Later on Saturday afternoon we met up with Sara, Alden, Paula and Kate for the Gapers Block Hotdog Cookoff in the Schuba’s parking lot. This was a pretty cool event. Participating chefs from Kuma’s Corner, Harmony Grill, The Haute and The Dog, ManBQue, and Gapers Block started with Vienna Beef hot dogs and then used them to cook up whatever they wanted. Fat Rice was supposed to participate, but for some reason was not there. Ok with me. I’m kind of annoyed with them right now!
Kuma’s Corner hotdog: Spicy chili and lots of veggies.
Gapers Block hotdog: Thai hotdog kebab.
ManBQue hotdog: A stuffed Mexican hotdog with refried beans, cheese and chicharones, among other things.
Harmony Grill hotdog: Bacon, jalapeno jam, Cheetos-coated fried onions
The Haute and The Dog hotdog: Cheese-stuffed hotdog taco with pulled pork.
Some of the chefs did a hot dog in a bun with crazy toppings, but others did some pretty imaginative stuff. Gapers Block made a Thai hotdog kebab and The Haute and The Dog did a kind of taco hotdog with pulled pork added on the top.
After tasting all of the entries (luckily they were served in half-hotdog portions!) it was time to vote. I really liked Harmony Grill’s hotdog. If I remember correctly, this dog was cooked in bacon fat and had jalapeno jam that was actually pretty sweet. There were some Cheetos fried onions on the top and also some bacon in there somewhere, I think. YUMYUM. Everyone got a slip of paper that they submitted at competitor tables to vote. If you wanted you could also vote “the Chicago way,” by stuffing the ballet boxes with money!
In addition to the popular, people’s choice vote, there was also official judging done by experts! Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s, David Lissner “The Food Dude“, and Bruce Kraig, author of Man Bites Dog conferred at the end, while Paul Baker tried to listen in, and chose a winner.
Funny thing: ManBQue won both the popular vote and the judges vote! They had a Sonora hotdog that they told me is popular in Northern Mexico and Arizona. Sara thinks she should be a judge next year, since she picked ManBQue as her favorite too!
All in all, we had a really fun time and felt good knowing that all of the proceeds will benefit Reach Out and Read Illinois, an early literacy organization.