Sure, you can indulge in hot dogs any time of year, but for some reason munching on these babies just feels right in the summer. From the beloved dirty-water dogs to gourmet frankfurters, hot dogs are everywhere, and tomorrow, they get showcased at the 7th Annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff in Brooklyn. This instance, it’s not just amateur cooks competing; for the first time the competition features professional chefs from Gramercy Tavern, Mile End, Marlow and Daughters, and The Meat Hook. Of course, the pedestrian dogs are fun, too, and come with whimsical names like The Dogfather, You Had Me at Swine, and the 99 Percent Dog. There are 25 total entries, and guests can wash down the hot dogs with KelSo Beer Company’s Belgian Pale Ale and Pilsner while bopping to DJ Rabbi Darkside. Proceeds go to the Food Bank for New York City and the amateur chefs have procured their organic beef dogs courtesy of Applegate Farms.
Can’t make the cook-off? Well there are plenty of other ways to get your hot dog on. One of my favorite joints is Crif Dogs, which has locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the East Village (famously the doorway to PDT), and serves a bacon-wrapped hot dog with avocado and sour cream that’s to die for. Bark Hot Dogs in Park Slope, Brooklyn is another good option for you sausage lovers who can get down with a classic sweet-relish-topped hot dog. Also in the neighborhood is Dogmatic, which features “good for you” dogs with additive-free meat. Plus, they offer the vegetarian-friendly asparagus “hot dog” that you can get topped with truffle Gruyere cheese sauce. But, if you gourmet hot dogs aren’t your thing, I suggest passing up the hot dog cart and instead heading to one the many Gray’s Papaya and Papaya Kings, where the frankfurters there have a following. And, at under $3, you really can’t go wrong.