The Most Dangerous Food Challenges In America
Food challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Some are super spicy and others are ridiculously big, but either way, none of them are easy. Many are so dangerous they even require customers to sign a waiver, and most only offer winners a free T-shirt, a complimentary meal and bragging rights. Lucky victors end up on the wall of fame. This article features challenges from all over America that seem impossible to the overwhelming majority of people. Stick around to the end to see some challenges that claim to be undefeated…
The Phaal Challenge at Brick Lane Curry House in New York is described as, “an excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavor” and it definitely lives up to this description. Customers have to verbally state a disclaimer not holding the restaurant responsible for, “any physical or emotional damage after eating the curry.” Even the kitchen staff has to wear marks while preparing the dish because the peppers and spices are so intense. Winners get a complementary beer, a completion certificate, and their picture in the hall of fame, appropriately known as the (P)haal of Fame.
The 15 Dozen Club
The 15 Dozen Club Challenge at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans is the type of challenge that puts quantity over heat. Challengers have to finish 180 raw oysters without leaving the table. There’s also a time limit of one hour, which means eating three oysters every minute for 60 minutes straight. If they’re able to down all the oysters in one sitting, they’ll get a shirt and hat, their name on the Acme Oyster House location’s wall of fame and a complimentary meal. But there’s another reward that some hold above all the others…
Many have completed the challenge and, as surprising as this is, some even put it to shame, so Acme upped the stakes. The restaurant also offers to pay for half of the 15 dozen oysters to anyone who finishes, but they’ll pay for all of them if you beat the record, which was set by someone who was able to eat three times this amount, with 44 dozen. If that’s not crazy enough, at their Metaire, Louisiana location, Sonya ‘Black Widow’ Thomas holds the record at 52 dozen oysters.
The 72-Ounce Steak
The 72-Ounce Steak Challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas is a mountain too high for many to climb, and has been for over half a century. The website tells the story of how the challenge started back in 1962. Bob “RJ” Lee, the owner, wanted to encourage cowboys to compete and entertain tourists at the same time. He offered cheap beer and a cashed paycheck to all of the local stockyard operators, who were also regulars at the restaurant, and set up a table in the middle of the dining room…
Challengers then and now have to finish an entire Big Cowboy dinner, which includes a 72-ounce steak, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, roll, and butter in an hour without getting up or getting sick. During the first contest in the ’60s, the entry fee was $5, which covered the cost of the food, and the rules and reward are the same today, just adjusted for inflation. Everyone has to pay for the giant, expensive meal up front, but if you finish it, the $72 dinner is free. And, of course, winners get their name on the wall of fame.
The Grand Sicilian
The Grand Sicilian Challenge at Big Mama & Papa’s Pizza in Los Angeles, California features a massive pizza that is made with 20 pounds of dough, six pounds of sauce, and 12 pounds of cheese. That’s almost 40 pounds of food, which is essentially impossible for just one person. Thankfully, competitors are allowed to come in groups of five to finish the 54-inch pie. Winners split $1,000, so the fewer in your group the better.
The Fire in Your Hole
The Fire in Your Hole Challenge at Munchie’s 420 Cafe in Sarasota, Florida takes a normal portion of 10 wings, which must be finished in a relatively reasonable 10 minutes, and covers them in ghost pepper extract that’s so hot it can only be attempted by people within the ages of 18 and 55. Winners get a shirt and a spot on the wall of fame, but losers end up on the wall of shame.
The I Can’t Drive 55
The I Can’t Drive 55 Challenge at the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas, Nevada gives you 55 minutes to eat $55 nachos made with eight pounds of chipotle sauce, queso, mixed cheese, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, poblano peppers, pickled jalapeños, taco meat, carnitas, fajita chicken, carne asada, shrimp, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Winners get a free meal, a shirt, and their picture on the Sammy Hagar’s Macho Nacho Hall of Fame.
The Bomb Challenge at Paddy Long’s in Chicago, Illinois takes five pounds of sausage, pork, and beef, grounds it with spices and wraps it in a weave of brown sugar bacon. It’s cooked over the pig roaster and served with a side of fries that normally feeds over a dozen people. And you only have 45 minutes. Winners get a free meal, a shirt, and a photo on the wall of fame.
The Godzilla Roll Challenge at Sushi Delight in Lomita, California combines quantity and heat with a ridiculous six-pound sushi roll full of all kinds of raw fish covered in hot sauce. If the size isn’t tough enough then the burn probably will be, and you only have an hour to finish the whole thing. Winners get a picture on the wall and a free shirt.
The 5-Pound Philly
The 5-Pound Philly Challenge at Jake’s Sandwich Board in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is legendary, and for good reason. The dinner consists of a cheesesteak that’s two-feet long, alongside four soft pretzels, a dozen Tastykakes, two dozen peanut chews and a large Champ Cherry soda. You get 45 minutes to finish the massive meal, which’ll cost you $70 if you lose. Winners get a free shirt and their picture on the wall of fame.
The Terminator Challenge at Shelby’s Kitchen and Deli in Deerfield Beach, Florida is this article’s first big breakfast. The meal is made up of a 24-inch pancake, that basically acts as the plate underneath the rest of the food, which consists of four fried eggs, six sausage patties, a pound and a half of bacon, a pound and a half of home fries, and two slices of toast. Winners get a free meal.
The Il Diavolo
The Il Diavolo Pizza Challenge at the Six Feet Under fish house in Atlanta, Georgia takes place across the street from one of the city’s biggest cemeteries, which gives the restaurant its name. You must eat a pie topped with mozzarella and spicy peppers that’s covered in a generous sprinkling of Evil Dust, their house-made blend of dehydrated jalapeño, habanero and ghost pepper flakes, which is also blended into the pizza sauce. Challengers have to sign a waiver.
The Main Event
The Main Event Burger Challenge at the Beer Barrel in Clearfield, Pennsylvania is the priciest so far on this list. The $379 giant is made with an 80-pound beef patty, 30-pound bun, 12 tomatoes, and 160 slices of cheese. But wait, there’s more. It’s then topped with a pound of lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. You have five hours to finish and winners get $350, a shirt and their name on the pub’s wall of fame.
The Spice Challenge at the Pearl Cafe in Florissant, Missouri takes Thai food to the next level by dangerously multiplying the typical spice levels. A waiver states that you understand, “the risks involved in eating extremely spicy food and take full responsibility for injuries, damages or losses.” Winners who finish the flaming meal get a Spice King shirt and their picture of the wall of fame and on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The Knucklehead Challenge at the Knucklehead Hot Dog Diner in Roseville, California offers a free meal to anyone who can finish five quarter-pound hot dogs, three pounds of chili, and a pound of French fries, all covered in handfuls of shredded cheese. The dinner, which weighs over five pounds, must be eaten in just 20 minutes. That’s under half the amount of time typically allotted for most of these quantity challenges.
The Diablo Challenge at Allan’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Portland, Oregon is described by the restaurant as, “a scuba dive into a volcano, after walking on hot coals the day after you went camping in a forest fire.” And you only have 10 minutes to finish the burrito. Not many have won the prize of a free dinner, a handblown glass trophy and a shirt. But if you beat the record time, you get free burritos for a year.
The Jumboli Challenge at Trimbo’s Pizza in Butte, Montana is another big one. You have to eat an 80-ounce Stromboli filled with mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, fried peppers and onions, capacolla, salami, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms, spinach, and ricotta cheese in under an hour. Winners who finish the five-pound meal in 60 minutes get a free shirt and a picture on the wall of fame. Losers end up on the wall of shame.
The Mount Olympus
The Mount Olympus Challenge at the Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, New Jersey is the largest burger yet, weighing in at a massive 50 pounds. Groups of no larger than four people have three hours to take down the giant sandwich, which comes with all the trimmings. They also offer a seven-pound Zeus Burger Challenge that gives one person three hours, or an hour and a half for a pair. Winners of both get a free meal.
The 8th Wonder
The 8th Wonder Challenge also takes place at the Clinton Station Diner and makes the last one look easy. This burger is the largest in the world at an unbelievable 105 pounds. It’s 28 inches in diameter and 11.5 inches tall. Groups of no more than 10 have only an hour to finish it, but winners get a cash prize of $5,000. It has never been beat. Stick around to see more undefeated challenges…
The Ghost Wings
The Ghost Wings Challenge at the Broken Barrel Tavern in Palm Bay, Florida comes with a waiver: “There will be one 20 minute competition for all contestants. Contestants will have 12 minutes to eat 12 Ghost Wings with another 8 minutes of burn time with NO DRINKS, NO DIPPING SAUCE, NO NAPKINS, NO GLOVES, NO LIP BALM, NO BATHROOM BREAKS AND NO WHINING.” Winners get a shirt, a drink and a spot on the wall of fame.
The Ghost Ice Cream
The Ghost Pepper Ice Cream at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware also requires customers to sign a waiver, but this one is just to be able to sample it. The recipe features their You Can’t Handle This Hot Sauce, which combines Heartbreaking Dawns 1841 Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce, Mad Dog 357 Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce, Da’ Bomb Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce and a fresh ghost pepper mash. It’s the hottest ice cream in the world.
The Seppuku Challenge at the Bushido Japanese Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina comes with a message that states, “This is very serious… YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!” Competitors have to eat The Spicy Tuna Hand Roll Challenge Redux, which is ten rolls that get spicier and spicier. Winners receive a headband that, whenever worn, gets them a free appetizer of the chef’s choosing. But win or lose, you still have to pay for the challenge dinner.
The Ultimate Destroyer
The Ultimate Destroyer Challenge at Papa Bob’s Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas is teased in the restaurant’s slogan, “Home of The Destroyer… It’ll Sink Ya!” The massive sandwich comes with essentially everything they serve, and you only get 45 minutes to finish it. The waiver also states that contestants, “Must keep all food down at least 5 (five) minutes after your last bite. If you launch it, you gotta clean it!! (floors, tables, chairs, parking lot, employees, customers, etc.)”
The Jack-n-Grill Challenge at the Jack-n-Grill Restaurant in Denver, Colorado consists of a burrito full of seven pounds of potatoes, a pound of ham, an entire onion, tons of cheese and chili, and a dozen eggs. Winners who finish without taking any bathroom breaks get their picture on the wall of fame and, what is one of the best prizes ever, free food for life at the eatery.
The Habanero Pizza Challenge at the Flying Pie pizzeria in Boise, Idaho isn’t for the faint of heart. The restaurant, which requires a signed waiver, claims, “Habanero Pizzas are too intense for most people who say they like spicy food. For the uninitiated, the huge dose of capsaicin (the spicy component of peppers) overwhelms the senses and confuses the digestive system.” And it’s only available in August, when the peppers are at their spiciest.
The Baronator Challenge at The Baron’s Pub in Suffolk, Virginia adds another big burger to this article. The restaurant offers a free meal to anyone who can finish the three-pound burger on a one-pound bun, topped with two pounds of cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and other condiments. And if that six-pound monstrosity isn’t tough enough, they also make you eat an entire pound of fries on the side.
The 4 Horsemen
The 4 Horsemen Burger Challenge at Chunky’s Burgers in San Antonio, Texas lives up to its epic name. The restaurant claims it’s “Hottest Burger on the Planet,” which makes sense considering it’s made with jalapeno and serrano peppers, habanero sauce, and the dreaded ghost pepper. Competitors even get a Chuck Bucket to use if they get sick. If you finish it in 25 minutes your picture goes on the Wall of Flame.
The Death Row
The Death Row Challenge at Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish in Franklin, Tennessee outdoes all their other spice options, which range from Original, Cry Baby, Stop, Drop and Roll, Rambo or Executioner. Not many have been able to eat the three jumbo wings in 10 minutes. This is another waiver-worthy dish that must be prepared wearing gas masks.
The Pho Lucky
The Pho Lucky Challenge at Pho Lucky in Novi, Michigan dares customers to eat a heaping bowl of pho in under an hour. The pho is made with two pounds of meat, three pounds of noodles, and a whole lot of broth. Winners get the $20 bowl for free, along with a shirt and their picture of the wall of champions. Losers get a photo with a “Loser” sign on the restaurant’s website.
The Carnivore Challenge at the Sky Pizzeria in Kennesaw, Georgia serves up the restaurant’s Big Pie to anyone who thinks they can eat it. The 11-pound, 30-inch pizza usually costs $50, but if you and a friend can finish one in under an hour, you’ll walk away with $250. But just know that very few have actually completed this crazy challenge.
The Pancake Challenge at the Seiad Valley Store and Cafe in Seiad Valley, California is one of the most popular in this article. Customers are dared to eat five pounds of pancakes in under two hours. Winners get the meal free and their picture on the wall of fame. There’s a similar challenge at the Hilton Waikiki in Honolulu, Hawaii that only gives you 90 minutes.
The Deuce Challenge at the Burger Stop in Layton, Utah gets its name from the restaurant’s most notorious patty. The Deuce is described as, “nearly two pounds of fresh ground beef, 5 slices of cheese and 4 strips of thick cut bacon all with our special sauce and topped with crispy fried onion rings!” Winners who finish it in under 30 minutes get a shirt and a picture posted on their website and social media.
The Wing King
The Wing King Challenge at the West End Tavern in Boulder, Colorado boasts the largest serving of wings on this list. And it’s spicy to boot. Contestants have to eat 50 hot wings in under half an hour. Winners get a free dinner, a shirt, and an “immortalized” photo on the website until “the end of time and thereafter.” Losers have to pay for the wings.
The Cheese Truck
The Cheese Truck Challenge at the Cheese Truck in New Haven, Connecticut asks participants to finish ten whole grilled cheese sandwiches. You must order one additional topping, of your choosing, for each sandwich, and finish within an hour. Winners get all 10 sandwiches for free, one free sandwich every week for the following year, and a sandwich of their choice named after them.
The Land Lubbers
The Land Lubbers Challenge at the Port Royale Grille in Islip, New York starts off easy but then gets harder and harder. First, you have to eat either soup or salad. That’s nothing, except it’s followed by a full rack of ribs, a 14-ounce grilled rib-eye steak, a pound of pulled pork, a half-pound of BBQ chicken, French fries, coleslaw, and baked beans. Winners get the meal free.
The Kitchen Sink at SFC
The Kitchen Sink Challenge at the San Francisco Creamery dares customers to eat a sundae that usually serves six, made up of three sliced bananas, eight scoops of ice cream, eight servings of toppings, mounds of whipped cream, chopped toasted almonds, and cherries. Winners get free ice cream for a year. And there’s another famous Kitchen Sink Challenge that takes a different approach…
The Kitchen Sink at J&J
The Kitchen Sink Challenge at the J&J Pizza Shack in Indiana, instead of an insane amount of ice cream, consists of an enormous deep dish pizza loaded with 11 different toppings. It’s meant to serve six to eight people. This is one of the challenges that went undefeated for years, but the few who’ve won got the meal for free. Almost everyone else wasn’t as lucky.
The Hail Mary
The Hail Mary Challenge at the Stadium Grill in Columbia, Missouri is another that almost no one has beat. The burger is made with four all-beef patties, each weighing over a pound, served between two big ciabatta rolls and topped with fried eggs, bacon, onion straws, and pulled pork. And don’t forget the pound of fries. The rare winners get a free meal, naming rights, and a $50 gift card each month for a year.
The Inferno Bowl
The Inferno Bowl Challenge at Nitally’s Thai-Mex Cuisine in St. Petersburg, Florida is undefeated probably because it’s so dangerous. It consists of a 48-ounce bowl of Inferno soup that must be eaten in under half an hour. They use such spicy ingredients that the waiver states participants, “must be of sound mind and body and totally sober to compete.” If you can finish you get $100, but must pay $65 if you can’t.
The Full-o-Bull Challenge at the Cowtown Diner in Fort Worth, Texas has yet to be conquered. The meal includes a 64-ounce chicken fried steak, two pounds of gravy, four pounds of mashed potatoes and 10 pieces of Texas toast. Participants have all day to finish, and the first who does will get the dinner for free and a shirt that says, “I came to Cowtown Diner hungry and left Full-o-Bull.”
The That Burger Challenge at That Bar in Danville, California consists of a monstrous mass of meat and cheese, with a woven bacon patty, covered in crispy shoestring fries and barbecue sauce, as well as a half pound of onion rings and fries on the side. Winners get a shirt that says, “I ate That Burger at That Bar and it was That Good.”
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