Big Texan Steak Ranch
Big Texan Steak Ranch information
A classic, hokey Route 66 roadside attraction, the Big Texan made the move when I-40 opened in 1971 and has never looked back. Stretch-Cadillac limos with steer-horn hood ornaments offer free shuttles to and from area motels, marquee lights blink above, a shooting arcade pings inside the saloon, and a big, tall Tex road sign welcomes you (after taunting billboards for miles in either direction).
The legendary come-on: the ‘free 72oz steak,’ a devilish offer as you have to eat this enormous portion of cow plus a multitude of sides in under one hour, or you pay for the entire meal ($72). Contestants sit at a raised table to ‘entertain’ the other diners and you can watch anytime via a live webcam (we watched one beefy guy who started out all cocky but by the 45-minute mark was less than half done and staring glumly at the door).
Less than 10% pass the challenge, although in 2014 one ravenous lunatic (a 125-pound woman named Molly Schuyler) wolfed it all down in 4 minutes 58 seconds, then ate a complete second serve by the 9:59 mark! Insane eating aside, the ranch is a fine place to eat, the steaks are excellent – and still huge – and we had a very fine prime rib. Adding to the fun are strolling cowboy troubadours, a beer garden with 11 superb house-brewed beers and a buzzing bar. In a word, it’s a hoot!