In my experience (and I’ve been to lots of them), local food cook-offs don’t get much better than this. Twenty-four obsessive people finagling over hot grills and their creative toppings/hot dog treatments, beer funneling into the audience from the kegs at Kelso Brewery, and 100% of the event’s proceeds being donated to the Food Bank For NYC… I’m not sure why this event is held only once a year, but it’s now in its sixth enactment, and bound to be better than all the rest. Come and see for yourself this Saturday!
Hosted by Kara Masi and friends, this annual cook-off will be held at Kelso Brewery, and has received a block party permit so as to close off the whole Clinton Hill, Brooklyn block. In order to spread the love, the event picks a different charity as a beneficiary each year, and we’ve just heard news that the Food Bank For NYC’s budget is in danger of being federally cut. It’s incredible that something like the proceeds of an amateur food cook-off might be able to fill the gap, but according to sources at the Food Bank, this event’s proceeds actually could. So come on down and nosh for all those in need of more of that while you’re there, every dollar of the $45 all-you-can-eat tickets will help out.
I’m happy to enter for the third year as a *friendly* contestant in the Great Hot Dog Cook-Off, too. Among those who will also be sweating at the grill are a handful of returning champions from previous years’ hot dog cookoffs, and generally amazing people whom I’ve gotten to meet, like Nick Suarez (who went on to win a Throwdown with Bobby Flay for his hot dogs, Eugene Kim (a three-time competitor and place-winner), Noah Berland (of last year’s infamous ice cream dog), Erik Michielson, Laena McCarthy, and many others. Last year’s top dog winner Karol Lu will be making a special appearance, while not competing herself this year.
co-host Melissa Sands tending to the grill
While I’m wondering what everyone else will make this year to top themselves from the last, I’ve got my own hot dog plan pretty much set. In the past four years (between co-hosting and competing in this event), I’ve made maki-sushi rolls with veggie dogs, “baked brie” hot dogs with buttery pastry and raspberry jam, dogs glazed with hoisin sauce and served in steamed buns, and last year’s creation, a hot dog served in a hollowed cucumber half, and smeared with green curry mayonnaise, chopped peanuts and cilantro. Clearly, I’m not a fan of using regular hot dog rolls.
My hot dog this year will be a doozy. The bun will be… a surprise that I’m not letting up until the day of. Hope to see you Saturday at the fest!