The tradition of competitive eating in the United States dates back more than a century. In the spirit of these noble endeavors, restaurants across the country have launched contests of their own for anyone who has the desire — and the stomach — to try and win. From enormous burgers, to overstuffed tacos, to six-pound steaks, here’s a small sampling of some of these unique (often insane-seeming) culinary challenges.
The Don Juan Taco Challenge – Juan in a Million, Austin, Texas
The Tex-Mex restaurant with a penchant for all-day breakfast plates opened in July of 1980 and the long-standing staple of its menu is the Don Juan breakfast taco — potato, egg, bacon, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla. The Don Juan Taco Challenge is as straightforward as it gets: try to eat as many Don Juan Tacos as you can. While there’s no time limit, there are no bathroom breaks, either. If you manage to eat enough, you’re awarded with bragging rights and a coveted spot on the Wall of Fame. If you want to make it on that wall, the current number to beat is nine tacos for men, and five tacos for women.
The Zellagabetsky – Kenny and Ziggy’s Delicatessen, Houston, Texas
For the past 15 years, this New York-style deli in Houston has served up the Zellagabetsky, a four-pound sandwich layered with house-made corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, salami, and tongue in between slices of special-cut rye bread. This veritable meat-pile is topped with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and red peppers. Anyone who can take a whole Zellagabetsky down gets the sandwich for free, plus a complimentary slice of cheesecake for dessert. There’s no time limit for this challenge, either, so you can pace yourself as needed in order to make it through all eight layers.