Finally made it to Johnny’s today. Surprised that I was still able to eat dogs after having 5 yesterday. I got 2 without onions and a birch beer. I forgot that they would also have relish and ketchup on them in addition to the yellow mustard and pickles that I expected. I went back and got another one with just mustard and pickles (which I pulled off and ate) in order to get a good taste of the dog itself. It is a Schmalz brand dog, small and skinless. Jayson, the dogs at Federicos are the same recipe, but have a natural casing and are a little bigger. If that makes a difference, then I would suggest going to the plant on Napolean St. in Newark where you will be able to get the exact ones served at Johnny’s.
These dogs are definitely deep fried. I also found out from someone who is friends with a Johnny’s employee that they are fried in olive oil. To me, this is preferable to steaming or boiling this type of dog (beef/pork). The one time I went to Johnny’s 2 or 3 years ago, I thought the dogs were awful. This time, they were ok. I think part of the reason that I didn’t like them the first time was because I was expecting them to be so much better because so many people raved about them. This time I enjoyed them more. Decent, but nothing special. Typical of the dogs served in Westen Jersey/Pa. I like the dogs at Toby’s Cup better. But Johnny’s are ok; definitely not something I would classify as lousy like I did the last time. The birch beer was very good, and like many say; you can’t beat the location and atmosphere.
For a perfect hot dog experience, I would take the Syd’s dog, top it with the chili from the Hot Grill, in a roadside joint like Hiram’s, but put it where Hot Dog Johnny’s is located.