What's Joey Chestnut's Record For Most Hot Dogs Eaten?

From apple pie to Frito pie, there are dozens of dishes that are considered quintessential American cuisine, but there's one in particular that is a summertime staple — hot dogs. For over a century each Fourth of July, the cylindrical meat stuffed in a simple bun has been the centerpiece of a popular hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island. What began as a patriotic competition has now become an annual event, and at the center of it all is record-making competitive eater Joey Chestnut who has competed yearly since 2005. His consumption in the 10-minute competition has ranged from just under three dozen to a whopping 76 wieners, the latter setting an all-time record.

In his first year of participation, Chestnut downed 32 hot dogs, earning a third place spot. But, by 2007, Chestnut overtook longtime winner Takeru Kobayashi by scarfing 66 of the meat-filled buns in the contest. Since then, he has won every year with the exception of 2015 when Matt Stonie bested him in the competition with 62 hot dogs to Chestnut's 60. However, it was in 2021 when Chestnut wolfed down the record-breaking total of 76. By 2023, the total number of hot dogs he's devoured in the contest since 2005 totals 1,214.

Joey Chestnut eats more than hot dogs competitively

Joey Chestnut is far from a one-trick pony when it comes to food competitions. In fact, the first contest he participated in, also in 2005, involved eating asparagus; he took the top spot after chowing down well over 6 pounds of the deep-fried veggie. Nine years later, he participated in another asparagus event in which he ate nearly 9 pounds of the fibrous green. 

Chestnut also holds records for other sandwiches (yes, the hot dog is recognized as a sandwich is some places), like grilled cheese, corned beef, pastrami, mutton, and pulled pork. His other records range from scarfing savory bites like chicken wings and poutine to sweet treats like apple pie, Twinkies, and ice cream sandwiches. Most recently, in May of 2024, Chestnut became the Bologna Eating Champion after scarfing down 14 pounds of the smoked meat in a competition that even featured the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.

Chestnut is also no stranger to adversity during the contests he participates in, either. The 2023 Independence Day hot dog eating event at Nathan's Famous threw contestants for a loop when it was delayed due to weather and a potential lightning strike on the nearby beach. That same year, he fought through the after-effects of food poisoning to pull out a second-place win in a pistachio-eating contest. And, in 2022, Chestnut wrangled with a protestor in the midst of the Nathan's Famous contest, all while still managing to secure a win.

The other major accomplishments in Joey Chestnut's career

Joey Chestnut's champion career began when was attending San Jose State University focusing on engineering and construction management, and his brother decided to apply on his behalf for the asparagus-eating contest. The fierce food competitor went on to finish his degree and would soon work for in the construction industry for several years while still regularly competing. In 2010, he got an offer for promotional work with Pepto-Bismol, a gig that garnered him $40,000 for just four events. Soon after, Chestnut left his construction management career to pursue food competition full-time.

Since then, he's made his money through both food competitions, for which he travels throughout the year, as well as other endorsements. The companies he works with have ranged from Pepsi and Wonderful Pistachios to Raising Cane's (a brand the Mashed Bros has even given the highest praise as having the best chicken sandwich of any American chain), and more. Now, Chestnut is a multi-millionaire, per USA Today, and has been known to make $500,000 a year via his competitive food eating career.