Hot!New Jersey Hot Dogs

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ScreenBear
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/12 22:46:24 (permalink)
Foobuc,
As John says, it's an acquired taste if you're not from the Windy City. However, once you like 'em, that's pretty much it.

The contrast of the warm bun, hot dog and cold condiments, each with its own crunch, texture and resiliency, is a treat. You get to realize that this "salad" on your dog isn't a mistake, isn't some Chicago eccentricity, but the result of years of gustatorial evolution, until, at long last, it is the Chicago Hot Dog. Even the bun does extra duty with those poppy seeds on them.

Aside from it being good, there is also an innate sense of humor about it, a Sandburgian, broad-shouldered swagger of individualism.

Alas, I like practically every permutation of frankfurter, but when in the mood,
ich bin ein Chicago Hot Dog eater.
The Bear
P.S.--I didn't know JFK, but I've eaten hot dogs in Chicago, and J's Beef (Linden, N.J.) serves up a Class-A example of the genre.

John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/13 09:11:55 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by foobuc

Hi John,

Thanks for the tips on the local area places. you are gonna get me in trouble big time! Where is the Tommys on route 130 in No Brunswick as i sell to the Buy Rite Liquors in the big Shop Rite plaza there? Do you remember a landmark?

thanks!


Foobuc,

I'm not really familiar with the area, but I can tell you that I was on rt 1, got off the exit for rt 130 South, went a little over 3 miles, then made a U turn as Tommy's is located on the northbound side of rt 130.
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/13 09:30:51 (permalink)
uh oh! thats right in the area i am at on tues nights! i am off this week coming up and have a dinner meeting the following tues night but you better bet your bippy i will be "investigating" its whereabouts the 3rd tues from now!!!
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/15 15:35:07 (permalink)
I didn't have work today. My wife had to work today. I went to J's Beef in Linden NJ today. My wife did not go to J's Beef today. Shhh don't tell her or it will blow my diet!!! I had 2 chicago style dogs minus onions. Boy are those sport peppers hot! I liked the chicago style dogs though i was a little hesitant because i just started eating relish about a year ago. I'll be back there though especially because it is closer than i thought!!! I may have to try some sausage and some beef too!
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/18 14:36:48 (permalink)
Tuesday after eating at Hirams, Screenbear and I took a different way home. We wound up passing Kocher's Meat Market in Ridgefield. I've never been to Kocher's, but found out this summer that they make the German franks for Karl Ehmer's. We turned around and went back. The franks are 70% beef and 30% pork, but spiced in the German, rather than kosher style. No garlic or paprika. This frank was well liked by the Munchmobile S.W.A.T. Team this summer, finishing third in the Grilled category. But the 2 that finished ahead (Syd's and Boulevard Drinks) are in the spicy kosher style. I had lobbied for 2 separate categories, one for each style. Unfortunately it was decided to have only one category for grilled dog. The Kocher's dog served at Karl Ehmer's stand was the most well liked German style beef/pork dog among the S.W.A.T. Team, finishing slightly ahead of the Galloping Hill Inn.

I bought some of these dogs to sample at a later time. Today, I went out to get a dog from the Galloping Hill Inn (cold) and to Wegmans to get a single Thumanns frank with the purpose of comparing the three. While at Wegmans, I discovered that they sell Hebrew National hot dogs with the collagen casing. It's the only place in Jersey other than Goldberg's Kosher Meat Market in Old Bridge that I know of that sells these dogs.

I prepared a Hebrew National, Galloping Hill Inn dog, Kocher's dog, and Thumanns on my griddle. Unfortunately the Hebrew National was dried out from being either old and/or exposed to the open air in the deli case. I should have noticed this when I was at Wegmans. I threw it out. The other 3 dogs were excellent. I remember sampling these 3 side by side with 2 other German style franks about a year ago. These are definitely 3 of my 4 favorites in this style. The German dog from Continental Provisions in East Brunswick would be the fourth. All were so good, it was hard, if not impossible to rank them. I would say that they are in the same league and on the same level. The Thumanns was a little saltier and perhaps a little more flavorfull. The Kocher's was plumper and less tightly packed, maybe chewier. The Galloping Hill dog had its own distinct taste, but may have been milder. All were great. Be careful when freezing your dogs. I had some Thumanns last week that were in my freezer for only a month and weren't even past the expiration date. They didn't taste as good as they normally do. I though that maybe I was losing my taste for them. But after having one fresh today, I concluded that maybe those in the freezer lost something. From now on I'll wrap them in Aluminum foil rather than leave them loose in a freezer bag. How do the rest of you freeze your dogs?
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/19 08:26:05 (permalink)
headed down to Toms River yesterday to bring my mother to the doctor and while in the old hometown, i made a stop at Joe-joe's and had a double w/ mustard, peppers and potatoes. Hit the spot!! to stay a little on topic, i usually let the air out of the zip lock and then foil the whole thing as well. My Problem is that i usually forget that i have them in the freezer and wind up buying new packs of hot dogs! stinks getting old...
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/19 15:39:07 (permalink)
i went to galloping hill inn in union for the first time and got 2 chili dogs. it was a good dog and i thought the chili was pretty good but mild. it was weird having it on a torpedo type roll. even that is very close to me. unfortunately i go back to work monday so i won't be hot dog experimenting as much as i have been the last few weeks.

p.s. i lost another 3.8lbs when i got weighed wed night and that was after going to j's beef on mon.!!! total of 8lbs lost since 1/3/07.
ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/20 13:33:43 (permalink)
A few comments on John's recent posts:

Tommy's South - I was there about six months ago and I didn't think the Itlian Dogs were nearly as good as Elizabeth. It may be that they had just recently opened and they hadn't wokred out the kinks yet. I also had a plain dog with Sauerkraut which wasn't very good either.

Rahway Grill: That's a new one on me, which I will have to try. Are they are closed on Satudays? I just tried to call and got no answer. Is it an eat in place or take out? I usually like to know that in advance, if it's take out only there's no need in dragging my son or wife there.

Freezing Thuman's: I've had trouble keeping Thuman's dogs in the freezer, they definatly lose someting when they are defrosted, and I've tried every method mentioned here. It's for that reason I no longer buy the 5lb bag they sell at Costco.

Keep up the posts John, always good reading.

PS, but somewhat off topic, I know you and I agreed that the Texas Weiners at Red Tower on Rt 22 weren't all that good, but my son and his friends (now that they are driving) have become regulars for the bacon cheesebugers which they all say are excellent. I haven't tried them yet.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/20 17:29:09 (permalink)
KEN,

When I went to Tommy's South, the dogs were every bit as good as Elizabeth. Either you hit them on a bad day or, as you said, they hadn't worked out the kinks yet. Tommy Junior, who was usually at Tommy's Elizabeth during the day, is the one that usually prepares the dogs at Tommy's South. The set up and method of preparation is the same. I also found out that the regular dogs are boiled, then put in a steel compartment like Jerry's. I'd still go to Jerry's for a regular dog as they are cheaper. I never get a regular dog at Tommy's.

I believe the Rahway Grill is closes Saturday. They are only open until 3 PM during the week. It's a small eat in luncheonette.

I only buy Thumanns in the one pound pack. If I'm near Wegmanns, I buy a few loose. This way I don't have to freeze them.

I have the article from 98 when Red Tower was reviewed by the Munchmobile. It was stated that while Red Tower is known for Texas Weiners, they also make a pretty good burger. I haven't had one.
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/23 19:09:15 (permalink)
ok so Tommy's South on route 130N is almost directly across from my account. i was there tonight as my meeting got pushed back until next tuesday. i got a single and ate in joyful bliss up the road in my car so i could still field phone calls and punch in orders on my computer. the bread was fresh, the red peppers were awesome and the dog was really good! i only got a single because of the diet...
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 08:29:43 (permalink)
Yesterday I went to Jimmy Buffs E. Hanover location for the first time. This is the newest of the 4 Jimmy Buffs that are currently in operation. East Hanover and West Orange restaurants are owned by Jim Raccioppi, grandson of Jimmy "Buff" Racioppi, founder of Jimmy Buffs and inventor of the Italian Hot Dog. The Scotch Plains and Irvington locations are owned by Jim's uncle Mike.

The Italian Hot Dog at Jim's 2 locations don't have the excessive oils that his uncle's restaurants are known for. It's a matter of taste. Some people like their sandwich with extra oils. Jim's are more to my liking. Just the right amount of oil without being what many consider too greasy. The East Hanover Buff's also has a bigger menu selection than the other 3. Here you can get an Italian Hot Dog, footlong, (the same 5 to a lb natural casing dog served at Syd's) pushcart, (the same 8 to a lb natural casing dog served at Jerry's) and a giant quarter pound Schickhaus dog. This is a beef and pork dog that is very popular. Served at Max's and other hot dog restaurants at or near the Jersey Shore. You can also get hamburgers, cheesesteaks, shrimp, fish and chips, homemade soup, and many other items. Check out the menu at http://www.jimmybuff.com.

On this visit, I stuck to hot dogs. First I had a single Italian Hot Dog. It was excellent. Good fresh pizza bread that was hard and chewy. Each location gets their bread fresh from a local bakery. This bread was perfect for an Italian Hot Dog. The dogs are from Best, as are all of the beef dogs used here. But you have a choice of getting yours skinless or with natural casing. The peppers were plentiful and prepared perfectly. The potatoes were tasty and fresh. Not in chunks like Dickiee Dees, but sliced fairly thin, although thicker than Tommy's. I would have to say that this dog and Tommy's are the 2 best Italian Hot Dogs I've ever had. To make a comparison, I would say that I like the bread and peppers better at Buff's. The dogs are equal, while I prefer the potatoes sliced very thin like they do at Tommy's.

I also had a footlong. This is the same dog used at Syd's, which happens to be my favorite hot dog. Natural casing, 5 to a lb with a prefect snap and blend of spices. E. Hanover Buffs is the only place I know of that serves this dog other than Syd's. The popular gourmet grilled cheese restaurant in Jersey City called Melt, also used this dog before they closed. The footlong is prepared a unique way here. It is sauteed in oil like the dogs that are used for the Italian Hot Dog sandwich. Then it is taken out of the oil and put on a charcoal grill. The dog is then put on a toasted bun and topped with a tasty deli mustard. The result is a dog, that if you can believe it, is even better than Syd's! It's the same dog, and while similar in taste, the frying plus char grilling really brings out the flavors and spices in this dog. The dark char marks give the dog an attractive appearance. The grill is a charcoal grill, while Syd's uses a gas grill. I was going to sample the Schickhaus dog, but the footlong was so good, I had to have another one.

As I mentioned in other posts, this is my favorite dog to have at home. I buy them from the factory. And on occasion I get one at Syd's. Voted best grilled dog by the Munchmobile, it was the favorite overall of the S.W.A.T. Team. I didn't think that this dog could be made any better. But Jim Racioppi has proved me wrong. The combination of this dog, prepared the way it was, with the toasted bun and delicious deli mustard, makes this the best hot dog I've ever eaten. I was just blown away. Had the S.W.A.T Team gone here, I would have voted it best dog. It goes for $3.25 tax included. Syd's is $3.48.

You can get any of the dogs here made the way you like. If you ask for a footlong, it comes the way I described it. You can also get it boiled, then grilled, like Syd's if you wish. Or just boiled. They have a griddle as well, so you can have it that way. Next time I'll try one of the Schickhaus dogs. Again, you can get it the way you want, but if you just order it without specifying how you want it prepared, it gets cooked on a griddle and finished off on the charcoal grill.

The footlong was so good, I had both of mine with just mustard. But I sampled the homemade chili on the side. It was unique and very good. One of the best that I've had. Meaty, with a nice sweet flavor and a touch of greeen pepper.

Service was quick and efficient. You place your order at the counter and it comes out from the back. If you want to eat in, you pick it up at a side door which leads to another room where there's tables and a long counter with stools that used to be a bar. This sure beats having to go through the hassle of being waited on like at a Diner and having to wait again for your check like you have to do at Syd's. There is also a game room in the back that is available for private parties.

Tuesday are called Fat Tuesday's. All double Italian Hot Dogs are sold for the price of a single. I highly recommend this place. I've been to other hot dog restaurants that try to do more than one type of dog. Rarely are they all done well. Jimmy Buff's is an exception. All the offerings are top of the line. The only negative part of my experience is realizing what I have been missing these couple of years since they opened this location.
ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 14:12:29 (permalink)
Wow John, now I have yet another place to check out. Thanks for providing the details on the Jimmy Buff's in Hanover. I have to get there, especially for a footlong or two. Normally Jimmy Buff's is not my favorite at all, I'm one of the people that likes less grease. I've eaten at the Scotch Plains location 2 times in 10 years, and while I can eat just about anything, the amount of grease on both visits there stayed with me way too long. I've tried a couple of the other locations also, not as greasy as SP, as you said, but still not my favorite.

I did get to the Rahway Grill just yesterday (I was home sick, but obviously not THAT sick). Good call on that one too, the Chili Dog was excellent! Had two there, and two to go for my son. We both gave them high marks. I'm not sure if I've ever had the Hatfield Angus dog before, it sure was tasty.

Thanks for all the tips John. ---Ken
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 17:59:54 (permalink)
i also agree that the Scotch Plains Buff's was too greasy for my likng but you have me drooling about the Hanover location dogs but i am never up that way...
tamandmik
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 18:07:52 (permalink)
I remember when I was a teenager Jimmy Buff's had a location in Caldwell, on the border between Verona, across the railroad tracks. That location I suppose is gone now, but it seems like it has been replaced by a superior product. I remember the diced potatoes on the Italian hot dog with the thick crusted bun like it was yesterday. When I go back to NJ the next time I will be sure to go to the Hanover location. It sounds delicious.
Akavar
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/25 22:43:13 (permalink)
I have to agree with those who don't like the grease at Jimmy Buff's. I have eaten at the Scotch Plains and West Orange locations. I thought both were way too greasy. I will have to try the East Hanover location.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/26 07:22:09 (permalink)
Some years back when I began eating and comparing Italian Hot Dogs, I was of the opinion that Jimmy Buff's was too greasy. I had gone first to the rt22 location, then Irvington, which is closer to where I live. This location, incidentally, was supposed to have closed. I had even posted about its closing. The sale never happenned, and they are open for the time being, although the hours are different and they are closed on Sundays.

Despite not liking Jimmy Buffs as much as some of the other places serving Italian Hot Dogs, most notably Tommy's and Charlies Sons in Union, (now gone) I still thought it was good, and went often because the Irvington location was the only place near me that was open on Sunday evenings, which, for some reason is when I like to enjoy an Italian Hot Dog. Probably because it's a last treat before starting the work week. As a result of going so much, I actually aquired a taste for this sandwich with the extra oils which had to be left on the floor of my car, so as to not get the car seat wet with the grease that seeped through the bag. Still, I would have to say that most of the time I prefer the less greasy version served at East Hanover and West Orange.

The Italian Hot Dog I had yesterday at East Hanover was excellent. Jim, the owner, prefers a less greasy sandwich and prepares it that way. The great thing about this location is the variety of dogs and choices you have. Next time I'll try the Schickhaus dog. I'm sure that I will enjoy it because not only is it grilled like Max's, but it is finished off on a real charcoal grill. But I have to be sure not to try the footlong first. It is so good that I'm afraid that I won't be able to order anything else.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/01/26 12:15:40 (permalink)
Thirteenth outing, 8/6

63) G&G, Shrewsbury Rd. Red Bank

G&G is a hot dog truck that has been in Red Bank for 34 years. Gus Tangalos is one of the few people serving dirty water Sabretts that uses a 10 to a lb natural casing dog rather than the more common 11 or 12's. These dogs were hot, tasty, fresh, and served fast. I voted this dog #2 for dirty water dog, and the next place we visited, Joyce's Place, #3. A little clarification is in order here. Jerry's, which uses an 8 to a lb natural casing Best, was far and away my #1 choice for a dirty water dog. Tony's Truck, (serving natural casing Golden D 10's) would have been my second choice, but I voted it #2 for chili dog. Dees, in Roselle Park would have been my 3rd choice, but I completely forgot about this one when it was time to vote. Since G&G and Joyce's had the same dog served the same way, I voted them 2 and 3. In reality, there is no difference between Dees, G&G, and Joyce's dog. All 10 to a lb Natural casing Sabretts served at the right temperature. I put G&G #2 ahead of Joyce's because the dog was served quicker. I would have put Dees in had I remembered because of the quick service as well as it being closer to where I live. If I had no restrictions on my voting, and were to vote today, it would be 1)Jerry's 2)Tony's Truck and 3) a three way tie between Dees, G&G, and Joyce's.

Most of the team liked the dogs at G&G; the chili had mixed reviews. It was a hard, dry chili that had a sand like texture.

64) Joyce's Place, rt88 Brick

In addition to the standout Sabrett dirty water dog described above, Joyce's Place also had a deep fried dog and an Italian Hot Dog on the menu. The deep fried dog was a skinless Nathans, which was flavorful and spicy. The Italian Hot Dog was on a sub roll rather than pizza bread. Nathans dogs are used for this also. It was described by the one member who had it as substantial, but not authentic due to the sub roll and french fries. The peppers were lacking. It's best to stick to the dirty water dog, although the fried Nathans dog was ok. Joyce's Place was also voted Best Fries. I'm sorry that I neglected to sample them here, so I can't give an opinion. I know that they are frozen fries from the Jersey Shore Fry Co. Still, I can't see how they would do better in the voting than a freshly made fry like Syd's or Amazing Hot Dog. One member who sampled fries at almost every place agreed that Joyce's weren't among the best we've had. I didn't sample fries all too often in order to save room for hot dogs. But those who did liked Joyce's best.

65) Jersey Joes, Port Monmouth

Jersey Joe's is a fairly small establishment specializing in Italian Hot Dogs. There are a few tables inside and a few across the street right near the Raritan Bay. Served on decent pizza bread, I found the single to be pretty good. The hot dogs were 8 to a lb Best's that were sliced down the side. Red and green peppers were good, potatoes were good as well, but cut in very small squares. This sandwich had the right amount of grease, and I really enjoyed it on this particular day. I was in the minority however, as almost everyone else didn't like this dog. Comments included dry bread (I disagreed) and soggy potatoes. I thought that there was a possibility that I might have rated this dog higher than I normally would have because I had paced myself and there was a lot of time between stops. I was still hungry and probably should have ordered a double. I have since gone back, and while I liked the dog again on the second trip, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first time. And the potatoes are too small. I would place it in the 2nd tier behind Jimmy Buffs, Tommy's, and World's First (Lous). It's probably the farthest point south in Jersey where you can enjoy a decent authentic Italian Hot Dog. JoJo's is farther south, but I didn't care much for them. Jersey Joe's is quite expensive, costing $7.50 for a double.

66) Jersey Style Hot Dogs, Rt 9 Old Bridge

Located in a large strip mall off a busy road, this restaurant looked like it was a pizzeria in its former life. From what I remember, its only been open a short time. There were 3 hot dogs on the menu. Hebrew National (which they were out of) the Thumanns deep fryer, and the Thumanns griller. The deep fried dog was pretty good; similar to the other places throughout North Jersey that serve them, although it would have been better if it spent more time in the oil. If you are unfamiliar with the restaurant serving this type of dog, you should probably request it well done. The Thumanns griller, which is a favorite of mine, definitely needed more time on the griddle. The chili here was bad. Agreed by all to be bland, it had practically no taste whatsoever. Although the brand of dog served here is very good, the place doesn't seem to be run very well and the dogs could have been prepared better. We had stopped by once before just as they were closing. And it was before the posted closing time. In my opinion, not worth coming back.
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/02 14:55:30 (permalink)
ok! i just made a slob of myself the last 2 days. i was at the windmill in long branch yesterday(the one that does not look like a windmill) and then today i went to the middlesex texas weiners, then to the j & g texas weiners in dunellen and then to the texas weiner 1 in plainfield. got 1 chili dog at each. i thought texas weiner 1 was the one i liked least. also, i am not sure if this place on somerset street in plainfield is coming or going but i saw 18 somerset street is a place that had paper on the windows called Paul's 2 newark style italian hot dogs!!! anyone know the scoop? is it coming or is it going bye bye???? and where is pauls#1??
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/03 20:45:20 (permalink)
took my mom to 1st Jerry's in elizabeth for a quick dog and then to Tommy's right there next to it and ate those in the car. She loved it so that was a success right there. it was my second time there and i thought the 2nd time was as good as the first. she bought half home and brought her potatoes home also. i think i am hot dogged out for a while now. i don't want to tip the scales in the wrong direction...
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/04 20:33:22 (permalink)
I've stopped at Hot Dog Johnny's quite a few times, and while the dogs are good, I wouldn't rave about them. The fries, however, are some of the best I've ever had. I think it's the peanut oil that they fry them in. I'm puzzled by their choice of cold drinks: buttermilk or birch beer. Nothing else. Fortunately, I like birch beer.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/05 15:31:07 (permalink)
I believe they also sell coke,orange,sprite as well as other fountain soft drinks and they also serve a very good milk shake.
vocal
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/07 13:34:32 (permalink)
Article New York Times about Rutts Hutt one of my favorite dogs. Thought it would be of interest to you all.

HOT DIGGITY! DOG DIGGITY! -- RESTAURANTS; Two Rippers, P.C., With Relish Mother Made

By FRAN SCHUMER
Published: May 24, 1998
THE restaurant of my dreams is undoubtedly some three-star something in France; my husband's is Rutt's Hut.

Asked to describe his first encounter with the legendary hot dog stand, a friend whose tastes are usually more upscale confessed, ''I ate four hot dogs in 15 minutes.''

Rutt's Hut began life in 1928 as a hut, the inspired vision of Royal Rutt, and his wife, Anna. The one-room stand sold hot dogs and the famous mustard relish perfected, legend has it, by Mr. Hutt's mother back in Germany. The secret of Mr. Rutt's success, however, was not only the relish but also his method of cooking: instead of grilling or even boiling hot dogs, as is done at pushcarts all over Manhattan, Mr. Royal deep-fried them in fat that had reached an internal temperature of 310 degrees. The result is a hot dog that crackles, or, as my husband puts it, ''a New York hot dog on Viagra.''

Eventually, the stand metamorphosed into a Tudor-style building with a bar, a restaurant and a fast-food area that drew factory workers from all over Passaic County. But after 47 years, Mr. Royal, who by then was using a wheelchair (and who died about 15 years ago), sold the business to Nicholas Karagiorgis, who still owns the operation with his two brothers-in-law and a nephew. As stipulated by their agreement, however, the new owners had to apprentice in Rutt's kitchen. They apparently did their homework. Veterans of both the old and current regimes agree: the hot dogs still crackle, the mustard still smarts and the onion rings make their brown-paper-bag container almost translucent.

I first made the acquaintance of Rutt's in the early years of my marriage. I could always tell when my husband had come home after a late night at the office by the scent of fried onion rings wafting up to our bedroom. If he was in his car anywhere near Clifton and I wasn't, he almost invariably made a detour to Rutt's.

Recently, however, he agreed to let me accompany him on one of his nighttime visits. The following is a report from the field, a guide for first-time Rutt's visitors.

Even finding the place is tricky. Wedged in a no man's land between highways, Rutt's often eludes even repeat customers. In short, the easiest approach from anywhere is to take Route 21 to exit 10, cross back over the highway and turn left on River Road.

Once you arrive, finding your way is also daunting. Essentially, Rutt's consists of an older, larger, more formal dining room, where you can sit, and a smaller room toward the rear of the building, where you can't. If you're a lover of hot dogs -- and almost everyone who enters Rutt's is -- this is where the action is.

Inside, the room is undeniably Spartan. White tile walls, bright lights and freestanding counters give it all the warmth of a military refectory. Still, despite the bare-bones decor -- maybe even because of it -- the room has spirit. Here, with nothing more than a gravel parking lot to gaze upon, men (and occasionally a woman) radiate an unmistakable esprit de corps standing shoulder to shoulder and savoring one spicy hot dog after another. There is no better place to spend $1.50 on supper.

Before you do, however, it helps to know the jargon. A hot dog may be a hot dog elsewhere, but at Rutt's, it's a ripper (a hot dog whose skin has cracked), a weller (a well-cooked or well-done ripper), a medium (moderately well-cooked), an in-and-outer (rare) or a cremator (burned). For anyone who cares, Thumann's makes the Rutt's Hut hot dog with 60 percent beef, 35 percent pork and 5 percent cereal filling. The result is a hot dog in which you can actually taste the meat.

To go with it, sauerkraut is acceptable, but mustard and Rutt's mustard relish (both in canisters on the counter) are de rigueur. Cheese is available, as is Rutt's pleasantly spicy chili, but one regular told me, ''It's considered in poor taste to put these on your ripper.''

Boylan's Birch Beer is a popular choice among soft drinks. When ordering others, however, you need to know their odd nicknames. A Marvis is a Yoo-Hoo (Marvis was the name of the chocolate drink manufactured by a nearby factory, which Rutt's sold), and a Howdy (for reasons that no one seems to remember) is orange soda. P.C., of course, means paper cup and is synonymous with the other slang for takeout, which is traveling (as in ''two rippers and a Howdy traveling.'')

AMONG side dishes, the french fries are ordinary; the onion rings are transcendant. Mr. Karagiorgis and his colleagues use Spanish onions and their own batter, their contribution to the Rutt's mystique.

In recent years, he and his partners have also broadened the menu. It offers breakfast (eggs), non-hot-dog lunches (hamburgers, tuna, roast beef with gravy) and diner-style entrees like roast turkey, even duck. But although the Greek salad has fresh anchovies and the homemade rice pudding is creamy and lush, the reason to go is the ripper.

Just as my husband and I were leaving, a customer, having finished the two hot dogs on his plate, approached the counter with a request for ''one more hot dog, please.''

''You hear that a lot here,'' my husband said.

Rutt's Hut
417 River Road, Clifton
(973) 779-8615

VERY GOOD
ATMOSPHERE Men eating.
SERVICE Men -- and women -- working.
RECOMMENDED DISHES Hot dog with sauerkraut, mustard and mustard relish; onion rings; rice pudding.
PRICE RANGE Appetizers and side dishes: $1.30 to $5.25. Entrees, $1.50 to $7.50. Desserts, 85 cents to $1.65.
HOURS Sundays through Thursdays, 8 A.M. to 11 P.M.; Fridays and Saturdays to 1 A.M.
CREDIT CARDS Not accepted.
RESERVATIONS Not accepted.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Everything on one level.
RATINGS Poor to Satisfactory, Good, Very Good, Excellent,
Extraordinary.

Ratings reflect the reviewer's reaction to food, ambiance and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.




John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 07:11:47 (permalink)
Vocal,

Thanks for the article. Some years back, I read someone's description of Rutts Hut who quoted from this article. I remember specifically the part about the dog being 60% beef, 35% pork, and 5% cereal filling. I don't know where the author got her information, but this is definitely not true. I know the plant manager at Thumanns and have been on a tour of the factory. I was told that the Thumanns griller sold in supermarkets is 3 parts pork to 1 part beef. This would make it 75% pork. The deep fry dog that is served at Rutts and other places has an even higher pork content. I wasn't given a number, just told that there is more pork than in the griller. Pork fries up better than beef. Also, there is no cereal filling in any Thumanns hot dog.

The deep fry dog isn't sold in stores, but I've gotten 5 lb bags in the past. The ingredients are listed in order from the most to the least. The first 3 ingredients listed are pork, water, and beef. So there is very little beef in the deep fryers. Contrast this with the ingredient list on a package of Thumanns all beef franks. Beef, and water are the first 2 ingredients listed. No pork.
big g in joisey
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 13:10:18 (permalink)
Hi Vocal, nice post but John Fox is right again,the Thumanns dog is mostly pork that is served at Rutt's. I have sometimes found 2 different types of 5lb packages at some wholesale stores and was told by the butcher that the first ingredient listed is usually the most prevelant in the hotdog in this case either listing pork or beef. One other thing is that Rutt's Hutt will not put their Chili on their hotdogs,they only serve it in a cup or bowl.
ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/08 21:21:32 (permalink)
My wife, son and I made a quick trip up to Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover for lunch yesterday. Sorry to say, but we gave it a totally mixed review.

The food was just fine. I had an Italian Dog (which I thought was a little small, but then again it was only $3.95, I think), and a pushcart dog with great hot onions. My wife was somewhat dismayed to find that her cheeseburger was served in the style of an Italian Hot Dog, with the fried onions and peppers and potatoes. Way too much grease for her. My son had the Chicken finger basket with fries, which he liked, but then again he likes the chicken fingers at his college too.

The problem was with everything else. First of all, it was literally about 45 degrees in the place. When someone ahead of me on line asked the counter lady about it, she just shrugged and said it was because people keep opening the door. (So what's the solution, not let any customers in??). We rushed thru our food just to get out of there into the warm car, so I can't say any of us really enjoyed it.

Also, the soda was awful. I'm particular about my draft beer and draft soda, rule #1 should be to clean the damn tubes every day. And the soda was way overpriced, I know there are free refills, but the tiny flimsy plastic cups they give you meant like 4 trips to the soda machine. And no lids. My wife is convinced that it was not true Pepsi syrup coming from the Pepsi spigot.

The ordering system needs work also, it was very busy when we were there, and no one seemed to know who was supposed get what order, the customers were pretty much left to figure it our for themselves, everything was just placed on the pickup counter.

I'll give it another shot, like in May or something.
Benzee
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/10 12:27:01 (permalink)
Hello all ,

Its good to get these reviews , especially the mixed ones . I try to give the good and less favorable points when I visit an establishment .
Excellent review , very in depth . Almost felt like I was sitting there drinking the pepsi also .

As far as Rutts goes , great dog , John is right on the money as usual .
One question about Rutts , has anyone tried to imitate their relish . Best I've ever had .

Benzee
eggsactley
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/10 19:18:55 (permalink)
Besides having one of the best dogs in the Garden State, Rutt's also has the fastest service.
John Fox
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/11 09:09:23 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Benzee

Hello all ,

Its good to get these reviews , especially the mixed ones . I try to give the good and less favorable points when I visit an establishment .
Excellent review , very in depth . Almost felt like I was sitting there drinking the pepsi also .

As far as Rutts goes , great dog , John is right on the money as usual .
One question about Rutts , has anyone tried to imitate their relish . Best I've ever had .

Benzee



I've been to the same hot dog restaurant and have had completely different experiences as far as food and service go. Some favorites have changed for the worse and some that were either mediocre or average have gotten better. Of course, when I've had a bad experience, I'm reluctant to go back. Unless I've been there before and know that the place is usually good. Jerry's in Elizabeth for example. One of my favorite hot dogs. But on occasion you will get a stale roll or bad dog. If this happened to me for the first time, I would be hesitant to return. When I have returned after a bad experience, it's been because I've heard that the place has gotten better. Maybe from someone on this forum. This summer, I went to 87 different places, many of which I've been to before and didn't like. But because it was on our schedule, I went again and found that some had improved.

I had once heard about a place that had awful chili. I went, and agreed that it was bad. I decided to never have it again. Apparently the owner must have figured out that customers didn't like the chili, so he changed it. I only found out because one day someone had an extra dog and gave it to me. It was from this place and had chili on it. I was surprised that it was so good. Still, because of the many great hot dog joints in Jersey, I'm not likely to go back to a place unless I've heard from someone that they've improved.

As for Ken's experience at Jimmy Buff's, hopefully the owner or someone who knows the owner will read his post and the issues he raised can be addressed. I was there twice and don't remember being cold, but I asked my wife who went with me the second time. She agreed that it was cold. As for the soda, we both had bottles of Stewarts Root Beer, so I can't comment on the fountain soda. Many Italian Hot Dog joints serve hamburgers, sausage sandwiches, and cheesesteaks the same way; with peppers, potatoes, and onions. Some call their hamburger an Italian Hamburger. I'm sure you can get a regular one if you ask. I haven't had chicken fingers or anything other than hot dogs, so I can't comment on them. I've had the single Italian Hot Dog, which was top of the line. The footlong, in my opinion, is the best hot dog available. It is the 5 to a lb Best natural casing dog served at Syd's. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is fried first, then charbroiled on a real charcoal, rather than gas grill. You can request it boiled, then charbroiled like Syd's. The quarter pound dog, which is a Schickhaus, is griddled, then charbroiled. Another excellent dog.

I would definitely give Jimmy Buffs another try. On Tuesdays you can get a double Italian Hot Dog for the price of a single.
foobuc
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/12 18:37:16 (permalink)
had my worst hot dog ever yesterday at a place called "Friends" in Plainfield or North Plainfield. I should have known when i walked in but anyway avoid the Texas weiners there by all means. i ordered 2 and they were "nassy" so nasty that i had to drive to Texas Weiners 1 and order 2 chili dogs there just to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the 2 i had at Friends!!! anyone know the story behind the "Paul's 2 Newark Italian Style Hot Dog" place on Somerset St. yet? i was by there and the paper was still up. Is there a Paul's in Newark on Clinton St.???? John, have you ever been there?
ken8038
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RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs 2007/02/12 18:45:11 (permalink)
<<I was there twice and don't remember being cold, but I asked my wife who went with me the second time. She agreed that it was cold.

John, thanks for your comments. The day we went was one of those 15 degree days last week. It was so cold in there you could actually see your breath, even in the side room where we ate.

You're probably right about how these places serve a cheeseburger, but I still think that if a cheeseburger is going to be anything other than what I would call a normal chesseburger, there should be some mention of that fact on the menu. But we'll know better next time. I will go back, as I said, but when the weather warms up.
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