The Sixth Annual Great Hot Dog Cook-Off took place last Saturday, and what a competition we had! The little cook-off that began in Kara Masi’s backyard has blossomed into a full-blown block party in front of Kelso Brewery in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. As always, this event was a charity fundraiser for City Harvest, who received all of the proceeds from the 300 ticket sales. Kelso has been sponsoring the cook-off since the very first year, and last year held it inside (and on the streets outside) the brewery. This year, a deejay, announcer, ice cream sponsor (Adirondack) and hot dog (Hummel) sponsor were added. And there were twenty wildly different hot dogs on display from the contestants — including mine, a green curry mayo-slathered cucumber dog.
I thought that a crisp, cold cucumber would be the perfect vessel for a hot, greasy grilled frankfurter in the middle of summer. They’re also abundantly in season right about now, and as it turned out, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm had a bumper crop of cukes at the very same time the cookoff was to take place. Not having any idea of my plans, its farmer Annie Novak asked if I needed cucumbers for anything: “I have too many!” she cried.
It was serendipitous, and I couldn’t have guessed before receiving a whole crate full of fifty of them that the field cucumbers she’d grown were so sweet and juicy, and once halved and scooped of their seeds, would fit a grilled hot dog perfectly. I’ve never used a seeded cucumber half for stuffing anything with before, but now that I’ve tried this, I can’t see why anything else wouldn’t go well inside that pale green bowl. On top of the hot dog, I squirted a squiggle of Thai green curry-infused mayonnaise , sprinkled some crushed peanuts, and added a sprig of cilantro. A squirt of fresh lime juice, and it was served. So how did my hot dog do against everyone else’s? Let’s take a look at some of the others:
Nichelle Stephens made an “English Breakfast Dog” with bangers and bacon.
Erik Michelson (not pictured) made a Swahili Dog inspired by his recent charity mission in East Africa, with spicy pickled lime sauce and homemade flatbread.
Lots of people made hot dogs involving guacamole this year. I think about five folks had this idea!
brave contestants before a hungry line
That was a very quick run-through of the other dogs, as I was too steeped in my own grilling/cucumber assembly operations to get a full survey. As with previous years, contestants grill their hot dogs on location, and garnish them up and cut into bite-size pieces on the spot. Each entry is made before the attendant’s eyes, creating a fun spectacle, and lots of sweat. There are two rounds of this, with ten contestants in each one, so never a dull moment at the event. I had the misfortune of inheriting the same station that Noah and teammate Shunya had used in the first round, which was utterly trashed with melted ice cream and chocolate. Thanks to the many kind volunteers who cleaned up all this crap befrore I got started.
In the end, my cucumber dog didn’t receive honors from the judges, as did any of my friends’ dogs, except…
Karol and David, who won the grand prize for best dog in show! Congrats to the winners of the other categories, too — I couldn’t hear the explanations behind these awards too well above the crowd, but here they are:
BEST IN SHOW: Karol Lu & David Roderick
BETA DOG: Tailgate Joe
BEST WORKING DOG: Eric Friedman & Emily Rubenstein
BEST TOY DOG: Annie Conway
A three-year veteran of this cook-off, Karol finally got her revenge. This is one of the hot dogs that I actually got to taste, and Karol’s vinegary red cabbage coleslaw is just killer. The Southern-style fried pickle is totally David’s latest obsession. Combined, a perfect pairing, and a winning team. Congrats, guys. And let’s host another Food Obstructions soon — one of the five rules: must have a hot dog?
In the meantime, here’s my recipe for that cuke dog. Go crazy with it!
Green Curry Cucumber Dog
(makes 6 hot dogs)
6 hot dogs (preferably pork and beef blend)
6 6-inch cucumbers (or the length of your hot dogs)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste (can be found at most Asian markets)
6 long sprigs fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon crushed salted peanuts
juice of 1 lime
Halve the cucumbers lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seed pocket completely. Chill until use.
Combine the mayonnaise and green curry paste and about half the juice of the lime.
Assemble dog: place hot dog inside the cucumber. Squeeze the cury mayo on top as you would ketchup or mustard. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts, add the cilantro sprig, and squeeze a squirt of the lime. Enjoy!
(for 6 hot dogs)
6 cucumbers (at $1.80/lb from Eagle Street Rooftop Farm): $3.25
6 hot dogs (donated free at this event, but guesstimating): $5.00
1 tablespoon green curry paste (from a can for $2.99): $1.00
6 cilantro sprigs (at $1.29/bunch): $0.25
1 tablespoon crushed peanuts: $0.20
1 lime: $0.33
Five brownie points: The lone vegetarian in the crowd that I knew of was looking around asking, where’s the veggie dogs? Who made a veggie dog? No one at the cook-off did. But there was an ice cream dog, and there was mine, which certainly had a vegetable. You could say this is also a low-carb hot dog, since there’s no starchy bun to speak of. I just thought it was yummy.
Five maple leaves: Half and half. I used Annie Novak’s Brooklyn rooftop-grown cucumbers for this, which are pesticide-free as well as grown with love. She even delivered them to my door while making other errands. The hot dogs were donated by Hummel, and we can’t thank them enough for their generosity. But they were conventional hot dogs.
From the archives: Previous’ years hot dog creations and recaps