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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pittsburgh Steak Company - The Great Southside Burger Challenge

The hamburger that ruined my life.
So far we've had a number of food challenges and I've always been able to declare a definitive winner. Unfortunately, last week was the exception. The only winner of The Great Burger Challenge was the hamburger itself and the lucky happy hour guests who received concert tickets from Unlock Pittsburgh.

The three pound burger from Pittsburgh Steak Company literally kicked my ass. Sure, three pounds might not sound like much. But when you consider that the thing is served with an entire loaf of bread, french fries, onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, cheese, tomato and lettuce - the total weight is much closer to five pounds. The time limit to finish the burger is one hour. After some computation, I've determined that it took me approximately 86 hours as I was unable to finish the thing until Monday morning.

To train for the competition, I consumed one large meal each day during the week. Golden Palace Chinese Buffet, Ambridge Police Station pizza and Las Palmas tacos respectively. The day of the competition I woke up and had a stiff apple cider vinegar drink to aid with digestion and basically starved myself except for chugging water to keep my stomach expanded. This "training" was no more than an experiment in gluttony due to my miserable failure.

I think the most remarkable thing about the burger, other than the size, was how good it was. I would probably go order it again and share it with 6-8 friends. I had assumed it would be somewhat dry due to the logistics of cooking a burger this large, and attempting to serve three of them at the same time for the purpose of the competition. However, it was actually very succulent, well prepared and delicious -  for the first twenty minutes.

About twenty minutes into the competition I knew I was a dead man. I didn't want to discourage my competitors so I kind of picked at my french fries and feigned interest in the burger.  About thirty minutes in, I couldn't even look at the god damned thing anymore. It had beaten me. The food had won and I wanted to go chain smoke cigarettes. At the end of the competition I spoke to the owner of the Pittsburgh Steak Company, I told him, "yeah, I never really thought I could eat it." His reply was, "I know son. I know." Nice guy.

In case you are interested in the logistics of attempting this challenge: the burger costs $35 dollars, you must call in advance, if you finish the burger, the fries and all the fixings, it is free, you get $25, a t-shirt and your name on the wall. You are free to choose your toppings, but we decided that not selecting all of the toppings was tantamount to cheating. Out of over two hundred attempts, only two people have eaten the burger so far. Those two people are probably dead now.

The one time I require assistance from the Hamburgler and he's nowhere to be found.......

Pittsburgh Steak Company on Urbanspoon

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