Lum’s Beer Steamed Beerless Hot Dogs

As a home beer brewer I was intrigued by the idea of hot dogs floating in steaming beer,  Back in 1952, a restaurant called Lums sold just that idea.  Steamed hot dogs in beer.  The problem was according to the hotdogs lacked a beer taste.  Most hot dogs are smoked or have a smoke flavoring added which may overpower the taste of the beer marinade.

Lum’s hot dog recipe, you can’t taste the beer but the beer herb flavors and tenderizing ability are present. –

So if you know me you’ll know I never take the word of anyone, especially if it’s a project I can do to prove or disprove the outcome.

Beer Tap at Voodoo Islander Room
Beer Tap at Voodoo Islander Room – Middlesex NC

The recipe from states the Lums recipe as follows:

1 can beer
3 cans water (use empty beer can)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 of a fresh onion
One package Vienna hot dogs. Lum’s used a 1/4 pound hot dog.
Add everything to a pot, bring to a boil, immediately reduce heat to simmer and let stew for no less then 15 minutes or longer for more intense flavor.


On my first attempt, I followed the recipe to the word only to find out that the hotdogs did nor exhibit a beer taste.

Grill after boiling.
Grill after boiling.
Beer Marinade
Beer Marinade

On my second attempt, I concentrated the beer bath. I cooked the second batch, but marinated the beer in the fridge for 2 hours with straight beer – no water added.  I poked holes in the hotdogs to entice the beer to enter the dog.  Then after boiling the dogs for 15 minutes, I tried them and the result was the same.  I continued to boil for an additional 15 minutes for a total of 30 minutes on the stove in boiling beer.  I asked my son who doesn’t drink if he could taste the beer and he couldn’t.  I did detect a slight beer aroma, probably because I knew what to look for.  However, it could also have been the beer I was drinking waiting for this magic moment to happen, while I was fielding questions from my wife as to why I am suddenly into Lum’s hot dogs.

Bottom line is unless I marinate the hot dogs overnight or inject them with the beer, the taste while still very much like a hot dog is no worse from the beer marinade.  However, I can’t stop to think the whole hot dogs in steaming beer was more of an awesome marketing strategy than an actual achievable taste.  It’s true that the dogs were steamed in beer, but the effort yielded a slight to no beer taste.

That my folks is how they laugh at you.  Welcome to Lum’s where the concept is so powerful and beautiful that the fact the dogs lack a beer taste is truly secondary and not as important as how it sounds and you living the experience.

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