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Apr 22, 2012 04:06 AM

Hot Dogs at Goodman's Deli

I went to Goodman's Deli in Berkeley Heights yesterday. I limited my intake to hot dogs. I had the Chicago Style Hot Dog and their regular hot dog which is made by Best's.

The Chicago Hot Dog is authentic as far as I'm concerned. Vienna Beef franks and Rosen's poppy seed buns. I'll admit that the Chicago style isn't my favorite style, but since J's Beef (RIP) was 5 miles from my home, I've gone many times and aquired a taste for this type of dog. The Vienna Beef Frank is a quality frank and blends in better with the ingredients than a more well seasoned beef dog like Sabrett's or Nathan's would. These dogs would throw everything out of whack.

I've had 3 Chicago dogs in Jersey that are close to what you would get in Chicago. J's Beef, whose owner is from Chicago and who got a letter of authenticity from the President of Vienna Beef, Out of This World, who gets all the ingredients from Chicago, but doesn't prepare it right, and Goodman's Deli. Out of the 3, Out of This World is ok; but inconsistent. The owner doesn't always have Vienna Beef and for the life of me cannot figure out why she wont heat in water, or chargrill her dogs. They don't griddle fry in Chicago. J's Beef was very good; authentic and the dogs were skinless 6/1.

Goodman's is the best of the three. Don Parkin is from Chicago and knows his dogs. Everything is authentic. He uses a 7/1 natural casing Vienna, which to me is a great size. I prefer natural casing to skinless. I ordered steamed (heated in water with the top closed) rather than chargrilled. While J's was good; Goodman's is better. I prefer natural casing while J's was skinless. Also the tomatoes were too big at J's; at Goodman's they were the right size.

While I like Vienna Beef franks, I prefer other beef franks. But Vienna is the perfect choice for a Chicago Hot Dog. It doesn't overpower the other ingredients like a Hebrew National, Sabrett, or Nathan's would.

I also had a regular hot dog. Which here is a 4/1 Best's natural casing frank. Commonly referred to as the Don's Dog. Here it is chargrilled. And it is the regular Don's dog that was served at Don's years ago. The current Don's is LYING by claiming a special recipe. Don't know why they would do this when the regular Don's dog was so good. I would think that they would want their customers to think that they are upholding a fine tradition.

Goodman's serves their Don's dog on a Pechter's bun that is the same that Galloping Hill Inn uses. Only here it fits better. At GHI I order a double because the bun is too big. At Goodman's, the bun fits the dog perfectly. They use my favorite mustard; Admiration deli mustard. The bun is toasted and the hot dog is prepared perfectly. Unique and easily one of the best hot dogs I ever had. Don Parkin is from Chicago and was brought up eating Vienna Beef franks. But he recognizes the quality of Best's beef franks and serves them at his deli.

I highly recommend Goodman's. They are not primarily a hot dog joint, but the owner knows hot dogs. And serves excellent ones. I will be a regular. As for the pastrami, corned beef, and other food; I didn't have any despite the reputation Goodman's has. Maybe I'll try the pastrami next time. The hot dogs are top notch. And I suggested that Don doesn't go crazy trying to do too many things with the hot dogs. He has an excellent Chicago Dog and a unique Jersey dog. A Best's 4/1 prepared on a charcoal grill and put in a superior toasted bun topped with my favorite mustard.

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  1. Did you see that a Windmill is opening up in Hoboken?
    Have you ever had a Thumans natural casing dog? My personal favorite.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Spaetzle75

      Yes; I usually go to the one in Westfield. Last week I was in Long Branch. Compared Max's to the Windmill. Max's was better. Left on the griddle long enough while the Windmill dog wasn't. The bun is better at Max's. The Windmill used a cheap Wonder Bread bun that fell apart.

      Thumann's is my favorite beef/pork frank.

      1. re: hotdoglover

        Have to disagree re: Max's vs. Windmill. I respect your expertise on the merits of the actual hot dogs & fixins but really who really needs hassles given the attitude of the owner woman running the cash register at Max's ? Meh. After one bad experience with her, it's Windmill for me from now on....not to mention that Windmill is generally a better $ value as well.

        1. re: bakersma

          I have to chime in on my experience with Max's. I agree with bakersma about that old wrench at the cash register! And it would be nice if they actually cleaned the place up a little! I only went once, and that was IT for us. The place was so filthy, and the lasy at the register was a nasty crab! Sorry, I can't comment on the hot dogs because I don't eat them, but reading about Max's made me post this!!

          1. re: Angelina

            She's very rarely there, but I've had experiences with her too. I ask a lot of questions which in the past irritated her. Once she just said "just eat the damn things!" I don't go often but if you can get past Mrs. Max, the dogs are very good.

            1. re: Angelina

              Used to go to Max's when it was actually on the boardwalk and you could let the waves washing under the outdoor deck distract you from Maxine's bitching and scowling from the register. Since the move to Ocean Blvd. I find little to tempt me to shell out $$ for that sort of atmosphere.

              As far as grilling the dogs at Windmill, I enjoy that they offer a choice of doneness ranging from just heated through to charred and cracked.