A year after the heat and a lack of a strong competitor allowed Joey Chestnut to emerge victorious with "only" 54 hot dogs and buns (HDB), Joey Chestnut battled a game Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti and emerged victorious in the 2011 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest with 62 HDBs, for his fifth straight mustard belt. The victory moves Chestnut to within one victory of matching Takeru Kobayashi's six straight victories from 2001 to 2006.
Chestnut entered the contest as a heavy betting favorite, but he had to battle a spirited run by Bertoletti. Although Chestnut emerged victorious in the end, Bertoletti hung close for much of the contest, finishing with 56 HDBs, which is the closest anybody has come to defeating Chestnut since Kobayashi. Bertoletti was a hot dog or two back through the first four minutes. At the halfway point that deficit had risen to three or four hot dogs. He hung in at the four HDB deficit but could not regain any of his first half momentum. Tim Janus, a.k.a. Eater X, came in third with 45 HDBs. He finished with 45 in 2010 as well, which was good for second place.
This was also the first year they had a separate women's division. Sonya Thomas won the first ever women's belt with 40 hot dogs and buns. Juliet Lee and Stephanie Torres finished tied for second with 29. The Black Widow's 40 HDBs was one short of her 2009 personal best.