The new Wienermobiles

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. I was a little kid, and we were driving through Ohio with my parents and my sister. All of a sudden there was a car next to us shaped like a hot dog! I was transfixed. I didn’t know at the time that the Oscar Mayer company had several of these vehicles, traveling the U.S. touting their hot dogs. (I happen to love a good dog, and the Chicago style dog is the best.)  Later in life I came across a parked one, and a man outside was handing out coupons for discount prices on the dogs, and little wiener-shaped plastic whistles; I had my whistle for a long time.

So I was chuffed to see that the Wienermobiles are still on the road, and now Oscar Mayer has supplemented them with a “Wienermini,” a “Wiener Rover,” a “Winercycle,” and a “Wienderdrone.”

I always wondered how these things managed to pass vehicle inspections, but I suppose they did; after all, they’re no more unwieldy than a Winnebago.

Here’s the new lineup, announced just two days ago. Wave if you see one!

And if you like dogs, check out “The official New York Times hot dog taste test.” Here are the two favorites, and it pains me to report that the top choice is sold only at Whole Paycheck Foods:

If you visit my town, write and I’ll tell you where to get the best dogs as well as the incomparable Chicago-style pizzas.

75 Comments

  1. Frank Bath
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Chuffed you are chuffed.
    Not being too au fait with American institutions I immediately, and happily, understood a Wienermobile to be a cell phone shaped like a hotdog – we call cell phones mobiles here in the UK.
    I can’t say I’m up with Wienerbagos either.
    🙂

    • Leslie
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Winnebagos are motor homes used for camping.

      Weiner takes the place of auto in automobile.

      As for great hot dogs (frankfurters, weinies, tube steak) Sabrettes with spicey mustard & sauer kraut on a soft, steamy roll, are the best. (They’re found in NY usually in a truck on the side of the road).

      • Frank Bath
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Much obliged.

      • Paul Clapham
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        I absolutely think that a Wienerbago would be a great idea. It would be a huge hit at any campsite where it stopped.

  2. busterggi
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Never seen one of these in person though I have the toy version. There used to be a hot dog cart a few towns away that that was done up in the same way but complete with toppings including relish and chopped onions – it was beautiful!

  3. BobTerrace
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    from NY Times yesterday

  4. Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The best hot dogs I ever ate were in Chicago, sold by a guy from an aluminum cart in front of the Regenstein Library in the 1970s. I swear I must have helped finance his house, but I still dream of that guy’s Polish hot dogs. Maybe it was just being young, single, and living in Chicago.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      OMG that’s a one-minute walk from my office, which is across from Regenstein. Why couldn’t he still be there?

      • Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Probably the Grim Reaper. He looked at least 40 years old back then. Do they still have street hot dog vendors around Hyde Park?

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I would pass on the hot dog if I could get a good bratwurst on German brotchen and maybe a licher beer as well. Of course I would have to be somewhere around Giessen, German to get this.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Lich! My wife’s home town! I never expected Licher bier to be mentioned here!

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Oh, if you listen to me you will hear about that beer. To me, it is the best. I only wish there were a way to still get it. I went to a festival in Lich, I cannot remember the year but it was something like the 700 or 800 year festival for Lich. I am sure your wife would know. Had a great time and drank a lot of Lisher. The people were great and they put up with us non German speakers pretty well.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “Our blog-host has a first name, it’s J-E-R-R-Y …”

    • Leslie
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Just have to give you a 👍 for that!

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 29, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Yeah, but you had to use the B word…

  7. darrelle
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen wienermobiles 2 or 3 times in my life. Always good for a smile.

    A good hot dog is fine, but I’d rather have an authentic Bockwurst (never found an authentic one in the US) on a nice fresh brötchen with a good whole grain mustard. I like some mayo on mine too but that’s typically considered improper!

    I am hungry now.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      On the mayo side I have a good
      friend who operates a food truck, and he puts in all manner of terrific extra touches to the toppings. For example the mayo is laced with finely minced garlic, and for some reason the two really enhance each other in a completely wonderful and harmonious way.

    • Mack
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I grew up in Madison WI – home base for the Wienermobile fleet I presume. I always just thought everyone had strange hotdog-shaped vehicles on their streets all the time!

      I wish I wouldn’t have clicked on PCC’s link to the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza wiki article… How ANY history of this style be free of any mention of the late Burt Katz is beyond belief!

  8. BJ
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    For my entire life, the favorite hot dogs of my family and I have always been Hebrew National and Nathan’s. We have never strayed, and they have served us well.

    Though none of us can fathom why anyone would put ketchup on their hot dog. Mustard, onions, relish, sauerkraut, and cole slaw are all acceptable toppings (though we’re not fans of relish, we get it). Even aioli can sometime be interesting. Ketchup just doesn’t make any damn sense!

    • Merilee
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Dare I admit that I like catsup on hot dogs ( and various wursts)? Probably because I’m not a fan of straight mustard ( I do use it in cooking) or mayo. Love aioli, though, especially home-made. Sautéed onions on dogs are great, and crunchy, grilled rolls.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      There are some dog place in Chicago that won’t give you ketchup on a dog, even if they have it (it’s for fries).

      • Merilee
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        And I never put catsup on my fries. (Aioli if available, but good fries need nothing but salt and maybe pepper).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Have you tried fries with a dash of real fermented malt vinegar Merilee? Heaven!

          Roast potatoes are also elevated with a dash of the acid [cider, malt, white or red], which is best done during roasting. I recommend salt & vinegar roasted potatoes with a garlic aioli [or mayo]

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            For roast and fried potatoes, I’m partial to a good sherry vinegar infused with hot peppers.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

              Thanks, I didn’t know of it – I’ve just added Sainsbury’s Spanish sherry vinegar to my online shopping list & I’ll do a bit of infusing. 🙂

              Also I see a recipe for sherry vinegar + chilli to go with fish

          • merilee
            Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            I like vinegar in my GErman-style potato salad, Michael, but don’t really like it on nice crispy fries. Lots of Canucks (and Brits, I believe), vinegarize their fries/chips, and often eat it during movies…

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

              During movies? I can’t imagine that unless it’s a drive-in outdoors venue which I’ve not experienced. Haven’t been to the cinema this century though – can’t bear the modern ‘manners’ of mobile phone use & chatter.

              I’m a recent fully fledged curmudgeon!

              • Merilee
                Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

                Yes, and add the smell of vinegar to that!! I mainly only go to the Met Opera and National Theatre screenings, but you can still get the cell phones and vinegar ( get off my lawn!!). I couldn’t believe how many people around us felt the need to take selfies at the Toronto Symphony last week🤢

              • BJ
                Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

                “I couldn’t believe how many people around us felt the need to take selfies at the Toronto Symphony last week.”

                This is as horrifying as our current political situation here in the US. Another sign of our shared culture’s degeneration.

                I don’t even go to the movies anymore. I stopped years ago because I got tired of people talking, yelling at the screen, texting or talking on their cell phones, etc. It’s not like I’m old, but I can remember when people weren’t like this. It’s like we’ve gone from minimum consideration for the people around you to utter disregard in a single generation.

        • BJ
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Aioli on crunchy fries is the way to go. Man is that the best.

          Ketchup is just so bland and boring. The only thing I’ve ever enjoyed with ketchup is a burger, and then only if it’s a plain old cheeseburger (I’d much rather have a burger with cheddar or swiss, fried onions, bacon, and barbecue sauce).

        • Filippo
          Posted June 29, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

          I wouldn’t put catsup on my fries in your presence and embarrass you. My preference is ketchup. 😉

      • BJ
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        My respect for Chicago just rose by — *taps away on calculator* — 926%!

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I have nothing to offer on the question of the One True Objectively Best Hotdog, not having eaten one for several decades.

    However a couple of years ago I checked into a motel in Morgan Hill, California and found a Wienermobile parked outside my room.

    • Merilee
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Cool! Is Morgan Hill still a speed trap on the SF-LA route?

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Can’t say I’ve noticed any speed traps there, but I’m usually getting off the freeway at the north end of town.

  10. Derek Freyberg
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least they’re not Anthony Wiener-mobiles, which was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the caption of the post. But I believe Carlos Danger now resides in the federal pen.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Anthony Weiner — the Pier Paolo Pasolini of the dick-pic.

      • Merilee
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Pls explain the PPP reference? And is Carlos D actually in the slammer? I loved John Oliver’s Carlos Danger dance😁

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          Both are renowned auteurs in their respective art forms, whose careers were snuffed out early owing to their dissolute lifestyles. 🙂

      • BJ
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        I’d say he’s more like a Martin Campbell or Chris Columbus: a journeyman of the art form whose work will largely be forgotten, aside from one or two seminal (ahem) pieces.

        Campbell’s seminal (a-HEM) piece: Casino Royale, which laid the foundation for the entire Craig/Bond era.

        Columbus: Home Alone, which laid the foundation for every children’s comedy of the 90’s.

        Wiener: the black boxer-briefs dick pic.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Work largely forgotten? Pump your brakes, son, had Huma and the heat not intervened, that man could’ve been the Costa-Gavras of the weiner pic.

          • BJ
            Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Amen to that. But now he’s Missing from the scene, toiling away in obscurity, but I’m sure continuing to produce. Though The Confession at his first press conference on the matter almost caused a State of Siege.

            ZZZZZ…Sorry, I almost fell asleep talking about Wiener getting Le Couperet.

  11. dabertini
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ll wave even if i don’t see one!!

  12. ploubere
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    As Madison WI was my grad school, I saw them often since they were headquartered there, but now I see they’ve moved to Chicago.

    Always loved the weinermobiles; the hotdogs themselves are fairly generic. I prefer Costco dogs.

  13. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent!

    Oscar Mayer should sponsor a coast-to-coast DIY-build Wienermobile road race.

    F1 [yawn] would be vastly more interesting if the vehicle builders had to put Wiener features in their racing bodies. Bring back fun!

    BTW if you think you can cut the mustard, on the road, marketing Mayer’s dogs [distinctive company car] then become a HOTDOGGER! Application form pdf link is on this page: http://www.oscarmayer.com/wienermobile#be-a-hotdogger

  14. Filippo
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Whole Foods (and Trader Joe’s), I don’t know that I’ve ever been in any other grocery store where one had to be so vigilant in defensively-driving his cart, so self-absorbed, entitled, and not inclined to give other patrons any consideration, are many if not most patrons. Or so it seems to me.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      At least Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell homeopathic remedies! I won’t go to Whole Foods, even though there’s one in Hyde Park. WAY overpriced!

      • Barb
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        So nice to hear from someone else who is not enchanted by Whole Foods. We just got one in Victoria and I’m not impressed.

        • tomh
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Things will change since Amazon bought Whole Foods. Your sheep milk yogurt will be delivered by drone.

          • Merilee
            Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            i was imagining a dozen eggs being delivered by drone. Gives new meaning to getting your house “egged”.

  15. Chris Bauser
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I will be visiting Chicago with my family in Aug. to see a few of the museums. We would love a tip for dogs & pizza.
    Greetings, Chris

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Pizza: if you prefer stuffed, Giordano’s is good, for deep-dish, either Uno (get the sausage with fresh garlic cloves) or Lou Malnatis. For dogs: Chicago’s Dog House, Portillo’s, or Wiener’s Circle (If you want the classic Polish on a bun, go to Johnnie’s). I get my dogs at the worker’s cafeteria at the Vienna Beef factory on Elston, and they’re fresh as hell (a good dog must have a Vienna beef frank in it), but the ambiance is poor. There’s much less variation among dogs than among pizzas. Stuffed pizza is unique here, and my favorite (I go to Giordano’s; there’s one near where I live), but check out what it is before you go for it. It also takes 45 min to cook so either sit and wait and drink or order in advance.

      • Paul S
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Jim and Jude’s on grand. I was also a fan of Demon Dogs and their extremely green relish until they closed.

      • Nancy
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Portillos Jerry? Please! I make better hot dogs at home.

        Anyone who comes to Chicago and wants the ultimate hot dog experience MUST go to Gene & Jude’s at 2720 N. River Rd. in River Grove. Hours 10:30am – 1am. It’s been there since 1946. That’s ALL they sell – HOT DOGS. I’ve been going there since I was in high school. Only thing my Dad wanted after his chemo treatments (prostate CA that killed him in 1992. He was only 63). My kids rented a limo once for Mother’s Day and our destination was Gene n Judes. Enough said.

        It’s a drive for you Jerry, but you should GET there.

        Nancy in Sleepy Hollow

        • Paul S
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Ack, apologies for calling them Jim and Jude’s.

        • BJ
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Man, any restaurant that’s been open for over 70 years selling only hot dogs must have some amazing damn hot dogs!

    • Paul S
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Depending on time and where your stay, try a Mr. Beef Italian beef. The original is 666 Orleans. If you can’t get there, Portillo’s is a fair substitute. You can also get a chili cheese dog at Portillo’s

  16. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Is it politically incorrect to quote this?

    [T]he Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, a giant, tumescent, red, ithyphallic motorized frankfurter which haunted the parking lots of Los Angeles supermarkets in the late 1950s — out from which would pop the ‘Wienerman’: an epicene midget clad in a spermatozoic white chef’s outfit, who sacerdotally dispensed bite-sized weenies to housewives out for a day’s shopping.”

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      There’s a paper for a feminist journal to be written about that.

    • Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      My brother and I met *the* Little Oscar when he drove the Weinermobile to Park Forest (south of Chicago) around 1960. We were about 9 and 10 and he was only slightly taller than us, an no larger. We was a very pleasant man.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        “a very pleasant man”

        … for someone immanentizing the patriarchy.

  17. John Dentinger
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I am compelled to enter this frank discussion with my candidate for the best dogs of all, the “hots” you can find in Rochester, NY–specifically Zweigles white & red hots, split & grilled over real charcoal.
    There’s a reason Rochesterians order Zweigles online when they move away. Once you’ve tasted them, you are spoiled forever, and what you put ON them is of no consequence.

    • Paul S
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I must disagree. Zweigles made a good natural casing dog, but as far as east coast dogs go, they’re not comparable to Mucke’s. At least until Mucke’s was sold a few years ago. Haven’t had one since.

      • John Dentinger
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        I feel compelled to try a hot better than a Zweigles–where can I find one?

      • busterggi
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Muckes are still good, I way prefer natural casings. For a really good local brand I go for Martin Rosol’s, especially the Strand Lunch variety they make for Capitol Lunch.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      “I’m compelled to enter this frank discussion…” Wonderful.

  18. Paul S
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Common in Hartford and I’ve had them in Manchester. Rochester may be too far west.

  19. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    The coroner from Munchkin-Land in the Wizard of Oz movie used to drive the Wiener-mobile.

  20. Matthew North
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I love Chicago dogs.

    Not so much Chicago “pizza”.

    Watch this clip from The Late Show with Jon Stewart. It’s a few minutes long but it’s worth it because it’s funny as hell.

    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/8o83j9/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-tower-record

    I so wish he was still on TV.

  21. Matthew North
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    ^Oops, I meant The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    Just go done watching The Late Show.

  22. Chris Schulte
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    My wife and I live in Madison and once won a charity auction where a Wienermobile came to our house and gave neighborhood kids a ride and then gave us an extended ride. It was a blast! It has been a long time fantasy of mine to find an old, working wienermobile and spray-paint “Bite Me!” on it – among other cosmetic upgrades.

  23. CJColucci
    Posted June 29, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    The Times review was rather odd, downgrading Oscar Meyer and two other hot dogs that, as they were described, were very good, but just the wrong size.
    And none of them compares with the central New York coney or white hot.

  24. Posted June 29, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I’m not really a hot dog fan, but I do enjoy good pizza. Given what I had heard about pizza in Chicago I was tempted to stay there on my trip to/from Indiana just to try, but at the time I had no references …


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