Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 28, 2007 03:52 PM

REVIEW w/ pics: Jerry's Wood-Fired Dogs

This new spot caught my eye when I was in the area a while back and decided to give it a try the next time I was in the area. From the name of the place, it looked promising. Not your run of the mill hot dog place. These claimed to be wood fired, which to me meant being cooked on top of a grill with an open flame.

The hot dogs are all beef; they also have a turkey dog and a veggie dog on the menu. They also offer sausages, salads and burgers. If you like your hot dogs with a lot of toppings this is the place for you. You can top your hot dog with over 30 different items, all of them complimentary. The only toppings that you pay extra for are chili, cheese and bacon slices. They also offer wheat buns, and will grill or steam them upon request.

I decided to try the Spiral Dog, a quarter pound all beef hot dog that has a spiral cut to help impart more smoke and help some of the fat render out. The hot dog is quite large and looked appealing. Upon ordering, they took the hot dog and placed it on top of the mesquite grill. When the hot dog was done, I was then asked which toppings I wanted. I chose the spicy brown mustard and bacon bits. One things is for sure, they definitely don't skimp on the toppings. The hot dog has no natural casing, so for those who like that “snap” to their dogs, you may want to look elsewhere. The hot dog is very meaty, flavorful and does have a distinct smoky flavor, but I was in for a big surprise with my first bite. They pre-cook their hot dogs and then place them on the grill when you order it to basically warm it up again. Sadly, my hot dog was nearly ice cold despite the fact that it was thrown on the grill. I got my order to go, so I was on the road when I discovered this annoying fact.

Jerry’s Wood Fired Dogs
2276 E. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 245-0200

For pics:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. that's a bust. i was all hopeful until the last part.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ns1

      Yes, I was hopeful too. Their price point is fairly low compared to other hot dog places.

    2. So in other words this place sucks. Maybe lead with that but thanks for sharing,

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hershey Bomar

        Come on, guys. If the joint is new, give 'em a chance to shake it out. If I were mobile and in that area I would give them a shot, and just tell them that I would prefer if they grilled one from scratch, instead of re-warming on the grill. It may be a good dog, especially with the topping options and the fact that it is grilled over wood, but they may just need a little input from the paying customers to figure this out.

        (I believe, but I may be wrong, that ALL dogs are fully cooked, out of the package. So when a vendor or you or I are preparing them to eat, we are really just heating them up, although our method of heating them up is going to impact their ultimate outcome. For example a steamed dog will have a much different consistency than a grilled dog, and a steamed dog may also be less salty, as some of the salt may leach out during the steaming process. A dog grilled either on a very hot griddle in a little oil, or over wood is going to have an entirely different consistency and taste, [e.g. the smokiness discussed above, and a nice char on the outside]. It sounds like those quarter pounders might be something on the order of Hebrew National Dinner Franks, or maybe another big brand's quarter pounders, which it seems they all produce only in skinless versions. That's another reason to grill it over a flame, it impacts a nice quasi-char/skin on the skinless dogs. I suspect their problem with pre-heating [do they do that over the grill] that they may have is the fact that the DOH is going to make them either keep the pre-heated dogs warm, which likely will make them mushy, or keep them in the cooler, so when they then take that "pre-cooked" dog out of the cooler and throw it on the grill for a minute, it does not have time to come up to room temperature, let alone, eating temperature)

        Years ago there was the HotDog show on Coldwater Canyon and Ventura, and all their dogs were grilled, to order. I have fond food memories of those dogs. Anything good is worth waiting for, including five minutes on a hot grill.

        Pardon my passion about this, but I am an admitted dog addict.

      2. Don't know when you visited Jerry's,but its been around for at least a year or two.In all fairness,and although I've only been a few times,I never saw or tasted anything to suggest the dogs were precooked.In fact,I have always had a decent meal there,and if anything,it always seemed that they spent a lengthy amount of time grilling the dogs....but,who knows.

        1. All hot dogs are pre cooked, that is how they come. It is just how you reheat them, boil, grill, steam or fry. Never seen a uncooked hot dog, you can eat them out of the package, it is sort of like baby bologna.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Burger Boy

            “Baby bologna” That is funny. The thought made me look further and I found that you are correct. Wiki says Hot dogs are fully-cooked and similar to bologna. By coincidence, my son and I went out last knight for Greek chicken and I noticed that the place just put a fresh gyros on the skewer. I pointed toward it and my son said, “Giant bologna.”

            The OP sounds like Jerry’s did a very poor job of heating his dog but also mentioned that it had a distinct smoky flavor. When eating at Jerry’s I have always noticed that mesquite flavor which comes from being grilled over the open fire. I never had a cold dog there but once I did have them put to many toppings on it (Chicago style) and the toppings chilled the dog a little by the time I ate it several minutes later.

            Side note- My son buys those bratwurst uncooked and we grill then every time we do a backyard BBQ. They are great to have with a beer while we wait for the ribs to smoke.

            Hot dogs at Wiki

            Jerry's Wood Fired Dogs -- 3 locations

          2. Quite a while ago, after reading it's praises here, I tried Jerry's.
            It was a complete disappointment.
            I found it to be an extremely ordinary hot dog.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

              I believe they're a chain, there is one in La Habra on Beach and Imperial.
              I've never tried it, so I won't comment on the quality.