Spc. Joshua Winfield displays his winning hot dog, the Crescent Dog, at the Hot Dog Competition at Thunderbird Dining Facility Monday. Winfield’s prize is a 3-day pass and an award from the 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade.

Hot 'diggity' dog! T-bird chefs unveil creations in cooking contest

The chefs at the award-winning Thunderbird Dining Facility showcased their culinary skills by putting a creative twist on the simple hot dog for their first-ever Hot Dog Competition Monday.

Recipe submissions from Thunderbird diners, the community and the Internet, and the top 13 were chosen in a drawing by each of the Army chefs at the DFAC.

Five judges representing a cross-section of organizations on the installation picked the winner of the competition after taste-testing each of the selections.

“I think it was a good morale booster for all of our Soldiers,” said Sgt. Jesaren Winston, HHC, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade supply sergeant and judge at the event. “Overall, I think it went really well.”

The Thunderbird DFAC held other recipe and cooking contests in the past, but this is the first time hot dogs were considered.

“I came up with the idea because I love hot dogs so much!” exclaimed Staff Sgt. Antonio Robinson, who cooks at the Thunderbird. “Plus, I thought it would be a great way to get the community involved and get new recipes at the same time.”

The names of the hot dogs were as creative as the recipes the chefs brought to the table. Five dogs were named after places: Monte Cristo, Chicago-Style, Detroit-Style Coney and Seattle Cream Cheese, while others came in with names like Carry-Along Dog, Sloppy Dog, Killer Bacon-Cheese Dog, Hot Dog Man, Lunch Box Hot, Glorified Dog and Leftover Dog Pile.

Two of the recipes gave a fresh perspective of old favorites by changing them up a bit. For example, the Crescent Dog and Corn Dog Muffin paid homage to their predecessors the pig-in-a-blanket and the corn dog.

Is it possible that the judges felt a little nostalgic when they tasted them? After all, the Crescent Dog, prepared by Spc. Joshua Winfield, earned top pick from the judges, a 3-day pass and award from the 11th TTSB for Winfield, and two free meals on any Thursday through Dec. 31 for the person who submitted the recipe.

When Whitfield was announced as the winner, he thanked the judges for participating, saying, “I appreciate it, and I know everyone else appreciates getting outsiders’ point of view on what we do here .”

Pfc. Nitzia Padilla, who prepared the Chicago-Style hot dog, picked-up second place for her tasty creation, which was as complicated as the recipe that took first place.

Each Soldier’s hot dog had the potential to earn 45 points, which were divided by composition and harmony of ingredients for up to10 points, correct preparation and craftsmanship for up to 20 points, and for five points each: proper utilization of ingredients, presentation and layout, and timing / work flow, with a half-point deduction for every minute it was late to the table.

The five recipes with the highest scores will be incorporated into the meal cycle at the Thunderbird DFAC. Robinson said he hopes the contest and new additions to the menu will result in an increase in diners.

The contestants and the judges seemed to enjoy the event, and Robinson mentioned they are looking forward to having more recipe contests in the future.

“I think it went very well,” he said. “Looking at the judges’ faces, they did very well. In my book, they’re all winners.”

Winning Hot Dog Recipes

First place: Crescent Dog

Prepared by Spc. Joshua Winfield

Ingredients: 3 hot dogs

    2 slices American cheese, cut into 6 strips

    8-ounce can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Slit hot dogs to within 1/2 inch of ends; insert three strips of cheese into each slit.

Separate dough into triangles. Wrap one dough triangle around each hot dog and place on ungreased cookie sheet, cheese side up. Serves three.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Second place: Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Prepared by Pfc. Nitzia Padilla

Ingredients: 3 all-beef hot dogs    3 tbsp chopped onion

    3 hot dog buns    12 tomato wedges

    3 tbsp yellow mustard    3 jalapenos

    3 tbsp sweet green pickle relish    3 teaspoons celery salt


Bring a pot of water to boil. Reduce heat to low, place hot dogs in the water and cook for five minutes, or until done. Remove hot dogs and set aside.

Carefully place a steamer basket into the pot ans steam the hot dog buns for two minutes or until warm, then place hot dogs in steamed buns.

Pile toppings on the dogs in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, jalapenos and celery salt. The tomatoes should be nestled between the hot dog and the bottom of the bun. Don’t even think about ketchup!

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Spc. Elizabeth Raiff prepares her entry, Sloppy Dog, for presentation to the judges of the Hot Dog Competition at the Thunderbird Dining Facility Monday.

Sgt. Jones Lim explains how he prepared the Leftover Dog Pile for the Hot Dog Competition at the Thunderbird Dining Facility Monday.

Staff Sgt. Sergio Winston, shift leader at the Thunderbird Dining Facility (left), and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Smith, Thunderbird DFAC manager, tally the judges’ scores for the Hot Dog Competition at the Thunderbird DFAC Monday.

The Thunderbird Dining Facility chefs competing for the best hot dog recipe await the announcement of the first and second place winners at the Thunderbird DFAC Monday.

Crescent Dog

Chicago-Style Hot Dog