AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

2009-03-25 My Ride In The Wienermobile

When Noelle Overly emailed and invited me to ride “shotbun” in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade I was sure it was a prank. I demanded her phone number to make sure she was official. As soon as it was clear she wasn’t punking me, I immediately swabbed myself in mustard and emailed all my friends to make them jealous. I filled the letter with all my worst puns: “You know I’m going to relish this!” “Come to the parade and ketchup with me!” I gloated.

Inside the Wienermobile

The first Wienermobile was the brainchild of Oscar’s nephew Karl Mayer, and in 1936 the 13 foot hot dog built by GM started cruising the streets of Chicago and the Midwest. Today’s marketing experts consider it one of the most successful gimmicks in history.

There have been several models since, and today there are six copies of the 2004 issue cruising the nation bringing delight to children and hot dog lovers like Meathead. The fiberglass 27′ hot dog rests on a toasted bun wrapped around a Chevy W4 Series chassis powered by a 300 Vortec 5700 V8 engine with a 4 speed tranny and anti-lock brakes. It is equipped with a bitchin’ sound system and wireless microphone and external speakers. There’s a hot dog shaped instrument panel with voice activated GPS, an exterior rear view camera, a “bun roof”, gull wing door with retractable steps, and a horn that toots the Oscar Mayer Wiener Jingle.

The interior is plush, carpeted, with comfy mustard and ketchup colored captain’s chairs for six, and a blue-sky ceiling dappled with clouds. Surprisingly, there is no fridge or grill on board. In 2008 the company also launched a mini Wienermobile that are only 15′ long built on a Mini Cooper chassis.

Miller girls and the Wienermobile

As we waited for our turn to roll out the iconic vehicle was surrounded by laughing kids and parents posing in front of the giant orange sandwich. Even the Miller Light girls checked us out and posed with the public (right).

The large Wienermobiles are staffed by two “hotdoggers” hired right out of college for the world’s best first job, motoring across the country collecting waves and smiles. Driving on this bright clear sunshiney 40-something Saturday, March 14, 2009, was 22 year old Molly Fergus of nearby Des Plaines, IL, a recent journalism graduate of the University of Missouri, of Irish descent, from County Mayo no less. Her partner was Amanda Maurer, 23, of Yorktown, PA, and a marketing grad from James Madison.

Crowd ogle the Wienermobile

Along for the ride were Molly’s Mom Peggy, Dad Brian, and Brother, my friend and guest, Mary Ann Brauneis, the now retired owner of a landmark Southside pushcart, and Sunshine, an eight month old Yellow Lab my wife and I were raising for Leader Dogs for the Blind. In the picture, that’s Mary Ann on the left, Molly’s brother, Molly, her Dad, Mom, and in the bun roof, “Hamanda”.

As we headed down Columbus Avenue through Grant Park behind the Art Institute, Amanda scrambled up on the roof with her microphone and led the crowds in singing the jingle and chanting. “I say Oscar and you say Mayer” she exhorts” and the five-deep crowd dressed in green responds every time. “Who likes mustard?” she asks, and they cheer loudly. “Who likes ketchup?” and they boo louder. Then she sings the jingle and the crowd joins in:

Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,

That is what I truly want to be.

Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,

Everyone would be in love with me.

The girls clearly love their job because after months behind the wheel, Molly still smiles broadly and sings the jingle even without the loudspeaker, even when nobody is watching. Sadly, they do not publish their schedule on the web because it brings out the PETA crazies. You know, the ones who protested when President Obama killed a fly.

How did I wangle the invite? I think it had something to do with the fact that I gave their new formulation of the all-beef “Premium” Frank a good score in my blind tasting of 30 franks (the other styles they make did not fare so well). Click here to see my frankfurter ratings.

Now that I’ve been in the St. Pat’s Parade, and I’ve ridden in the Wienermobile, I’m thinking my life is complete. What could be cooler for a guy nicknamed Meathead?

I must have been quite a sight with my head sticking out the bunroof grinning ear to ear. Have you ever sausage thing?

Related articles

Published On: 2/23/2015 Last Modified: 3/10/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.

Click here to read our detailed review


Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
Click here for our review of this superb smoker


Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube