"Godfather of New Jersey Hot Dogs"
The best way to learn about the hot dog is to go to the main source. Every time I researched an article, story or a reply about New Jersey and its hot dog, the name John Fox came up. The response was down to earth and to the point. When I'm looking for an opinion, the opinion should be accurate and not nasty.
I'm a chili dog lover. I found that I don't think I'll ever have what is known as the best hot dog chili ever. I believe that a chili may not taste as good if the hot dog isn't of good quality or prepared properly. In 1983, I dated a girl whose father worked grilling hot dogs at Nathans in Coney Island. He showed me how different a hot dog could taste if cooked properly. I have a few favorite chilis, spicy, with beans, without beans. They are all good, but too different to compare. Since starting the website, I have vendors sending me their chili for tasting.
I am a hot dog fanatic from N.J. I believe that we have the best and widest variety of hot dogs in the country. Everything from Italian Hot Dogs and Texas Weiners (both originated in North Jersey) to kosher style all beef dogs, German style pork and beef, deep fried rippers, dirty water dogs; N.J. has it all.
Connecticut runs a close second. Hummel and Grote & Weigel make excellent all beef dogs in the kosher style. Grote & Weigel makes great beef and pork franks; many of which are served in Jersey hot dog joints. My favorite Conn. frank is the deep fried dog at S****y Franks. A tasty Hummel dog. I've tried Super Duper Weenie. A beef/pork mix that is good; but I prefer the Grote & Weigel beef/pork frank and Thumann's (the best beef/ pork frank in my opinion). Rawley's was ok; I prefer the other 2 Conn. places. If you like a pork based deep fried dog, nowhere beats Rutt's Hut. They use a Thumann's dog that is specially made for deep frying. It rips open when cooked long enough. Their relish is the best hot dog condiment there is. See the Sterns reviews of these places elsewhere on Roadfood.
My favorite dogs of each type, which I highly recommend are:
1) Italain Hot Dog: Charlies Famous in Kenilworth, N.J. An Italian Hot Dog is 1 or 2 deep fried all beef dogs (usually Best's from Newark, N.J.) in circular Italian pizza bread topped with deep fried peppers, potatoes, and onions. Charlies has better peppers and gives you more vegetables and bigger dogs than Jimmy Buff's which is the originator of this type of sandwich. Jimmy Buff's (many locations) and Tommy's in Elizabeth are also good.
2) Kosher style grilled all beef dog: Syd's in Union, N.J. A big (5 to a lb) Best's all beef dog simmerred in water than charbroiled. Best all beef dog I've had. Father & Son in Linden (Grote & Weigel all beef) slow cooked on a griddle, and Boulevard Drinks in Jersey City (Sabrett) griddled, are good too.
3) German Style Pork/Beef: Galloping Hill Inn in Union (Grote & Weigel) has a flavorful but subtle flavor. Made specially for them by G&W, it is different than other G&W dogs. A big, sturdy football shaped bun makes this a unique dog. Max's (Schickhaus) and the Windmill (Sabrett beef and pork) are also good.
4) Texas Weiner. This is a dog covered with chili sauce, mustard and onions. The "Hot" Texas Weiner is a deep fried dog with thinner and spicier chili. The "Plainfield area" Texas Weiner is griddled and served with thicker chili sauce. The best "hot" Texas Weiner is from the Hot Grill in Clifton. Libby's and the Goffle Grill are good also. For a great "Plainfield area" Texas Weiner, go to Texas Weiner ll on rt 22 in Greenbrook.
5) Deep Fried: Rutt's Hut. Cooked to different degrees of doneness. In and out (cooked just enough to eat) Ripper (cooked till the skin rips) Weller (more well done) and cremator (black). The best homemade relish. Hiram's (same Thumann's dog) and Callahan's (Sabrett beef and pork) are also good.
6) Dirty Water: Jerry's in Elizabeth. A best brand dog boiled and then finished off on a grill for extra crunchiness. Dees truck in Roselle Park is good also.
If you need directions to any of these places, feel free to contact me. Oh, and for cooking at home, Usinger's from Milwaukee (usinger.com) and Best's from Newark, N.J. make the best all beef dogs. Sabrett, Grote & Weigle, and Hummel are very good too. For beef and pork, Thumann's makes the best dog. Schickhaus and Grote & Weigel are also very good. The Union Pork Store makes good home made German Franks and the best bratwurst you will ever taste. Forgive the long post, but hot dogs are one of my passions.
This kind of sums up the love of hot dogs.
I've asked John and I'm asking all hot dog lovers to help with their opinions of vendors they have tried.
I'm not rating or looking to start a forum. I think Roadfood.com is great. I'm trying to give the vendors an idea of the quality of their food. I will not bad mouth any vendor because they may be advertising. I will take bad comments and let the vendor know.
I'm looking to help even the little push cart vendor who has no address per say. I'm giving them a 6 month free listing which includes setup fee. At the end of 6 months it will cost $10.00 a year for the listing. They get one page of advertising. If any vendor doesn't want to continue advertising they will still have a free one line listing. This is more to help the hot dog lover looking for a hot dog fix.
Please include business name, address, city/town
county, state & website link.
The Gourmet Chili Dog
120 Brookline Avenue
Somerset, NJ 08873
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