Crossing the Delaware for One of Jersey’s Best Steaks

This week’s cheesesteak outing took me to Palmyra, New Jersey, for a return visit to the shop that held down the number six spot on my top ten list last year. Cockadoodle Dan’s has only been in business since 2020 and is known for chicken wings in addition to having rapidly gained a reputation for serving elite steaks. 

They made my top ten largely on the strength of what may have been the best first bite of any cheesesteak that I’ve ever had. It was like an instant explosion of flavor and juiciness in my mouth. Only an average roll kept them out of the top five. Naturally, I was extremely eager to find out if I’d have the same type of experience this time around.

I arrived a little before noon and although they weren’t crowded, the phones rang off the hook most of the time I was there. They appeared to do a lot of delivery business. 

As usual, I ordered a steak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions. It came on a seeded roll by default.

Cockadoodle Dan’s sits on Palmyra’s beautiful main drag. The town is just a couple minutes from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which leads to Northeast Philadelphia and I-95.

The interior is fairly sparse, but they have a few tables and I grabbed one. The steak came out wrapped, but I took the paper off quickly enough for the roll to not be impacted. 

A large (12″) cheesesteak with Cooper Sharp cheese and fried onions at Cockadoodle Dan’s

There appeared to be 10-12 ounces of chopped beef on there. Although the Cooper Sharp wasn’t that evident at first glance, when I spread apart one of the halves to get a better look, I could see there was a good amount blended in along with the well-fried onions. As I often point out, I don’t like as much cheese on my steaks as a lot of other people do. Cheese-lovers might want to order extra at Cockadoodle Dan’s. But their standard meat-to-cheese ratio was on the mark for me.

The cheese within

After taking the necessary photos, it was time for the big moment. Would the first bite blow me away to the extent that it did last time around?

It was close, but probably not quite. It was unquestionably a great-tasting steak. The grill chefs at Dan’s do a fantastic job of seasoning the meat. If this first bite was just a smidgeon behind last year’s, it was because it wasn’t quite as juicy. That’s not to say it was even remotely dry. It just didn’t explode with moisture the way last year’s first bite did.

As was the case the first time I was there, the roll was solid, but not among the best. It’s on the soft side and was fresh with a nice chew. 

But I was still extremely happy with the overall taste and texture of this steak. It will undoubtedly be back in the mix when I put together a revised best-of list in the fall. 

I’ve got another return visit to one of the steak shops that made last year’s list planned for next Saturday. What to eat until then? 

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

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