The 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Yesterday was America’s independence day, which means it was also time for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest. Since its inception in 2009, One Foot Tsunami has been providing you with coverage, so you don’t have to watch it yourself1.

2011’s event started off on a bit of a sour note, as the women were removed from the men’s contest and given their own competition. While the female winner received an equal $10,000 prize2, their contest was marginalized when it came to television coverage. It took place prior to the telecast and was summarized and disposed of in the first seven minutes of the coverage. Shameful, ESPN. Simply shameful.

Nevertheless, we should not allow ESPN’s discrimination, nor the off-putting Pepto-Bismol product placement, to sully this fine event. Instead, let’s take a look at the science of hot dog eating.

By the Numbers: The Science of Hot Dog Eating

  • 5 or more: The number of sticks of gum some competitors chew at a time, in a training exercise to strength their masseter muscles.

  • 280 lbs of force: The bite of some eaters, stronger than that of a German Shepherd.

  • 5 minutes: How quickly Joey “Jaws” Chestnut consumed 5 days worth of food (in the form of 30 hot dogs and buns, totaling 9000 calories).

You learn something new everyday. And today, you’ve learned something disgusting. Now, let’s dive into the best quotes from the contest.

The Best Quotes From the 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, on how he spends his time:

“Outside of eating and cooking, I read a lot of bad teenage girl novels.”

On Damon Wells emergence:

“He is a rookie out of the dumpling circuit.”

Describing what led gurgitator Sean Gordon to find his niche in competitive eating:

“As a young man, he failed to excel in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer, tennis, swimming, running, wrestling, handball, racquetball, curling, cricket, and shuffleboard.”

Discussing youngster Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, who ate 32 hot dogs to qualify:

“18 years old – do you think he has a future?”

On Joey Chestnut’s confidence:

He looked like Bradley Cooper at a sorority house.

In response to the weak performance of Chinese competitor Lu Ming Kui, who said he eats mostly “fish and chicken”:

“When I think of savory chicken dishes, I think of the Colonel and General Cho. Mr. Kui does not have any military experience, and it looks like limited hot dog experience.”

In regards to competitors not being the lard-asses you might expect:

“Body fat takes up valuable space for stomach expansion, which is why many competitive eaters are surprisingly fit.”

Joey Chestnut, on his failure to set a new record:

“I was having a little bit of trouble with the water.”

The results of the ESPN SportsNation poll which asked “Is competitive eating a sport?”3

Yes: 18.7%

No: 81.3%

The Results

In the end, the contest’s outcome was unsurprising. Despite a good fight from Deep Dish, Jaws remained supreme. Joey Chestnut captured his fifth straight mustard-yellow belt with 62 HDBs downed.

Meanwhile, in a simultaneous chowdown across town, disgraced/disgraceful former champion Takeru Kobayashi claims to have downed 69 dogs. As this stunt was entirely unsanctioned, his “record” will assuredly not be recognized by Major League Eating. Do it on the stage, or don’t do it all, Takeru.

Hats off to you, Joey Chestnut. Readers, if you’re looking for more hot dog-related fun, check out the wraps from the 2010 and 2009 competitions. Otherwise, please join in on the appropriate closing chant: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


  1. Even as a fan, there’s no denying that this is a revolting spectacle which probably shouldn’t be allowed on daytime television. ↩︎

  2. An amount that seems unlikely to even cover the medical care that will no doubt eventually be needed. ↩︎

  3. To which I must retort with this tweet from last year:

    Maybe it isn't a sport, but I'll tell you this much: not once has the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest  ended in a 0-0 tie.

    Soccer. Pfft. ↩︎