Joey Chestnut’s Hot Dog Dilemma: A Fourth of July Tradition Interrupted

Listen – it’s perfectly fine to look for some humor in the midst of all of the current chaos. That’s exactly what we found when we stumbled on the story of famed Joey Chestnut, the competitive eating legend most known for his success at the hot dog eating competition held on the 4th of July in Coney Island each year. With 16 wins under his belt, the champ of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest found himself in a real dilemma. What happened, you asked? Let’s just say he landed himself in a bun-dle of trouble with a poor sponsorship deal choice. Oooooops.

Chestnut, the 229-pound eating machine, has been a staple of July 4th celebrations for nearly two decades, much like fireworks and disappointing barbecues hosted by that one relative who thinks well-done is the only way to cook a steak. But this year, the competitive eating world has been thrown into chaos, all because of a vegan wiener.

You heard that right, folks. Joey Chestnut, the man who once devoured 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes, has partnered with Impossible Foods, purveyor of plant-based meat alternatives. It’s a move that’s about as shocking as finding out your favorite country singer has decided to release a rap album. This partnership has put Chestnut at odds with Major League Eating (MLE) and Nathan’s Famous, resulting in his exclusion from this year’s contest.

One can’t help but wonder if this is all part of some elaborate scheme to introduce “Impossible Hot Dogs” to the American public. Picture it: Chestnut, standing atop a mountain of plant-based wieners, declaring them “indistinguishable from the real thing!” It’s enough to make a true hot dog aficionado weep into their mustard.

But fear not, patriotic gluttons! Chestnut isn’t letting this setback dampen his Independence Day spirit. Instead of facing off against his usual competitors on Coney Island, he’ll be taking on a new challenge: the hungry soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas. It’s a noble cause, to be sure, but one can’t help but feel it lacks the pageantry and spectacle of the traditional contest. Will there be a bald eagle screeching in the background? Will Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” be blaring from speakers? These are the questions that keep us up at night.

Chestnut, ever the optimist, is setting a modest goal for his military matchup. “If I can beat 10 hot dogs each, I’ll be happy,” he says, seemingly forgetting that he once ate nearly eight times that amount in the same timeframe. It’s like watching Michael Phelps challenge a group of toddlers to a swimming race and declaring victory if he doesn’t drown.

But let’s not forget the real victims in all of this: the fans. For years, Americans have gathered around their televisions on July 4th, watching in equal parts awe and disgust as Chestnut and his fellow competitors stuff their faces with processed meat. It’s a tradition as American as apple pie, which, coincidentally, Chestnut probably holds a record for eating as well.

The silver lining in this meaty cloud is that fans won’t have to wait long to see Chestnut back in action. Come September, Netflix will host a showdown between Chestnut and his longtime rival, Takeru Kobayashi. It’s being billed as “Chestnut vs. Kobayashi: Unfinished Beef,” which is ironic considering Chestnut’s new plant-based allegiances.

Kobayashi, who recently announced his plans to retire from competitive eating, has declared that this battle against Chestnut would be the one to end his career if he emerges victorious. It’s the competitive eating equivalent of Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, except with more heartburn and less physical fitness.

As for Chestnut, he remains hopeful that he’ll be able to return to the Nathan’s contest next year. “I’m very hopeful that things can be worked out,” he said, presumably while eyeing a plate of hot dogs longingly. “I’ll be ready if we can get anything worked out. I’ll be hungry.”

One can’t help but admire Chestnut’s optimism. After all, this is a man who has made a career out of pushing the limits of human endurance and digestive capacity. If anyone can overcome this obstacle, it’s the man who once ate 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes. That’s not just impressive; it’s the American dream personified.

As we approach this Fourth of July, let’s take a moment to reflect on what Joey Chestnut’s absence from the Nathan’s contest truly means. Is it a sign of changing times, where even our most sacred traditions are subject to the whims of corporate sponsorships? Is it a metaphor for the divided state of our nation, where even hot dogs can become a source of controversy? Or is it simply a reminder that sometimes, life throws you a curveball, and all you can do is grab the mustard and relish the challenge?

We’re honestly not really sure what it means, at the end of the day, that a guy like Joey Chestnut is a popular as he is. We do give him credit for his hot dog downing abilities. We have a feeling most of his fans won’t care of he ends up at Fort Bliss or even ends up with a Netflix special. What really surprises us is how much he seems to represent the unbreakable spirit. Our nation certainly doesn’t want to be told how much is too much on any given day.Ā 

We sincerely hope that you enjoy your own Fourth of July celebration, no matter what you choose to eat, plant-based or not. Make a toast to our buddy Joey Chestnut as his legacy inspires Americans around the country to their own new levels of hot dog gluttony. Freedom rings, right?

Joey Chestnut at His Finest: