The Thirty Hotdog Challenge

I was hanging out with some friends the other night, and we were talking about food and how hungry we all were. I’m not sure why, exactly, but somewhere during the conversation I made the claim that I could eat thirty hotdogs in an hour or less. Thinking back, I have no idea at what point in the discussion I felt triggered to issue a ridiculous challenge. Somebody must have said something about being hungry enough to eat five hotdogs. And not to be outdone, I raised the ante by a factor of six. Needless to say, everyone in the group assured me that, someday in the foreseeable future, we would all have an opportunity to see me fail.

But I’m not so sure that I couldn’t eat thirty hotdogs in an hour. Why not? I mean, I can finish one hotdog in two or three bites. And I’m very rarely satisfied. Even if I’m completely full from a day’s worth of eating, I’ll always have room for a hotdog if I pass a vendor on the street. In fact, I think I’ll be able to do it thirty times with sauerkraut and mustard added on each one. Actually, I think I’d have to eat them this way. Who likes just a plain hotdog? No condiments, nothing. That’s gross. There was this kid in my high school who was such a picky eater. He was the only person I’ve ever known that ate hotdogs totally dry. But that guy was crazy.

I know what everybody’s thinking, that even if I’m not full of shit, the accomplishment wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Those professional hotdog eaters do it every year at the Coney Island competition. And they eat much more than thirty. But I’m not a competitive eater, so I think that, when I do manage to eat thirty, it will be even bigger of a deal than when a professional sets a new world record. It’s like, nobody’s ever really impressed when some juiced out pro baseball player hits a homerun. But what if I, a regular nobody, walked up to the plate in a professional arena and somehow swatted it out of the park? Even if I only hit it to the wall, even if didn’t go over, it would still probably be the biggest news story of our generation.

I’m not even going to train for it. I’m just going to work up an appetite and sit down to eat. I’ve often heard that, right after you start eating something, right after you take the first bite, it takes the stomach about fifteen minutes to signal to the brain that the hunger has been satisfied. So I’m planning on sprinting right out of the gate and making sure that I can down as many franks as I can before my head even has any clue that I’m getting full. And that’s if I get full. I plan on getting myself really, really hungry.

But I’ve also heard that you’re not supposed to completely fast right before a big meal. Again, this could all be total pseudoscience, but the idea is that if you get used to not eating a lot, you can’t all of the sudden dump pounds and pounds of hotdogs inside and expect there not to be a negative reaction. No, now that I’m thinking about it a little more, I have to eat really big meals for at least a week before the challenge. I want to make sure my insides are all stretched out, prepared to receive the hotdog goodness.

When I was living in Ecuador, every six months or so a bunch of ex-pats would get together at the McDonald’s in the capital city and partake in what came to be known as “the McDonald’s Challenge.” It was always three large sandwiches, a large fries, a large drink, and a McFlurry. There was no time limit. It was just you versus the food. Even with no clock running, I always finished first. And it was never any big deal. Well, I’m sure it was a big deal for everyone else, because even though there wasn’t any time limit, they all still had to listen to me bragging for the rest of the day about how I finished first. I think that the hotdogs are going to go down the same way, if not easier.

One of my friends raised an interesting question: boiled or grilled? While I definitely prefer a grilled hotdog to one boiled in water, I’d have to say that, for the purposes of this challenge, I think that a boiled dog would go down a lot smoother than would a grilled one. Also, I think the choice of buns is going to have a pretty significant impact. I don’t want any of these artisanal nine-grain rolls. I need the softest, most processed white bread available. Something that, like cotton candy, basically starts to digest itself as soon as it comes into contact with water.

Seriously, I’m going to do this. I invite everyone to join me. I think that this summer should be the summer of the Thirty Hotdog Challenge. How many times can you challenge yourself? What if we set it up so we all did the Thirty Hotdog Challenge for thirty days in a row?

Also, turkey hotdogs don’t count, so don’t even think about it. Those hotdogs stuffed with cheese are optional, but I strongly recommend against it.

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