Something to Relish on Stone Street: A Giant 66-Pound Hot Dog

After two hours on the grill, the hot dog awaits weighing before it is sliced and served. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib 

Jun. 28, 2019

Many have made history in Lower Manhattan over the centuries, but only Michael Quinn wanted his with mustard and sauerkraut.

Quinn, owner of the Feltman’s of Coney Island brand of hot dogs, was looking to set a record on Wednesday when he and two chefs heaved a nearly five-foot long wiener onto a six-foot grill in front of Ulysses Folk House on Stone Street. After roasting it for a couple of hours, they stuffed the wiener into a 31-pound bun and lowered it onto a scale. The big dog weighed in at 66 pounds.

While Quinn may not have achieved the all-time record (Guinness World Records lists a 2011 Peruvian entry as the top dog), the spectacle made for a fitting celebration of the 152nd birthday of the hot dog. Charles Feltman, a Coney Island baker who sold his pies from a cart, is said to have invented the American favorite on June 26, 1867, and later opened a Coney Island restaurant. (A bun slicer for the Feltman family business by the name of Nathan Handwerker went off to start his own Coney Island stand in 1915, undercutting the Feltmans by five cents. The rest is bitter hot dog history.)

 The anniversary of the invention comes days before the start of National Hot Dog Month.

“This is like Thanksgiving leading into the holidays,” said Quinn, a hot dog historian who purchased the rights to the Feltman's of Coney Island name for his hot dog business. Quinn said he bought it in part to remember his brother, Jimmy, who died in the north tower on 9/11. “When we were kids we always wanted to bring Feltman’s back,” he said. “Our grandfather used to go there in the ’30s. It was his favorite.”

The dog, made by Union Pork Store in Union, NJ, and the bun, made in Brooklyn, were coupled on Stone Street under the supervision of Joseph Mallol, the executive chef of the HPH Restaurant Group, which includes Ulysses. As the wiener slowly cooked, Mallol said his main worry was getting it hot enough on the inside while not too charred on the outside. “It’s such a massive piece of meat,” he said. “I already poked it [with a cooking thermometer]. It’s about 90 now. I want it to be 140.”

The chef said he also had worried the dog wouldn’t hold together after he cut away its plastic casing. “This is unknown territory,” he said.

But at last it was grilled and ready. Topped with squiggles of mustard and copious amount of sauerkraut, the dog was cut into portions and served.

Amanda Mogavero (below) took her first bite and seemed a little surprised. “It tastes like a hot dog!” she said. “It’s good.”