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15 Most Epic Man V. Food Challenges

Some of the great battles in history include Bird v. Magic, Ali v. Foreman, Jay-Z v. Nas, and Man v. Food. The “man” is Adam Richman, and the “food” is some of the most amazing edible creations you have ever seen. These battles aren’t for the faint of heart (some of them probably weren’t too good for Adam’s heart either), but allow us to tell you about the 15 Most Epic Man v. Food Challenges.

15. Travis On A Silver Platter Challenge

We don’t know who Travis is or why this platter of food is named after him, but what we do know is that it is a ridiculous amount of food. Allow us to walk you through the plate of chow: Three flour tortilla burrito with beans, beef, and flavorful red chile sauce that is smothered with cheese. And because that isn’t enough, of course, let’s throw on a huge mound of french fries right on top of it all so that the entire plate of food weighs in at over 8 pounds! This particular and peculiar challenge took place at the K & I diner in Albuquerque New Mexico on season 4 of the show. In this episode, Richman was there to coach the participants rather than attempt the challenge himself. We will never know if Adam would have been able to do it. But we do know that only two people had ever finished the plate in the allotted hour available and on that day none of the participants even came close.

14. Spicy Phaal Challenge

When it comes to food challenges, there might be none more popular than spicy ones. A simple YouTube search will find men and women everywhere trying to down all kinds of spicy edibles from ghost peppers to Spicy Doritos. So, obviously, there was going to be a spicy offering on this list and it comes in the form of the Spicy Phaal Challenge from the Brick Lane Curry House in New York. The challenge is simple. Finish a bowl of curry. Oh, did we forget to mention the fact that the restaurant claims it has the spiciest curry in the world? And we kinda believe them given that the chef wears, what looks like, a hazmat mask while he prepares the meal and the restaurant revealed that one person attempting the challenge actually had a nosebleed! The curry hit Richman hard but, like the true champ he is, this is another challenge he conquered.

13. 72-Ounce Steak

We will admit we are getting meat sweats just thinking about this challenge. This one took place in Texas (insert “everything is bigger in Texas joke here) at The Big Texan steakhouse. And along with the 72-ounce steak, anyone taking on this challenge also has to finish a baked potato, a shrimp cocktail, a dinner roll, and a salad (because you still need to eat your greens). And for those of you unsure how much 72 ounces is, allow us to put it in some kind of perspective. On the food/cooking site The Kitchn, they describe a recommended serving of steak this way: “Where meat is the main feature of the meal and paired with a few side dishes, we recommend about 1/2 pound (or eight ounces) per person, or up to 12 ounces for bigger appetites and those who love leftovers.” Which makes 72 ounces six times more than the recommended serving size for those with “bigger appetites.” And to top it all off, Richman only had one hour to down it all. Amazingly enough, he didn’t need the full 60 minutes as he swallowed the last bite with about 30 minutes left!

12. MAC Daddy Pancakes

The good thing about this challenge is that it takes place at the MAC 24-7 restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. So, at least Richman got to spend time on the beautiful island. The bad thing about this challenge is that it involved eating three pounds of pancakes with one pound of toppings (fruit, whipped cream, maple syrup, etc). We were curious about the carbohydrate count in such a meal so we did a little math for you. There are about 28 grams of carbs in a 100 gram serving of pancakes. And there are about 450 grams in one pound. Which makes for a total of about 350g of carbs – and that doesn’t include the pound of toppings. Unless you’re training for “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Pro-Am Race for the Cure” this is way more carbohydrates than you should be consuming in a day. Just ask Michael. 

11. The Gigante Burrito

Even those who aren’t fluent in Spanish know what the word “gigante” means. Yup, this crazy Man v. food challenge is one involving a giant burrito. And by giant, we mean a 4-pound one – stuffed with all the requisite burrito goodness. Sure, that is a challenge in itself, but – as with most of these challenges – there was more to it than just the giant burrito. For this one, Richman also had to down a helping of banana pudding and a serving of Mac n’ Cheese – each a half a pound. And as if that wasn’t daunting enough, this challenge – which takes place at Sweet P’s BBQ in Knoxville, Tennessee – had never been conquered. That is until Richman arrived, of course. But, while they gave him a full hour to take it down, Richman only needed 29 minutes to become a conquering hero of the gigante burrito and its side-dish partners. Bravo!

10. 15 Dozen Oysters

Everyone has that one food, or drink, that they used to love so much, but after one bad experience, they can no longer even think about consuming what they once loved so much. For Adam Richman that’s Oysters. It all goes back to 2009, during the 15 Dozen Oyster challenge, at the Acme Oyster House in New Orleans. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, 15 dozen is 180 oysters! When Adam sat down to face this crazy oyster challenge, only 28 other people had ever managed to defeat this challenge – out of over 150 who had tried. But even though the odds were not in his favor, Richman persevered and became the 29th person to successfully down all 180 oysters. But, as we stated earlier, there were consequences. Richman later said that he’s probably had less than a dozen oysters since that challenge. I guess this is the price you sometimes have to pay to be a champ.

9. The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger

There really is no better name for the hamburger in this challenge than the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger. Because that’s exactly what it was: ridiculously big. At Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan they cooked up what they say was the biggest hamburger ever made – and we believe it. We could tell you the thing weighs in at 190 pounds, but as shocking as that number sounds, this is one of those you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it situations. It honestly looks like the size of a small filing cabinet. Now, obviously, there was no way Adam – or anyone – was ever going to take down this burger on their own. So, Richman brought in 40 people to help him, including firefighters and even a KISS tribute band. But while we have no doubt that the group could Rock And Roll All Nite and party every day, even with 41 folks chipping in, the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger wasn’t conquered that day. When all was said and done, the challenge came to a close with 30 pounds of burger still uneaten.

8. The Kodiak Arrest

There’s no way we could have a list of the most epic Man v. Food challenges and not put the man himself, Adam Richman’s, favorite challenge on said list. Which brings us to The Kodiak Arrest from Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse in Anchorage, Alaska. This one also stands out since it’s not your typical food challenge fare. On his trip to the coldest state in the union, Richman warmed up with a meal consisting of wild salmon cakes, grilled veggies, mashed potatoes, crab legs, and reindeer sausage. And for dessert, some ice cream. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? But, the thing is, the whole meal weighed in at six pounds and Richman was given 90 minutes to complete it. Until Richman made his attempt, no one had yet been able to successfully beat the Kodiak Arrest. But Richman was determined not to go home a loser and with that mindset and an expanding stomach, Adam became the first person to ever finish off the entire meal in the time allowed.

7. Fire In Your Hole Hot Wings

What is the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten? Now try to remember that feeling and multiply it by 10! Because that will, maybe, give you an idea of the agony Adam Richman went through in his attempt to defeat the Fire in Your Hole hot wings challenge at Munchies 420 Cafe in Sarasota, Florida. Ghost chilies are supposedly hot enough to kill a person. And while Richman did emerge from this challenge alive, he did later say that that he felt like he “couldn’t breathe” and during the challenge, he exclaimed that it was the hottest thing he’s ever eaten. Needless to say, Adam gave up after just two wings and downed a glass of milk to try and ease the pain. It was later reported that the chef at Munchies admitted to had covered the wings with an entire bottle of Ghost chili extract. We aren’t sure if that was a normal dose for this challenge but we can say that we are very glad we didn’t have to eat them.

6. Hellfire Wings

We all have friends who love spicy food and think they’re tougher than everybody else because they cover everything they eat in Frank’s hot sauce. Well, next time your friend brags about their love of wasabi, tell them about Adam Richman’s Hellfire Wings challenge at Smoke Eaters in San Jose, California. This challenge required competitors to finish off 12 wings in 10 minutes. However,  it’s not as easy as it sounds. These wings come about their “hellfire” name legitimately as they are coated in six ounces of dried habanero peppers. These wings are so hot, that 80 percent of the 9000 people who tried to take on the challenge failed. On the plus side for Richman… he made it through… barely… and became one of the 20 percent. On the negative side, the pain on his face is hard to watch. And not only was he required to lick his fingers clean, but he had to wait five minutes after finishing before being provided a glass of milk. Probably the best glass of milk EVER.

5. Wing King Challenge

After all of the hot and spicy wing challenges Richman has put his body through, we thought a simple “quantity” wing challenge might have seemed like a nice break. To be crowned Wing King, all Adam needed to do was consume 50 chicken wings (that’s about five pounds) in just 30 minutes – with blue cheese dressing of course. Piece of cake, right? While one wing every 30 seconds might not seem that unreasonable, only 15 of 90 previous competitors had been able to do it. With 14 wings still to go as time ran out, Adam Richman was not going to be number 16.

4. The Kitchen Sink Dessert

One of the best things about finishing your dinner is that it means it’s time for dessert. Well, that is unless the dessert in question is the Kitchen Sink from the San Francisco Creamery in San Francisco, California. For this challenge, Adam found himself staring down two-pounds of dessert, made up of eight scoops of ice cream, toppings, and whipped cream. At the time of Adam’s attempt, only four people had been able to take down this giant brain-freeze in a bowl. And Richman became number five! However, the epicness of this challenge isn’t just in Adam’s victory, but in his amazing strategy that brought him to the promised land. The last thing you’d think someone taking on this kind of challenge would want is more food, right? But in a brilliant move, in the middle of this one, Adam ordered french fries in an attempt to counter the clawing sweetness. And it worked! French fries really do make everything better!

3. Don Juan Challenge

Although the name of the challenge might bring up some ideas that don’t involve food, this is yet another crazy eating challenge that Adam Richman attempted. This one took place at the Juan In A Million restaurant in Austin Texas and Adam was faced with the daunting task of taking down eight one-pound breakfast tacos (containing eggs, bacon, potatoes and cheese in a flour tortilla). Adam needed to finish eight of them to best the former record of 7. But, alas, on this day, the challenge was the victor as Adam was only able to finish four of them. And that’s even after taking a nap after number four (there is no time limit on this one). But the little snooze didn’t help and after digging into number five he knew it just wasn’t going to be his day and he conceded defeat.

2. Fat Sandwich

RU Hungry is a food truck in New Brunswick, New Jersey, famous for its Fat Cat Sandwiches – sub sammies packed with everything from chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and beef salami. To emerge victorious from the Fat Sandwich challenge, competitors must finish off five Fat Cat sandwiches (three for females) of their choosing in just 45 minutes. The five sandwiches Adam selected weighed in at a total of seven pounds. And while he got close, he was only able to finish off four of them by the time the clock ran out on this challenge. So close, yet, so far.

1. Five Milkshakes

If we’re being honest, of all the challenges on this list, this one actually seems like something a little easier to handle – at least on the surface. But after taking a closer look at it, we can honestly say… it’s not! Milkshakes are awesome, there is no doubt about that. But drinking five of them equals a whole lotta milk and lactose, which our bodies just can’t handle. We’re not made to break down lactose so fast, and this challenge, which took place at Crown Candy Kitchen in St. Louis, Missouri, required competitors to finish the five milkshakes in 30 minutes or less. When Adam sat down to slurp his five milkshakes, only 22 other people had emerged victorious. Sadly, on that day Richman did not become number 23. In fact, the most important number for Richman on that day was the number 2 – After drinking down the coffee milkshake, he ran to the bathroom, and well, let’s just leave it at that.

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