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Restaurants will battle at hot dog day of summer

The Brooklyn Paper
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At this contest, it’s wiener take all.

The formerly amateur-only Annual Hot Dog Cook Off will allow restaurants to compete in its seventh year — and the makers of Brooklyn’s finest frankfurters are stepping up to the plate.

Chefs from Marlow and Daughters, Brooklyn Bangers, Mile End Deli, and even the vegetarian restaurant Maimonide of Brooklyn are part of a new “pros-row,” where they’ll showcase their own creations in a no-holds-barred dog fight.

For the crew at Mile End — a delicatessen specializing in handcrafted Montreal-style Jewish comfort food — hot dogs are the perfect vessel for culinary creativity.

“Sausage-making and forced meats present a very creative platform for cooks of all stripes, amateur or pro,” said restaurant co-owner, chef, and hot dog contestant Noah Bernamoff. “Once you learn the basic technique and are comfortable using the equipment, which should not take very long, the sky is the limit with the types of sausages that can be produced.”

Bernamoff serves a popular New York-style “Hoyt Dog” at his Boerum Hill eatery — but the Quebec native will compete with a more personal version of the ballpark meal. Describing it as a hot “steamie,” his dog is the kind one might find in a hockey arena in rural Canada with a squishy bun, electric green relish, raw white onion, and yellow mustard.

It’s a relatively minimal and humble entry, unlike the crazy dog-coctions commonly presented at the cook-off — and Bernamoff doesn’t expect to win.

“These sorts of contests tend to reward wackiness, and fundamentally, I’m sort of a classicist when it comes to traditional or historic foods so no, I don’t expect to win,” he said.

But not everyone is sticking to conventional hot dogs: Maimonide of Brooklyn chef Neal Harden is planning a veggie dog that would be a first for his restaurant, which doesn’t even serve hot dogs.

When contacted by this newspaper, Harden was still working on his recipe, but said he’d “probably do something with mushroom.”

The five restaurants — selected by the meat experts at the Brooklyn Kitchen — aren’t the only dogs in the fight. Two dozen hobbyists will also take part, serving the kinds of frankfurters dog lovers have long dreamed about, like last year’s winner: a lobster roll hot dog dubbed “You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat.”

At the end of the competition, judges and community foodies will reflect on the dogs of the day and consider the opinions of diners who cast votes before choosing the top dog and the fan favorite.

7th Annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff (630 Flushing Ave., between Bartlette Street and Union Avenue, thegreathotdogcookoff.com/tickets). Tickets: $45, unlimited amateur dogs, one restaurant dog, four beers; $65, all that plus samples of all restaurant dogs; $75, all that plus endless beer, gin cocktails, and express check-in.

Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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