Who Will Win 'Top Dog' For Best Hot Dog?

Hot Dog Month: By Audarshia Townsend


Photo courtesy of Jeffreyw


July marks National Hot Dog Month and to get you in the spirit beyond the usual Chicago-style dog, the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff returns. This time the family-friendly event happens 2-7pm July 12 at Schubas. Fellow hot dog connoisseurs will get to watch six local chefs battle over charcoal grills, then you will decide for yourself who should win top dog.

The lineup includes last year's formidable winner ManBQue, returning favorites Kuma's Corner and Harmony Grill as well as scrappy newcomers Weiner and Still Champion, Fat Rice and MakeItFor.Us. Cookoff chefs all start with Vienna Beef hot dogs, but can use them in whatever way they like. Expect offbeat concoctions; last year's entries included a bacon-wrapped dog, a Chinese five-spice, chili-topped dog and flamin' hot Cheeto-laced, bacon-fried dog.

Judges Doug Sohn of Hot Doug fame and David "The Food Dude" Lissner--our distinguished publisher--will debate on who best pushed the humble hot dog to tasty new limits and award the grand prize. There will also be a People's Choice award, so you may also cast your vote for your favorite contender.

Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children under 12, and includes tasting portions of all the chefs' creations. There will also be a cash bar with drink specials, games and live music. Proceeds from the event benefit Reach Out and Read Illinois, an early literacy organization that prepares America's children to read by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.