Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting
Paterson's Hot Texas Wiener Tradition
Introducing Hot Texas Weiner
A dozen miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, Paterson, New Jersey, is the home of the Hot Texas Wiener. Each year, the members of the many cultural communities populating this multicultural, multilingual city eat hundreds of thousands of deep-fried beef hot dogs, topped with spicy mustard, chopped onions, and a distinctive chili sauce.
The Hot Texas Wiener and Its Preparation
In its simple, classic form, the Hot Texas Wiener is an all-beef hot dog "blanched" or par-cooked in 350-degree vegetable oil in a fry basket for a few minutes, cooked by another hot vegetable-oil bath in a tilted steel pan until done, and then placed in a bun, topped (in strict order) with a spicy, ballpark-style mustard, chopped onions, and a chili sauce containing...
A Brief History of the Hot Texas Wiener
According to Chris Betts, the Hot Texas Wiener was invented around 1924 by "an old Greek gentleman" who owned a hot dog "stand" (a loose restaurant-business term for a small restaurant; this one apparently sat ten or fifteen customers at a counter) on Paterson Street in downtown Paterson. This gentleman was experimenting with various chili-type sauces to serve on his hot dogs, and apparently...
Significance of the Hot Texas Wiener Tradition
For many Patersonians, especially those who have lived in the area for some time, Hot Texas Wieners mean home. This "meaning" works in several different dimensions. Patersonians eat a great many wieners, of course, but they do much more: they may remember the time they met their spouses at a wiener counter, they may recall regular family trips to the neighborhood grill, they may...