I Held the "Big Texan" Steak Record for 21 Years, Until Last Night

Posted: Mar 25, 2008 1:56 PM
I Held the "Big Texan" Steak Record for 21 Years, Until Last Night

The Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, offers a Free 72 oz. Steak—if you can finish it in less than an hour.

I’ve done it seven times.

The meal consists of a shrimp cocktail, dinner salad, roll and butter, baked potato and The Steak. Yes, it 72 ounces—that’s four and-a-half pounds—about the size of a large phone book.

And no, I didn’t get sick—not once.

Of course it’s good. Delicious in fact!

No, I can’t do it with any other food. I tried, got sick every time—and I gave up.

The secret? It’s all in the wrist—the cutting motion is a lot like throwing a nasty slider.

The first time I did it was in February 1976, on my way to my first Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds, and I did it in 21 minutes. That fall, on my way home, I completed it in 19 minutes. The next spring, 17; on the way home, 15; the following spring, 13; then 11 on the way home in 1978.

My fastest time—and the world record for almost 21 years—was set in May 1987 in which I did it in 9½ minutes. I thought it would be my last time through town, since my career was coming to an end, and I was right. I haven’t been back to the most famous steak house in the world since then.

I’ve always been so proud of The Record. In many ways, I’m more known for The Steak than I am for my 8-year mediocre pitching career or my radio show in Los Angeles.

But, until yesterday, no one had ever eaten The Steak faster than I had.

I got the message from Bobby Lee, owner of the Big Texan, when I got home from my show last night. He said, “I hate to tell you this, the guy that beat Kobayashi’s hot dog eating record last year at Nathan’s has just beaten your record. I saw him do it myself. He did it in 8:52!”

So, naturally, I hopped online and found that I had lost to Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, currently ranked #1 by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. He holds gobs of records, is just 24 years old, and is simply the best competitive eater in the world, who likely will go on to break every record there is.

You know, these professionals are taking all the fun out of gluttony.

Congratulations, Jaws. I can’t wait to watch the YouTube video of you doing it!

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