RE: Ted's - Restaurant of the Day
I've never been to Ted's, but I have had the dog served there. It is a Sahlen's beef and pork dog. It has a great reputation and I had been dying to sample one for a long time. I didn't want to order a large quantity from the company, so I held off. Finally someone I met on Chowhound invited me to his home to sample some that he picked up from Buffalo.
Afterwards I discovered that Sahlen's are available in the summer at the Wegmans in Bridgewater, N.J. As for the dogs, they certainly live up to their reputation. One of the finest beef and pork dogs I've had. They taste really good cooked on the grill like they do at Ted's. These dogs are pale in color which usually means a mild dog, but not so here. A tasty dog with a slight peppery flavor. I can see why many people consider this the best hot dog on the market. Like many regional brands, people who grew up eating these franks have them ordered and shipped to where they live.
I'm partial to Thumann's beef/pork dogs and a few that have a similar spicing and flavor profile. But I would put the Sahlen's dog next as a favorite. Depending on your taste, you may prefer Sahlen's to Thumann's. My wife did as well as the guy who invited me over. I love Thumann's, Kocher's, and the dog served at the Galloping Hill Inn. These have long been my favorites of this style; German beef and pork. All three are somewhat similar. Sahlen's is different. If I had to limit myself to only two brands, I would pick one of the three (probably Thumann's) and Sahlen's.
Sahlen's is denser and cooks up better on the grill, while Thumann's is tender and is better on the griddle. I had 2 Sahlen's dogs on my visit. One plain (in order to taste the dog unencumbered) and one with mustard and a condiment called Weber's Hot Texan something or other. It is more of a relish than a hot sauce. It goes great with the Sahlen's frank. This dog is good with just mustard or with mustard and the Weber's sauce, which is popular at Ted's.
My host prepared the dogs like they do at Ted's and they were delicious. Certainly exceeded my expectations. Sahlen's in my opinion is one of the few hot dogs that I would pay the considerable shipping costs to order via mail. Usinger's is another.
I wish there was a Ted's in New Jersey. I'm sure it would be one of my top 5 favorite dogs. Central to northern New York state is a great place for quality hot dogs. German style dogs are preferred in this region. In addition to Sahlen's, there is Wardynski, Hembold's, Hofmann's, Zweigel's, Glazier, Tobins, and some fine homemade franks from butcher shops.