I moved to California from Pennsylvania in 1977 and the one thing I still miss most are Jimmy’s Hot Dogs. If you’re not from Easton, PA or its surrounding areas you have no idea what a JHD probably is, and that’s a shame. I’m not sure how many of these tubular beauties I’ve consumed in my lifetime, but what I do know is that if I still lived there, the number would be way higher.
First let me tell you a few things that I remember, and I believe most still hold true today. Jimmy’s has a very limited menu. Hot dogs, chips, soda, milk (both white and chocolate). That’s it. Getting a dog “with everything” consists of a hot dog in a steamed bun, mustard, chopped onions, and the largest pickle spear you’ve ever seen! I’ve actually had conversations with people regarding the pickle spear. It seems over the years it has grown larger than I remember it in the 70’s. And last but certainly not least, the thin sheet of wrapping paper/onion catcher each dog is wrapped in. I don’t know what this is made of but any other material would not work.
Okay, so now the dog itself. The following information seems to be part speculation, part educated guess, and part folklore. As long as I can remember, the two main Jimmy’s guys prepared the dogs right in front of you but were/are positioned in such a way that you can’t see everything that’s going on. They truly are the Siegfried and Roy of sausage. The star of the show, the actual dog itself, appears to be nothing out of the ordinary. There are some lingering questions though. All beef? What brand? How exactly are they prepared? Well, I do know the answer to this last one. Deep fried. Rumor has it that peanut oil is used. The bun seems quite unassuming but when it’s steamed, it’s the perfect bedding for my dog. Add mustard, onions, and THE PICKLE, wrap it, twist the end, throw it in a bag and you’re on your way. Oh wait, you never order just one. At just over a dollar each, you can afford to pig out. As good as these bad boys are, they’re never as good the next day so order and eat what you can in that moment. My average is four. Watching people order 10+ at a time is a common occurrence at Jimmy’s.
Jimmy’s Hot Dogs is located in a strip mall and is quite small with no tables to eat at. There is a bench outside the front door if you’re lucky enough to grab it. It’s easy to spot, it’s the one encircled with chopped onions and mustard droppings. The only true way to really enjoy a JHD is in the parking lot, standing next to your car with your bag of dogs and drink on the hood. If it’s raining or snowing you sit in your car. You don’t leave until all dogs are gone.
Unfortunately I’m not able to get to Jimmy’s as often as I used to, but when I do, it brings me back to a time in my life that’s filled with nothing but great memories. Jimmy’s is way more than just a hot dog.
Jimmy’s Hot Dogs
2555 Nazareth Rd, Easton, PA 18045, (610) 258-7545
Video courtesy of AutymnRosa