Free food sounds great, but when the only way to get it is to complete an extreme challenge, most people will gladly pay for their meals. Whether they have to put away pounds of food in a specified time limit or eat extremely spicy food without the benefit of a drink, those who conquer these tasks certainly earn their freebies. Here are 50 challenges across the country for the strong of stomach.
50 Belly-Busting Food Challenges That Offer Winners a Free Meal
At Mimi's Diner & Maltshop in Shoshoni, hungry customers can tackle a 33-ounce burger topped with nine slices of bacon and toppings galore. If the burger (plus a pound of fries on the side) is finished in a half-hour, the meal is free. Winners also get a spot on the Wall of Fame and a free T-shirt.
The Our House Bistro in Winooski offers up the Hungry Man Challenge, a huge breakfast skillet with two bacon-stuffed waffles, a Dutch pancake, four eggs, sausage, Canadian bacon, corned beef sweet potato hash, and home fries. Eat it in 45 minutes or less and the $25 meal is free.
At the Wild Hog Smokehouse in Grand Forks, meat lovers can try the Wild Hog BBQ Sandwich Challenge. This supersize plate includes a half-pound each of pulled chicken, pulled pork, and beef brisket, plus a half-pound of fries. Eat it in 30 minutes or less, and the winners get the meal for free plus a T-shirt. Also-rans must cough up $39.
Devour a $22 order of Monster Nachos at the OverTime Grill in Sioux Falls in 45 minutes, and the meal is free. Be wary, though -- it's about 5 pounds of food, including a pound of chips plus waffle fries, cheese, beef, and more.
At Dover Downs Casino, the Monster Burger meal is free if finished off in 45 minutes. This $25.95 monster is four half-pound burgers, cheese, fried onions, pickles, and onion rings on a humongous buttered bun. To get the meal free, fries and a milkshake must be finished as well.
Slatersville's Gators Pub/Lumberjacks Pizza offers a challenge that gives eaters 45 minutes to hoover in 15 wieners with the works, a 32-ounce beer (or milkshake), and a pound of fries. Losers are stuck paying $25.
The Celebrity Bar & Grill in Bangor challenges diners to eat a 2-pound hamburger topped with a pound of bacon, toppings (like a head of lettuce), and a pound of fries on the side in one hour. Fail and fork over $33.
At M.A.C. 24/7 in Waikiki Beach, Oahu, customers looking to carbo-load can order the Pancake Challenge. Chow down three 14-inch pancakes topped with fruit in 90 minutes and the $24 meal is free. But be forewarned -- even Adam Richman, host of the Travel Channel series "Man v. Food" failed.
Superb Sushi in downtown Boise has a few food challenges. The La Bomba Roll Challenge, unlike the restaurant's Death Roll and Demon's Delight Spicy Challenge, is about bulk instead of spiciness. Pack away four sushi rolls and the side items, in an hour and the $20 meal is free. Any vomiting or bathroom visiting means disqualification. Winners get a T-shirt, a free meal, and a photo on the Wall of Fame.
This 2-pound burger challenge at Skybox Sports Bar in Charles Town includes a half-pound of bacon and an entire head of lettuce, and the burger is accompanied by a pound of french fries. Eat it in an hour and the $23 meal is free.
The Game Sports Bar and Grill in Las Cruces has a great challenge for speedy eaters. Eat a 3-pound, chile-pecan-encrusted burger piled high with bacon and veggies, along with a side of fries, in eight minutes and bypass the $22 bill.
Up for a giant bowl of soup? Pho 87 in Las Vegas gives contenders just a hair over 33 minutes (1987 seconds) to down an 11-pound bowl of soup loaded with meat, noodles, veggies, and broth. Not only do winners eat for free, but they cash in a jackpot that is currently $1987. Because of a few too many sore losers, however, the restaurant now requests an entry fee.
Contenders must pony up $58 to take Papa Bob's Ultimate Destroyer Challenge in Bonner Springs. If the piles of beef, pork, hamburgers, and sausage (plus the big side of fries and pickles) are completely finished, the restaurant will refund the money. While there's no charge for fountain drinks, competitors who dunk any of their food in a drink are disqualified.
Kirby Kupcakes in Rogers offers up a monster cupcake -- equivalent to 22 regular cupcakes -- for free, but only if every bite is eaten in 30 minutes. Contestants must also wait an additional five minutes without rushing to the bathroom before the $45 fee is returned. Winners also get a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame. Photos of losers go on the Wall of Shame.
Maria's Cantina in Southaven has a burrito challenge that actually pays winners. For $22, customers can take on the Ocho Cinco Five Pound Burrito, and if every morsel is gone in 45 minutes, the winner receives $100 and their photo on the Wall of Fame. Losers end up on the Quitter's Wall of Shame.
At Scrud's Gourmet Grub in Ogden, big eaters can belly up to the Bodacious Burger Challenge. The $30 patty stuffed with meats and cheeses is free if finished off in an hour, along with its gigantic bun and side order of fries.
At Smokin' G's in Marshalltown, those with big appetites can take the Barn Yard BBQ Challenge. In 45 minutes, contenders must scarf down 4-and-a-half pounds of food, which includes burgers, brisket, cheese, chicken strips, and bacon -- all on a giant bun. Succeed, and the $35 meal is free. Those who fail get their pictures on the Out House Door of Shame.
Famous Franks, located in North Grosvenordale, offers a "hot dog" composed of two dozen franks with 3 pounds of toppings on an 18-inch grinder roll. Scarf it down in 30 minutes and the $25 meal is free. Winners also get a sweet T-shirt.
Habaneros Grill and Cantina in Edmond offers up a Giant Burrito Challenge. Stuffed with ground pork, beef, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, beans, and cheese, the "wet" burrito covered in spicy habanero sauce is 4 pounds and comes with rice, beans, a sopapilla, and either sour cream or milk. Eat everything in a half-hour and the $11 meal is free.
Bayou Burger in New Orleans has the 5th Quarter Burger Challenge, which consists of 6 pounds of food -- 4 pounds of burger, plus 2 pounds of fries. Finish it off in 45 minutes and bypass the $43 bill. Winners also receive a free jersey and a spot on the Wall of Honors. Fail and get a "shirt of shame."
The Rogue Tavern in Birmingham has a giant burger challenge consisting of 2 pounds of hamburger, six slices of bacon, onions, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and fried onions served on a 9-inch bun. Eat it in one hour (don't forget the homemade chips) and the $29.95 bill is waived.
Highway 55 Burgers in Lancaster has a 30-minute challenge: Eat the 55 ounces of hamburger, which must include four trimmings such as lettuce, and pickles, plus a 24-ounce drink and fries, and the $25 meal is free.
In Steamboat Springs, customers can snag a mammoth 96-ounce burrito at Cantina. Filled with a pound of a choice of meat, grilled peppers, beans, cheese, and a ton of other stuff, it's free -- but only if it's gone in 45 minutes. Winners also get a free T-shirt.
Head to Bunkers Of Course in Buffalo to take part in the restaurant's aptly named Volcano Challenge. Contenders must consume a 2-pound Volcano Burger glazed with Buffalo and Tabasco sauce as well as 3 pounds of pub fries or tater tots in 30 minutes. Winners get the $24 meal for free, plus a photo on the Wall of Fame.
Customers with a flame-retardant tongues can take the Insanity Wing Challenge at AJ's Bar and Grill in Muskego. It includes 10 wings drenched in super hot sauce. If it can be finished in 15 minutes (plus a five-minute "afterburn"), the $10 plate of wings is free.
Eat a mountain of food in one hour at Archie's Barbeque in McHenry and it's free. Fall short and pay $60. The meal is pricey for a reason -- it includes a full rack of ribs, a deluxe sandwich, one dozen wings, two sides, four pieces of cornbread, and one soft drink.
The Westport Flea Market in Kansas City is the home of the monstrous Super Flea. For $39, contenders get five 10-ounce patties topped with bacon and cheese plus 2 pounds of fries. Finish it all in 30 minutes and it's free -- and winners also get a free T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame.
Howie's Diner in Lawrenceberg is the home of the Big Biscuits and Gravy Challenge. The "big biscuits" are really 17 regular-size biscuits smothered with gravy for a total of about 6 pounds of food. Challengers have an hour to consume it all to win the $17 meal for free, as well as a certificate, a T-shirt, and a photo on the Wall of Fame.
The Perfect Game in Worcester has a challenge worthy of its namesake, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Gronk Challenge invites belly busters to chow down a 24-ounce burger topped with eight slices of bacon, seven pieces of kielbasa, and a quarter-pound of cheese. The burger is also covered with onion rings and served with fries. Conquer the Gronk Challenge in 30 minutes and the meal is free. Leave some behind and pay $27.87 (87 is Gronkowski's jersey number).
For those in Mesa who are up to the task, the Broken Yolk Cafe has a challenge featuring a 12-egg omelet stuffed with mushrooms, onions, and cheese, then topped with chili and more cheese, plus home fries and two biscuits. Eat it in one hour and it's free, plus winners get a spot on Broken Yolk's Hall of Fame. Folks who don't polish the whole thing off pay $25.95.
In seven minutes, contenders must consume seven extremely spicy wings at the Wing Dome in Kent. Wings must be taken down to the bone, and any sauce left on the fingers must be licked off. If conquered, the $8 meal is free, along with a free T-shirt and a photo on their Wall of Fame.
Family Pizzeria in Stafford offers a 6-and-a-half-pound sub free of charge -- if it can be eaten within 45 minutes. Losers must pay $35, while winners also receive a $20 prize and a free T-shirt. Also, if anyone throws up anyplace other than the dumpster behind the building, there's a $50 cleanup fee.
Customers at Mount Pleasant eatery Dog Central can try to finish three footlong hot dogs with chili and two additional toppings, a bed of fries, a stack of onion rings, and a 20-ounce fountain drink. If successful, not only do they get the meal free, but Dog Central gives the winners $10. Losers must pony up $25.
El Cerro Grande in Wilmington has the Papi Grande Challenge, which consists of enough burrito ingredients to feed five to seven people. The $28 meal is free if it's gone in an hour.
Bagel aficionados will appreciate the Classic Whale Challenge at Spread Bagelry in Philadelphia. The gigantic meal consists of a 4-pound Montreal-style everything bagel piled with 3 pounds of salmon, two pounds of whitefish salad, 2 pounds of cream cheese, and veggies. Solo contenders have 60 minutes to finish, teams of two have 45 minutes, and teams of three have 30 minutes. Beat the time limit and it's free. Otherwise, it's $125.
At Paddy Long's in Chicago, "The Bomb" is 5 pounds of ground sausage, pork, and beef wrapped with bacon and served with potato salad and fries. Finish it in 45 minutes and the $60 monstrosity is free. Winners are also given a free T-shirt and a spot on the Wall of Fame.
The Pullman Kitchen in the Big Apple offers a grilled cheese sandwich called "The Beast." The challenge includes fried chicken, bacon, ham, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, veggies, and two cornbread waffles between two pieces of grilled sourdough. The sandwich comes with a side of waffle fries and pickles. Finish it in one sitting (no time limit) and the $25 monster is free.
Finish 5 pounds of stromboli in 40 minutes or less at Boca's Best Pizza Bar in Boca Raton and the $20 meal is free. Winners also get a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame. Losers end up on the Wall of Shame.
Mori Kitchen in San Jose challenges diners to eat four servings of ramen, including the broth, in 25 minutes. Not only do winners get a free meal and T-shirt, plus a spot on the Wall of Fame, they also get 10 percent off for life at the restaurant. Losers pay $29.
Nap's Grill in Hamilton has an ideal challenge for fast eaters: A towering burger made up of three 12-ounce patties topped with onions, mushrooms, and bacon, served with 1 pound of fries and a 16-ounce milkshake, must be devoured in 25 minutes for a chance to win a free meal, a T-shirt, and a spot on the Wall of Fame. Otherwise, the price is $30.
Bub and Pop's sandwich shop in the nation’s capital offers serious eaters a sandwich stuffed with prosciutto, capicola, Genoa salami, pepperoni, brisket, aged provolone, and fried mozzarella sticks. Finish everything in just 15 minutes to get it free (along with a picture on the Wall of Fame) or pay $30.
Humpy's in Anchorage challenges diners to wolf down seven crab nuggets, 1 foot of reindeer sausage, 3 pounds of Alaskan king crab, assorted side dishes, and a wild berry crisp with ice cream in 90 minutes for a T-shirt and a photo on the Wall of Fame. Fall short and pay a whopping $179 tab.