Texas is known as a place for good steak. One of the places to get good deal on really good steak is the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. You can get a free Texas-sized portion of steak, 72 oz. there, with one condition: you have to finish it up with the side dishes in one hour. If you try it but you fail to finish it, it would cost you $72. More than 50,000 people had tried this challenge with about a fifth of them able to complete the feat.
We heard of this place on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. Even though my brother and I used to live in Texas for a couple of years, we never had any reason to drive through Amarillo, until our coast-to-coast trip. The Big Texan is located right on the side of Interstate 40, and they have a very big sign in front of the bright yellow building, so you can’t miss it.
We had been traveling quite a distance, starting in Holbrook, AZ, bright early in the morning. We decided to skip lunch after our visit to Santa Fe, NM, in order to make time to get to Amarillo to see the Cadillac Ranch before sunset. We did make it to Amarillo before it got dark, and after spending some time at the Cadillac Ranch, we’re ready to continue on and by then we’re pretty hungry as well. Great timing to go to a place known for its gigantic portion of meat.
The place was quite interesting. You’re welcomed by a giant cowboy boot outside on one side of the restaurant, and a big bull on the other side. As you get inside, the atmosphere was quite festive. There was a gift shop selling Texas and Route 66 memorabilias, nicely decorated hallways, and a big dining hall where the meals were served. In the middle of the dining hall there was a stage with a table and a digital timer. Looks like that’s where the challenger would eat in front of everyone. You can also see the open kitchen on one side of the restaurant with the grill cooking the steaks.
We were hungry, but we didn’t think we could do the 72 oz. challenge. But we did have the steaks; each of us ordered a 16 oz. prime rib. They were cooked nicely, medium rare to our order, and both of us thought it was delicious and worth skipping lunch for. We were seated pretty close to the open kitchen, so while eating we could also see the cooking staff grilling the steaks there.
Below is a photo taken outside the restaurant of the big bull advertising the free 72 oz. steak. You can see a Ford Excursion, the largest SUV you could get at that time in the US, parked next to it as a comparison of size. They say everything is big in Texas, and this place surely confirmed that.