If you grew up in New Jersey and have spent any time living outside of it since then, you’ve probably been faced with a few harsh realities. For one, everyone thinks you pronounce it “joisey,” when literally nobody in the state says it that way. Two, the bagels and pizza outside of Jersey (even in New York) really don’t compare. Three, that classic diner experience can’t be replicated anywhere else. And four, well, there are certain foods that people outside of Jersey just don’t really get. Here are eight of them.
Also known as pork roll, this unique, shall we say, “pork-based product” bears more than a passing resemblance to Spam. Jerseyans know, however, that nothing goes better with eggs and cheese on a hard roll than griddle-fried Taylor ham.
North Jersey’s answer to poutine, this diner staple tops fries with melted Cheddar and chicken gravy. It’s exactly as delicious as it sounds, especially at 2 a.m.
For the rest of the country, a sloppy joe probably involves saucy ground beef on a bun. The Jersey sloppy joe, however, is a far more civilized affair: a double-decker sandwich of various cold cuts like turkey, roast beef, and ham; Swiss cheese; coleslaw; and Russian dressing, on rye bread, occasionally cut into squares.
Everywhere else, it’s called capicola, a dry-cured salume similar to prosciutto. But in Jersey, it’s gabbagool. Same goes for ri-gott (ricotta), mutzadell (mozzarella), and manni-gott (manicotti).
Italian Hot Dogs
Found only at a handful of North Jersey institutions like Jimmy Buff’s, the Italian hot dog stuffs two deep-fried hot dogs inside a huge roll made from pizza dough, and tops it off with fried potatoes, peppers, and onions. Yes, it’s a greasebomb.
Why are Jersey hot dogs called Texas Wieners? Who cares! A fat hot dog topped with onions, mustard, and dark brown chili, Jersey’s entry into the American hot dog canon is a good one.
You call it a pizza, we call it a pie.
Indigenous to Clifton’s legendary Rutt’s Hut, a ripper is a hot dog that’s been deep fried for so long that the outside gets slightly crunchy, and the casing cracks and splits. Topped with a smear of neon yellow relish, it’s one of the finest hot dogs on earth.