A highlight in any road trip: a stop at a restaurant that offers a meal challenge like the two steak-eating challenges I’m about to describe. Or, schedule your trip to coincide with a competitive-eating contest for a taste of local culture! I also found challenges and contests featuring cheese steaks, country-fried steak, burgers, and hot dogs while researching this list.
Arguably the most famous steak-eating challenge is at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas right on Route 66. Opened in 1960 by R.J. “Bob” Lee, the Big Texan Steak Ranch amenities include a hotel, a horse hotel, RV parking, a restaurant, a full service bar, a gift shop, and a Texas-shaped pool.
If you can eat a 72oz steak, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad with roll and butter in one hour, you get the meal for free! Their website provides a list of rules and a live webcam where you can watch the contestants. My favorite quote from the Big Texan Steak Ranch website: “Should you become ill, the contest is over… YOU LOSE! (Please use the container provided as necessary.)”
Make sure you visit the gift shop during your visit, it was very big and had a great variety of souvenirs (including the horns you see below, which I’d like to point out are 100% off, not just half off the animal!):
Meatlovers in Maryland
The Steak & Main Oyster Bar and Steak House at 107 South Main Street in a town called North East in Maryland offers “The Great Steak Challenge.”
If you can eat a total of 74oz of meat plus a baked potato and vegetables in one hour, your meal is free plus you get $100. The 74oz is made up of Delmonico, Filet Mignon, NY Strip, a veal chop, and a flat iron. (Photo: mysteakandmain.com.) This steak challenge was featured on an episode of Man vs Food (below):
You can walk off your huge meal by strolling around the town. Located on Chesapeake Bay, North East features many heritage homes, as well as a lighthouse (photo).
Pigging out in Mississippi
The Piggly Wiggly in Collinsville, Mississippi has a steak-eating contest.
In this competitive-eating contest (in other words, several people compete against each other rather than against a time limit), six people try to finish eating their steak first. The winner gets $200 (it looks like they hold this contest once a year).
Did I miss a steak challenge? Please let me know!