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The Baltimore Sun

How to eat hot dogs faster

The design of the hot dog makes it ideal for eating on the run. And if you're really in a hurry, even that might not be enough. That's when you need to turn up the heat on your meat eating. And who better to coach you through consuming a hot dog absurdly quickly than a champion speed eater? Now see here, hot shots (or hot dogs, if you prefer): We definitely do not suggest that you follow in the precise, red-hot steps of Chicago's Tim "Gravy" Brown—who has swallowed 33 dogs in 10 minutes. Eating that much will turn you into the human equivalent of an overinflated frank ... or worse, send you to the emergency room with the day's most bizarre intake report. Still, Brown offers this advice for those who would rather time their hot dog consumption with a stopwatch than an hourglass. But please, one dog at a time, OK? "Japanesing." This term from the competitive eating circuit is named for Takeru Kobayashi, who once scarfed 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes. The 110-pounder did it by separating dog and bun, then gulping franks in twos. You need not eat your dogs two at a time,but Brown promises faster results if you first peel the meat from its carbohydrate seat. Crystal Light dunk. Brown peels the bun open ("reverse bunnage") for a swift gulp; he dunks them in Crystal Light, either raspberry or orange. This in part allows the break to glide down smooth, and also helps when eating franks by the dozens. ("I have a problem with flavor fatigue," he says.) Brain training. Competitive eaters override brain signals that tell them they're full, and if you want to eat faster, you need to do the same before you slow down. "You have to trick yourself," says Brown, who also packs an iPod with books on tape or punk rock to distract himself. "You just want to concentrate." His brain and gut rewired, Brown finds, "I never get full. I don't get hungry. But that doesn't mean I don't love to eat." Get pushing. Following a tint of slogging dogs, Brown grabs a water bottle, not so much to cool off as to push his stomach wall even more. "I usually guzzle a liter to 2 liters of water 20 to 30 minutes afterward," he says. You need to push yourself that hard--but the bigger your tank, the more room for franks. --Lou Carlozo, special to Tribune Newspapers Tribune file photo
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