July 2nd, 2010
10:30 AM ET
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[UPDATE – Reports of Kobayashi's bow-out from the contest are likely premature]

It ain't pretty, but it's become an Independence Day fixture. Nearly every year since 1916, the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has drawn gustatory gladiators from around the globe to compete for the coveted Mustard Yellow Belt and gagging bragging rights awarded the trencherman who can jam the most dogs and buns down his or her gullet.

Reigning champion Joey Chesnut talks shoveling strategy, his rival Takeru Kobayashi's contract-based bow-out (Editor's note – he shares our suspicion that it's all a psych-out/hype stunt) and the art of staying svelte amidst caloric Armageddon.

(Oh and – Eatocracy pals Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg's 'Hot Dogs: The Competitive Eating Musical' is set to hit Off-Off-Broadway stages in the late summer/early fall. Totally worth a trip to NYC, we think.)

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Filed under: News • Weird News

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. guy

    It wasnt even close. Np wonder Kobayashi ran up on stage..I'd be pissed too!

    July 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  2. zendlab.com

    I just got hungry....LUNCH TIME

    July 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  3. pirdibirdi

    I watched how these guys train for the contest...THAT made my throw up and swallow it

    July 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  4. PiercedPsycho

    I was told when I was five that hot dogs were made from real puppies. Having just lost my dog, this sufficiently traumatized me to the point where I couldn't eat them for many years. By the time I was a junior in high school, I felt comfortable with the idea of eating a hot dog, seeing as I knew they weren't made from real dogs at that point. However, that point in time coincided with the week my history teacher felt it was a great idea to introduce us to "The Jungle". I couldn't eat meat for a week, which is saying something seeing as red meat is practically all I eat. Not too long ago, I felt comfortable once again with eating a hot dog....and then I watched the "How It's Made" episode that featured hot dogs.

    Hot dogs and I were never meant to be.

    July 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  5. haah

    This is great! ahahaha

    July 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  6. yup

    These people can tickle my pickle till it trickles.

    July 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Hungry Todd Rungy

    JOEY! I did my part in chasing off Kobayashi!


    now you gotta do yours and keep the title in America! USA! LETS DO THIS!

    July 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  8. TJH

    What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor? "Make me one with everything."

    July 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  9. STEAV


    July 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  10. john

    stupidest contest in the world. A waste of hotdogs

    July 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  11. Mike

    Can we donate this food to the needy instead? Just sayin'.

    July 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  12. weenermobile

    Remember reading "The Jungle", by Upton Sinclair? Required reading in most high schools; that, I'm sure, is where the "everything but the squeal" myths originated. Hopefully we have a meatpacking industry that's better regulated today, but who knows?
    Besides, Nathan's are kosher. OK, so maybe that should be "everything but the moo, bark and meow."
    Now I'm hungry.

    July 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Disdain

    Hot dog diet or not you could be dead at 40.

    July 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  14. HornDogg

    I love hot dogs...and I'm gay.....it's a win-win

    July 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Russ

    What Chestnut and all the other eaters may not realize is that all the cholesterol is going into their arteries and slowly building up. When they are about 40, they could be dead.

    July 2, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • outawork

      ....but they will be well preserved by all the nitrates.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Tex

      I'm pretty sure the doctor Joey visits every 4 months to monitor his health already knows all about the cholesterol danger. Besides, Joey seems to be in better shape than most people who don't eat "evil" hot dogs.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  16. Dave

    Actually, hot dogs are not all that American. They have origins in Germany. Bring on the brats and knockwurst!

    July 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  17. Walker

    I love Joey, makes us San Jose natives proud!

    And by the way hot dogs are delicious! There is nothing wrong with what they put in them, especially the Kosher dogs. Stop being a crybaby that it's gross – so we're using the entire animal, so what. A little mustard and some onion and...yum!

    Europe and Asia eat some weird stuff too, sorry it offends you laurab68 – you should try and think about where that chicken in the grocery store comes from and what it goes through to be wrapped up all nice and pretty for your sensitive little hands.

    July 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • laurab68

      Sorry Walker, my hands are far from sensitive.
      Yes I'm a health nut. I think we have all figured this out by now lol. If teaching my kids to eat healthy by example makes me a bad person, then I think I can live with that.
      As for the chicken I buy. I buy it from a free range farmer who also believes in feeding his chickens chemical free corn and grains. Straight from the farm fresh.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
      • hoosiergranny

        Um, free range chicken. You do realize that they eat poop, dead stuff – including each other? Oh yeah, ask anybody who raises chickens, they will eat anything. As opposed to the chickens raised on chicken farms – grain only. Huh, which one is better? Toss up. Kids can eat healthly and still enjoy an occasional trip to the wild side. Hot Dogs! Gotta love 'em.

        July 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
      • Haha

        you know, you will be the one to get hit by a bus after trying so hard to be a health nut.

        July 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
      • Sigs

        Go deny your kids all the fun things about being a kid. I dont care what kind of chickens, peanut butter or anything else you give your kids. Choking on a hotdog? Jeeze I could get hit my a car later too gime a break. Keep your kids inside because they might get hurt.

        July 2, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  18. Grondahl

    Strategy: Eat fast.

    Anybody denigrating the Hot Dog has obviously never had a Kosher Dog. Most of the store brands, Oscar Meyer, Ball Park, they're all pretty crummy. But seriously, try a Kosher Dog, and you'll want to turn Jewish.

    July 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Justin

      Nah, too greasy.. All beef franks are harder on the heart too.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  19. d

    YESSSSS, than you Jman!! That tale of hotdogs being made out of pigs snout was probably made up by McDonalds... lol

    July 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  20. Weenie

    Tubesteaks YumYum

    July 2, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  21. Doritos

    I know his REAL strategy. He had his entire colon removed to speed up the pooping process. Hot dogs go in, hot dogs come out into a bag.

    July 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  22. D

    over a million children a WEEK die of malnourishment (starvation) and we think this is cool?????????????
    Pity the state of your soul America!

    July 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • david

      Who cares? There are too many people in the world as it is and the reason those children aren't being fed is not because there's not enough food... it generally has to do with political corruption. To make matters worse, if countries were to provide food aid, these children would simply grow up to be pregnant adults who are only capable of accepting aid and I think you've got a cycle there. Yeah it sucks but all species will breed to the point of maximum population and hey what'dya know... some of the organisms start to die off. Life's not fair.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • weenermobile

      Jeez, D, we're talkin' about weenies.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Darren

      I guarantee you that in all of the countries where "over a million children a WEEK die of malnourishment (starvation)" there is a corrupt ruling class making themselves rich from the resources of that country and the foreign aid sent to them for distribution. Pity the naivete of your mind D!

      July 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
      • B

        either a corrupt ruling class or a religion! Both equally as blind to the fate of the poor biomass.

        July 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Proud to be American

      Yep and if it werent for the heart and soul of Americans there would be a lot more starving. Take a hike.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  23. AKILEZ

    I love HOT DOGS. it is the American food just like french fries and Hamburgers. Gross!!! do you know what they serve you at restuarants if they are clean or not. I never heard of anyone who DIED of eating hotdogs

    July 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • laurab68

      You've never heard of someone choking to death from eating a hotdog? The are acutally the perfect size and shape to get stuck in your airway from doing stupid things like.....oh I don't know, maybe trying to shove as many down your gullet in a few minutes as you physically can.
      Do a google search on it.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  24. Herman Munster

    I'll take 2 to go..

    July 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  25. Pstyles

    High five to Jman

    July 2, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Jman8181


      July 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  26. Jman8181

    Are hot dogs really made from pigs' snouts and unused meat scraps? Contrary to popular belief, hot dogs are not made from left-over meat laying around on the floors of meat-packing houses. Whether it is pork or beef that is stuffed into a hot dog, the meat trimmings are carefully selected just like the meat you buy in your grocer's coolers.

    Most recipes for hot dogs combine together a tasty blend of favorite meats (pork, beef, chicken, or turkey), meat fat, a cereal filler which could be either bread crumbs, flour, or oatmeal, a little bit of egg white, and a mouth-watering array of herbs and seasonings including garlic, pepper, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, and onion.

    Once these ingredients are grinded together, the stuffing is squeezed into sausage casings. Many of the hot dogs sold in stores are enclosed in synthetic cellulose casings, but most home-made hot dogs are made out of natural animal intestines.

    Following the stuffing process is the pre-cooking cycle in which the hot dog links are tossed into boiling water for approximately 15 minutes. Finally, the dogs are packaged, loaded on delivery trucks, and sent off to food markets.

    July 2, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • Aww

      I just got hungry....LUNCH TIME

      July 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Grondahl

      Your word choice makes me think you're part of the Hot Dog Workers' Union, but I don't care. I love me some hot dogs. Thanks for clearing up The Misunderstood Meat.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
      • Jman8181

        Nope, Just an Illinois State worker that likes hot dogs. I just googled hot dog and found that.

        July 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Dave

      You got it! Love that hot-dog goodness!

      July 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  27. Pstyles


    I know what goes into hotdogs. I where my steaks come from. I know how the life the veal had before it made it to my plate. I know all of this...and yet myself, and millions of other people still enjoy it know the origins.
    Do you eat Jello? Do you know where that comes from?

    July 2, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • amber

      good times. you scold her for prejudging you, and you then do it to her all in the same post. funny stuff.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
      • Justin

        Yes Amber, eye for an eye. Tooth for tooth. Whatever it takes to make jell-o or hot dogs..

        July 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
      • laurab68

        I'm not pre-judging anyone. I've seen first hand what goes into hotdogs and quite frankly wouldn't touch them with a fork. Yes I know what goes into Jell-o, and other than Kraft's natural peanut butter I boycott pretty much all of their products due to their sheer lack of respect to the customers health with all the transfat they put into their products.
        Look, if you enjoy hot dogs, knock yourself out! Eat as many and as much as you like! As for myself personally, I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot long fork. To each their own.

        July 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
      • Haha

        Well, laurab68 , Well, instead of eating a hot dog, you chould have still used a hot dog. Then you wouldnt be a single mother. See they still have a purpose.

        July 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • laurab68


      I'm a single mother because my husband was killed by a drunk driver.

      July 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  28. jessic

    what's with the 1 purple sock?

    July 2, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  29. laurab68

    I'm sorry but hot dogs are just gross to begin with. If we all really knew what went into a hot dog and had all the ingredients put in front of them invidually, you would never put one in your mouth ever again! So I'm guessing that when this man either chokes to death or dies from a heart attack, he'll make news again.

    July 2, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • i0dukkha

      JEEZ, laurab68, lighten up, will ya? I'll bet you're a hit at parties.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
      • laurab68

        Sorry i0dukkha, I'm a single mom to 2 small kids, I am all they have and I have to take my health seriously. To have the energy to run after a toddler and a soon to be 7 year old and to teach them to eat well, I have to be their role model. If more Americans learned how to eat properly our Nation wouldn't be suffering the sheer amounts of obesity that we are. I would rather my kids learn right from the start than to have to hopefully not deal with type 2 diabetes later on in life.
        And yes I throw great parties.

        July 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
    • Leonard

      That's why you gobble them down as fast as the champ...it dampers the grossing out............Burp!

      July 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jay

      Uhh, I do know what's in 'em... don't really care. Some cultures eat bugs, others wolf down wolves... horses, dogs, cats, humans... people will eat whatever they will eat. As the late great George Carlin said, Don't like it? Don't eat it!

      July 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Clay

      Never make your thoughts available to the public ever again. Trust me.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Ari

      Don't they throw out the hotdogs afterward?

      July 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
    • Eric

      Not the case in Kosher hot dogs.

      July 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Karen

      I guess I'd eat five hot dogs before I spent five minutes in the
      company of someone so negative. So what about the parts in
      a hot dog. Do you realize what the people in many other parts
      of the world eat just to survive?

      July 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • King David

      Wait, hot dogs are bad for you? When did this happen and why wasn't I told?

      July 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • balance

      Moderation wins the day. Hot dogs are my favorite food, and I love them on the fourth.

      No one's a villain for eating the occasional dog; the Germanic countries have made an art of them! With that in mind, so long as salads, fresh fruit, whole wheat, and the rest of the good stuff is included in your diet, who cares?

      No one gets any friends by forcing ideology on others.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Redtypo84

      Whoa laurab68, you really do need to lighten up

      I would suggest Zoloft, Prozac, or maybe just start drinking

      July 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
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