God bless America! What other country celebrates its independence with a show of extreme gluttony? The most famous American event on July 4th, aside from fireworks, is the annual hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s at Coney Island, New York. The winner is the person who eats the most hot dogs (buns and franks) in 10 minutes. It’s a lot of fun if you like these things (thousands of people attend the eatoff), but there’s also a prize of $10,000 and two cases of hot dogs.
The contest was less than an hour ago, but the video is already up on YouTube. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut has won for the fourth time, downing 54 dogs, or an average of one dog every 11 seconds. That’s not near the record of 68, set by Chestnut last year, but it’s an increase of more than 100% since the record of 25.12 dogs a decade ago. Here’s the clip, with a particularly noxious and jingoistic introduction. Note that Chestnut’s technique is to eat the dog and bun separately, squishing up the bun with water to reduce its volume.