Free 72 oz. Steak!

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.

Big Texan

The World’s Best Known Roadside Sculpture

Few miles west outside the city of Amarillo, Texas, on Interstate 40, if you pay attention on south side of the road, you can see an interesting artwork in the middle of the field. It’s the Cadillac Ranch, a sculpture built as a tribute to one of the most iconic American cars. In 1974, a group of artists called the Ant Farms built this ‘sculpture’ by taking ten Cadillac automobiles ranging from 1949 to 1963 models and burying them halfway into the ground nose first. A local millionaire named Stanley Marsh 3 let the artists built the sculpture on his land. In 1997, the sculpture was moved about 2 miles away to where it is located today to accomododate the growth of the city of Amarillo. Today the sculpture still remains there on the side of the Interstate, and anyone is welcomed to stop by and check out the sculpture. In addition, writing graffiti on the cars with spray paint is also encouraged, so you would surely see something different when you visit it at different time.

This was one of the landmarks that we thought we should try to find and see in person during our coast-to-coast road trip. But spotting it was not easy as we had never been there before and we had been driving for quite a while since we left Santa Fe, NM, with a brief stop in Tucumcari. We also wanted to make sure we get there before it gets dark.

As we got closer to Amarillo, I asked my brother to look to the side of the road for any sign of the sculpture. Finally we saw several cars parked on the side of the frontage road on the side of the Interstate highway. In a distance, we saw the 10 Cadillac cars that made up the Cadillac Ranch. We found the nearest exit and parked our car on the road side, and went through the unlocked gate into the pasture and joined several other people who were also checking out the sculpture.

While we were there admiring this unique artwork, we saw a group of people coming. It looked like a wedding party as we saw many of them dressed up, and sure enough the bride and groom came not long after. They came there to do some photoshoot near the sculpture. Quite an interesting location for a wedding photoshoot. I suppose beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and those seeing the photos would surely identify the place as something unique to Amarillo. Yet another quirky find on Route 66.

Cadillac Ranch