Eat Your Way Through 5 Stupidly Big Steak Challenges


New Year, new you. Right? Maybe one of your goals is to stuff all of the red meat possible into your tum-tum. Thankfully, the U.S. of A. loves a challenge – especially one that's food-related. From coast to coast, here are some American restaurants that will help you live the dream of consuming vast quantities of beef in a short time. As a bonus, there's one across the pond to round out the list...before Brexit decides that such excess deserves the boot, just like the European Union.

Thorny's, South Carolina
If you're going to take a nice coastal vacation, why not top it off with lots and lots of meat? After all, there are plenty of golf courses in Myrtle Beach, SC where you can walk it off. Thorny's is a newcomer to the steak challenge game, with their first winner in 2011. Finish the $70 sirloin (weighing in at 80 oz.) in under an hour, and it's free. Thorny's also takes the challenge to the ballpark on occasion, so if you have a burning desire to combine the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with something other than a boring old hot dog, this could very well be the best outing ever.

Ward's House of Prime, Wisconsin
If you're looking for a contest as large as your imagination – which lets you chow down on prime rib – head to Milwaukee and the fancy-looking Ward's House of Prime. Featured on the Travel Channel's Food Paradise, this is where you can break the rules of smart nutrition several times over: eat a 64 oz. piece for starters, or tackle a full 10 lbs. of the juicy stuff to gain some true accolades (namely, your name and caricature on the restaurant's Wall of Fame). Maybe you'll beat reigning meat king "The Doctor" Mike Litman, who consumed 168 oz. within an hour (did that nickname result from the team of medical experts that must have been necessary to get his heart started again afterward? No one knows).

The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Texas
Naturally, a restaurant name that contains the words big, Texan, and ranch is bound by some kind of Lone Star State code to have a honking huge steak wager within. Amarillo's Big Texan requires you not only consume a 72 oz. steak within an hour, but also a shrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato, and buttered roll (to which some grumpy reviewers take issue with calling this a "steak challenge" and insist it should be labeled a "dinner challenge"). And then there are rules. Lots and lots of rules. Break even one of them, and you'll have to fork over $72 for your meal. However, you're allowed to take the leftovers home...seriously, just give them to your dog. He deserves it more than you do at this point.

Sayler's Old Country Kitchen, Portland
Despite what Portlandia may have you believe, the City of Roses isn't all crunchy granola types. One of the longest-running steak challenges in the country (established 1948), Sayler's in Portland has a 72 oz. steak and "trimmings" that must be consumed within an hour to get the meal for free. Unlike the relatively straightforward extras at the Big Texan, here you'll have to finish two carrot sticks, two celery sticks, two olives, two dill pickles, one regular salad, ten fries (or one baked potato), and one slice of bread. Plus the meat, which can't be cooked above medium rare (because well done makes it go down easier? Help us out, science!). The results from past attempts are posted on their website, separating the men and women – just in case we needed to have one more example of the weird stuff men do far more often than ladies.

Cattlemens Harrogate, UK
17 Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 1DH
Lest you think that the British are too refined to participate in such nonsense, perhaps a visit to Cattlemens in England will change your mind. While the steak, like those in many of the American challenges, weighs in at 72 oz., the additions (10 oz. chips – otherwise known as fries, 10 oz. onion rings, and a 4oz. salad) bring the total weight of the meal up to a hefty 96 oz. If you're not a fan of public shaming, be warned: losing earns you a place on Cattlemens Wall of Shame, so your failure will live on forever. Maybe something from the "L'il Pardners" menu is a better bet.

Buffalo-based Kimberly Mintz is a freelance writer and voice actor who felt a swell of pride to discover that the Thorny's second Steak Challenge winner was Matthew Koester, also from Buffalo. Follow her ramblings on Twitter, check out her professional profile on LinkedIn, and visit her colorful Instagram offerings.