Biker Jim, Denver's favorite wiener wrangler, was one of 64 hot dog vendors across the United States whose dogs are on a roll to win America's Best Hot contest, a March Madness-style bracketed battle co-conspired by Every Day With Rachael Ray and a few frankfurter freaks from Seriouseats.com, who claim to have traveled more than 3,000 miles, ingestion be damned, on a quest to determine the country's top dog.
And Biker Jim, who's now building a brick-and-mortar in the Ballpark District and taking over the Silver Spoon Airstream Trailer at the Vallagio at Inverness, made it past the first round.
Then he got bounced.
The contenders, who are separated into regions -- East, West, South and Midwest -- include plenty of big dogs, including Pink's, the iconic hot dog stand in Los Angeles. And it was Pink's that nudged out Jim, who made it to the top 32 before getting booted from the bracket. "I don't mind losing out to Pink's," confesses Jim, "but they're all about the toppings. They do one hot dog eighteen different ways, whereas we do eighteen hot dogs one way." Jim, who's eaten at Pink's, maintains that while it's not a bad dog, it's ordinary. "If you want a plain dog, Pink's is great, but if you want an oddball sausage, then yay me!" jokes Jim.
Nonetheless, our local wiener warrior isn't disgruntled. "Fuck, yeah, it's cool to be included, and it's an awesome lineup with some heavy-hitters," he admits. Of the sixteen contenders who remain, Jim is pulling for Hot Doug's in Chicago. "If it's not going to be me, then I want Doug to win," he says. "He's a classically trained chef who decided to open a hot dog place, and while I think that the sausages we source are every bit as good as his, that fucker knows how to accessorize."
And, on that note, good luck to the remaining rivals, who also include Papaya King in New York City, Gene & Jude's in River Grove, Illinois, and Nu-Way Weiners in Macon, Georgia.