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Hot Dogs

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – A July 4th Tradition

July 4th is a special day in America, of course. It’s the time to break out your American flag pants and majestic bald eagle shirts and celebrate our independence. Like most major holidays, the 4th is a day of traditions. Cookouts, swimming and fireworks are standard operating protocol for most folks. Another July 4th tradition occurs at Coney Island in New York, as Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs invites competitors from around the world to participate in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. This annual affair has grown in popularity over the last 15 years to the point where the contest is now nationally televised.

History


The first Nathan’s contest on record was in 1972, as Jason Schechter downed 14 hot dogs in 3-1/2 minutes. Over time, the contest duration increased to 12 minutes and went down to 10 minutes in 2008. From 1972 to 2000, the record for most hot dogs eaten was 25-1/8. However, in 2001, Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi destroyed that mark by eating a world-record 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes. The 128 lb. Kobayashi became an overnight celebrity, and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest became a must-see event to see if the record could be broken.

For six straight years, Kobayashi defended the mustard-yellow championship belt (given to the winner each year) successfully, getting the world-record up to 53-3/4 hot dogs. However, in 2007, the United States regained hot dog supremacy, as Joey Chestnut defeated Kobayashi by eating 66 hot dogs, a new world record. Chestnut has won every year since, setting a new record in 2013 with 69 wieners consumed. In 2011, a women’s division was created, and has been dominated by Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, who holds the women’s record with 45 hot dogs.

This Year’s Contest

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Photo credit: Simon Doggett

Chestnut and Thomas will attempt to defend their crowns once again against all comers. Regional contests are held earlier in the year to qualify for the Main Event. The event can be seen on ESPN2 starting at 12 o’clock EST. For more information on the contest, visit Nathan’s website here. And if your restaurant needs proper equipment or supplies for slinging franks, look no further. Check out Central’s website for all your hot dog grilling needs.

Benchmark USA Introduces The Doghouse Hot Dog Cooker

Benchmark USA Doghouse Hot Dog Cooker

Can you imagine a hot dog steamer that not only cooks hot dogs, but The Doghouse Hot Dog Cookermerchandises and dispenses them at the same time? Better yet, one that only takes up 12″ of counter space? Well, look no further! Benchmark USA has introduced The Doghouse, a unique new product that is perfect for convenience stores and concession stands.

Check out the video here for more info!

Features and Benefits

The Doghouse can accommodate hot dogs ranging from 1.2 ounces to 4 ounces. It has an innovative dispensing mechanism which creates a “No-touch” sale. Think of it as a hot dog slot machine…a wiener every time! The Doghouse cooks hot dogs in 20-30 minutes, and holds 24 hotdogs and 24 buns. It is easy to take apart to clean, as well.

Benchmark USA and Central

In addition to the Doghouse, Benchmark USA offers a wide assortment of concession equipment and supplies designed to fit your needs. You can find Benchmark USA’s entire catalog assortment online at Central Restaurant Products. If you need help ordering, don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable Product Consultants!

Opening Day concessions

Not Just Peanuts and Cracker Jacks: Baseball Teams Introduce Unique New Concession Items for 2014

It’s Opening Week for Major League Baseball, a time when fans feel a new sense of hope and optimism that this year will be the year for their favorite team. As exciting as it is to hear the crack of the bat again, for a foodie like myself, it’s just as exciting to see what new items are being offered at the concession stand! While the classic hot dog, beer and peanuts will always be a ballpark staple, a recent trend has seen teams introduce unique and sometimes extreme concession offerings to their customers. This year will test the stomachs, as well as the wallets, of the curious fan.

Hot Dogs

It’s hard to go wrong with the classic stadium hot dog. A little mustard, some relish and you’re set! If classic is too simple for you, have no fear — there is no shortage of dynamic hot dog options being offered this year.

In Detroit, the Tigers are offering several new twists on the original. The Poutine Dog is topped with fries, cheese curds and gravy. Another option is the Late Night Dog, topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese and bacon. Cardiologist appointment not included.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are upping the ante this year by unleashing two monstrous wieners. The Venom Dog is a foot-long habanero sausage topped with black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream, and will run you $10. If you consider that a kid’s-size portion, then you should try the D-Bat, an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon, served with fries. This behemoth is a whopping $25, so only serious appetites need apply.

Sandwiches and More

Of course, if hot dogs aren’t your thing, there are plenty more choices out there. The Pittsburgh Pirates are serving up “The Closer,” a double decker grilled cheese sandwich with nine, count ‘em, NINE–types of cheese and finished with candied bacon!

Out to prove that things are bigger in Texas, the Rangers introduced the Choomongous, named after their outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. This Asian beef sandwich is topped with spicy slaw. No big deal, right? Did I forget to mention that is two feet long? You’ll want to bring some friends to share!

In Cincinnati, the Reds are challenging fans to take on their new sandwich, simply called “The Bacon.” This porcine delight features a one pound slab of bacon topped with shredded lettuce, tomato and black pepper mayo, served with chips, half a pickle and potato salad. Anyone brave enough can try the “Bacon Challenge.” All they have to do is eat four “Bacon” sandwiches, with all the accoutrements, in one inning. Do so, and all four sandwiches are free, and the winner gets a t-shirt that says, “I Conquered the Bacon Challenge.” Fail, and leave with a lighter wallet and a lifetime of regret.

Ice Cream, Anyone?

Sitting through a three hour game in the middle of summer can be tough without something to cool you down. The Chicago White Sox have you and your family covered, as they introduce a Banana Split Sundae Helmet. Served in an actual-size baseball helmet, this whopper includes 12 scoops of ice cream and weighs in at a belt-busting THREE pounds!

Meanwhile, the minor-league Akron RubberDucks are catering to the over-21 crowd with the 32 ounce “Ugly Duckling.” 16 ounces of Irish stout beer are poured over three large scoops of vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup and chocolate sprinkles.

Concession Equipment

If you are a concessionaire, shop Central for all of your concession equipment needs. Whether you’re serving the classics, or something a little more daring, Central has you covered. Check out our assortment here.

Central’s Week in Brief: September 2, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1. It’s been a busy week in the coffee business! Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is stepping into the game with a new marketing campaign that will roll out three new signature blends.  Then, despite having to close 475 locations due to Border’s bankruptcy, this Nation’s Restaurant News article says Seattle’s Best has debuted 12 new stores since April. Last, Starbucks recently announced they will be selling their own line of K-Cup blends later on this year.

2. While some restaurants are taking steps into a healthier direction, one of Denny’s latest menu items doesn’t quite fit the “healthy” description, however, will probably be quite popular with diners.  It’s the Mac n’ Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt and has a total of 1690 calories.  It’s all a part of their “Let’s Get Cheesy!” campaign.  To learn more about this sandwich, and other cheesy menu items, in this Eater article.

 3. It looks like hot dogs are making a comeback!  This QSR article discusses how hot dogs are expanding beyond food carts and many restaurants are reviving this food item–even as far as creating entire hot dog concepts out of them.  It’s too early to tell if it’s just a fad, or if it’s here to stay, but in the mean time, people will be able to enjoy gourmet-style hot dogs at more and more restaurants.

 4. Around this time last year, restaurants in the southern states were losing business due to the BP oil spill. This year, many restaurants will be cleaning up from the destruction left behind by Hurricane Irene. In this Nation’s Restaurant News article, they noted a statement by Brad Ludington, restaurant securities analyst for KeyBanc Capitol Markets, who said the 10 states affected by this tragedy will probably lose at least the equivalent of one day of weekend sales, some maybe more.

5. Can you believe the Labor Day weekend is here? On the overall spectrum of restaurant sales, Nation’s Restaurant News recently submitted a news release stating one-third of Americans will visit a restaurant, grab take-out or use a delivery service this Labor Day weekend. Read the full news release here.

Central’s Week in Brief: May 27, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

Image from ChooseMyPlate.gov

Image from ChooseMyPlate.gov

1) Beginning June 2, 2011 the Food Pyramid will be replaced.  The new icon will represent a change from a basic guideline of what and how much to eat to a more balanced program that teaches what steps to take to lead a healthier lifestyle.  Robert C. Post, PhD, deputy director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion told WebMD, “There will be a ‘how-to’ that will resonate with individuals. That is the behavioral part that is needed. We need to transcend information — ‘here’s what the science says’ — and give people the tools and the opportunities to take action.”

2) The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has been motoring around the country for 75 years now.  Since then there have been many upgrades and for this year’s big anniversary the Wienermobile’s latest improvement was a no-brainer: turn it into a food truck.  The newest Wienermobile was unveiled in New York City with Chef Tyler Florence handing out hot dogs, but you can also get in on the action as the new food truck hits the road for a 12 city tour this summer.

3) Many chefs that make a living preparing pork are rejoicing this week, while others may be a little slow to come around to a new pork cooking guideline by the USDA.  Pork now must only reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit versus the previously required 160 degrees.  This change comes as a result of improved hog feeding processes which have decreased (but not eliminated) the risk for trichinosis, a disease caused by eating undercooked meat.

4)  On a sadder (to some) note, this week media icon Oprah Winfrey said good-bye to her talk-show audience for the final time after 25 years on the air.  It’s hard to think of a world without Oprah, but never fear you can always enjoy some of Ms. Winfrey’s favorite foods (from her Favorite Things lists) to help you carry on now that her show is no more.  Here’s a list of just a few favorites: Beecher’s Mac & Cheese, Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbetto, Greenberg Smoked Turkey, Garrett Popcorn’s CarmelCrisp® and CheeseCorn™, Centerville Pie’s Oprah Chicken Pie and Moveable Feast Brownies.

5) And since it’s the 3 day Memorial Day weekend that means it’s a perfect time to break out the grill and get cooking.  But why just make your average run of the mill burgers and hot dogs, why not spice things up a little?   Try this recipe for Devil’s Meatloaf on the Grill from AllRecipes.com, remember to keep an eye on the grill and keep the kids away and if all else fails check out Alton Brown’s must-have for grilling.