Lum’s was a chain of casual restaurants in the United States in the 1960s, lasting until the early ’80s. I patronized the outlet in Plattsburgh, New York, some 40 years ago.
I’ve collected information on Lum’s, and may revisit its arc, as there are many points of interest. For now, this essay at Wikipedia covers the basic history well. It shows as well an evocative, early photo of Lum’s in Florida.
At its peak the corporate office had some good money and technical resources behind it, yet success eluded at national level. By the mid-1980s Lum’s as a chain was no more, but individual restaurants carried on here and there. The last apparently was in Bellevue, Washington.
I mentioned earlier the Ollieburger, a staple of Lum’s menu. It was named for an Oliver in New York who devised the recipe and cooking technique.
And then there was the famous hot dog. Lum’s billed it as “steamed” in beer, but it was more simmered I think. The humble offering stretched back to Lum’s origins as a curb-side wiener palace in 1950s south Florida.
I had tried cooking hot dogs in beer before but without a clear success. Of course, Beer et Seq pours in the beer with fervour, usually of tongue-stripping qualities (all those hops!). The results were, well, bitter, and unbalanced.
In researching Lum’s history I found what seems to be the original hot dog recipe. In the website Talk of the Village, some seven years ago, “Senior Citizen” contributed a recipe he dubbed authentic.
In the Parafu site in 2018 the same recipe appeared, with photos and other good details. So I followed their approach.*
It blends beer and water (proportions of 1:2), caraway seed, powdered garlic, sugar, and sliced onion. The mix is simmered with the dogs for 15 minutes.
Having cooked many a hot dog in my time, I’ve found that quarter hour is needed, for boiling that is. Less time, the dogs are not quite heated through. More, they swell too much.
Senior Citizen knew the original dish in Florida and stated it came with a sauerkraut or chili topping. The kraut was doused with sherry, which I can see being really good.
I didn’t have kraut or chili, so a zip of alcohol was moot. I’ve got a Bual** somewhere, and must remember it when I get the sauerkraut.
For my current try, I used just ballpark mustard and relish. It worked just fine! In fact: best hot dog ever.
The type of hot dog will be your choice. I happened to have chicken-based ones, which proved excellent. And not heavy – I had two, the acid test.
The onion definitely gave a flavour. The beer imparted only a faint bitterness due to being diluted. I used Kozel, a Czech beer, but almost any type will do.
It’s hard to say how the other seasonings impacted the taste. I couldn’t pick any out but a good recipe can work this way, where the result is savoury and “comme il fault” .
Escoffier, it’s not. But good scoff, it is.
*[Note added July 20, 2021]. The two links for the claimed Lum’s hot dog recipe appear no longer to work. A reader has drawn this to my attention. See in the Comments, where I suggest another way to obtain what seems the original recipe.
**Madeira, not sherry, but it should work as well.