There’s no question that modern cars are pretty amazing. Say what you will about the character-laden, viscerally mechanical cars of old, but modern cars are fast, fuel efficient, almost too easy to drive, have more full-color screens than Times Square in 2002, and you can drive them full speed into an abandoned ginseng mine and walk away without a scratch. Despite all of these remarkable innovations, the sad truth is that if you enter your car with a full pack of uncooked hot dogs, you’re still condemned to the brutal, miserable fate of choking down cold frankfurters, tears of regret streaming down your face, because cars, even here in the Year of Our Ford 2022, offer no effective integrated means to cook hot dogs. This didn’t have to be like this; there was a time when the future seemed different — when bold, world-altering dreamers sought to improve humankind’s situation via remarkable tools like Thomas Manufacturing’s Mickey’s Hot Dog Sizzler.
Yes, in the 1950s, the dream of freshly-sizzled hot dogs while tearing ass down an open, two-lane highway was no longer a dream, but a reality, thanks to a dozen volts of electrical power and genuine American innovation.
That newspaper clipping on the left pops up on sites all over the internet, but so far I haven’t located the original source paper. Sometimes there’s a different headline, so I suspect this was a syndicated story from a wire service that ran as filler in many papers.
Understandably excited news reports of the era breathlessly reported on what was likely hoped to be the start of a new era, one where piping-hot hot dogs were available at all times, regardless of where you happened to be or what your velocity was.
Some articles showed the single-barrel Thomas Manufacturing device, while others, like the one on the right up there, appear to show an even more advanced twin-barrel hot dog cooker. Also, is the guy in the car Mickey, the name that appears on the Hot Dog Sizzler package? Maybe.
The ease of use of these devices is quite clear just by looking at those photos. The caulk-gun sized-and-shaped device seems to be precariously placed on the open glove box door; the driver simply slides out the Frankfurter receiving unit and then slides the dog into the electrically-heated cooking tube. You can see the cooked dogs and buns resting on the seat next to the guy in the left article there, ready to be assembled into delicious, life-enhancing hot dogs within moments.
That twin-barrel one was known as the Car-B-Cue, and appears to be a significant upgrade over the Hot Dog Sizzler. Just look at what it offers:
Not only do you get twice as much cooked hot dog output, but the Car-B-Cue has an integrated bun warmer, right there on the outer hull of the unit! This was state-of-the-art in mobile hot dog preparation, people, and I demand you look upon it and give it the respect it deserves. Imagine pulling up to pick up a date in your Nash and you have one of these going on the dash, sizzling and popping, filling up the car with the heady aroma of perfectly-electrocuted sausage and bun.
Your date opens the door, the smell of hot dog caresses their face, and they see those glorious dogs sizzling away on the dash – friend, you’re getting laid, no question, a guarantee of a night of erotic bliss, fueled by the dense calories provided by those dash-cooked hot dogs.
I’m certain you could do this while driving at 70 mph in a big, wallowy DeSoto or Hudson or whatever, steering with your knees, your left hand forcing a sizzling hot dog into your eager, hungry mouth while your right hand jams the next one into the searingly-hot metal tube.
Go ahead and copy-and-paste that paragraph up there onto a picture of a soaring eagle or something, because I’ve just described heaven for you.
As much as I hate to do so, I must drag you back to the grim, drab reality we all find ourselves trapped in, a reality where even if you scour the otherwise quite expansive set of 12V cooking appliances at sites like RoadTrucker.com, there isn’t a dashboard hot dog cooking solution to be found.
What the hell? How can this be? How can there be a 12V car-seat slow cooker and no hot dog sizzle-loutions? Have we really lost our way so? Are we this lost, this bereft of the only things that keep life dazzling and glorious, like cooking a hot dog in a tube on your dashboard?
I hope not.