If you've driven through Amarillo on Interstate 40 you've likely noticed the Big Texan Steak House. It is hard to miss. The Big Texan Steak Ranch opened way back in 1960 on what was then known as Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America and the Mother Road.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch is known the world over for its Free 72 oz. Steak Dinner, the Texas King Meal. Free if you can eat the whole dinner, a dollar per ounce if you can not.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch website is informative. There we learn how the Free Steak Dinner came to be....
Cowboys from across the area came to the Big Texan for a good steak, and Bob had noticed more than once that everyone enjoyed the friendly carnivorous competition between the cowboys. One Friday night, Bob pulled the local guys together to see who could eat the most. He charged them five dollars apiece to participate with the pot awarded to the winner at the end of the contest. The rules were simple: don’t leave the table until you’re finished, and if you lost your dinner you lost the contest.
After quickly devouring a couple of steaks, one hungry hand asked for a salad and a shrimp cocktail. A couple of steaks later, he asked for a baked potato and a dinner roll. After eating those sides, he asked for his fifth, one-pound steak. When the cowboy finished, he had consumed 72-oz. of good Texas beef along with the rest of the dinner. Bob vowed that night that anyone else who could match that limit would get his or her dinner free, if they could do it within the one-hour time limit.
On the Big Texas Steak Ranch website you will find The 72 OZ Steak Rules....
- Meal consists of: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad, with Roll, Butter, and of course the 72 oz. Steak
- Entire meal must be completed in one hour. If any of the meal is not consumed (swallowed)…YOU LOSE!
- Before the time starts, you will be allowed to cut into the steak, and take one bite. If the steak tastes good and is cooked to your satisfaction, we will start the time upon your acceptable approval. The time will not stop, and the contest is on, so make SURE before you say “yes.”
- Once you have started you are not allowed to stand up, leave your table, or have anyone else TOUCH the meal.
- You will be disqualified if anyone assists you in cutting, preparing or eating of your meal. This is YOUR contest.
- You don’t have to eat the fat, but we will judge this.
- Should you become ill, the contest is over… YOU LOSE! (Please use the container provided as necessary.)
- You are required to pay the full amount up front; if you win we will refund 100%.
- You must sit at a table that we assign.
- If you do not win the steak challenge, you are welcome to take the leftovers with you.
- No consumption or sharing of the leftovers is allowed in the restaurant once the contest is over.
- If you fail to complete the challenge, you must pay the full $72 dollars.
Wikipedia has an article about The Big Texan Steak Ranch in which we learn the current record for eating the entire Texas King meal belongs to 125 pound competitive eater named Molly Schuyler. who first took the record when shecleaned her plate in 4 minutes 58 seconds and then completed a second Texas King meal in 14 minutes 57 seconds. A year later Molly returned to the Big Texan Steak Ranch and broke her own record by 40 seconds.
How could a 125 pound woman eat that much steak so quickly? 72 ounces is 4.5 pounds. And on top of all that beef there's the shrimp cocktail, baked potato and a buttered roll.
I probably won't be stopping at the Big Texan Steak Ranch for the Texas King meal the next time I pass through Amarillo.
Unless I am really really hungry....