Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned taking a 100 mile round trip car ride for a freakin' hot dog, but today my bride and I did just that. It wasn't just a hot dog, it was a New Jersey kind of ripper that lured us to Rippers Roadstand, 5967 Factory Shops Blvd. in Ellenton, Florida.
So, what is a ripper you might be wondering? If you have to wonder then you probably haven't really been to New Jersey, or you missed the Travel Channel program a few years ago. Well, a ripper is the term for a hot dog that is deep fried in oil until the casing bursts, or "rips".
I have ripped a few dogs in my home deep fryer and they turned out quite well, but I was curious to see what real live Jersey boys could do. Let me tell you right now that they do just fine.
The Belle and I bellied up to the order counter and perused the overhead menu board.
We ordered two beers, a side of really tasty fries, and two marvelous rippers. I chose the Barkin' Pig Ripper. This is the classic Jersey hot dog with the Rippers famous “Jersey bacon kraut”. The counter lady asked what I wanted on my Barkin' Pig. I asked what she recommended and she said the spicy mustard is the most popular, so that is what I got.
That dog was spectacular: crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside with a perfect snap when bitten. That bacon kraut topping was worth a trip to Jersey, or Ellenton, in this case.
My beautiful bride went with the Texas Dog: spicy chili, mustard and freshly chopped onions. Judging from the chili that she had from ear to ear, I can only assume that the Belle was in ripper heaven.
If Rippers had a Roadstand in Tampa, I could see many repeat Oracle visits. Those rippers were worth the drive.
Two rippers, an order of fries, and a couple beers set us back a whole $16.20. We also dropped a handful of change in the tip jar.