The Big Texan – Amarillo, TX


If you’ve driven through any parts of the American West, on or near I-40, you’ve likely seen the signs for the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  And their 72 ounce steak challenge – eat the shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, with roll, butter, and of course the 72 oz. steak, in one hour, and it is free.  Don’t eat it and you pay the full $72.00.  We have some friends in Amarillo, so I asked my beloved what she’d think about asking the McGs to join us for dinner.  She thought it was a neat idea.  I thought that it might kitschy for them, but they were excited to join us, and plans were made.

We decided that we’d call when we got close, and in my failure to note that we were losing an hour coming from New Mexico, we ended up arriving for dinner after 8:30.  Crazy thing was, the place was packed.  There were people all over the place, including a group of 30-ish from Australia, who were there to cheer on two of their mates in attempting the steak challenge.  We sat down right after they started the clock and were finishing our meal when they finished the challenge.  They both came up short – in fact, for one of them, the entire meal came up (they have a bucket for such a purpose right by the challenge table…)

We declined the challenge, but were there for the steaks.  We both started with their tomato and onion salad,

which was seasoned quite well.  In another couple of weeks, when tomatoes hit the peak of their season, this would have been an awesome salad.  As it was, it was a very good start to the meal.  Jo ordered the 8 ounce filet,

which, as you can see, was dwarfed by the plate.  Her steak was cooked exactly as she requested and fork tender.  Our friends were sharing a 30 ounce porterhouse.

This is the 20 ounce porterhouse that came to the table.  Nothing was said but shortly after the food arrived, the manager came to the table with a 10 ounce ribeye, apologizing for the mistake.  I chose the Texas strip.

FYI – there was no Kansas City or New York strip here (we were in, by-God-Texas!) and it was a very good steak.  I like a steak that tastes like beef (not fancy marinades or rubs) and this one was seasoned very well.  Have I eaten better steaks?  Sure.  But I’ve eaten a lot that were worse for comparable money and the atmosphere is one you need to experience (they have a gigantic gift shop, there’s a roaming cowboy band).  

And the company could not be beat.
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