It’s A Crime That Modern In-Car Hot Dog Sizzling Solutions Are Not More Common

Hotdog Top

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, 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.


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87 Responses

  1. The photo reminded me of poor Willie Loman, the subject of “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. If you haven’t read it or seen the movie, it chronicles the soul crushing life of a traveling salesman during the same era this ad would have run. That image projects the pathetic life of a guy forced by poverty and failure to cook hot dogs in his car. Really kind of sad when you think about it. Arthur Miller himself had no such problems, having been married to Marilyn Monroe, albeit for a brief and likely very exciting five years.

    1. My brother in law lives in Chicago, (Lincoln Square) and even though they closed the nearby Brauhaus years ago the air still smells like hot dogs whenever we visit. Must be tough to get 52 years of sausage-boiling water stink out of the drains.

  2. “you can drive them full speed into an abandoned ginseng mine and walk away without a scratch”
    Citation, and photos, needed.

    “because cars, even here in the Year of Our Ford 2022, offer no effective integrated means to cook hot dogs.”
    I beg to differ. I believe that if you stuff a hot dog (which, like a human being, is basically a sack of salty meat) directly into a cigarette lighter socket, enough electricity would flow through it to heat up that dawg. Sure, you might have to swap it end for end to get it fully hot but I think it would work. And what is a heated seat if not a bun warmer and failing that, the windshield defroster vents should do a fine job when turned on high heat. My friend, modern cars DO have all the necessary components for a hotdog-a-palooza on the road.

    1. In more ways than one, brother. I’m willing to bet that the bizarre but predictable sex-related disasters that probably occurred with these devices caused the companies to go out of business due to liability costs.

  3. I learned two things today, the phrase ‘Year of our Ford’ and another level of the lunacy of in-car additions. I’m a little surprised there isn’t a cheap Amazon knockoff.. that said, maybe it’s time to offer an Autopian branded ‘Weiner Warmer’ for sale? That definitely won’t get any negative attention.

    1. “Brave New World” is definitely worth a read! Take about half of the world controlling techniques out of “Brave New World” and about half out of “1984” and you pretty much get the picture.

      1. 100% this – excellent novel, and Huxley even had the U.S. specifically in mind when he conceived the style and feel of his unique dystopia.

        And don’t forget Zamyatin’s “We”, which inspired both of them.

        1. Huh. Never read it. I’ll have to give it a go. Although for some reason I don’t really like translated books. There’s so much nuance in language and in the back of my head I always wonder how the sentence I’m reading would hit in the original.

          1. I think you’d like it – the imagery is the big draw so the translation issues you mention (which is a good concern to point out) are mitigated. The society depicted is very futuristic and abstracted.

            IIRC Orwell himself spent a ton of time and money trying to get it published in the west originally, and for a sci-fi novel written in the 1920s, it still holds up and feels almost post-modern at times. And would make an amazing movie.

            1. There have been several Brave New World movies, but it seems they were all made for TV. One had Leonard Nimoy in it playing Mustafa Mond.

              Then fairly recently there was a series on a streaming service, that I think that only made it one season. I didn’t think it was very good, and I’ve enjoyed the book enough to read it several times.

    1. I’m guessing they sold the exact same device for both 120V AC and 12V DC, only changing the plugs. It might have a different cooking time, but I guess it probably wouldn’t burn down your house/car. Probably.

  4. I think you can get a barbeque as a option on a Rivian. (David tested one)
    Your backseat passenger would do the turning of the dogs, and you have to watch out for oncoming trafic

  5. “…ready to be assembled into delicious, life-enhancing hot dogs within moments.”

    I hate to break it to you, but science says every hot dog you eat subtracts 36 minutes from your life. Thankfully, that’s most likely from the end of your life anyway, when your body is all old and decrepit from eating to many hot dogs.

    I don’t know about you, but I could easily cook some hot dogs on the exterior of my car over the past few weeks.

    1. Ugh. These sensational headlines really annoy me – this sort of secondary-source science journalism is part of the reason why people don’t trust science. The title of the original journal article was “Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human health and the environment” – a bit less catchy than “Eating a hot dog could take 36 minutes off your life.” Specifically, the study references something called the Health Nutritional Index that quantifies “marginal health effects in minutes of healthy life gained or lost.” It’s not about adding or subtracting actual minutes of your life, which is patently ridiculous because then you should be able to show that you just eat all the healthy foods and literally live forever. The index describes “healthy minutes” – in other words, the hot dog that leaves you with that not-so-fresh feeling immediately afterwards? That’s about half-an-hour of punishment for your GI tract thanks to all that processed meat. It’s actually a logical assessment that got twisted into this every-hot-dog-shortens-your-life argument.

  6. The Golden Age of American Motoring – you could sizzle a wiener with your right hand, light a Camel with your left, all without having to put the transmission in Park. I am sure it was glorious.

    The date story killed me, I’m still smiling. Good work here!

  7. Just get a grease tray under the thing and you could have in-car brat(wurst) grilling. Throw a porta-bar with Brandy Manhattan fixings in the back for the passengers and you’d have a full-on Wisconsin party in a car.

  8. What I love most about this whole thing is how grimly determined the guy in the suit looks when dealing with his Mickey’s Hot Dog Sizzler.

    He’s in his business suit and this is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

    (Turns out this article is not just funny, it’s probably a real-world look into the depressing daily life of a 1950’s era traveling salesman.)

  9. The Car-B-Que was manufactured by a different company. Per text in an auction site I found: Stamped into the metal chrome grill is Patent Pending, CAR-B-Que, Trade Mark – Dist. by Car-B-Que Co, LA. – MFG.

    Also you can’t use this while driving, but if you like Korean barbeque and are in California, here you go:

  10. But if it’s on the door of the glove box, where do you put your drink? The glovebox doors are specifically designed for the drinks, not some silly hot dog cooker! It’s travesty that your icy cold bottles of Grape Ne-Hi and Big Red are usurped by this infernal device. Nash, Packard, Studebaker and Plymouth didn’t go to all that trouble to stamp drink holder divot’s on their glove box doors just to have them be misused, you know!

  11. I had a table top hot dog electrocuter. The dogs tasted awful. Weird, burnt on the inside and cold on the outside. I expected hot dog awesomeness and got cold dead unidentified cuts of meat electrocuted. This one is best left to the annals of history.

  12. On the old site they featured an in-development device for fully self driving cars called the Automoblow. I won’t go into the details, but you can probably guess the service it provides.

    I cannot stress this enough- Never have your Hot Dog Sizzler and your Automoblow in the car with you at the same time. It’s not worth the risk.

  13. A tractor guy I knew had heard about an accessory for Farmall tractors called the Pipin’ Hot that was a cabinet that bolted onto the muffler to keep a thermos of coffee hot. He spent years trying to find one and I don’t think he ever did. I would love to find one but I can’t even find an old brochure or ad for one.

  14. It is unclear how these actually work but when I was growing up, shortly after the invention of electricity, we actually had a weenie cooking appliance with prongs for each end of the dog. Then you plugged it in and it electrocuted the wiener from the inside out! Yes, we cooked our sausages in an electric chair. And it smelled exactly like you think it would. My mother thought it was a great invention until the fatty fluids invaded the plastic nether-regions and created a permanent reek.

  15. I must defend the honor of the single tube design, as the ad copy clearly states it also makes two dogs at once. Casting aspersions upon it will not be tolerated!

    I would threaten to organize the readership to pelt you with handfuls of flaccid weiners, but suspect that may be something you don’t view as a punishment. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  16. We had a hot dog electrocutor in the counselors’ staff room at the summer camp I worked at in 1986. It had two rows of sharp metal prongs on each side of a small tray. You jabbed each end of your dog into a point and hit the juice for a couple of minutes to get a fully cooked dog. It didn’t have a cover anymore (I’m assuming it had one originally) or any kind of safety and was the scariest looking thing ever.

    Let me Google “hot dog electrocutor”…

    Here we go. It’s called the Presto Hot Dogger.

    I doubt 12v would do it, but would be a viable option for high voltage EVs.

    1. Came here to say the same thing, had one that only did two dogs growing up but man would it cook them up fast. Leave them on a little long and you’d get differing degrees of burnt ends. Didn’t smell that great, but actually improved the taste of cheap dogs.

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