Hungry? Check Out One of Houston's Many Eating Contests, Sure to Fill You Up
They say everything's bigger in Texas, including our burgers, pizzas and bowls of pho. OK, so the pho thing might be unique to Houston, and that's just one of the reasons that Houston eating competitions are the best: They're incredibly diverse. From Bellaire to Baytown, Sugar Land to the Woodlands, Galveston, Downtown and everywhere in between, restaurants have created challenges to test the stamina of local eaters and tourists alike.
Photo courtesy Kenny & Ziggy's Can you conquer the Zellagabetsky?
Just the other day, I received an email from a new restaurant called Fat Boy's Bar and Grill (opening in February), which claims to have the biggest burger in Houston and quite possibly the biggest burger in the state. Weighing in at 15 pounds, the burger will be the headliner in Fat Boy's eating competition: If you can eat the behemoth in less than three hours, you'll win your photo on the Wall of Fame, a Fat Boy's T-shirt and a free meal. Unfortunately, you'll lose your dignity.
But eating contests aren't about dignity. They're about eating the biggest, the spiciest, the most calorically outrageous items bored restaurateurs can dream up, often under a time limit and with the stipulation that you can't, you know, let the food come back up when it's all over.
Here in Houston we have more than a dozen contests. These are some of the most popular.
Happy eating, friends. And remember, no vomiting.
Photo courtesy Backyard Grill Even the owner is stunned by the size of The Beast!
The Challenge: The Beast
The Rules: Devour the entire burger in less than one hour. That's four pounds of ground beef, eight slices of bacon, four slices of American cheese, four slices of Swiss cheese, mushrooms, jalapeños and vegetables on a 12-inch bun.
The Cost: $37.99
The Reward: Your meal is free. And glory.
The Odds: Backyard Grill has served 154 Beasts (as of this past November). Only one person, a woman, has vanquished the massive burger.
Central Texas Style BBQ
The Challenge: The Texas Challenge
The Rules: In less than one hour, consume a pound of sausage, a pound of chopped beef, a baked potato stuffed with cheese, green onions and sour cream and two stuffed jalapeños.
The Cost: $29.95
The Reward: Your photo on the wall and a free t-shirt, and the meal is free.
The Odds: Doable, if you're really hungry.
The Challenge: Inferno Wing Challenge
The Rules: Eat 25 Highway to Hell wings in 25 minutes or less without drinking any water (or anything else to stifle the heat) or leaving the table.
The Cost: $19.99
The Reward: A complimentary tower of beer and your photo on the Wall of Hell.
The Odds: Several brave men have conquered the heat. You probably can too.
Photo courtesy Hickory Hollow That's A LOT of CFS.
The Challenge: Wall of Fame Challenge
The Rules: Eat a 22-ounce chicken fried steak with gravy and six "hot tot" tater tots in one sitting, or eat an entire Alamo platter with sliced beef, sausage, ribs and a chicken fried steak in one sitting.
The Cost: $13.79 or $14.79
The Reward: Your name on the Wall of Fame and half off a t-shirt.
The Odds: I wouldn't want to do it, but many others have succeeded.
Kenny & Ziggy's
The Challenge: The Zellagabetsky
The Rules: Finish the eight-decker sandwich on rye with corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, salami, tongue and swiss cheese with cole slaw and Russian dressing by yourself in one sitting.
The Cost: $55
The Reward: A free slice of cheesecake (also quite large)
The Odds: You can do it with a lot of chutzpah.