Summer in New England can be harsh. Memorial Day has passed, so popular opinion dictates that this is officially summer. I had just bought a air conditioner and was on my way home, and I spotted a hot dog truck. This is not the New York-style cart with a seedy gentlemen roasting a row of mystery meat sausages. The smell hit me first, even in my car; roasted hickory logs and the sweet smell of beef. Then I noticed two men devouring the hot dogs on those plastic patio chairs that everyone seems to have. A tad hungry, I decided to stop to see what it was.
What I encountered has put Oscar Meyer to shame. The chef, a former Navy Engineer, stood behind a large propane grill mounted in the back of his truck. Where did the hickory smell come from? He told me, it was a combination grill that used propane to regulate the heat (Hank Hill would be proud) and allowed for wood to be added for extra flavor. I ordered the Big Dog, an apt label. He pulled a half-pound all-beef meat log out and began to smoke it over the roasting wood. He added the bun to the flames and began to talk about what he was doing. Once cooked, he split the dog down the middle and offered his selection of toppings. He had Pico de Gallo (Salsa for the gringos), all-meat chili, sweet and hot barbecue sauce, and the New England classics of Mustard and Onions. I picked mustard, onions, and salsa. I paid my $6.75, and walked off to enjoy.
Definitely a good decision. The smell was wonderful and the taste did not disappoint. I devoured the sausage much like the others outside the truck did while mine grilled. I never expected to find such a treat in Bellingham, but pleasant surprises are one of life's great joys. The one problem I did have was the mess, but the Hot Dogs are not a nice meal to be eaten with linen napkins and silverware. The best part was the smell in my car after I finished eating to drive home, a much better fragrance than 'New Car' or 'Ocean Breeze'.
Larry Joe's New England Fire Pit is located on Route 126 in Bellingham, across from the Outback Steakhouse/Home Depot Plaza. It's a big white truck in the parking lot of deli/liquor store. The Chef serves only hot dogs and cans of soda, but the toppings make each experience unique.
Look up the 'Fanatic fans of Larry Joe's New England Fire Pit' group on Facebook if you enjoyed the meal.