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Wayne Post
  • Jim Hillibish: Deep-fried hot dogs are big sellers worth trying

  • New Jersey is the self-appointed home state of the rippers, hot dogs fried until their castings burst. The result is a brown, caramelized crust.

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  • A plate of fried hot dogs, an ice-cold Coke, a big glob of mustard, onions, carrots and cabbage relish. Ah, that’s getting ripped.
    New Jersey is the self-appointed home state of the rippers, hot dogs fried until their castings burst. The result is a brown, caramelized crust. Rutt’s Hut Great Food Cheap in Clifton gets the award for Ugliest Hot Dog Around with its mangled skin.
     
    Fried dogs are an experience worth trying. You must get over their alarmingly abused appearance. Beyond that, you’ll find an amazingly juicy dog with appealing texture and heightened flavor. Experienced hot-dog fans know if they ask for a fried one at their favorite eatery, they may get it.
    Your average hot dog provides 22 percent of your recommended daily fat. Deep-frying boosts that, but not as much as you think. The dog, unlike french fries, absorbs little fat while cooking.
    Rippers come in two styles: “innies” and “outies” are quick-fried and hardly wrinkled; “cremators” are fried to a shocking black. These are New Jersey terms, so you may need to explain your preference to your counter person. And please, do not sit on that counter.
    How to pan fry a hot dog
    The safe way is to slice the dogs diagonally a quarter way through and fry in a little olive oil. They will caramelize to the color you wish.
    The dangerous way is to pan fry them whole until the casing begins to tear apart. The timid may cut the dogs in half lengthwise and fry both sides, although it will not be as juicy.
    In a deep fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees. Immerse the dog, and watch the color turn. It’s done when it looks best. A true ripper takes two to three minutes and is blown apart. An innie and outie requires about 30 seconds. A blackened one will set off your fire alarm.
    Jim Hillibish is a food writer for the Canton (Ohio) Repository. Reach him at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.
     

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