Remembering the Hot Dogs of Yestersummer

This Shake Shack Dog is actually more representative of Chicago franks than those found in Manhattan, but it is purty, eh?

We spent Saturday at Kelso Brewery in Brooklyn, which shuts down their street each summer to help host The Great Hot Dog Cookoff along with Kara Masi of Ted & Amy Supper Club.

The shindig, which raises money for a slew of charities like City Harvest, features about two dozen teams of dog doctors who’ve done their best to take the humble frank to higher territory: There were spaghetti dogs topped with pesto pasta, dogs with pickled purple onions, avocado and bacon, dogs with pulled pork and chile verde, dogs served in cucumbers with cilantro that tasted like tiny banh mi, dogs with jalapeno cheese sauce, honey and French’s fried onions, dogs with homemade sauerkraut and pretzel buns.

You get the picture. The vast majority of these forward-thinking furters were indeed awesome, and the event, which featured all-you-can-drink-Kelso pilsner and pale ale, was indeed great. It ended up as a dance party, with winners and losers and eaters hitting the pavement to Eddie Grant as they swiped up the last of the Luau dogs on the scene.

You might think we’d never want to eat a tube steak again, but you’d be wrong: In fact, all we really want today is a simple Sabrett (okay, maybe with mustard and onions), and so this morning we actually pulled out last year’s summer issue, whose cover featured two similar creatures from Gray’s Papaya and whose contents featured an essay on the hot dog as one of New York City’s iconic foods by none other than the master of street food himself, the Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema.

He writes: “For generations we’ve delighted in their perfect symmetry, smooth skin and bright pink tint, the inexorable meatiness of the wiener despite its lack of resemblance to any known animal part (well, no part we care to mention), the resounding snap of euphemistic “natural casing” and subsequent flood of saline juices.” Robert, we couldn’t agree more! Heck, want to meet us at Gray’s for lunch?

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