These competitions aren’t for everyone. But for the most daring culinary connoisseurs, a good food challenge can be part sport and part savagery.
I have twice been named a champion at the Frankie’s Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest, consuming more than 10 hot dogs each time. During a trip to Alaska, I became the fifth person ever to complete the Kodiak Arrest Challenge at Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse and Anchorage, devouring a massive plate of crab nuggets, reindeer sausage, king crab, sides and desserts.
Baton Rougeans are no stranger to eating good food—and sometimes eating too much of it. You can hang your hat on uber-indulgent dishes around the city, taming the Illegal Burrito at Izzo’s, gorging on the 5-pound Pizza at Rotolo’s or devouring an entire muffaletta at Anthony’s Italian Deli.
But the challenges below carry a little more weight, with some strict rules and big prizes. Whether you want to go for the spiciest wings or you’re ready to tackle the biggest burger out there, here’s some expert advice on how to conquer them.
City Pork Deli & Charcuterie
The challenge: Eat a 3.5-pound house-made porchetta sandwich with accompaniments by yourself.
The prize: City Pork T-shirt
The price: $24 for the whole Hog Wild
Fun fact: This sandwich will be featured on Food Network’s Ginormous Food in July.
15 DOZEN CLUB
Acme Oyster House
The challenge: Eat 15 dozen oysters in one hour.
The prize: Free hat and T-shirt and your name on the Wall of Fame
The price: Half off the price of 15 dozen oysters if you complete it. If you break the house record, you eat free. If you don’t complete it, you’re paying the full price of however many dozen oysters you ate. You must tip the shuckers either way, of course.
Running champ: Major League Eater and Louisiana Culinary Institute graduate Adrian Morgan currently holds the house record for Acme’s Baton Rouge location at 42 dozen oysters in one hour.
Advice: “Oysters are a food that taste-overload comes easy, so I have to mix up the flavors,” Morgan says. “Root beer and sweet potato fries break up the salty flavor of the oysters with something sweet. The texture is so wet and slimy that you have to break that up, too. At least try to break up flavors with hot sauce and lemon juice … Any other food is easier to get through than oysters.”
Big Ben Burger Challenge
The challenge: Finish a 4-pound burger with all the fixings and 2 pounds of cheese fries within one hour.
The prize: A spot on the Wall of Fame
The price: The meal is free if you finish. Otherwise, you’re forking over $40.
Advice: “The entire thing is almost
7 pounds of food. Take small bites,” says Morgan, who is also one of three people to have completed this challenge. “I took a huge bite and was too eager, then had to choke it down. Use plenty of liquids to help wash it down. This one is tough.”
Pluckers (both Nicholson and Bluebonnet locations)
The challenge: Must finish 25 “Fire In The Hole” spicy bone-in wings
The prize: Your picture on the Wall of Fame; T-shirt and gift card if you break the record
The price: $19 on Mondays (when you can get all-you-can-eat bone-in wings)
Advice: These are Pluckers’ hottest wings by far, so be ready to breathe fire! You definitely want to keep a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing around for dipping to help quell the inferno on your tastebuds, but even that likely won’t be enough. Go for a glass of milk, and don’t stop eating until all 25 are down the hatch!
This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.