RE: New Jersey Hot Dogs
Sun, 06/7/09 7:49 AM
Welcome Dog Boss. I'm from Woodbridge Township also. I lived in Iselin for 10 years and Colonia for 16.
I've been to Geenies Weenies and have mixed feelings about them. They serve the Thumann's griller which is an excellent dog. But they screwed up my order even after having it written down. I overlook that because they were only open a week or so. A great price (1.75) for a 6 to a lb Thumann's, but my dogs and my wife's were served barely warm. They also have a weird way of preparing them. They are griddled first, then deep fried. If I were using both methods, I would switch the order. I had one prepared this way and one that I requested just griddled. The griddled dog was better.
They also have a better than average chili that is slightly sweet with a little spice in the background. My dogs would have been much better had they been served hot enough. They use the same dog for their Italian Hot Dog. I wouldn't like it because I prefer an all beef dog for an Italian Hot Dog. And I'd rather have it on pizza bread.
Interesting subject, top 5 dogs. This is tough because there are so many good ones. And with the exception of the top 2 in each category (all beef and beef/pork), they change depending on what I'm in the mood for. As for favorite places to grab a dog, it doesn't always have to be the best one of the style. For example I like the Texas Weiner at Pappy's better than the Hot Grill. But the Hot Grill is a favorite because it is very close to Pappy's, but the service is much better. And the atmosphere is better. While I discount these things while judging the quality of a dog, I take them into consideration (especially distance I have to travel) when 2 dogs are very close in taste and I'm going to be eating there.
Top 5 German style beef and pork dogs.
1) Thumann's griller. 6 to a lb. Just a unique taste and great texture. The meat is top quality and the pork comes right off of their high quality hams. I pick this dog consistently when doing blind taste tests.
2) Hartmann's wieners. Another 6 to a lb natural casing dog. Available at Wegmans. Great rich, smoky flavor. Made by a guy who learned his craft in Vienna.
3) A frank made on premise at a butcher shop. These are the freshest hot dogs you can get anywhere. Sort of like getting a beer directly from the serving tank at a brewpub. These dogs are tender, juicy and loosely packed because they don't go through a procedure that sucks air out of the meat mixture. My favorites are Kocher's (Ridgefield Park), Lutz's (Union), Union Pork Store (Union), and the Kielbasy Store (formerly Continental Provisions in East Brunswick).
4) Schickhaus. Long 4 to a lb dog that is very good on the griddle. This is the dog served at Max's and many places on the Boardwalk. Similar to the Galloping Hill's dog. I cannot list that one because it isn't available to the public unless you go directly to the distributor.
5) Sahlen's. From Buffalo, N.Y. but available at Wegman's. This dog is served at Ted's in upstate N.Y. and Tempe, Arizona. Great charbroiled rather than griddled, these dogs have a big taste with a slight peppery taste in the background.
Other dogs in this style that can be listed here include Zweigel's Red (the White Hots are a different style), Hummel's, Mucke's, Kayem, and Karl Ehmer's.
Top 5 all beef dogs.
1) Best's. I grew up on these, but think that I would like them if I just started eating them. Great prepared any way, but especially fried (90% of Italian Hot Dog joints use this brand), and chargrilled. This was the dog served at Syd's (now gone) which many considered the best hot dog in New Jersey.
2) Usinger's. A bold spicy dog that is a little different than your typical Eastern style beef dog. Some esoteric spices and a little more smoke than what you normally get. But a tasty unique flavor. Many consider this the best hot dog in America.
3) Sabrett. I like the 10 to a lb natural casing frank that is served at Papaya King and Gray's. While Sabrett is known as a "dirty water dog" I think they taste great prepared on a griddle.
4) Boars Head. A straightforward dog that typifies the New York style beef dog. Not as spicy as a Nathan's or Sabrett, this is a delicious well made dog with a tough casing.
5) Hebrew National. I like the spicing of this dog. All listed here (except Boars Head) have a unique spicing that for me is easy to detect blindfolded. I buy the 8 to a lb Hebrew National with casing sold at Maple Kosher Meats in Union. They are always fresh and not left out where they can get dried out. I got one from Wegmans once that was dry from being exposed too long.
There are so many other great all beef dogs. It's hard to say what is best. It depends on your taste and the spicing you like. Other good beef dogs are Pearl, Karl Ehmer's, Grote & Weigel, Romanian Kosher, Nathan's, and Hatfield's N.Y. style.
5 Favorite places. This is really hard. A lot of good ones I don't go to often because of distance, difficulty parking (Boulevard Drinks, Jersey City), too long of a wait (Pappy's) or some other reason.
1) Jimmy Buff's East Hanover. This location serves a great dog prepared a unique way. The 5 to a lb Best natural casing (Syd's dog) is my favorite beef dog. At Syd's it was boiled then chargrilled on a gas grill. At Buff's it's sauteed in oil and finished off on a real charcoal grill, topped with my favorite mustard (Admiration deli mustard) and put on a quality Pechters/Rockland bakery bun. In my opinion there is no better dog. Buff's also invented the Italian Hot Dog. The place to go on Tuesday. Half price or buy one get one free.
2) Jerry's. Located in Elizabeth, they serve an 8 to a lb natural casing Best. It is boiled, then finished off on a grill for added crunch. I frequent this place more than any other since it is only a few miles away and the dogs are excellent.
3) Galloping Hill Inn. A top notch German style beef and pork dog prepared on a griddle. Nice big sturdy bun (I get 2 dogs or a double), and a good Dusseldorf style mustard. Right down the street from me, this place is second in terms of how many times I've gone to a particular place. It's where my wife took me on our first date. Indoor and outdoor seating. And beer.
4) Rutt's Hut. Though I preferred grilled most of the time, Rutt's is the place to go for a deep fried dog. Unique dog that goes well with their relish which is like no other relish I've tasted. One of the few dogs that I'll have with something other than mustard and chili. Great atmosphere and they serve beer also.
5) Papaya King (excellent griddled Sabrett dog), Hot Grill (great Texas Weiner, quick service), Father & Son (good spicy chili on a quality grilled beef dog), Dees (best dirty water Sabrett), Tommy's (great Italian Hot Dog 2.9 miles away), Frankly Burgers and More (a ways away in Freehold, but juicy griddled natural casing Best's and a top notch Italian Hot Dog), Manny's Texas Weiners (grilled Texas Wiener with thick spicy chili a few miles away), Costco (quarter pound Hebrew National and drink for $1.50)
This is off the top of my head. There are so many good dogs that this changes depending on mood. I'm sure I left some out as well.