The Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011
July 28th, 2011 by plumpdumpling

After our 1 hour, 42 minute wait for a souvlaki earlier this year at a similar event, I was understandably a little hesitant about last weekend’s Great Hot Dog Cookoff. Not only do New Yorkers notoriously flock to food happenings like that, but it was also supposed to be the second-hottest day of the year. Luckily, there were a few factors working in my favor:

1) Only 600 tickets were being sold.
2) There were 23 different hot dog concoctions to choose from.
3) It was the best-organized food function I’ve ever been to in NYC.

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

After showing our IDs to a first line of volunteers, we were then shown to a series of tables where we could check in by last name. We donned our wristbands, grabbed our souvenir cups, met up with our friends Eric and Christine, and went to town. The entire block was filled with tented tables, two kinds of hot dogs to a table, with the respective chefs doing all of the dirty work–from grilling to bunning to dressing–right there:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

We picked a table at random to start, and wouldn’t you know it–it ended up being my second-favourite dog of the day: the Snap, Crackle, Dog!, which was mole poblano with “a super-special bun” that turned out to be a Rice Krispies treat! Of course the one that doubles as dessert would be tops for me:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Next to that was Crepes! Doggie Style that used a crepe instead of a bun:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Early Riser, with cheese and bacon on a muffin:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Dr. Boyfriend clearly has no idea what to do with this thing, which is how we felt about most of the well-appointed dogs. But we weren’t complaining!:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Conquistadog on Portuguese sweet bread with manchego and a cherry and port wine reduction:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Cracker Jack Daniel’s Dog, with whiskey caramel peanuts on a pretzel bun:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Hot Dog Experiment, a chili cheese dog with a side of melon juice:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Panuchos Perros, with pickled onions wrapped in a tortilla with black beans and avocado:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Frat Boy Dog, with potato chips, onions, jalapenos, and . . . Easy Cheese?:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Soul Slider, with baked beans, collard greens, pulled pork, and a pickle:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The Fat Hog, with pulled pork, relish, and Fritos:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Corn Dog Mini Jack Muffins with Sweet Heat, with shredded jack and sweet/spicy mustard:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

This is the one I actually voted for to win the whole shebang. The 8 Fat Fat 8 Lucky Dog, with garlic, ginger, onion, cilantro, hoisin, and daikon:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Perros Banditos, with cheesy Frito pie (although mine only had one Frito chunk):

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

There was also a table making Sodastream beverages on demand in ginger, hibiscus, cream soda, and lime. They saw a lot of me, but it was their fault for using the tiniest plastic cups instead of letting us fill the large cups we got with our wristbands at the entrance. It was also their fault for being delicious:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

There were shockingly tiny samples of ice cream from SoCo Creamery (It was 100 degrees, SoCo! Give me at least a spoonful!):

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

and raffle prizes that these hopefuls didn’t even come close to winning:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Mostly, it was like a giant block party with way better food, and a DJ, and a totally-famous host we recognized but couldn’t name, and a sprinkler:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Since it was held at the Kelso of Brooklyn brewing company, unlimited beer was also included, and they were more than happy to fill our big plastic cups aaaaall the way full of pilsner or ale, yet there was so much to do that somehow, I never saw more than a handful of people waiting in line:

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

The line for the two portable toilets was always just as short, and at the end of the day, there were still plenty of hot dogs to be had (Except, of course for the one that ultimately won, the hot dog with lobster on top! Learn from our mistake and show up right when the event starts.):

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

See what a good time this young Ph.D. was having?

Great Hot Dog Cookoff 2011

Overall, and despite the heat that made me just want to gobble up a bunch of dogs and leave, it was an awesome experience. I tried 13 different dogs, two kinds of beer, four kinds of soda, and one pitiful spoonful of ice cream and never had to wait for any of it. I had thought the $45 price tag might be a little steep at first, but just the sheer joy of being able to walk up to a tent and have a full tray of hot dogs waiting for me was well worth that. I’ll definitely be returning next year, and in fact, I wish there was another round this year!

17 Responses  
  • melissa writes:
    July 28th, 201112:44 pmat

    Thank you for the great write-up and photos! I’m a co-organizer for the event and put a lot of work into all the things you mentioned: short lines for entry, beer & toilets, lots of great products (you can always get seconds and thirds of the ice cream!!), our witty & convivial MC (George Duran of TLC’s Ultimate Cake-Off)and our cooling station, ie. the sprinkler!

    We know everything wasn’t perfect – but we take a lot of pride in putting on a fun food event! We have suffered through long lines for food truck events, barbecue and chili fests, so we know how it feels to pay good $$ and then get frustrated by fighting to get our tastes. I’m so glad to hear that you had a good experience at TGHDCO 2011!

    Maybe we need to do this again with burgers???? Thanks for coming and see you next year!

    Co-Organizer & Chef Wrangler
    The Great Hot Dog Cookoff

    • Christine Hot Dog Eater writes:
      July 28th, 20115:01 pmat

      Helooooo Co-Organizer & Chef Wrangler!

      I am the silly looking girl in the picture with the raffle tickets, and I would just like to say that I would LOVE a hamburger version of this! In fact, I think I would like it better!

      Thanks for all your hard work! We loved it!

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 29th, 20119:09 amat

      Thank you for stopping by! I can’t say enough nice things about the Cookoff; in that sort of heat, soooo many things could’ve annoyed me, but I just found myself pleasantly surprised over and over again.

      I would DEFINITELY return for a burger cookoff, and I think after hearing me brag about how awesome the hot dog version was, all of my friends would come, too!

  • Hessa Phadie writes:
    July 28th, 201112:51 pmat

    Now THIS is right up my alley. I am drooling so much right now. I love the idea of the Early Riser dog…I’ll have to make that myself. I’m a huge fan of port and I’ll bet I’d love the Conquistadog. How was the The Cracker Jack Daniel’s Dog…pretzel buns are one of my favorite things.

    Haha…don’t you hate when places are stingy on their “samples” or what not…they give you these tiny tiny cups and you have to keep asking for more. I’m like you…I’m not embarrassed to continue to hound them. I’m a beast at Costco :P

    $45 is TOTALLY worth that…but I would have eaten all the dogs. Where’s the lobster dog!!? I also would have hovered around the ice cream table for at least 30 minutes.

  • caropal writes:
    July 28th, 20111:06 pmat

    I just sent the link to this post to David with the subject line, “This is the only reason we should live in New York:”

  • Jessica R. writes:
    July 28th, 20112:26 pmat

    A port wine reduction on a hot dog? Who would have imagined.And that Easy Cheese on a hot dog would be a shoo in for pregnant women. This post just made me very happy. This sort of thing would be a hit in almost any city.

  • kimz writes:
    July 28th, 20112:29 pmat

    Shit man, this one of very few things that make me want to actually visit New York again.

  • Kim writes:
    July 28th, 20118:31 pmat

    The Conquistadog wins for me due to name alone. Although you know the winning lobster-topped dog is my dream combination of snob + Americana trash. I had no idea this existed — cannot wait to drag everyone I know next year.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 29th, 20119:03 amat

      I think I really must have the wrong impression of you, because I assumed this was the sort of event you would turn your perfect little nose up at. Okay, now we really have to push for the burger version of this later in the summer.

  • Dishy writes:
    July 29th, 20112:35 pmat

    That soul slider is making me salivate like nothing else i’ve seen or thought about today.. including all 3,702 posts I’ve read on foodbuzz.

  • Mike writes:
    July 29th, 20118:32 pmat

    Hey, stellar review!

    We’d love to use your photo of our dog, The Cracker Jack Daniel’s Dog, on our site if you don’t mind. We’ll happily give photo credit, of course.

    As a side note, I think The Great Hamburger Cookoff has to happen, one way or the other.


  • Tracey writes:
    July 29th, 201111:29 pmat

    GOD, I wish I would have come to visit you for this. I could have worn my hot dog shit and hot dog earrings.

    • Tracey writes:
      July 29th, 201111:30 pmat


  • Mrs. Bachelor Girl writes:
    July 31st, 201111:45 pmat

    Congratulations. You have single-handedly fomented the strongest pregnancy craving I have had thus far. Before the night is over, The Guy will be driving to Brookshire’s for wieners and buns.

  • The Great Hot Dog Cookoff « writes:
    August 2nd, 20112:58 pmat

    […] this great review from Katie at donuts4dinner, who took that stellar shot of our dog seen […]

  • han writes:
    August 4th, 20119:19 pmat

    yuuuuuuuuuum-i had thought long and hard about attending this, but ended up at this other random block party instead. this looks tremendous though! jealous!

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