Glenn Lums­den on how a trip to the US led him to start sell­ing hot dogs

G lenn Lums­den was just a teenager when he had an epiphany while eat­ing a hot dog. It hap­pened at an oa­sis in the Ari­zona desert on a fam­ily road trip in late 1980.

“It was kind of life-chang­ing,” says Lums­den, who now runs a hot dog van with his wife Carly, pop­ping up at var­i­ous Tas­ma­nian lo­ca­tions. “This thing was a work of art: high-qual­ity smoky sausage grilled and served on a freshly baked bun, with bright and fresh top­pings.” It was very dif­fer­ent to what he knew. “To me, hot dogs were gen­er­ally the cheap­est type of sausages, dyed some gar­ish crim­son colour, boiled in a pot and plonked on some stale bread.”

He tried recre­at­ing the Ari­zona hot dog ev­ery few years for the next 40 years, “but I never could do it”.

Then he met his future wife Carly. “And she nailed it within a week.”

The se­cret, he says, is to use the best in­gre­di­ents pos­si­ble, “put in the most ef­fort you can, don’t overdo it and grill, grill, grill”. Fur­ther­more, “sog­gi­ness is to be shunned and crunch equals munch”.

When the cou­ple held hot dog par­ties in Ade­laide, their fare was such a hit that guests en­cour­aged them to sell them at mar­kets and fes­ti­vals. Their busi­ness was born in a mar­quee four years ago.

Haddo’s Hot Dogs have since moved to Tas­ma­nia, and their new van bears the hall­mark of Lums­den’s dis­tinc­tive art­work, a skill honed by his work­ing life as a com­mer­cial artist and comic book il­lus­tra­tor.

The cou­ple’s best­seller in Tas­ma­nia is The Orig­i­nal – the one in­spired by the Ari­zona hot dog all those years ago. The tra­di­tional pork vi­enna sausage is made by Nigel’s Gourmet on Ta­mar, at Ex­eter, and served in a bun with rocket, caramelised onions, pick­les, can­died jalapenos, mayo and a crunchy gar­nish.

“We have de­vel­oped about two dozen flavours but The Orig­i­nal wins ev­ery time,” Lums­den says.

The Haddo’s van will be pop­ping up at fes­ti­vals around Tas­ma­nia in com­ing months with a veg­e­tar­ian grilled haloumi op­tion and other flavours, in­clud­ing a Dan­ish-style hot dog with raw and crispy fried onion, a re­moulade sauce and sweet mus­tard.

Haddo’s Hot Dog will be ap­pear­ing at the Junc­tion Arts Fes­ti­val in Launce­s­ton, from Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 6, to Sun­day, Septem­ber 10. For more de­tails, search for Haddo’s Hot Dogs on Face­book

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