Six hot dog establishments in the Garden State welcomed two busloads of hot dog enthusiasts to the 11th annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour 2014. Like other tours, this one began at Galloping Hill, an establishment that will likely be on every tour since they allow tour participants to park there for free!
Almost Late for the New Jersey Hot Dog Tour 2014
The core group of tour participants resides in the State of New Jersey, but others, like myself travel great distances to graze in the encased meat landscape of the Garden State. I drive down from the Boston area – about a four hour drive – so I like to leave around 6:30 AM on the day of the tour to make sure I’ll make it on time. For the 11th annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour 2014, my wife shook me at 8 AM and asked if I was supposed to be on the road.
I jumped out of bed and ten minutes later, I was bombing west on the Mass Pike with the top down. I had to be heavy on the pedal to make sure I’d arrive in time and I probably gave some motorists on the Saw Mill Parkway quite a scare as I raced down the narrow, winding road at speeds of 90 MPH and up!
Luckily, there was no traffic and my “efficient” speed brought me to the tour on time to grab a dog at the Galloping Hill and interview a few folks, including tour organizer (and this year’s narrator for the video), John Fox. I also caught up with actor Victor Matera and owner of Jimmy Buff’s in Kenilworth, Mike Loikith, who joined the tour as a participant – not a vendor – this year.
After that, it was onto the buses and off into the wilds of New Jersey to sample several different regional styles of hot dogs.
The first stop was Bear’s trailer, a small trailer on a dirt turnout that’s been in business for 43 years. The Bear had his family helping out and the general consensus was his chili was the top topping for hot dogs this day.
Next up was Route 66 Grill that served an excellent Texas Wiener. They were not prepared for the onslaught of Hot Dog Nation, but the dogs were superb!
The Windmill was next, that’s a picture of the original location. It’s a good thing we went to one of their other stores because it was POURING at this point and we would have had soggy doggies. The Windmill was a blur – we were in and out of there so fast. I shot a nice interview with one of the owners, but the video file got scrambled and I lost the footage. Sorry Windmill!
Max’s was next and they were on the slow side for service, but their dogs were fantastic. People didn’t seem to mind the slow service because of the beer on tap! Max’s has several walls full of celebrity photos – and great hot dogs.
The last stop was Local Smoke, a barbecue joint that serves a tasty smoked hot dog. Local Smoke featured some great barbecue and the cutest hot dog of the day!
11th Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour 2014 Video
This was my third New Jersey Hot Dog Tour and I shot about four hours of video. As always, I attempt to capture the fun and spirit of the tour, the participants, and each stop along the way.