Whether it’s fat free or low calorie, throw the diet food in the trash because it’s time to chow down! While many of us try to watch what we eat to avoid gaining those unwanted pounds, there are some meals where it’s nice to indulge even if it’s not the healthiest thing on the menu. From supersized meals and cheesy appetizers to fried foods and gallons of ice cream, sometimes food just tastes good.
Food challenges and competitive eaters take this kind of indulgence to the next level. While you think ordering a six-ounce steak is big news, think again as food challenges center around the theme: bigger is better. In fact, that six-ounce steak looks more like a bit sized snack when it comes to some of the top food challenges around the world.
If you’ve ever seen “Man vs. Food”, you’ve probably heard of food challenges that border on delicious and daunting to incredibly insane. Of course, with so many appearing on the show, we’re fairly certain that there are dozens of others you’ve never heard of, which inspired our list! Between seafood and steaks to desserts and everything in between, we found 25 of the craziest eating challenges around the world that are sure to leave you hungry for more! Grab your fork and pass the potatoes as we get set to dive in!
#25 – Big Bill’s Challenge, Maynard Village Pizza
We double dare you to beat Big Bill! Located just west of Boston, Massachusetts sits the small town of Maynard, which is home to Maynard Village Pizza. Offering the biggest year round food challenge in the area, the chance to beat Big Bill only happens once a year. Any other time, patrons can order their favorite Maynard Village Pizza subs but, to take on the challenge, they have to order the 30-incher. With the two and half foot sub in hand and 30 minutes on the clock, anyone who finishes gets the $24 sub for free!
The biggest competition, however, occurs every February where patrons can challenge Maynard Village Pizza owner, Big Bill, during the week of his birthday for a chance at some incredible prizes. The first person who beats Big Bill wins a $150 gift card to the local mall as well as a $100 Maynard Village Pizza gift card, to use much later of course! Even second place wins a $50 gift card to the restaurant making this competition one of the area’s finest!
#24 – Taco Challenge, Drinker’s
A far cry from the midnight Taco Bell college run, Drinker’s bar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania just might put the world’s favorite taco chain to shame. Though the bar offers an astonishing list of brews, liquors and bar food, the real draw to all three of the Drinker’s Philadelphia locations is the taco challenge where any willing participant is faced with 33 tacos filled with beef, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. So, what’s the catch?
There’s only 13 minutes on the clock to finish all 33 tacos. That’s right, anyone able to eat nearly three dozen tacos doesn’t just get a free meal and a pat on the back. Drinker’s throws in a t-shirt, a bottle of Joe’s Taco Sauce and engraves the winner’s name on a plaque for display in the bar. So, Philadelphia residents, the next time you’re headed for a late night taco run, skip the chain and head straight for Drinker’s where you’ll get far more than just indigestion for eating your weight in tacos! We’ll see you there.
#23 – Cold Sweat Challenge, Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice scream!” While many people assume they can devour an entire carton of ice cream at once, it’s almost impossible to eat that much. Sunni Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Angier, North Carolina, however, isn’t one to deny anyone from taking the challenge. Raising the bar when it comes to difficulty, Sky’s even offers their own special ice cream, the Cold Sweat, which is more than appropriate for this smoking hot challenge.
Filled with hot sauce and peppers that are sure to make anyone’s mouth burn, this ice cream is definitely one for the record books. In fact, the challenge is so difficult and dangerous that contests must sign a waiver before they can begin. The restaurant also recommends that only those between the ages of 18 and 30 take on the challenge and that pregnant women, despite even their strongest of cravings, should steer clear. All others who like to live dangerously and breathe frozen fire are welcome! Come one, come all!
#22 – Hail Mary Steak Challenge, Real Sports Bar and Grill
Touchdown! When it comes to football, Canada isn’t exactly at the top of the list especially since football is more of an American favorite. The Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto, however, has their own ideas about football, complete with a signature menu item named after a traditional football play, the Hail Mary. Who said Canadians didn’t love football again?
When it comes to the Grill’s gut buster Hail Mary, you might want to say a few Hail Mary’s of your own before taking on the challenge. With an impressive 67-ounce ribeye steak that racks up an incredible $75 tab, the Grill also throws in a pound of French fries and a pound of coleslaw. At nearly seven and half pounds of food and no time limit, we’d call a flag on this play for unsportsmanlike conduct as anyone who finishes only gets a full refund on their meal. Well, that and a serious stomach ache!
#21 – The Adam Emmenecker Challenge, Jethro’s BBQ
A far cry from Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies, Jethro’s BBQ is one of the most popular BBQ chains in Iowa with five locations across the state, each of which offer the Adam Emmenecker Challenge. Named after star basketball player Adam Emmenecker of Michigan who spent his college days at Drake University, the challenge is filled with Adam’s favorite foods and has proven to be quite the competition.
So, what makes it so hard? Thanks to Adam’s love of food and apparently the entire menu, Jethro’s literally threw in the kitchen sink on this competition including: a massive pork tenderloin, an Angus burger topped with slabs of Texas brisket, apple wood bacon, fried cheese curds, buffalo chicken fingers and more! With only 15 minutes to finish the challenge, winners get a free t-shirt as well as their name and photo on the Jethro’s BBQ Wall of Fame.
#20 – 55 Challenge, HWY 55
Heading southeast from Iowa and back to North Carolina, Kenny Moore dreamed of opening his own restaurant and, in 1991, did exactly that with HWY 55. Now, with several locations throughout the state, HWY 55 is known for their hamburgers, shakes and French fries. The granddaddy of their entire menu, though, is the aptly named 55 Challenge, which includes a 55-ounce cheeseburger.
Can you count the patties on that thing? With a minimum of four trimmings required on the burger, competitors can pick their favorites from onions and pickles to lettuce and tomatoes but, that isn’t all. They also have to eat a side of French fries and down a large soda in 30 minutes. Anyone who finishes, gets the $29.99 meal for free as well as their name on the HWY 55 website for bragging rights! Who’s ready to step up to the plate for the infamous Five Five Challenge?
#19 – The Big Al Burger Challenge, Fergburger
Leaving North America for the first time on our list, we visit Queenstown, New Zealand, home of Fergburger. Known for their massively delicious hamburgers, Fergburger has even more to offer with the biggest burger of all, The Big Al. A double hamburger with an entire pound of beef, The Big Al is definitely not for the faint of heart as it packs a hefty punch for those brave enough to try it.
Far more than just a pound of beef, The Big Al is topped with two fried eggs, bacon, cheese, the normal vegetables, and relish, all of which are sandwiched between a giant bun. What’s the catch, then? Anyone who finishes The Big Al only gets bragging rights as they still have to pay $18 New Zealand dollars (about $12 here in the United States) for the burger. Though there’s not much incentive to finish other than impressing your friends, it’s undeniable that this just might be the king of burgers in all of New Zealand.
#18 – The Swingbelly’s BBQ Challenge, Swingbelly’s BBQ
When talking about the best barbeque in the United States, many usually think of Texas, Missouri, the Carolinas or even Tennessee. However, one of the biggest challenges in the barbeque world is actually in Long Beach, New York at Swingbelly’s BBQ. Known as the Swingbelly’s BBQ Challenge, the restaurant serves up a smorgasbord of meat to those brave enough to dare.
With meat as the theme, the Swingbelly’s BBQ Challenge includes four ounces of pulled pork, four ounces of beef brisket on Texas toast, four chicken wings, three rib tips, an entire section of ribs, cornbread and two sides, which can’t be vegetables or a salad. With an hour to finish the $34.99 meal, those who can stomach the smorgasbord get a full refund, a t-shirt and their picture on the Swingbelly’s Wall of Fame. We just hope it comes with a bottle of antacids as well!
#17 – Big Fat Ugly Challenge, Fat Sandwich Company
Big, Fat and Ugly – nope, we’re not insulting you! Just a few hours south of Chicago in the college town of Champaign, Illinois is the home of the Fat Sandwich Company known for their odd and unattractive names that fill their restaurant menu. Where other than a college town can anyone attempt to eat a sandwich known as the Big, Fat and Ugly and become famous for it?
Filled with a mish-mash of everything, the sandwich includes two rolls, four cheeseburgers, chicken fingers and nuggets, cheesesteak, grilled chicken, hash browns, pizza bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, mini corndogs, macaroni and cheese and more! With only 15 minutes to eat the whopping (and disgusting) sandwich, those brave, willing and able get a full refund on their meal! Sounds like the perfect dinner for a college kid looking to save a buck or two, don’t you think?
#16 – Tex-Ass Challenge, Voodoo Donuts
Now, we’re talking! With plenty of donut shops around the world, chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme have easily made the top of the list but, have you heard of Voodoo Donuts? One of the most popular chains in Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado, Voodoo Donuts is known for its odd flavors and strange presentations spanning cereal toppings and candy to bacon (mmm, bacon!). But, the biggest and most famous of all is the Tex-Ass Challenge.
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? So, of course it makes sense that the Tex-Ass Challenge serves up the biggest donut imaginable, which is actually the size of six normal donuts. Anyone up for the challenge has just 80 seconds to get through the entire donut, which doesn’t seem hard until you realize it’s just about as big as your head! While those who finish don’t get a t-shirt, they do receive a full refund and the first signs of a diabetic coma!
#15 – Italian Challenge, Mick and Angelo’s Eatery and Bar
Oh, Mama Mia! Returning once again to Canada, we visit Ontario’s favorite Italian restaurant, Mick and Angelo’s Eatery and Bar, located in Niagara Falls. If pasta, sauce and meatballs are on your list of favorite foods, then Mick and Angelo’s just might be the place for you as the restaurant’s Italian Challenge combines over six Italian favorites on one massive plate.
With an hour and a half on the clock, hungry contestants have to finish a platter that is filled with soup, lasagna, manicotti, cannelloni, spaghetti, meatballs, chicken parmigiana and a full garlic loaf. A complete carb overload and Italian lover’s delight, those who finish get their entire $49.99 refunded as well as a free t-shirt and spot on the Mick and Angelo’s Wall of Fame. Those who can’t finish find themselves a little poorer with a special spot on the Italian Wall of Shame.
#14 – Fifth Third Burger Challenge, Fifth Third Ballpark
Play ball! Just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the West Michigan Whitecaps have gained fame as a minor league baseball team who not only loves baseball but loves to eat just as much (or almost). Playing their home games at Fifth Third Ballpark, the stadium is home to one of the world’s unhealthiest burgers and the team’s favorite, the Fifth Third Burger, which has five hamburger patties each weighing in at 1/3 pound (hence the name, Fifth Third).
Named as one of the “10 Burgers to Die For (Literally)”, the Fifth Third is more than just hamburger patties as it contains an entire cup of chili, five slices of cheese, nacho cheese, Fritos, salsa, lettuce and more! Contestants start eating during the seventh inning stretch of the game and have to finish before the final out is recorded. Anyone who eats the entire burger gets a free t-shirt and is admitted into the Wall of Fame. Thankfully, there’s no punishment other than heartburn for those who can’t beat the burger!
#13 – The Titan Cheese Steak Challenge, Piranha’s Bar and Grill
Perhaps it’s a far cry from a Philadelphia original, it’s delicious just the same! Though Tennessee is known more for their barbeque than their cheesesteak, Piranha’s Bar and Grill in Nashville, Tennessee just might argue that point. At Piranha’s, the notorious Titan Cheese Steak Challenge awaits the few brave souls who dare to put away a whopping ten pounds of beef.
More than just your average Philly cheese steak, the Titan comes loaded with beef, cheese, coleslaw, French fries, peppers and onions all on a massive bun. Those who finish the Titan not only get their $50 back, they also earn a $100 cash prize and endless bragging rights. So, who has finished the epic sandwich? Only one person has ever completed the Titan challenge and she weighed less than 100 pounds. It’s time to man up, boys!
#12 – The Curry Hell Challenge, Rupali
Hotter than hell! Once again leaving the United States on our list, we hop across the pond to visit Newcastle upon Tyne, the England home of the famous Rupali restaurant. Known as one of the best curry houses in the entire country, Rupali whipped up something especially devilish in their Curry Hell Challenge in what celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has deemed epically brutal.
Containing a secret recipe with some of the hottest peppers in the world, the Curry Hell Challenge was first served up nearly 30 years ago in 1987 on a bed of rice and is still waiting for its 100th finisher. Even the Guinness Book of World Records has named Rupali’s curry as the hottest in the world as the few who finish get their meal for free, a certificate and their picture on the prized Wall of Flame. Talk about bringing the heat!
#11 – The 72-Oz. Steak Challenge, The Big Texan Steak Ranch
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” When you’re traveling between the Midwest and the West along the historic Route 66, travelers often pass The Big Texan Steak Ranch. Nestled on the highway in North Texas near Amarillo, the restaurant boasts a free 72-ounce steak on the sign, tempting even the biggest of steak lovers.
First opened in 1960, owner Bob Lee was shocked by how much steak some Texans in the area could eat, which gave him an idea for the perfect challenge. Beginning as an eating contest to see who could eat the most without getting sick, the challenge started with a $5 pool of entry fees. Today, the competition has transformed into a 72-ounce steak challenge with a 60-minute time limit or a $72 tab. Think it can’t be done? The current record holder ate her first steak in under five minutes and then asked for another, which she finished in less than 10 minutes. That’s 144 ounces of steak in under 15 minutes! Take that, boys!
#10 – Davy Jones’ Locker Challenge, Port Royal Grille
Ahoy, mate! Located on the South Shore of Long Island is the small New York City of Islip, whose location near the coast makes it a prime destination for some incredible seafood. It’s no surprise then that the biggest seafood fans often find themselves heading to the Port Royal Grille where they can take on The Davy Jones’ Locker challenge. Let’s just say that you’re definitely going to need a bigger boat for this one!
Priced at $60, Davy Jones’ challengers have one hour to finish the meal which includes six pounds of crab legs, fried clam, shrimp, and steamed mussels along with a soup or salad. Definitely not for the faint of heart, anyone who finishes the challenge gets the meal for free and has obviously proven their seaworthiness at this famous New York eatery!
#9 – Sarge Burger Challenge, Pig N’ Chik
Where’s the beef? Yet another hamburger hotspot on our list, we travel from upstate New York all the way down south to Sherwood, Arkansas where Pig N’ Chik calls home. This small town restaurant offers more than just checkered tablecloths and friendly faces with their incredible Sarge Burger that boasts four pounds of beef!
With 30 minutes on the clock, Arkansans and tourists alike face off with a full side of French fries and the Sarge Burger complete with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, cheese and other toppings as well as a bun that weighs a pound on its own. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? If you’re having your doubts, you’re not alone as only one person in the restaurant’s history has won the challenge and walked away with a free meal, stomach ache and bragging rights!
#8 – Kitchen Sink Sundae Contest, San Francisco Creamery Co.
From an ice cream challenge that was too hot to handle, we look now to an ice cream challenge that’s too cold to hold. The San Francisco Creamery Co., which is actually located in nearby Walnut Creek, California, is home to the Kitchen Sink Sundae Contest where competitors gear up for the biggest brain freeze of their lives!
Unlike our other food challenges, the Sundae Contest lets competitors indulge as they get to pick eight scoops of ice cream and then add eight different toppings. Not too bad, right? Add in three bananas, cherries, nuts and whipped cream and you’ve got a real brain freeze in the works! Contestants aren’t faced with beating the clock, however. Instead, they have to beat the current record holder’s time in order to get their sundae for free, their name in the record books and free ice cream for a year. Where do we sign up?
#7 – Pub Super Challenger, Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub
Let’s kick it up a notch! Located in the small town of Clearfield, Pennsylvania is Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub that is known for not having just one challenge but five of them. The smallest challenge, the Pub Challenger, is enough to whet your whistle with a two-pound burger and all the fixings where finishers get half their money back. Stepping it up a notch with the Pub Super Challenger, this three-pound burger has a 90-minute time clock that boasts a free burger, t-shirt, certificate and Hall of Fame status.
Dipping a toe into the real competition is the Ye Older 96er where competitors must finish six pounds of beef in three hours. For those looking to kick it up a notch, the Beer Barrel Belly Buster challenges two people to take on a 15-pounder burger with all the trimmings. Then again, if you’ve got the appetite of a linebacker, the Beer Barrel Burgemator might be for you with its 25 pounds of beef and cheese that you can split with a friend (though you must call 72 hours in advance). Whichever the challenge, it’s no doubt that Denny’s definitely brings the beef!
#6 – Pancake Challenge, Seiad Valley Store and Cafe
From cereal and bacon covered donuts in Oregon to pancakes in California, we obviously haven’t had our fill of breakfast food yet. Located in Seiad Valley, California, the Seaid Valley Store and Café is a seemingly quaint little restaurant that packs a big punch when it comes to towering and intimidating food challenges.
Known as the Pancake Challenge, the Café has spent the last 20 years tempting even the biggest of pancake lovers with their five-pound stack of pancakes complete with butter and syrup. Though it may not sound like much, five pounds of pancakes is about 50 regular sized pancakes with enough butter and syrup to sink a ship. Add in a two-hour time limit and it’s no surprise that only seven people in the restaurant’s history have managed to find the bottom of their plates! Now that’s dedication!
#5 – Mt. Olympus Challenge, Clinton Station Diner
Much like the Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Pennsylvania, the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, New Jersey offers a few hamburger challenges for even the biggest competitors. Open 24/7, the Clinton Station kitchen is ready to whip up something at any time starting with their smallest burger, the one pound Achilles. With the three-pound Atlas burger and the seven-pound Zeus burger, the king of burgers, the Mt. Olympus, easily dwarfs the rest.
The Mt. Olympus burger is sure to bring fear to anyone who dares to challenge it, especially since it weighs an astonishing 50 pounds! But, you don’t have to go it alone! With a maximum of five people per burger and a time limit of three hours, each person has to eat 3.33 pounds of hamburger per hour! Definitely not for the faint of heart, those who finish the Mt. Olympus burger are treated like gods and get their meal for free!
#4 – Loch Ness Monster Challenge, The Edinboro Hotel
Guess what? The Loch Ness Monster is real! Heading back once again to Pennsylvania, we visit the town of Edinboro where The Edinboro Hotel hosts one of biggest eating challenges in the world. Known as The Loch Ness Monster, this challenge, ironically enough, has nothing to do with Scotland and has everything to do with Italian food.
Weighing in at a whopping eight pounds, The Loch Ness Monster is a full loaf of Italian bread that is filled with steak, Italian meatballs, sausage, mushrooms, cheese, onions, peppers and a hefty serving of marinara. With only 90 minutes to finish the challenge, winners get their picture on the Wall of Fame, a t-shirt and the $46 meal for free. The only catch: the chef needs at least an hour in advance to prepare the Italian beast.
#3 – Australia’s Biggest Hamburger Challenge, Cavendish Cafe
Let’s take a trip to the land down under! If you want one of the biggest hamburgers in the world, then a quick jet over to Australia’s Cavendish Café in Victoria is just the place for you. The diner proudly boasts Australia’s Biggest Hamburger Challenge offering an incredible 18 pounds of food that you can share with a friend. The only catch: you have to finish in an hour or less!
Sandwiched between a three-pound bun, there are three hamburger patties each weighing three pounds along with eight eggs, 20 slices of bacon, onions, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. If you and your friend finish the challenge, the meal’s on the house. Those who want to start small or perhaps go it alone can even try the 4KG Burger, a half-size challenge whose size is a bit daunting even for the biggest burger enthusiasts! Talk about supersized!
#2 – Kookamonga Challenge, Kooky Canuck
Long considered the home of country music complete with rhinestones, sequins and endless talent, Tennessee offers even more when it comes to food thanks to restaurants like the Kooky Canuck. Located in Memphis, the Kooky Canuck offers the Kookamonga Burger which brings new meaning to the term “whopper” with its four pounds of beef between a two-pound bun.
Totaling seven-and-a-half pounds, the kitchen adds in one-and-a-half pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, pickles and other toppings as well as a side of French fries to complete the meal. Big enough to snack on for a week, previous winners obviously had eyes as big as their stomachs since finishing this whopper in under 60 minutes of less is a must for a free meal and a spot on the Kooky Canuck Wall of Fame. Are you up for the challenge? If so, bring your biggest pants because, at just over 12,000 calories, you’ll want to walk home as this burger definitely can pack on the pounds!
#1 – The Carnivore Challenge, Big Pie in the Sky
America’s favorite pie! The final eating challenge on our list comes from the city of Kennesaw, Georgia where a restaurant known as Big Pie in the Sky calls home. Those who love pizza are dared to prove it along with a friend for a $50 entry fee into the Big Pie in the Sky’s Carnivore Pizza Challenge.
Weighing in at 11 pounds of cheesy goodness, competitors only have one hour to finish the pie and face some pretty strict rules in the competition. Once the clock starts, competitors must stay at the table and can only get up to let their stomachs settle; there are no bathroom breaks. Only seven people have ever finished the challenge, two of whom were visitors traveling from Birmingham, Alabama who finished in a record time of 33 minutes. With a $250 cash prize and 11 pounds of pizza, we’re fairly certain that they didn’t have to buy food for the rest of the trip!