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At the annual Fourth of July Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, New York, determining the big winner (or wiener) is usually pretty straightforward. But this year, the number of dogs consumed by the winner of the men's competition wasn't counted correctly. Famed competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut joined TODAY's anchors this morning to talk about the controversy, his record-breaking win and how he feels after the binge.
Chestnut won the big prize for the 11th time, breaking his official world record with 74 hot dogs and buns consumed in 10 minutes (in 2017, he ate 72). Counters at the contest initially miscalculated the number at 64. Women's champ Miki Sudo won her fifth prize by consuming 37 hot dogs with buns in the same time period.
So, how does Chestnut feel the day after packing away over 21,000 calories in 10 minutes?
"I don't feel great," he admitted on TODAY Thursday. "I feel amazing that I won and I got a record, but like a marathon runner, you feel like garbage after a marathon."
Technique is important when eating competitively, especially when bread is involved. Six-time winner Takeru Kobayshi is credited with popularizing the "Solomon Method," in which the hot dog is split in half, the buns are dipped in water, and then both are consumed. Before using the method for his first victory in 2001, winners hadn't topped 25 hot dogs consumed; that year, Kobayashi ate 50.
As for women's winner Sudo, her consumption of 37 franks to earn a fifth consecutive win may owe something to Kobayshi. As she explained, "Typically I eat two hot dogs — two meats, followed by two buns, and rinse and repeat."
So, how many hot dogs could they eat right now on the TODAY plaza?
Chestnut was far from dog-tired: "Enough to win!" he said.
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