After hundreds of nominations and 27,169 votes cast (we counted every single one), we have the 50 semifinalists in our N.J.'s best hot dog joint showdown.
As with all our N.J.'s best showdowns, this one, frankly, promises to be hotly contested. New Jersey, after all, is the center of the hot dog universe. How did we pick our 50 semifinalists? The top six vote-getters in each region - North I, North II, Central and South Jersey/Jersey Shore - make up 24 of the semifinalists. I picked the other 26, based on my experience, plus recommendations from trusted readers.
Since the overwhelming number of the state's hot dog joints are in North Jersey, and so few are in South Jersey, North Jersey was divided into two regions on the ballot, while South Jersey was combined with the Shore.
Our semifinalists are all over the map, in more ways than one. They range from Sussex to Cape May County, and include storefronts, carts and trucks, including one parked in front of an adult book store. You can't make this stuff up.
Here are the lucky 50 advancing to the next round.
One of the creative, globe-trotting hot dogs on Destination Dogs' menu. (Peter Genovese | The Star-Ledger)
Making Italian hot dogs at legendary Dickie Dee's.