As a huge fan of the hot dog stand, I can tell you (and you probably already know) that there’s nothing better than devouring a baked bun and lean ‘dog’ topped with a mix of delicious relishes. While we can all understand the attraction of a classic hot dog, you might be surprised to discover there’s a whole bunch of people who take the attraction to all new levels. Welcome to the wacky world of hot dog eating competitions.

Eating professionals

If your image of a hot dog eating comp is that of a rural showground or school fete, you might be surprised to discover that eating to excess is big business, in (where else but) America! There are even a couple of organisations dedicated to it. All Pro Eating focuses on competitive eating contests worldwide and its website lists world record holders who have downed everything from bratwurst to brownies and cheese fries to chicken salad sandwiches in record numbers (and times). Major League Eating is another group with a focus on competitive eating and the star attraction on its calendar is something by the name of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

So what is it?

It may sound like small fries so to speak but Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is far from it. This major event is held annually on the 4th of July (Independence Day) at Coney Island in New York City. It’s been around for a while too, having celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this month. People all around the world compete to take part in this prized event that is even televised across the US.

Champions of note

What’s interesting is that the winners aren’t what you might expect; the degree of focus and commitment even involves maintaining a high level of health and fitness. Some have also become hot dog stars in their own right. The two names best associated with the competition are Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut who have largely shared the title between since 2001. In a surprise last year, Joey Chestnut was beaten by Matt Stone, but he fought back and this year regained the title with a total of 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes. That might seem huge to us but it’s not even his biggest and best. He had broken the world record days earlier in a qualifying event, when he finished with a total of 73 ½ hot dogs.

Competitive fever

Of course this is just one event and there are many held across the world at local and state fairs, and other occasions. Think you have what it takes?

Hot dog eating at home or the office

If you like the sound of this, perhaps you might like to try a hot dog eating completion at your next party or event. Cue hot dog cart, long table and hungry guests, and you’ll be ready to go. Of course you might be one of the many who prefer to eat at a more leisurely pace. Hot dogs don’t need to be guzzled to go down a treat at birthday celebrations, picnics and family gatherings!