Blog: The Great Hot Dog Cookoff
If you have been walking around the streets of New York over the last week, then you’re fully aware of this crazy heat dome we are all trapped under. Luckily for us, the stars aligned and the skies opened up, raining down with a storm of Hot Dogs! Yes, this weekend was the, 6th annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff at Brooklyn’s Kelso Brewery.
At two o’clock the fun loving droves of Hot Dog lovers descended upon the home of Brooklyn’s Kelso Brewery. The popularity of the event is mammoth and subsequently required the entire street to be closed. On this day twenty three teams would compete with each other for the award of the most original Hot Dog creation. This large brood of home chefs brought an arsenal of grilling secrets and it paid off ten-fold. Competitor tables lined the perimeter of the street with huge grills, with Applegate Hot Dogs provided to them for their base of linked meal cookery.
Trying each table’s dogs was a privilege. Each of their personalities were as big as the flavors present in their dog concoctions. Charlie and Mike over at Brooklynauts brought us the “Cracker Jack Daniel’s Dog,” inspired by a ballpark’s snack bar, including a Sigmund Pretzel bun, homemade dill relish, mustard, and whiskey caramel peanuts. Since we are huge pickle fans, the homemade dill relish made us believers. The team up with Sigmund Pretzel’s yielded the most original bun of the afternoon as the saltiness of the pretzel jibed perfectly with the other ingredients.
The always inventive, Adrian Ashby and Jon Moneymaker came to the cookoff with their “Corn Dog Mini Jack Muffins with Sweet Heat.” Imagine everything you love about southern-style corn bread, but with a cocktail wienie jammed inside. Let’s me just say, that if I could eat these for breakfast every day I would. If that wasn’t enough, how about a combination lobster roll and hot dog? That’s what we got when we bit into the succulent “You’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat,” created by the team of David Estorino and Danielle Caputo Estorino. We did not expect these contrasting tastes to work together. But, oh man they did. It was no surprise that they had one of the biggest lines of the afternoon.
Sometimes you want to eat something that reminds you of home, reminiscent of growing up. That’s where competitor fourteen, Rose Sol and Mike Caprio’s “Perros Bandidos” dog came in. The “Perros Bandidos” is a spicy, cheesy frito pie atop an Applegate dog. This old school dog was topped by a savory, yet spicy chili which included a Smokin Hot Sol Sauce, which is made by Rose Sol herself. The sauce, containing habenaro peppers, brilliantly seasoned the chili.
Every cookoff needs a solid master of ceremonies to keep the flow going, but more importantly to entertain the crowd. This year’s emcee, George Duran was a not only a chef and entertainer, but also the author of “Take This Dish and Twist it” and host of TLC’s “Ultimate Cake Off.” Duran did an all around terrific job, walking the event grounds, chatting with guests, trying the hot dogs, and interviewing the competitors. These interviews yielded some of the funniest moments of the day. Maybe it was the heat, but some of these guys had some wacky descriptions for their’show dogs.’
The Great Hot Dog Cookoff was all about fun and gluttony. But with that comes some level of social responsibly. The organizers of the event seamlessly intertwined a great charity cause into the event. The Food Bank for New York City had the budget for one of their key pantry and kitchen programs slashed in half during state budget negotiations. Proceeds from the cookoff went directly to the food bank to help this great organization. And if that wasn’t cool enough, volunteers from the Food Bank assisted competitors throughout the day. This was truly a great day for people helping people, and filling bellies.
In the end a winner had to be chosen. I give the judges a lot of credit since all of this years entries were inventive, and simply delicious. One of our favorites, “You’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat,” the Lobster Roll and Hot Dog mash up took the top prize. While, the crowd favorite was Adam Nalewajek & Carolyn Gamanos’ “Southwest Harlem Corn/Dog.” Until next time, Hot Dog fans!