Last weekend Leslie & I packed our car and were on our way to the Texas Panhandle. We opted for an Oklahoma City Chili’s and Holiday Inn Express pit stop to break up the 9 hour drive. Our time in Oklahoma City was brief and filled with panhandlers (how ironic), giant beers, the Golden Girls, and the infamous pancake machine with our complimentary breakfast.
We arrived in Amarillo, Texas just in time to grab some sushi and head over to The Cadillac Ranch which is an installation of graffiti-decorated cars, partly buried in a field. Who knew spray painting Cadillac’s would be so rewarding?!
While we were in the neighborhood, a local husband and wife drove us to the intersection that was recently featured on Dateline in the Pink Gun Mystery. It could have been a random ditch for all we knew but we appreciated their interest in showing us all that Amerillo offers, both the good and the bad.
Next stop, the main event. The primary reason we made the long haul to Amarillo. The tiniest little human who looks amazing in blush pink, rocks her pearl pacifier clippy thing, and smells of fresh lavender. Caroline Arlene Hairgrove. At just six weeks old she already has her auntie wrapped around her tiny little finger.
What could we possibly do after the main event? It seems as if there is nothing that could match the excitement and awe of a perfect baby. Looks like our only option was to checkout The Big Texan Steak Ranch. This place had something for everyone. If you want a cowhide planner, they've got it. If you want to eat in a dining room surrounded by the heads of the very animals you are dining on mounted along the walls, they've got that too. Or maybe you want to practice your shooting skills, they have you covered. We decided to take in the full experience but spent most of our time at the Brewery. Here is a little history about this wonderland that is the Big Texan Steak Ranch cited straight from their website, so I know it is full of facts and actual quotes.
The FREE 72 ounce steak dinner legend was born soon after the original Route 66 Big Texan opened it’s doors in 1960, owner Bob (RJ) Lee was amazed at how many Texas Cowboys were coming in for his huge Texas size steaks that his menu offered. He also saw how much fun his out of town patrons & visitors were having watching these true Texans trying to “out do” each others carnivorous appetites. Most of his Big Cowboys dinners came from a near-by stockyard operation, & would stop in after a long days work. Friday’s were payday at the stockyard & he would cash their paychecks & offer 25 cent beer. Note, the brewery does not currently sell 25 cent beers.
One Friday, RJ put several tables together in the center of the dinning room & sat all the cowboys together & told them he wanted to see who could eat the most one pound steaks in an hour. The cost was $5 per eater & whoever ate the most got to keep the entire entry-fee. Also note, the cost per eater is no longer priced at $5 per person.
The rules were simple; you could not get up during the contest or have anyone help you eat, you did not have to eat the fat & if you got sick, you were out. The cowboys put in their money, took a seat & the contest was on, steaks were flying.
One of the eaters took the lead by swallowing two steaks in ten minutes. OMG, how is that even possible? Next, he politely requested a salad & a shrimp cocktail be served with his third steak. Because why wouldn't you want shrimp cocktail and a salad? They do compliment a steak nicely. He consumed the extras, then this soft spoken giant called for his fourth steak & ask for a baked potato & a bread roll. I would probably do the same thing, carbs are my kryptonite. He wasted little time devouring those items & called for his fifth steak. Wait, what?
As the hour contest came to an end, this gastronomic superman had eaten: 4 & 1/2 pounds of steak, (which is 72 ounces) baked potato, shrimp cocktail, salad & a bread roll. May I point out, from a logistics standpoint this is impressive. Numerous 72 ounce steaks were cooked to perfection within the one hour timeframe allowing plenty of time for each cowboy to eat as many as they could stomach. Prepping salads, shrimp, baked potatoes, and bread, just image the line of cooks this kitchen must employ! Anyway, back to the facts.
In RJ's amazement & delight of the crowd, RJ stood up on a chair in the middle of the dinning room to proclaim that: “from this day forward, anyone who could eat the entire 72 ounce dinner-in one hour– would get it for FREE. On that date in 1962 the legendary 72 oz Steak Challenge was born & to this date the contests stands strong.
The Big Texan Brewery started serving hand craft beers June 24, 2011 after a lengthy process. The amount of work that was needed to put a dream into reality started decades ago and many miles apart between Tom Money (Brewmaster) and the Lee Brothers (Bobby & Danny).
Wow, what an adventure the Big Texan was. So much history and a gift shop full of confusing yet interesting items. Speaking of confusing, here is another photo from our trip to Amarillo. I am not sure what the gas mask, fur shawl, and wet suit were all about but I liked it! Oh and I like giant beers while sitting on patios.
One last stop, Leslie threw down some beats and was the DJ for her nephew Charlie's 3rd birthday. No photos of Charlie because he is super fast and every picture we took was a blur. Checkout DJ Leslie on the turntables!
This concludes our amazingly fun trip to Amarillo, Texas. I hope you learned a little something about the Texas Panhandle and all it has to offer. If you have more questions or simply want more stories, please comment below! In the words of our favorite local yokel Khristi Jones, "Llama tell you about it".
Until next time,