AMARILLO, TX: The Big Texan Steak Ranch is not the place to go if you want to eat a great steak. The t-bone I ordered was okay, but no more than that. There was, however, too much of it, which is what the place is known for.
A good hundred miles or so before Amarillo along Interstate 40 you begin to see billboards advertising a Free 72 oz Steak.
Well, not free exactly. You have to eat the 4-1/2 lbs of meat, along with a large and loaded with stuff baked potato, and three breaded and fried jumbo shrimp, and a salad, and a dinner roll, and you have to do it in an hour or less. (If you fail in the attempt, it costs $72.)
They once fed one of the steaks to a 500 lb Siberian tiger. He ate it in 90 seconds. The current human record, held by Joey "Jaws" Chestnut - who is also the World Hot Dog Eating Champion - is 8 minutes, 52 seconds. Klondike Bill, a professional wrestler once ate two of the meals in the allotted time.
Four people were attempting the feat when I was there tonight. I am sorry to say that I have failed all of you in the reporting department as I was too queasy to stick around and see if any of them succeeded. When I left they had 20 some odd minutes to go and it didn't look like any of them were going to make it. A conversation had broken out among the four as to whether or not it might have been better to order the steak super well done - as that would probably burn some of the extra fat out of it. (The 72 oz is the cooked weight.) From the look of it, it was a fairly chewy steak at any temperature.
Earlier in the day I went to Cadillac Ranch, which isn't quite Stonehenge, but it's not bad. On the way out of town tomorrow I plan to stop in at Bug Ranch - the VW equivalent.
Here's some pics:
This guy came from France to test his mettle against Texas-sized portions. It is, apparently, not the way that Frenchmen usually eat.
Tomorrow it is off across the Panhandle to beautiful Norman, Oklahoma.