When we heard that there was a pub within driving distance of New York that served a 15 pound hamburger, we had no choice but to immediately begin planning a road trip. I mean think about that – FIFTEEN POUNDS OF HAMBURGER – that is two times the size of most newborn babies – and equal to 60 quarter pounders from McDonalds. There was no way that this could be passed up.
We looked up golf courses in the area and figured out a way to make a day of it. In the end - It wound up being a pretty monuments day in the history of the Burger of The Month (BOTM) Club. Some would say that this was where it all started. The four people who went on this trip (Adam, Dave, Marc & Brett) would later become four of the five founding fathers of the BOTM, this is the club that is behind burgerrankings.com. The other founding father is Darren who was not along for this trip.
The day began pretty routinely; Marc picked us all up in the city early in the morning. I was supposed to bring bagels for the ride and driving directions – I spaced on both so the next hour or so became a scramble to find breakfast and directions to where we were headed. Once we got everything all sorted out, it was smooth sailing to the golf course. 18 holes later, we were on our way to Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub.
When we pulled into the parking lot, we were immediately struck by the clientele. None of us had ever seen that many Harley’s and pick up trucks in one place before. Our soccer mom Jeep Grand Cherokee was definitely out of place in that lot – but we quietly took a parking space toward the rear and piled out of the car like eager little soldiers on our way into battle.
Once we got inside, we felt even more out of place. We were four boys in kaki shorts and polo shirts surrounded by leather clad large men eating colossal sized meals and speaking in grunts. We asked for a table for four and were escorted to the back room of the bar (far less noise and mess than the bar area – which was just fine by us).
We had pre-ordered our 15 pounder so there was no need to look at the menu - but we did anyway. What we discovered was that the entire menu was full of things that we wanted to order (wings, nachos, skins etc) but we refrained because we knew what we were in for.
When it finally arrived, we were in awe. It was even bigger than we expected (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID – sorry, had to be done). It was served on a large pizza tray, and filled it from edge to edge and was approximately one and a half feet tall. Here are the official specs for all of our statisticians out there - 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers On a bun – and 4 hungry guys staring it down. They serve it with a large butcher knife so that it can be cut into pieces.
After we took about 15 pictures, we began to cut. As we cut it down the center and split the two huge halves apart, we got our first look at the intimidating layers of food. We cut it one more time (into quarters) and each one of us got assigned a 3.75 pound piece of hamburger to eat. That is at least 6 times more than I personally was prepared to take down – but we all dug in anyway.
In the beginning, we were all very excited and quickly made a noticeable dent. About 15 minutes later, the excitement got its ass kicked by intimidation as we began to feel somewhat full already and we hadn’t even eaten 25% of what was in front of us. 10 minutes after that, the meat sweats and stomach noises kicked in. I put down my fork and knife and announced that I was taking a break. The table agreed and we were officially on break.
During the break, we agreed that while a true work of art, this was less than the best tasting hamburger any of us had ever eaten. It tasted like a big baked meatloaf rather than a flavorful grilled burger. By the way, have I ever told you about the most disgusting place I ever took a dump? Well….. this was it. During the break, my stomach started to rebel. It started as a small pain in the lower belly region and gradually became an emergency. Well, Ill spare you the rest of the details except to say, I will never forget it. When I returned to the table, we resumed on our quest to conquer the beast. We valiantly ate a bit more but before we came anywhere near finishing, we threw in the towel. It was not to be. All in all – it was a great day. One day we will return with a bigger group and win.