Each Fourth of July holiday, Americans indulge in favorite pastimes such as heading to the nearest lake, cooking food outdoors, wrapping themselves (literally or figuratively) in the American flag, and trying not to blow off any body parts. In my domicile, however, there is one Independence Day tradition that holds sway above all others: the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.
To me, nothing screams “Murica!” like televised obscene gluttony. The fact that a man with the surname Chestnut has won this event 11 of the past 12 years only adds to the ridiculous intrigue.
In honor of this hallowed hour (11 AM CST, ESPN2) each year, I present to you my top four experiences with encased processed meat. I’d suggest devouring (hehe) this post as quickly as possible too, since by noon on Thursday you’ll likely never want to see another Wienerschnitzel ever again.
Last summer, I located the infamous Wienermobile in MN Norse country (Aitkin). Truly one of my most treasured photos.
While watching the Twins at Oracle Park in San Francisco during the summer of 2017, I tried this bacon-wrapped dog and was not disappointed. Everything is better with bacon, right?!
Last summer—2018—brought me to Petco Park in San Diego, widely acclaimed for the best ballpark food in the majors. I’d have to agree—at least thus far in my stadium journeys—as their brats were utterly incredible both for the size and price value.
Besides the ballpark, the only other acceptable place to consume a dog or brat and not feel overwhelming shame is outside over an open flame. Fortunately, my grandparents’ lake cabin has a fire pit for that exact purpose. Nothing better than a slightly-charred (or completely black, if you ask gramps) frank and a mess of beans in the great outdoors.
For those who did not get to experience the Metrodome’s Teflon-covered glory, it’s hard for me to even fully articulate my feelings on the Dome Dog. I’ve never found Target Field’s Schweigert products to be all that satisfying—unless they are $1, in which case I’ll eat about anything—but Hormel’s Dome Dog just had something different (i.e. incredible) about it. There was absolutely no doubt that every Dome visit would include a trip to Field Fare for this perfect victual and its sidekick bag of chips.
Currently, the Coney Island record for HDB (hot dogs & buns) in 10 minutes is 74, set by Joey Chestnut (*giggle*) in 2018. Is there a food you could enter a competitive eating contest for and hold your own? Corn-on-the-cob or watermelon for me.