Say what you will about New Jersey, but head over the bridge and you’ll eat very, very well. With an enormous amount of farmland as well as a diverse immigrant (and native) population, you’ll be ready to move on from red sauce Italian quicker than you may think. Take a peek into the Garden State’s culinary past, present and future with New Jersey native and food and beer journalist John Holl’s new book.
Everyone has their preferred way of cooking a hot dog. Some like the boiled or steamed ballpark variety; others like them to a varying degree of doneness on the grill. Here in Jersey, we deep-fry them. A quality frankfurter — beef or pork — will have a tough casing that withstands the hot oil, to a point; the dogs are done when they rip open, hence the nickname “rippers.” Served on a bun, with a heaping of Jersey-style relish, these dogs require only a side of onion rings or fries.
- 3 large cucumbers, roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 summer squash, roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- kosher salt
- oil, for frying
- 12 premium hot dogs (beef or pork), preferably from a local butcher
- 12 buns
For the hot dogs
Combine the cucumber, bell pepper, squash, onion, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add the vinegar, mustard, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric, and salt to taste. Pulse until you have a finely chopped mixture, with the vegetables retaining some shape.
Transfer the relish to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Let cool in the pan, then strain the relish through a fine-mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. (The relish will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.)
To prepare the hot dogs, heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep cast-iron pot or Dutch oven to 375°F. Working in batches if necessary, fry the hot dogs until the skin rips open, 3 to 4 minutes. Cook longer if you prefer a more done dog.
Remove the dogs from the oil, drain on paper towels, and place in buns. Top with relish and serve.