The hot dog has always been tightly tethered to New York City in the public imagination. As a result, few Americans (not to mention New Yorkers) know that just across the Hudson River, on the hills and shores of New Jersey, this small beast ranges freely, with a welter of variations and a certain abandon.

While New Yorkers opt for thin, natural-skin beef franks cooked on the griddle and sparsely decorated with a condiment or two, New Jerseyans prefer thicker dogs with artificial skins in beef-pork combinations. For them the Coney Island frank is austere; in the rolling countryside between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, the locals regularly demand theirs deep-fried and so heavily garnished that you can no longer see the wiener, sometimes with strange toppings that may shock their big-city neighbors.

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