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Best hot dog joints in Jersey

  • j
  • John Apr 9, 2000 09:45 AM
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Since the Newark Star Ledger did a summer munchmobile feature on hot dogs; I've become obsessed with them. Following are my favorite hot dog places in N.J. 5) Rutt's Hutt in Clifton. The best deep fried dog in the state. usues Thumann's brand. 4)Frank & Fries in Rahway. A grilled dog with natural casing; with a unique tangy taste. Uses Kohler's franks. 3) Jerry's hot dogs in Elizabeth. Cooked a unique way; half boiled, and half grilled. Uses best brand franks with natural casing. A streetcart like dog that is very tasty. 2) Windmill- variuos locations. Aquarter pound dog with natural casing made special by Sabrett. Beef and pork instead of all beef. Big and vey good. 1)Syd's in Union. Tastiest hot dog I've ever had. Best brand foot long (5 to a pound) with natural casing. The most flavorful with a slightly spicy taste. Your comments welcome.

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  1. j
    Jason Perlow

    Fort Lee is a mecca for hot dog lovers, as two great places are literally right next to each other -- Callahan's and Hirams on Palisade Ave.

    Although I must confess, I usually go for the Italian sausage and peppers at Callahans, and not the dogs.

    Jason

    17 Replies
    1. re: Jason Perlow

      I give myself a treat once a year and gorge myself on Max's hot dogs in Long Branch. These used to be better when the place was on the boardwalk but it's still a terrific place for hot dogs. For the street wagon ones there is a truck just off Park Ave in Newark, next to Branch Brook Park, that I like a great deal.

      1. re: Peter

        Don't forget to try Johnny & Hanges on River Street in Paterson. Might be the oldest, ongoing, hotdog joint in the state. I'm 62 and remember going there as a little kid. Good dogs (not quite the level as Rutt's Hut) but the sauce is the best I've ever had. No one leaves there without taking home a quart for home use.
        Excellent fries, and then you dip them in that secret receipe sauce and your in Junk Food Heaven.

        Jim
        Middletown, NY

        1. re: Jim Lumley

          Johnny & Hanges moved out of Paterson to Fair Lawn, just off 208 near the Nabisco plant. Still good, though.

          1. re: craig

            A place called Falls View opened up on Rt. 46 near Willowbrook--really had high expectations for it, since it had the Paterson name. The sauce for the dogs is watery and bland, though, plus it's expensive.

            1. re: Nina

              Does any one know the secret recipe for the chile sauce that they put on their hot dogs? I'm from Glen Rock, NJ, but moved to Virginia. Please let me know. Thanks. Wally.

              1. re: Wally Smith

                Wally -
                Hey - I'm from GR too, but live in Atlanta now. I don't know the actual recipe, but I think it is a bean sauce of some sort. They do sell the sauce & I've actually taken it back with me to Atlanta & cooked it up - it tasted just the same. I still miss the "Jumbo Cheesedog Away no mus(tard)".

                Good Luck - Let me know if you find out the original recipe. By the way - The Varsity (big hot dog place in Atlanta) doesn't hold a candle to J&H.

                1. re: Wally Smith

                  i have the recipe for j&h e-mail me at welafong 1@yahoo.com
                  subject j&h
                  richie

                  1. re: welafong

                    here it is
                                    8.cups of water
                                    1. pound of ground beef
                                    1. little can tomato paste
                                    1. table spoon chili powder
                                    1.tea spoon ground cloves
                                    1.tea spoon allspice
                                    1.hafe tea cayenne pepper
                                    1.tea spoon ground cinnamon
                                    8.hot dog roll
                    i hope you have a wire wisk and a food proccessor . put 8 cups of water in a pot .next put a little can of tomato paste and wisk untill its Incorporated in the water.next put the ground beef in the cold tomato water  yes i said cold water and wisk untill it brakes up in too very small pieces then turn on the gas to med setting bring to a boil turn down to a simmer.and cook for about 15 min now put in the spices . take the hot dog rolls put them in the food proccesor one at a time brake them un up as you are putting them in the proccesor on high make soft bread crumbs put the crumbs a little at a time in to the simmering  mixture and wisk it take a little time but if you do not it will lump up on you and you will have a mess please use fresh hot roll only do not use any other tipe of bread crumbs the spices can and should be adjusted to your taste. serve with mustard and chopped white orions this can be done in a food  proccessor by pulseing the  proccessor
                     
                    red orions
                     slice white orion's cook untill they are soft not burnt in butter add ketup to taste put in hot tobasco sauce to taste and vinegar to taste
                     
                     murder burgers 
                    1.pound ground beef chuck
                    1. small jar of gubber beef baby food {thats right baby food}
                    1.small orion slice very thin and choped well  this can be done in a food  proccessor by pulseing the  proccessor
                    mix the above togetor shape in to small balls a little biger the golf balls then flatten them down and cook serve on dinners rolls with sliced pickels
                     
                    hope this helps you out would like to hear from you
                    name is richie i live in nj
                    welafong1@yahoo.com

        2. re: Jason Perlow
          r
          Rev Joseph A. Ianiro,Jr. DD

          When I was a kid my father would take me up to Callahan's in Ft Lee for Hot Dogs. I seem to remember always going to look at hedges that were shaped into sculptures like a barbaer chair and basket with our hot dogs. Anyone remember that???

          Link: http://www.reverendjoseph.org

          1. re: Jason Perlow
            r
            Rev. Joseph A. Ianiro, Jr. DD

            When I was a kid, my father used to take me to Callahan'sfor hot dogs and then we would go to look at hedges that were sculptured into things like a barber chair or basket.
            Anyone remember where that was???

            Link: http://www.reverendjoseph.org

            1. re: Jason Perlow
              j
              JohnBarleycorn

              Hot dogs are me passion! I prefer to make me own.

              1. re: JohnBarleycorn

                Today was a sad day for hotdog lovers. At 2:00pm today Callahan's in Fort Lee closed. Channel four news was there for the big event which drew quite a crowd. My friend Andy and his dad and i ate hotdogs and fries. We were the last three people to be served at the historic hotdog joint.

                I have the distinct privilage of being the last customer out the door of Callahan's.

                1. re: Ben Armand

                  I would look forward to my leaving Manhattan for a fun saturday exploring NJ, and it always started off with a lunch at Callahan's Fort Lee. Not only a great hot dog, but the place itself, was like a throwback to my youth.

                  Very sorry to see them go.

                  Hiram's doesn't do it for me. Guess I'll be trying Syd's and Rutt Hut for the first time - hope it's a decent replacement

                  1. re: Rob
                    m
                    Michele Cindy

                    I've never been to Callahan's, always meant to go, but was never in the area. Syd's has great hot dogs. Haven't been there in a long time, but friend’s report nothing has changed. I usually have the dogs with the "hot works" spicy relish,& sauerkraut. Depending on where you are coming from, make it a double dog day, and stop at Charlie’s in Kenilworth for an Italian hot dog or sausage sandwich.

                    1. re: Michele Cindy

                      Thanks for the Syd's rec. I think I'll try it just the way you mentioned.

                      I doubt I'm brave enough to try an Italian hot dog again. First and only time I had one, was at a place on Rt. 22 in Plainfield. I could have squeezed a half-gallon of cooking oil out of the potatoes and peppers they used. I should have, because the thing made me sick for hours afterwords

                      1. re: Rob
                        m
                        Michele Cindy

                        For your drink at Syd's try the kookamunga. It's basically grape drink with a lemon. They should still have these I suppose.

              2. re: Jason Perlow

                jason,
                callahan's does not exist anymore...has been a bank for about a year now
                hiram's is doing just fine

              3. With my Brooklyn upbringing, the best dog in the world was on the Coney Island Boardwalk, Nathan's...and who could beat their fries??? Anyway, when I moved to Jersey, my husband turned me on to Rutt's Hut in Clifton. They are the BEST dogs...get the Rippers...you will be hooked. They're deep-fried until they rip apart, ohmigod...with relish and mustard, you are in pig heaven....
                I will try all the others so generously recommended. Thank you from a fellow 'dogger'.

                1. I feel I have to mention Johnny's Hot Dogs in Butzville, NJ. I make a stop there every time I go to the Delaware Water Gap. The dogs are fine (extra bonus points for keeping the buns warm by serving the dogs wrapped in wax paper), but what makes the place remarkable is that they serve fresh buttermilk. Yes, as a beverage. In the middle of summer.

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: pete wells
                    b
                    bob abramson

                    you have to be a jersey guy to understand hot dogs. The best of the best OF COURSE is in Long Branch. Take your pick, some prefer MAX on the ocean, others prefer the Windmill, on Ocean and Brighton(and other locations), but for over 60 years, Long Branch is supreme in the hot dog department

                    1. re: bob abramson

                      As of my last post I hadn't tried Max's. I went down to Long Branch, but Max's wasn't opened yet (seasonal) I've sinced tried them, and they are excellent. I prefer them to the Windmill, as they have a little more flavor. They use Schickhaus franks from Houston, Texas. Windmill uses Sabrett. They are 2 of the best hot dogs I've ever had. However, I like Syd's the best. You must try them! They are located in Union. E-mail me if you want directions. They are big (5 to a lb) use Best all beef kosher style franks with natural casing. Even better than Max's and Windmill. If you try them, let me know if you agree.

                      1. re: John Fox

                        You've made me so hungry. Where in Union can I get Schickhaus franks?

                        Thanks

                        1. re: John Fox

                          If you haven't been to Rutt's Hutt in Clifton, you haven't lived. They make their own casing franks and deep fry them. It's been there for like 60 years. I used to go all the time with my Dad when we lived in NJ, but I've made the trip back several times since moving to Virginia just to go to Rutt's. It's the best, and the t-shirts are only 6 bucks.

                          1. re: Warren

                            Is there a web site that I can go to find out about schickhausorkohler hot dogs? Sincerely, John Gore

                          2. re: John Fox

                            hi!
                            i am wondering were you can purchase schickhaus hot dogs outside of max's. please find me an answer and e-mail me back

                            1. re: beth

                              Delicous Orchards has the. I emailed you a link to their web site.

                              P.S. To Jim Leff how do I add a link to a post??

                              1. re: Gene

                                After you type your message text, scroll down below.

                                In the window labeled URL, type or copy the location of the page you want to link to. (If you click on your location bar to highlight it, then Edit/Copy, this will copy the location, then click in the URL box and do Edit/Paste)

                                Then type something in the Title window so we know what the link is to.

                                The text you typed into title will appear in your message, and when readers click on it they will be taken to your link.

                                1. re: ironmom

                                  Thanks, Ironmom.

                                  We have a tutorial on this, at link below, which is even more detailed.

                                  BTW, this question should have been asked on our Site Talk message board. let's keep these other boards chow-centric!

                                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/sitet...

                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                    Thaks to both of you.

                              2. re: beth

                                iliveinsouthcarolinaisthereawebsitewhereicanordereitheroftheseproducts

                              3. re: John Fox

                                I live in Long Branch, & go to Windmill for lunch every week. See my post linked below for details why I like Windmill better than Max's.

                                After reading this thread, I think I need some lunch trips to North Jersey. Rippers sound good.

                                The Orchard is a great place.

                                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                1. re: John Fox

                                  Does Texas Weiners in New Jersey use Schickhaus Franks, and if they do, where would I locate a distributorship near Houston? I want to buy a boatload of them to give to all my friends and relatives who have never been anywhere to get a decent hotdog.

                                  If TW uses a different dog, what is it and where can I find it?

                                  Dog tired of eating yucky dogs. Gina

                                2. re: bob abramson

                                  My top three are J&G Texas Weiners in Dunellen, Rutts Hutt and then Max's. I have not tried Syd's yet.

                                  1. re: dave
                                    w
                                    Warren Corson

                                    Rutt's is the best. I make the trip at least once a year from Virginia for some rippers and a pitcher of suds. It's not just the dogs, but the atmosphere.

                                    1. re: Warren Corson

                                      The atmosphere is that of a truck stop without chairs. That crap they call their secret relish looks EXACTLY like vomit and tastes like crushed up squash, weird. Callahans ruled. Best dogs, best O rings, big f'ing beers!

                                  2. re: bob abramson

                                    My top three are J&G Texas Weiners in Dunellen, Rutts Hutt and then Max's. I have not tried Syd's yet.

                                    1. re: bob abramson

                                      Tommy's hot dog's in Carteret, NJ

                                    2. re: pete wells

                                      Nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the Hot Grill!

                                      Rut Hut's interior looks like a men's bathroom and the hot dogs are just OK.

                                      Gotta have one "all the way."

                                      1. re: Anna

                                        discovered Hot Grill by chance
                                        a very good hot dog

                                        and a decent frenchie with gravy

                                    3. I grew up on Callahan's Hot Dogs. I live in Florida and would love to know what brand hot dog and bun they use. Also what they fry them in. I went back a few years ago and they were still the same. If anyone knows, I would love the info. I miss those dogs and if I could recreate them I would be a happy Jersey Girl.

                                      1. Has anyone been to Toby's Cup for hot dogs in Phillipsburg on 22? I've passed it a million time but never tried it...I agree about Hotdog Johnnies...mmmmm

                                        When I cook them at home, I cook Best brand, nice balance of spice, salt, garlic, and crisp casing.

                                        1. amazing hot dog in verona. also great great fries!

                                          1. I have to join those who have said Hot Dog Johnny's in Buttzville. Deep fried in peanut oil and served on a warm soft bun. I always get mine with mustard and a dill pickle. The fries are also great and I love the birch beer. There is something about being able to get a meal for two for around $10 that I love. Definitely one of my regular stops when I'm back home in NJ.

                                            Whenever I wear my HDJ's gear (hat, t-shirt, or sweatpants) people come up to me (in Bmore and NoVa) to tell me how much they love HDJ's.

                                            1. Try Hot Dog Johnnie's in Butzville on Rt. 46, I think. Outdoor seating, very rural, love it.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: maxman

                                                What about Hiriam's in Fort Lee? My dad would take us there ever week. Great memoirs. Anthony Bourdain did an episode on good eats in New Jersey recently. He stopped at Hiriams for hot dogs and fries.

                                                1. re: Babs16

                                                  Hiram's is now the only Hot Dog place of distinction in Fort Lee, now that Callahan's has been bulldozed to the ground.

                                                  By far the best dog there is their chili dog (see enclosed). I haven't had a better chili dog anywhere.

                                                   
                                                  1. re: OffTheBroiler

                                                    A close runner up to Hiram's chili dog are the chili dogs at Hanks Franks (see enclosed) in nearby Lodi right off of US 46, although they are of the "dirty water" style and not deep fried. They also make an excellent egg cream to go with it.

                                                     
                                                    1. re: OffTheBroiler

                                                      Since Syd's closed for good, the only place that you can get the Syd's dog is at Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover. While there, I've tried their other dogs. They are known for their Italian Hot Dogs, and these are top of the line. Better and less greasy than the other Jimmy Buffs locations. They also serve a smaller Best's dog dirty water style which I haven't had yet. Their quarter pounder is a Schickhaus dog that is griddled and finished off on a charcoal grill. Excellent. What they call a footlong is the Syd's dog. Here it is sauteed in oil and finished off on a charcoal grill. It's actually better than the old Syd's dog which was boiled in water and then grilled on a gas (not charcoal) grill. If you prefer the dog Syd's style, you can request it. While here, I was given a cup of their chili. When you order chili on your dog, it is put in a cup for you to put on your dog. It may be my favorite hot dog chili. It's not overly spicy or thin like a Texas Weiner chili. It's thick, fairly sweet, with a slight peppery (from green peppers) taste. Just delicious and goes great with any of their dogs. An older Italian gentleman that I know describes it as Bolognese type sauce or chili. Whatever it is, it is well worth seeking out. This Jimmy Buffs location (which is the only one serving a wide variety of dogs) is fast becoming my favorite place for hot dogs.

                                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                                        When did Syd's close?

                                                        1. re: michele cindy

                                                          Closed in Millburn a few months ago and reopened in Springfield. The strip mall rent went sky high and could make the numbers work. Three of the best dogs inthe 'hood are now gone, Don's (the best anywhere), Tabatchnicks and Syd's.

                                                          Jfood is sad about the old 'hood, but he can eat some great dogs up in CT. But nothing rivals the Don's Dog.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            I'm glad they found a new location and did not close for good. Any good spots in the Danbury area? I tried one, I can't recall the name, Uncle Al, something like that, and the Chili house also, nothing like Syd's or Don's by a long shot. Do you remember what the name of the restaurant in Springfield was, it was right near Morris Ave, right before you go over the bridge into Maplewood. It must be long gone too. They had the best burgers topped with wine cheddar cheese.

                                                            1. re: michele cindy

                                                              jfood thinks you are thinking of Stanleys right at the turn to go over the bridge to Millburn. Like Syd's they had a Kookamonga type drink as well and their burgers were outstanding. Jfood was there most Saturday nites.

                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                              Unfortunately, Syds did not reopen in Springfield, at least not as Syd's. Tony's Coffee shop had 4 or 5 Syds items on a menu insert - the hot dog, the steak sandwich etc. I think I remember hearing that Tony's may have now bit the dust.

                                                              Growing up in the area, we frequented Don's and Stanleys as well. Nothing like those Don's sauteed onions on your dog or burger. You can buy Don's burgers and dogs (at least the uncooked variety) at Livingston Bagel.

                                                              We are renting a house for the month near Long Branch - I've had both Max's and Windmill and they remain at the top of my list where they've been for 25 years or more.

                                                              1. re: harrison

                                                                When Syd's relocated to Tony's Place on Morris Ave. in Springfield they had a sign that said "Syd's at Tony's Place". They were there for a few months and Eric, the owner of Syd's, left to pursue a career as a golf pro. Shortly after, Tony's Place closed for good. You can still get the Syd's dog at Jimmy Buff's in East Hanover. It's called the "footlong" there.

                                                2. What are the different styles you can order a hot dog at Rutt's - Ripper, In and Out, Cremators. Am I missing any? Which way is the best?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: jmax

                                                    In and out is put in the oil to heat it through, the minimum time. Most dogs are rippers, cooked until the skin rips. If you go to the counter and order a dog, this is what you get. Then there is the "weller" or well done dog. This is my favorite. The cremator is almost black. I don't like this one but many do.

                                                    1. re: jmax

                                                      The Weller- well done. But now I see someone posted this already.
                                                      I go into the bar/restaurant side. Great atmosphere and history- same prices.
                                                      $1.70 draft beer....viva Rutt's Hut!
                                                      The ripper is the classic- you'll have to try them to determine your favorite, but the cremator is indeed burnt, so don't go there if you dont want a burnt dog!

                                                    2. Texas Weiner I on Watchung Ave in Plainfield and Texas Weiner II on Rt 22 in Green Brook are the holy grail of hot dogs. I grew up in South Plainfield but moved to Florida in 1972. I still make a pilgrimage to both places when I'm up in Jersey for reunions. There is no substitute for those Texas Weiners - you can't get the chili anywhere else (they won't give out the recipe) and those Schickhaus hot dogs are impossible to find outside of New Jersey.