Insane Eating Challenges You’ll Have to See to Believe

By Melody D. FosterLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:27:02 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: US Marine Corps/Wikimedia

Some people will do anything for bragging rights and a free meal, even if it means downing an insane amount of food. Lots of gut-busting food challenges include massive amounts of food no human should consume in a day, let alone in an hour or less, but that doesn’t stop hungry restaurant patrons from unbuttoning their pants to try some absurd culinary challenges.

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After all the prize is usually so worth it — typically a T-shirt, a photo on a Wall of Fame and no charge for the meal. Yes, that’s sarcasm, but if it sounds like a great deal to you, here are 30 insane eating challenges you’ll have to see to believe.

Feed Bag Challenge

Served up on a literal shovel, the Feed Bag Challenge at KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester, New Hampshire, consists of a meaty 6 pounds of barbecue. The shovel holds every kind of meat offered at the Rib Shack, including a full rack of ribs, and it’s served with two full pints of sides and cornbread.

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Photo Courtesy: @garystager/Twitter

This meal is intended to feed a hungry group of three to five people, but if you’re up for a solo challenge and can finish off the entire spread in less than 30 minutes, you get the $70 meal free — plus your name and photo on the Wall of Winners. The Feed Bag Challenge was featured on Wicked Bites, and host Mike Wendt couldn’t complete the challenge.

Moose Omelette Challenge

Hungry for breakfast? You can dig into a full carton of eggs in the gigantic Moose Omelette at Moose McGillyCuddy’s Pub & Cafe in Hawaii. The famous omelette is stuffed with bacon, sausage, mushrooms, onions and cheese and served with a side of breakfast potatoes and toast.

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If you can finish the $25 Moose Omelette Challenge in less than an hour — be sure to clean your plate! — you win a free T-shirt and get your photo added to the Wall of Fame. Professional eater Randy Santel conquered the Moose Omelette in less than eight minutes in 2018.

Jumboli Challenge

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Photo Courtesy: @Foodchallenge/Twitter

The gigantic 80-ounce Jumboli stromboli is filled with mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, fried peppers, onions, capicola, salami, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms, spinach and ricotta. Eating it in less than an hour won you a free T-shirt and your picture on the Wall of Fame.

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Sadly, Trimbo’s Pizza restaurant and brewery closed its doors for good in 2016 but not before Adam Richman from Man v. Food accepted the challenge and won. He devoured the monster Jumboli in less than 30 minutes.

Big Fat Ugly Sandwich

There’s nothing pretty about it. The Big Fat Ugly at Fat Sandwich Company in Champaign, Illinois, is made of two rolls, four cheeseburgers, double cheesesteak, chicken cheesesteak, gyro meat, grilled chicken, bacon, sausage, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, pizza bites, onion rings, mini corn dogs, hash browns, American cheese, ketchup and mayo.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

If you can down the 20,000-calorie Big Fat Ugly in 15 minutes or less — what? — you win a free T-shirt, and your sandwich is on the house. Pro eater Randy Santel mastered the sandwich, which was featured on Food Network’s Outrageous Food, with just 10 seconds to spare. He was only the third person to complete the challenge.

Grand Slam Challenge

Typically serving four to six people, the Grand Slam Challenge at Batter Up Pancakes in Fresno, California, offers you the chance to win the $40 meal for free, plus a T-shirt, coffee mug and your photo on the wall.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

The Grand Slam is a 10-egg scramble with your choice of four fillings that are one cup each. Choose from bacon, sausage, ham, spinach, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, olives, jalapenos, tomatoes and avocado. All this comes with a giant 25-ounce pancak, plus two cups of country potatoes and a cup of cheese.

Carnivore Pizza Challenge

If your love for pizza has no limits, grab a friend and head to Big Pie in the Sky Pizzeria in Georgia for the Carnivore Challenge. Down this $50, 11-pound, 20-inch pie in one hour or less and win a $250 cash prize. The Carnivore lives up to its name and is loaded with pepperoni, seasoned beef, Italian sausage, ham and bacon.

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Photo Courtesy: @tk_anakin/Twitter

If you’re not up for the challenge, you can order the Carnivore in a smaller size off the menu, but every Big Pie pizza lives up to the name, with the smallest option still measuring 16 inches. For a personal size, order by the slice instead. To try this challenge, you have to be scheduled in advance, typically during non-peak hours of 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. A lucky few have won the challenge, and their photos are featured on the restaurant’s website.

Mama’s Pasta Challenge

Mama Campisi’s is a family restaurant located in St. Louis’ historic Italian neighborhood, The Hill. For extra hungry diners, Mama’s offers an enormous bowl of spaghetti with Mama’s own marinara sauce topped with a meatball the size of a bowling ball!

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

Patrons who attempt the Mama’s Pasta Challenge and complete it solo win a Mama’s T-shirt, and their $24.99 meal is on the house. As Mama’s says, this challenge is "one person, one meatball, a ‘Hill’ of spaghetti and a whole lot of fun!"

KIDZ Challenge

Don’t be fooled by the name — this challenge isn’t for children. The KIDZ breakfast gets its name from its massive size. Weighing in at 9 pounds, it’s the size of a (large) newborn baby! This challenge at Jester’s Diner in the UK consists of 12 sausages, 12 slices of bacon, six eggs, four black puddings, four slices of bread and butter, four slices of toast, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, a four egg cheese and potato omelet, sautéed potatoes and two hash browns.

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Photo Courtesy: @goldenpasties/Twitter

This food baby is a heart attack on a plate — and a whopping 6,000 calories — that must be taken down by one person in less than an hour. What started as a joke received a lot of criticism from health professionals in the UK and was called "totally irresponsible" by Professor David Haslam from the National Obesity Forum. So far, just one person has ever managed to complete the KIDZ Challenge.

Pho Garden Challenge

The Pho Garden restaurant in San Francisco is now closed, but pho lovers could once dive into the Pho Garden Challenge, which involved devouring a giant bowl of the popular Vietnamese meat and noodle soup dish for a chance to win the $22 meal for free and get their photo on the restaurant’s Wall of Champions.

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The massive bowl of pho had to be consumed in less than an hour and contained 2 pounds of noodles, 2 pounds of beef and tripe and an insane amount of broth. Challengers were also required to sign a liability waiver before taking their first bite of the giant bowl of pho.

Rocky Top Ice Cream Challenge

Talk about brain freeze! The Rocky Top Ice Cream Challenge consists of 16 scoops of ice cream, three bananas, three giant brownies, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, marshmallow sauce, sugar cones, a cup of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, gummy candies and more. Down it in less than an hour, and you win!

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Photo Courtesy: @RandySantel/Twitter

Anyone who is able to conquer the $50, 7.5-pound ice cream sundae at the It’s All So Yummy Cafe in Knoxville, Tennessee, receives the massive sundae for free, plus their photo on the wall and a free T-shirt. Professional eater Randy Santel took a loss on this one.

Big Texan Steak

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including this challenge that includes a 72-ounce steak, shrimp, baked potato, salad and roll with butter. The entire meal must be swallowed up in less than an hour. Give it a go, but you get no help cutting or eating any part of the meal, or you will be disqualified.

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The 72-ounce Steak Challenge started shortly after the original Route 66 Big Texan Steak Ranch opened its doors in Amarillo, Texas, in 1960 and was featured in an episode of Man v. Food. You must pay for the $72 meal up front, but if you complete the challenge, you get your money back, a T-shirt and your name added to the 72-Ounce Hall of Fame.

Inferno Soup Bowl Challenge

Can you take the heat at Nitally’s ThaiMex Cuisine in St. Petersburg, Florida? In this challenge, contestants must eat a devilish 48-ounce bowl of Inferno Soup — a Thai concoction of broth, vegetables and ghost peppers, once the world’s hottest chili pepper.

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Photo Courtesy: @LReiley/Twitter

It was more than three years before the first person conquered the Inferno Soup Challenge. Even chefs Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking of Food Network’s Heat Seekers couldn’t stand the Inferno. If you can finish the Inferno Bowl in less than 30 minutes, you win a cash prize. The exact amount doesn’t seem to be consistent — various sources put the prize between $100 and $1,000.

Bacon Bomb Challenge

Put your love for bacon to the test at Paddy Long’s in Chicago and see if you can eat 5 pounds of ground sausage, pork and beef mixed with spices and wrapped in a weave of brown sugar bacon. This giant mound of meat takes 30 minutes to prepare.

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Photo Courtesy: @RandySantel/Twitter

Dubbed The Bomb, it’s served with a whopping side of fries or potato salad and is intended to serve six to eight people. Eat it alone in less than 45 minutes, and your Bomb is free, along with a T-shirt to celebrate your victory and a spot on Paddy Long’s Wall of Fame. If you lose, you won’t be alone. Plenty of takers have tried and failed to diffuse Paddy Long’s Bomb.

7 Pound Italian Challenge

Stop by Mick and Angelo’s Eatery and Bar in Niagara Falls, Canada, and see if you can finish off a nine course meal consisting of lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, hot Italian sausage, chicken parmesan, manicotti, cannelloni, a loaf of garlic bread, soup and apple crisp a la mode in 90 minutes or less. Talk about carb overload!

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Complete the Italian Challenge, and you get your meal free, a T-shirt and your name on the Mick and Angelo’s Wall of Fame. This challenge bested Adam Richman of Man v. Food, who gave up with 24 minutes to go, earning a spot on the Wall of Shame instead of the Wall of Fame.

2 Pound Donut Challenge

Round Rock Donuts in Texas is known for its "famous yellow donuts," served to hungry Texans since 1926. A staple on the bakery’s menu is a massive, Texas-sized donut that is 14 inches long and weighs in at a full 2 pounds.

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Photo Courtesy: @RoundRockDonut/Twitter

No prizes here, but this sweet treat is worth the drive (on an empty stomach) to Round Rock, Texas, for a photo-op with the bigger-than-your-face pastry. It’s not just the giant donut that patrons love at this donut shop. The bakery produces about 200 dozen original donuts in a single day.

Papa Bob’s Ultimate Destroyer Challenge

Ultimate Destroyer at Papa Bob’s BBQ in Kansas City is made of half a pound of pulled pork, half a pound of smoked sliced pork, a generous squirt of Papa Bob’s sauce, two slices of bread, half a pound of smoked sliced ham, half a pound of smoked turkey breast, more sauce and two more slices of bread.

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Photo Courtesy: @BrentonAnthon16/Twitter

Top that off with three half-pound smoked hamburgers, more sauce, more bread, half a pound of smoked brisket, half a pound of smoked sausage, another squirt of sauce and the top of the hoagie bun. Holy cow, right?

Eat everything on the plate in 45 minutes or less, and it’s free, plus you get your photo on Papa Bob’s Wall of Fame, a T-shirt and a button. If you can’t complete the challenge, the giant sandwich will cost you $58, but at least you can take the leftovers home. Man v. Food made a stop at Papa Bob’s in 2010, and Adam Richman was unable to take down the "Ultimate Destroyer."

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The Challenger Stuffed Pizza

If you and a friend can consume a 22-inch stuffed pizza at Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza Shop in Manchester, Connecticut, in less than an hour, you won’t pay a dime for the $42.75 pizza. Defeat The Challenger, and you walk away with Randy’s swag and a $50 gift card, plus your photo on the Challenger Wall of Fame.

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Photo Courtesy: @Foodchallenge/Twitter

The combination of ingredients in The Challenger are too numerous for even the Randy’s menu to name. You can safely assume the giant calzone-like pizza includes just about everything you can think of to add to pizza, including cheese, meats and vegetables.

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Kitchen Sink Sundae

San Francisco Creamery Co. throws everything at you with the Kitchen Sink Sundae — a gigantic sundae served in a house made "sink." Three sliced bananas, eight scoops of ice cream (your choice of flavors), eight servings of toppings, mounds of whipped cream, chopped almonds and cherries. The $43.95 Kitchen Sink typically serves six to eight people and is advertised as the ideal treat for birthdays and special occasions.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

The goal of the Kitchen Sink Sundae Contest is for one person to finish it in less than the current record time — around 20 minutes — to win free ice cream for a year. Think you can do it? Grab your spoon and head to San Francisco!

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Burger Patty Record Challenge

The normal Squeezeburger at The Squeeze Inn in Sacramento is a burger with almost as much cheese as it has meat. By itself, the Squeezeburger is one that any hungry diner could probably eat — one-third pound burger patty, one-quarter pound cheese, mustard, mayo, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and onions on a sesame seed bun. So, what’s the challenge? You have to break the record for the most stacked patties eaten with cheese.

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Photo Courtesy: @squeezeburgerroseville/Twitter

According to FoodChallenges, the current record is 17 burger patties and 17 slices of cheese. To beat that record and win the challenge, you must finish 18 burger patties and 18 slices of cheese in one sitting. Break the record to get your meal free, plus your photo on the Squeeze Inn Wall of Fame.

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4 Horsemen Burger

Chunky’s Burgers & More in San Antonio is home to the "Hottest Burger on the Planet," according to the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food. The 4 Horsemen burger is made with fresh jalapeno and serrano peppers, habanero sauce and dried ghost peppers. Anyone is welcome to try the burger, but you must be at least 18 years old or have permission from a parent or guardian. You also have to sign the 4 Horsemen Liability Waiver.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

Think you’re brave enough to stand the heat? Try the 4 Horsemen Challenge to see if you can down this atomic burger in 25 minutes or less. Standard food challenge rules apply: no restroom breaks, no sharing, etc. Chunky’s also adds a $20 cleanup fee to anyone who misses the "chuck bucket."

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The Aggie Special

Hullabaloo Diner in Wellborn, Texas, is Aggie Proud and known for The Aggie Special, a monster 12-egg omelet. Give the Aggie Challenge a go and see if you can down the scrambled carton of eggs with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapenos (optional), cheddar, American, swiss, ham, bacon and sausage — with toast and fries, of course. No substitutions allowed.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

The Aggie Special costs $29.99, or order yours smothered with green chili, pepper gravy or sausage gravy for an extra $1.99. Eat it all by yourself to earn a free Hullabaloo Diner T-shirt. Do it faster than the incumbent, and your omelet is on the house.

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Zellagabetsky

Don’t worry, correctly pronouncing the name of this eight-decker sandwich isn’t required to win the challenge. The Zellagabetsky at Kenny and Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston is made on special cut rye with corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, salami, tongue, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, Russian dressing and red sweet peppers.

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Photo Courtesy: @KHOU/Twitter

The famous Zellagabetsky is even bigger than its name and costs a whopping $85. Finish this Texas-sized, New York-inspired sandwich on your own and receive a free slice of cheesecake — you obviously have some room left for dessert, right?

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San Marcos Chupacabra Challenge

San Marcos, Texas, is known for tubing, but here’s another thing that put the Texas town on the map: The Chupacabra Challenge. Even if you arrive hungry, this challenge at Taproom Pub & Grub is sure to give you a belly ache. To finish it, you put down a full rack of ribs, 24 nuclear wings, a Works Pounder (double-decker burger with cheese, mushrooms, jalapenos, onions and bacon), a basket of fries and a basket of onion rings in 45 minutes. Whoa!

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Photo Courtesy: @TaproomTX/Twitter

It’s a whole lot of food, but if you have what it takes, Taproom will pick up the tab, and you walk out with a Chupacabra Challenge T-shirt and bragging rights. If the Chupacabra isn’t your thing, try the Around the World Challenge and see if you can finish all 60 draft, bottled and beer blends Taproom has to offer — not all in one sitting, of course. This is a challenge completed over repeat visits.

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7 Pound Burrito Challenge

The former Jack-N-Grill restaurant in Denver, Colorado, boasted a 7-pound breakfast burrito stuffed with seven potatoes, one pound of ham, a whole onion, cheese, chili and a dozen eggs. At 12 inches long and 6 inches wide, the behemoth burrito was certainly not for the faint of heart.

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Photo Courtesy: @efirstbank/Twitter

It’s a shame Jack-N-Grill is no longer in business, as this challenge offered one of the biggest food challenge prizes. Anyone who could finish the giant burrito in one sitting with no help got their photo on the Wall of Fame, plus free food for life! It took Adam Richman of Man v. Food three and a half hours to finish off the Jack-N-Grill burrito.

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Graveyard Burger

The Graveyard Burger starts off innocent with just a pound of Black Angus beef. Add to it four slices of American cheese, two fried eggs, six slices of bacon, half a pound of pulled pork, half a pound of beef brisket, 8 ounces of coleslaw, 8 ounces of mac and cheese, onion tanglers, jalapeno bottle caps, onion rings and fries in a giant freshly baked roll, and you might feel like you’re headed straight to the graveyard after only a few bites.

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Photo Courtesy: @newyorkupstate/Twitter

Seventy-four patrons tried and failed to down the monstrous burger before one Connecticut man finished the challenge with nearly six minutes to spare. If you can eat this 5.5-pound burger at New York’s Wagon Train BBQ in 30 minutes or less, you get out of the $44.95 bill.

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Chicken Fry Challenge

Take on the Chicken Fry Challenge at Kendall’s Restaurant in Noble, Oklahoma, for your chance to win a T-shirt and a free meal. You have one hour to polish off a salad, huge chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes or fries, green beans, biscuits and cinnamon rolls. Succeed and collect your rewards!

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

It costs $25 if fail to complete the challenge, and you must start before 7 p.m. Don’t worry if you can’t finish. You can take your leftovers home in a "quitter’s box."

The Farm Challenge

"The Farm" at Newsome’s Restaurant in Virginia is a three-part feast. First up is "The Barn," with two quarter-pound burgers, four slices of cheese, two chicken fillets, 10 slices of bacon, two fried eggs, one-third pound of Virginia honey ham, lettuce, tomato (optional) and mayo. Next up is "The Field," more than a pound of Newsome’s Famous Fries topped with a half-pound of cheese sauce. Finish it up with "Just Because," a 32-ounce milkshake in your choice of flavor.

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Photo Courtesy: @newsomes_rest/Twitter

If you can consume the nearly 5 pounds of food in one sitting, your meal is free, and you get an "I Ate the Farm" bumper sticker and your name and photo on the "Newsome’s Farmer Wall of Fame." Just for trying, you get a free "Newsome’s Farm" cup, which comes with 99-cent refills anytime.

Toughman Challenge

If you have a serious case of the munchies, the Toughman Challenge just might be the food challenge for you. At Tanner’s Tavern in Morgantown, West Virginia, you get 45 minutes to finish off two dozen wings in three flavors (dry rub, sweet and heat), an order of bacon cheese fries, an order of barbecue pulled pork potato skins, a pitcher of beer and a shot of Fireball whiskey. If you don’t drink alcohol, Tanner’s will allow you to swap the beer for soda and the whiskey for six more wings.

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Photo Courtesy: @stephaniewueats/Twitter

The catch: You have to hold it all down for 15 minutes after finishing in order to win. Success means a free meal, a free shirt, your name on the Tanner’s Wall of Fame — and a free roll of toilet paper! Okay, then.

Travis on a Silver Platter

In more than 40 years, only two people have been able to polish off the "Travis," an outrageous 8-pound burrito at the beloved K & I Diner in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The family-owned and operated diner first introduced the giant burrito after a patron requested a burrito made with "everything but the kitchen sink." Thus, the Travis was born.

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Photo Courtesy: Yelp

The massive burrito is served on a silver platter and was featured on Man v. Food, with nobody from the show completing the challenge. If you can finish off this gut-busting burrito stuffed with ingredients like beef, beans and cheese and topped with chili and a pile of fries in one hour or less, your meal is on the house.

8th Wonder of the World

Clinton Station Diner’s 8th Wonder burger is so big you have to see it to believe it. Weighing in at a whopping 105 pounds — yes, 105 pounds! — and measuring 28 inches in diameter and nearly 12 inches in height, this $400 burger is the biggest burger on the planet. If you and nine friends can down the burger at Clinton Station Diner in Clinton, New Jersey, in an hour or less, you win $2,000!

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Photo Courtesy: @viejojay/Twitter

Need a smaller challenge? Grab four friends and see if you can finish the "Mt. Olympus" 50-pound burger to win $1000 cash, or go it alone and finish the 15-pound "Zeus" burger in 90 minutes to win $500. There’s just one more rule: Once you’ve won a food challenge at Clinton Station Diner, you cannot compete again for one of the diner’s cash prizes.