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New Hampshire hot dog review: Wildcat Inn

hot dog at the Wildcat Inn in Jackson, New Hampshire
Okay, if you follow my work, you know by now that I need to try a hot dog everywhere I go. Sometimes, it's far more fun to eschew upscale and go right for the lowest common denominator. On my trip to the White Mountains last weekend, I wasn't expecting to indulge. After all, the region, in New Hampshire, is only a few hours from where I grew up ... how could I find something worth actually writing about?

Needless to say, my perspective changed quickly.

I walked down to the Wildcat Inn and Tavern from my hotel, the Christmas Farm Inn, in Jackson, NH. It was one of the few establishments within walking distance, and after a full day of driving (well, as the passenger) from the New York area, I couldn't fathom getting back into a car. While the main menu looked good, it was the bar menu that caught my attention ... I was in the mood for something simple and filling. In my hunger and haste, I almost missed a menu item that was made for me: the "Ripper".

At $6.95 ($8.95 for two), it might seem a bit pricey for a hot dog, but keep in mind that it is served with fries. The dog is modeled on one from New Jersey, which created a connection between origin and destination for this trip. It's described as:

Our tribute to the Rutt's Hut "Ripper" in Clifton, NJ - the greatest hotdog of all time. Deep fried until it splits wide open, served crispy in a fresh bun with french fries and a side of caramelized onions


So, I couldn't resist: I ordered the "Ripper," sipping a glass of the house Cabernet Sauvignon while I waited for the delicacy (of sorts) to arrive. What I saw impressed me immediately. The Wildcat's Ripper was not small. It stretched passed the bun on both ends but was still thick. It was cooked well, with a blackened exterior to prove that whatever it had been was now ready for consumption.

The first bite was incredible ... and not because I had seven hours of road trip in my not-too-distant past. It snapped crisply. The blackened exterior enhanced the flavor within, almost sealing it for an explosive initial chomp. Since it was so large, the dog could be consumed in large bites without leaving you feeling as though the experience was over before it started. Well-prepared and tasty, it was an unexpected delight while on the road.

Sure, the other menu items on the Wildcat Inn's menu are tasty and enjoyable. It's certainly worth trying the pizza while you kick back and listen to the local band, the White Mountain Boys. But, you should definitely make room for the hot dog – it's one you won't want to miss.

[photos by Laurie DePrete]

Filed under: Food and Drink, North America, United States

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