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