At the tail end of 1984, Hormel introduced the most Halloweeny of all hot dogs. Probably not the kickoff line you were expecting, but whatever, you’re here. Let’s talk about Frank ‘n Stuff!
I’ve mentioned Frank ‘n Stuff in prior articles, but I thought it deserved a proper, standalone tribute. After all, there’s a Facebook page with no less than 272 people demanding the return of these atrocious, delicious hot dogs.
If you’ve never heard of ‘em, Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs had hollow middles stuffed with chili. Literally encased within them, like mutagen in a TGRI can. Hormel later added a second version, this time stuffed with gooey cheese that exploded like god-tier zits when you bit into one.
It sounds gross through one lens, but having heard from many on this subject, I say with certainty that everyone who tried Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs LOVED Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs. They quietly inspired their own little fandom, like Elm Street 2 or Niles Crane.
It may seem like a stretch to write a whole “Halloween article” about these just because the name was a Frankenstein pun, but Hormel didn’t stop there. Much of the advertising for these beasts was on the creepy side. If you were gonna eat mechanically separated meat on October 31st, Frank ‘n Stuff was the right choice.
This was best exemplified by Hormel Frank ‘n Stuff’s TV commercials. I uploaded this particular one years ago, and I can’t tell you how much I love the fact that a grainy old hot dog commercial has six times the views of the videos I’m actually in.
The commercial introduced Dr. Frank ‘n Stuff, who called the hot dogs his “greatest invention” while lightning crashed all around a spooky mansion. I’ll remind you that this wasn’t at all a Halloween release, so it’s beyond incredible that Hormel got the idea to inject things into hot dogs, and then decided to market that shit like an edible horror movie. You’re beautiful, Hormel!
On the other hand, the spooky marketing did kinda make sense, as Frank ‘n Stuff was in large part made to appeal to kids. Frankenstein was hardly Optimus Prime, but if you were in elementary school at the time, you’d probably lean harder on the monster-themed hot dog with garbage in the middle than a regular one, right?
Frank ‘n Stuff’s popularity peaked in the ’80s, but it still managed to last for a decade. Production dwindled through the early ’90s, and Hormel finally pulled the plug in 1995.
It’s commonly suggested within the Frank ‘n Stuff community (!!!) that they were discontinued because peeps kept burning themselves on the hot, pressurized chili and cheese. As far as I can tell, that isn’t the case. People just stopped buying them. Maybe everyone was too focused on that Volcano Burrito at Taco Bell? I dunno.
Facsimile hunters, I’m sad to report that there doesn’t appear to be any widely-produced chili-stuffed hot dog currently in stores. You can find cheese-stuffed hot dogs if you look hard enough, though!
…or you can just throw Hormel chili and Cheez Whiz on any regular old hot dog, and call it a day. I’m always saying that the Halloween season is what we make of it, so why not? Pair it with a Frankenstein movie and call the whole thing an event. It’s dumb as hell, but that’s the whole point. Do as many dumb-as-hell things as possible between now and October 31st!