, boiled, steamed, charbroiled, and sometimes prepared more than one way. Admittedly, deep fried pork dogs may be an aquired taste. Rutt's Hut is perhaps the most well known Jersey hot dog joint, even though there are a few others that sell more dogs. They serve a special pork based dog that is made for deep frying. People swear by this dog. Have you seen the PBS special "A Hot Dog Program"? Rutt's is featured in it and always makes those "best of" lists. But many people hate this dog. A beef dog tastes good fried. Ever have an Italian Hot Dog? Only found in a few counties in Jersey. Fried beef dogs topped with peppers, potatoes, and onions placed in pita shaped pizza bread. Quite a history in North Jersey of the Italian Hot Dog. Not to mention the Texas Weiner. Or the dirty water dog. You are just plain wrong when you state that New Jersey does not have a hot dog culture. Check out The Great American Hot Dog Book by Becky Mercuri. She discusses the different regional styles throughout the country, including of course, Chicago.
You ask how anyone can serve a deep fried or griddled dog with a straight face. Are you aware that the most well known hot dog stand in the country griddle fries their dogs? I'm talking about Nathan's of course, which many people consider the quintessential American hot dog. A deep fried pork based dog may be an aquired taste, but to me so was a Chicago hot dog. A guy from Chicago opened J's Beef serving authentic Chicago dogs and Italian Beef. It took awhile but I finally acquired a taste for the Chicago hot dog and began to appreciate the nuances of this style. But it is just one of many. Let me suggest that you try some of the Jersey places again before you write them off. Which ones did you go to?
J's Beef closed temporarily. The owner is looking for a new location. I'll let you know when and where he will be opening when I find out. He served a great Chicago dog as well as Italian Beef sandwich. In fact, he was recogized by the president of Vienna Beef for his authentic Chicago dogs.