Hot dog! Wiener cookoff returns to Kelso this month

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Now here’s a competition that really finds out who’s the top dog.

The Great Hot Dog Cookoff returns to Kelso on July 23 with some of the most-creative concoctions between a bun.

“Some of them are pretty ridiculous,” said cookoff founder Kara Masi. “It’s a completely silly event.”

Masi started the cookoff six years ago at her Fort Greene apartment as a way to eat some really good hot dogs, as well as raise money for a cause. The gathering was so popular, she had to find a bigger venue — and that’s where Kelso in Clinton Hill came in.

This year, the cookoff is raising money for the Food Bank for New York City, and will feature such hot dog combinations as the Cracker Jack Daniels — a hot dog coated in a whiskey caramel sauce and topped with pretzels and peanuts; a dog topped with truffle oil, fontina, caramelized onions, and sauteed spinach; and a hybrid of a veggie frito pie and a chile dog.

“People really get into it,” said Masi. “Some of the teams have been doing rounds of test dogs for weeks.”

Among the 24 competitors vying for Top Dog and Best in Show will be Nick Suarez. The founder of another foodie competition, the Food Experiments, won two years ago for his fried corn salad hot dog. This year, he’s back with his own take on the classic chili-cheese hot dog, topped with short rib chili, as well as a cheesy fondue sauce, homemade Persian cucumber pickles, deep-fried jalapeno chips and slaw.

“I always thought chili-cheese dogs are the best kind of hot dog, so I want to really elevate the classic to another level,” said Suarez.

In addition to all the hot dogs, you can feast on ice cream from SoCo Creamery, Sodastream and P&H fizzy drinks, and of course, brews from Kelso.

“Beer is the perfect thing to wash down hot dogs,” said Masi.

Great Hot Dog Cookoff at Kelso Brewery [529 Waverly Ave. between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue in Clinton Hill, (718) 398-2731], July 23 at 2 pm. Tickets $45 and must be purchased in advance. For info, visit

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