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Never wear white when eating a torched Nacho Dog from Dog Eat Dog.

Weekender taste testers found that out the hard way after ordering the one-fourth pound, all-beef frank, which came topped with taco meat, nacho cheese and crushed Doritos before it was incinerated by a teeny-tiny blowtorch.

While chowing down on the admittedly delicious dog, our hands, faces and dress shirts were covered with enough soot that our coworkers probably imagine we were cleaning a chimney during our lunch break instead of getting a bite to eat.

Nobody said it was going to be easy being a Weekender taste tester. And we certainly don't care if we get dirty for a good cause. 

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Home food Coney Island
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George's Hot Dogs shop
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Home food Coney Island
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George's Hot Dogs shop
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Home Milwaukee Wiener House

Timed to coincide with Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating contest, a frank examination into Sioux City's love affair with um, franks is the very definition of a good cause.

But before we wolf down some dawgs, let's begin with a history lesson.

NATHAN'S CENTURY-OLD CONTEST THAT WAS 47 YEARS IN THE MAKING

No, you're reading that headline correctly. 

For years, Mortimer Matz, a promoter for Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, spread a rumor that the Coney Island hot dog emporium started its annual eating competition shortly after its 1916 founding.

The legend grew so much years that even the New York Times accepted it as fact.

In reality, this was simply hogwash!

The hot dog competition likely began as a publicity stunt in 1972. The International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) has sanctioned the contest since 1997.

Who's top dog when it comes to downing dogs? Veteran contestant Joey Chestnut ate 74 dogs in 2018, earning the title of defending men's champion. Miki Sudo, another longtime combatant, ate 38 dogs in 2018, earning the top female slot.   

Both Sudo and Chestnut are expected to defend their titles in this year's contest. The televised competition will be aired, live, at 11 a.m. Thursday on ESPN2, with re-airings at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday and midnight Friday, also on ESPN2.

A CITY OF HOT DOGGERS

While the origins of the Nathan's Fourth of July's hot dog contest are murky, Sioux City's own history of hot doggers have been well documented. 

At 100 years old, Milwaukee Wiener House, 310 Douglas St., isn't just Sioux City's oldest hot dog diner, it is also the community's oldest continuous restaurant. 

The venerable eatery has even outlasted its competitors.

Downtown's Coney Island closed in 2017 after a 99-year run while George's Hot Dog Shoppe, 1419 Hamilton Blvd., retired its wienie grill after a 43-year history in 2018.

End of an era? Perhaps. Has the curtain been drawn for Sioux City's hot dog obsession? No freakin' way!

Here are how Weekender taste testers rates three of Sioux City's most distinctive dawgs.

CHICAGO HOT DOG

WHERE CAN YOU GET IT: Pinky's, 2928 Gordon Drive

WHAT'S IN IT: A better thing to ask is what's not in a Chicago dog? At Pinky's, a Chicago hot dog includes an all-beef wiener, chopped onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear, sports peppers, bright green relish and a shake or two of celery salt.

HOW DOES IT TASTE: Like a trip to America's Second City. While it is filling, you don't feel heavy after this meal. But if you choose to pair the Chicago Dog with one of Pinky's black licorice shakes? Well, then prepare for a nap.

OUR SCORE: Four out of five wienies.

TORCHED NACHO DOG

WHERE CAN YOU GET IT: Dog Eats Dog, various lunch carts throughout Siouxland

WHAT'S IN IT: One of Dog Eat Dog's specialty hot dogs, the Nacho Dog is served with an all-beef that is topped with taco meat, nacho cheese and crumbled pieces of Dorito chips. The finishing touch: A scorching made possible for a mini blow torch. 

HOW DOES IT TASTE: Like our hearts -- and cholesterol level -- we're on fi-ah! Can we suggest a few changes? Yup, a nice salsa might be a tasty addition. So might a toasted bun.

OUR SCORE: 3.5 our of five wienies

GARBAGE DOG

WHERE CAN YOU GET IT: Schweddy's Hot Dog Shop, 211 Fourth St.

WHAT'S IN IT: All-beef wiener, topped with a sea of pulled pork, onions, jalapeno and a zesty barbecue sauce.

HOW DOES IT TASTE: If this tastes like garbage, we're ready to do a bit of dumpster diving! This dog -- like many of Schweddy's offerings -- are delicious, decadent and delightful. This is the future of Sioux City's historic hot dog industry, folks!

OUR SCORE: Four out of five wienies 

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