Let me start off with a cliché statement – don’t be that guy.
Don’t be that guy at a restaurant that looks at an eating challenge on a menu and says, “that sounds doable, I could definitely do that!” This is especially true if you don’t actually have the intention of attempting the challenge. You know what happens next? The people who heard you utter such a bold statement will hold on to it and pester you every week until you finally exclaim, “FINE! I’ll do it.”
That’s what happened to me, Mike Swanson, that guy. And that’s what led to these not-so-flattering photos, the story of my attempt and my soon-to-be wife whispering such sweet nothings as, “you are disgusting,” as I lay on the couch in agony.
It’s now time to introduce The Handle Bar at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole and their “30-30-30 challenge.” That’s a 30oz multi-patty burger, a 30oz boot of beer and a 30 minute time limit to ingest all of it with a large order of fries. Finish the entire plate and the whole thing is FREE along with the T-shirt and some serious food challenge pride.
After a day of only eating a granola bar and trying to contain my “hangry” demeanor in meetings and interactions with coworkers throughout the day, I hit the Jackson Hole Bike Park for a few laps to build up an even bigger appetite. The base of the Teewinot Lift that accesses the bike park is conveniently located next to The Handle Bar, which makes the combination of downhill riding and delicious food and drinks a win-win. Check out their great specials this summer, like 50% off burgers on Friday evenings by showing your bike park pass/lift ticket (during and after Friday Night Bikes!). Also, order any local draft beer on Friday nights and $1 will be donated to Mountain Bike the Tetons. Don’t miss out on their all-day Happy Hour specials as well!
Note: We were having so much fun out there that we neglected to take any biking photos. But click here to learn more about the JH Bike Park. And yes, shocks, pegs, lucky, I did take it off some sweet jumps.
Now on to the challenge. I will start off by saying that there are a few BIG surprises that differentiate what you picture in your head from what actually arrives on the table as the bell rings and the timer starts.
Here’s what you think: 30oz of beer? No problem, I went to college. 30oz burger? Sure, people who know me know I love to eat. Some would say over-eat (shout out again to my future wife!).
I’ve been known to freak people out in dinner settings where I eat WAY TOO FAST. I can’t explain it, it’s rather primal. It’s embarrassing when I enter this zone and exit it looking down at an empty plate, while others are a few bites into their meal, looking at me like an animal out of its cage. The positive thing about it though – maybe it is a direct advantage in this challenge?
Okay, throw all of that out the window. THIS is what arrives under your face and you are supposed to eat all of it:
That’s right, a seemingly impossible heap of delicious beef, interlaced with mounds of caramelized onions, mushrooms, cheese, bacon (loads of it) and it’s all SWIMMING in a delicious-at-first-but-ultimately-punishing aioli. No mercy was given from The Handle Bar kitchen staff.
Prior to my attempt, I did a little research on burger challenges and went with the advice that you go all protein first; crush all the burger patties except for one. Eat the last burger patty with the bun like a regular burger, then move on to the starch/fries. This advice did not account for 3/4’s of the world’s supply of bacon, onions and mushrooms, the 30oz boot of beer and last but definitely NOT least, that dang aioli.
The burger has arrived, the bell rings, I’m so hungry, LET’S DO THIS!
Okay I got through all the burger patties in about 10 minutes (wasn’t I supposed to leave one? Again, I eat too fast). I’m doing it; gone are most of the onions and mushrooms as well. The lost boys from Hook are in my head:
I will admit, up to this point it was delicious! But oh, was it starting to catch up with me.
May I be excused? No? I need to keep stuffing my face? Okay, time to work on this boot of beer and fries. WARNING: lots of gnarly belching is in your future with this challenge. Thank you, beer. Live with it, be proud of it, don’t worry about other dining patrons judging you harshly. You are on a quest to conquer the holy grail of burgers. No one can stop you!
With 15 minutes to go, all that was left was, you know, a buffet tray of bacon, a few buns, lots of fries, a quarter boot of beer and enough aioli to spread on baguettes and feed the entire French army.
For the record, I can still kick back some beer and I did finish the boot. BOOM.
Wait, was that a bad choice? Yes, yes it was. This is me hitting a wall:
“How can I possibly go on? Is this taking years off my life? Who puts this much aioli on a burger, seriously? Why did I open my big mouth?!”
Finishing the boot was the beginning of the end. I managed to trudge through some bacon and a couple handfuls of fries just to make it look like I made a dent. But right then, as my brain and stomach collectively screamed, “abort mission,” I knew that there was no way I was getting through that unintelligible mound of bun-bacon-aioli and remaining fries. It was time to throw in the towel.
Are you sick of photos of me? Me too! But did you learn the valuable lessons here?
-Don’t belittle an eating challenge you know nothing about unless you plan on defeating it valiantly.
-Don’t open your big mouth in front of people who won’t let you get away with it.
-Don’t expect your future wife to laugh when you say that 30 ounces of burger and beer was your “wedding diet.”
Do you think you have what it takes? Then I DARE YOU to head to The Handle Bar and take on this challenge. Summer or winter, it awaits its next victim. Maybe a full day of skiing bell-to-bell in the winter will do it? Probably not.
It will not be easy, and very few have succeeded in their quest. Good luck!