Can You Finish The 50 Pound Burger And Win $1,000?

ABCNews took a look at “Free if you can finish it” challenges all over the US — and even sent the reporter to attempt one — with the help of a championship competitive eater. So, was the 50-pounder a bargain?

The 50-pound burger, dubbed “Mt. Olympus” by the man responsible, Mike Zambas, the owner of the Clinton Station Diner in rural New Jersey, has never been conquered. If you and 4 friends can eat the burger in 3 hours, it’s free — and you’ll win a $1,000 prize. If not, you’re on the hook for $159.95.

The best way to describe this burger is: gargantuan. Zambas has to bake a special bun big enough to hold the thing. An entire package of American cheese is used to cover it, as well as a whole head of lettuce and several tomatoes.

When the burger arrived at the table, every customer in the diner turned and looked at us. Several came over to check it out. And that’s exactly what Zambas wants. We turned a normal Saturday afternoon lunch into a spectacle. Suddenly that couple two tables over got a side of entertainment with their BLT.

Of course, the reporter wasn’t the first to finish it — even though he brought a professional eater with him. Maybe if he’d brought 4 of them? Ultimately, it was the eating champ’s expert opinion that there was simply too much bun.

Recession Bargain or Fool’s Challenge [ABCNews]


Edit Your Comment

  1. HIV 2 Elway says:

    I once put down a 15 by 15 at In-and-Out but don’t think I’d try to mess with that beast.

  2. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    I don’t think it’s humanly possible to put back that much meat in that time period. Maybe a 10-lb burger among four people, but not five times that much.

  3. zigziggityzoo says:

    Holy crap.

    That burger will put you and three of your closest compadres on the fast track to cardiac arrest, toot sweet (or tout de suite, if you want to be all literal).

  4. thebluepill says:

    Thats Nothing!

    Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub has 100+ lb Burger!


    And they taste great! I almost conquered the 2 lb one alone, it was 7 lbs total with Bun and extras…

    One guy finished the 15lb one!

    • selianth says:

      @thebluepill: I have to disagree about the “taste great” part. Hubby tried the 2 lb burger at Denny’s a couple years ago. It was much much too dry, because as they proudly state, they use 95% lean hamburger. He got through about 3/4 of the thing before giving up with 20 minutes left. He just couldn’t stomach any more dry meat. This is a guy that regularly downs a 1 lb. burger in about 10 minutes at Fuddrucker’s, so he *should* have been able to handle it.

      • ludwigk says:

        @selianth: Indeed, if anyone overcooks their burgers, its Fuddruckers, or at least, the one located near me. Their Medium is still beyond Med Well….

  5. silver-bolt says:

    The cheese will get you. Hello Lactose Intolerance (Everybody is lactose intolerant past year 1, just different levels of tolerance to it. But just like not being able to drink a gallon of milk in an hour, that much cheese will make anyone sick.

    • Git Em SteveDave loves this guy->★ says:

      @silver-bolt: I came within ~1/4 of a cup from finshing the milk challenge in college. I did drink the whole gallon, but had a “reversal of fortune” of one mouthful right at the end. I’m not sure if I could/can still do it, but I’d try again if the price is right.

    • CRNewsom says:

      @silver-bolt: I can drink a gallon of milk in 3 minutes. I used to do it in college for extra money. When I do it though, there better be plenty of Charmin (TM).

      Sorry for the TMI.

    • psikic says:

      @silver-bolt: Cheese is low in lactose. Not likely lactose would be the issue.

    • B says:

      Homer: mmmmm, 64 slices of american cheese *chomp* 63 two *chomp* One

      Marge: Homer, did you stay up all night eating cheese?
      Homer: I think I’m blind.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @silver-bolt: Considering that the cheese they’re probably using is 100% oil I doubt it would be a problem

    • jodark says:

      @silver-bolt: I had a friend who completed the gallon challenge while hiking the Appalacian Trail. One day, he didn’t drink or eat anything until after he hiked 15 miles. Then he easily completed a gallon of chocolate milk.

    • lannister80 says:

      @silver-bolt: It’s estimated that 75% of adults worldwide have some decrease in lactase production in their adult life. That’s hardly everyone.

    • MrEvil says:

      @silver-bolt: There are no degrees of lactose intolerance. What’s different is the percentage of the population that is. The Dutch have the lowest occurrance of lactose intolerance and most of Northern europe is in the 0-15% range.

  6. rpm773 says:

    Will the inevitable triple-bypass surgery cost me less than $1000?

    Or what about the procedure to mend a colon ruptured by ground beef and 5 lbs of condiments?

    Didn’t think so. Not worth it.

  7. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This seems fun and all, and I’ve done this with many steaks…but to showcase this while everyone is stressed about money doesn’t seem right. Think of all the wasted food by those who can’t finish it. I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, perhaps because it’s Monday :-P

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @AlteredBeast: I’m sure they can take the rest home after paying the $160 and hanging thier head in shame that dead animal flesh kicked their ass. :)

  8. hellinmyeyes says:

    WTF? Is this American gluttony, or what, with all these ridiculous eating contests and gimmicks? Glad to know everyone’s able to eat when they want, even when it’s not a 50lb heart attack. Cute, but insane. I wonder how many people actually attempt this.

    • says:

      @hellinmyeyes: probably a good handful…with room for dessert

      i google mapped the place is in “rural new jersey”, but still fairly north. i can’t imagine many people from new jersey trying something as ‘savage’ and ‘unrefined’ as this though.

    • negitoro says:

      @hellinmyeyes: It’s not just Americans. I’m pretty sure other countries have similar contests.

      I once saw a noodle stall in Japan which offered a free meal if you could polish off 2 wash-basin sized bowls of ramen in like 30 minutes.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @hellinmyeyes: I think Japan has more competitive eating contests than the US, heck over there its practically considered a sport.

      This is mostly a challenge to yourself though to eat it, its not really a formal contest in the sense of the July 4th Nathans contest.

  9. KyleOrton says:

    Hmm, could I get it with bacon and fried mushrooms and onions? It just doesn’t look that appetizing now…

  10. corinthos says:

    I have trouble finishing three jr bacon cheeseburgers from wendy’s. This is not for me.

    Anyways just wait until someone finishes it and dies from it. Reminds me of that woman drinking the water for the wii.

  11. MrsLopsided says:

    It’s mainly bread and looks like undercooked meat in the middle: (photo)

  12. Juliekins says:

    Gross. I am a delicate flower about such things, though. I can’t watch those eating competitions without feeling physically ill. Contemplating this puts me off my feed the way a graphic surgery show (for example) never could.

  13. says:

    mmmmm all those tomatoes and cheese and beefffffff

  14. CountryJustice says:

    To the main question raised by the OP: So, was the 50-pounder a bargain?

    I guess it really depends on your definition of “bargain.” Here’s what I get out of it:

    A humongous meal.
    Quality time spent with friends.
    Some good entertainment, even if it is at my own expense.

    Split a $160 check five ways, and you’ll get the equivalent of what I’d pay for a shitty meal at Applebee’s, followed by a movie or something similar. Not to mention, I’m sure there’s plenty of food left over to box up and take for lunch the next day or something.

    If you’re just looking for a free meal, you should probably pass. But for my dollar, I’d say it’d be a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon or something.

  15. downwithmonstercable says:

    Endless giant cheesburger? That might be the best thing ever, besides endless giant taco salad. I doubt I could conquer that with three friends, but I would totally nom on that thing all day long. Awesome.

  16. Goatweed says:

    as awful as that might seem to have to try & eat, can you imagine how much more terrible it would feel when it eventually comes out?

  17. Narockstar says:

    It sounds like a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t touch it unless they’d substitute actual cheese for that industrial waste American “cheese.” Gross. Also, I would prefer pickles instead of out of season tomatoes. Ah f*ck it, I don’t think they’d even let me enter.

  18. JPinCLE says:

    Best eating contest menu item ever… The Old 96’er.

    RIP John Candy…

    • jodark says:

      @JPinCLE: “…But theres nothing left but grisle and fat…”

      Most famous words ever spoken about a piece of meat. Besides “That’s what she said.”

      • Shadowman615 says:

        @jodark: Heh, I saw a Saturday afternoon showing of that movie on network TV a while back — I happened to turn it on just for that scene with the 96’er. And they cut out that last exchange you’re referring to! I still can’t figure out what was so dirty about that they decided not to show it on TV; I guess they just edited it for time constraints. Still tho- they cut out the best part of the whole fricken movie!

  19. stezton says:

    It amuses me that these “average” people go in and think they can eat it. I mean, com’n, how big do you think your stomach is? I wonder if anyone’s ever eaten so much that they damaged their stomach.

    • RonnieDobbs4President says:


      According to the book I’m currently reading, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, it doesn’t take much for the “average” person. A 1979 study by The American Journal of Surgery showed most stomachs capable of holding about 4 quarts of material before bursting.

      But then there is the fatal last meal of a 23 year-old London fashion model as reported in the Lancet in 1985 who consumed 19 pounds of food before expiring: 1 pound of liver, 2 pounds of kidney, 1/2 pound of steak, 1 pound of cheese, 2 eggs, 2 slices of bread, 1 cauliflower, 10 peaches, 4 pears, 2 apples, 4 bananas, 2 pounds of plums, 2 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of grapes and 2 glasses of milk.

      I’m convinced it was the cauliflower that killed her.

  20. RurouniX says:

    And people wonder why America is the fattest nation on Earth…

  21. james says:

    Gross. The 72 oz porterhouse they do at Morton’s is disgusting enough, but this takes the cake. Personally 8-10oz is perfect for me. Usually I broil a 1lb steak to feed both myself and my girlfriend, so this would make us about 50 dinners.
    I do think that fast food and corn syrup have more to do with obesity than this kind of media whoring though.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @james: I got a 6oz steak the other night and was suprised by how small it was, but with the side of veggies and rice, it was just perfect. Wasn’t overstuffed and I felt healthy after it all.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @james: I agree, this kind of media isn’t really doing anything to fuel America’s obesity epidemic. Its more just like an extreme way of having some fun, these people don’t go out and eat a 50lb burger or a 72oz steak every day. Also the obesity epidemic is hitting other countries as well, so its not just the US.

      I also believe a big cause of it is the industrializing of cities, most of the green space where I live that used to be free exercise areas and free playgrounds for the kids has now been turned into retail or used for some other purpose then that of the above. Or worse yet more fast food restaurants have been built on those green spaces! Playgrounds have all but closed up and have been replaced with a swing set and one plastic play structure built to accomodate only 4 year olds and under. When I was a kid in the 80s I would do anything to get taken to one of the massive playgrounds that used to be around here. Most outdoor parks around here charge for parking even if you are just a local from down the street coming to walk or taking your kids to play. Take away most of the free exercise out of an area and the people will get fat.

  22. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I’d do the pancake challenge, its only $12 if you lose which is totally reasonable as opposed to $100+

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    I think it’d only be sporting if one of the losers were strapped to a table, then four bulls were given three hours to eat him! With more lettuce, ‘natch: no reason to be species-ist about it.

    • Phydeaux says:

      @Trai_Dep: There’s a Five Iron Frenzy song for every occasion!

      Keith is a vegetarian.
      Not vegan ’cause he drinks his dairy and
      He’s not like me who also eats meat
      He protests the war with the sandals on his feet.

      Omnivores for mediocrity!
      Omnivores for mediocrity!
      Omnivores for mediocrity!
      Omnivores for mediocrity!

      Helpless vegetables are trapped,
      for killing only them you should be slapped.
      At least a cow can run and be free.
      Omnivores for mediocrity!

    • GoVegan says:

      @Trai_Dep: @Phydeaux: Well said Trai_Dep – if Phydaeux was really concerned about the lives of plants, she would also be a vegetarian or vegan as it takes 8 -11 lbs of plants to make 1 lb of meat. You have to figure that it probably took at least 1000 lbs of plants to make that burger and that 1000 lbs of plants would feed a lot more people. Also, plants do not have a nervous system like that of an animal and the hope is that they don’t feel pain. A person needs to have plants in their diet but meat is an option. Most people eat crap like salami and hot dogs which arent good for you anyway. Perhaps Phydaeux can solve her problem by becoming a fruitarian.

  24. NigerianScammer says:

    If you’re allowed to smoke a huge ass blunt before and during the eating, anybody can conquer this.

  25. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I’ve seen this burger in person. I ran an event where Mr. Zambas brought the burger to an office to see if it could be consumed.

    Now, I love burgers. L-O-V-E hamburgers.

    Howver, the smell of this thing – and the lingering smell – turned my stomach. The office had a STENCH of baked burger for 2-3 days afterwards.

    It’s nothing against Mr. Zambas. He’s a marketing genius and the article is right -it’s pure spectacle. But this was just a WALL OF MEAT and it was too much.

  26. banmojo says:

    50lbs /5 people = 10 lbs each in a 3 hour period? Totally totally doable. The reporter should have brought FOUR professional eating champs with him, it’d have been a piece of, umm, err, hamburger?

  27. ngc6027 says:

    The funny thing is I was thinking about doing it with a couple of friends when I was there, but it’s just too big… they refused to do it with me :)

  28. trujunglist says:

    This is one of the coolest things ever, kind of like that 72 oz steak in Amarillo, TX. Always wanted to try with friends just for fun and take home a ton of leftovers! The next day wouldn’t be very fun though, and who wants to spend a day in Amarillo anyway?

  29. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I threw up a little. Ugh.

  30. christoj879 says:

    I’ve decided, I am totally turning this into a Saturday/Sunday event with a bunch of friends. Btw it’s not really rural, more suburban than anything, although Frenchtown near the river is pretty rural.

  31. Anonymous says:

    This is my home town. They don’t mention in the article, half of this dinner is a 1923 train car sticking out the side of the building. Gotta love that place.

  32. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Can I supersize that with the 25 pounds of fries and keg of Coke to go, please?

  33. mrpenbrook says:

    Did Grover bring it out?

    + Watch video

  34. lordargent says:

    lincolnparadox: @RurouniX: America is the fattest nation

    That’s actually not true and it never has been true.

    Circa 2007, the US was ninth


    And I think Australia passed us this year as well.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @lordargent: Are you suggesting the US isn’t #1 in something?! WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA?!

    • zyodei says:

      @lordargent: Umm…reality check, homeboy. Here’s the list you link.

      Rank Country %
      1. Nauru 94.5
      2. Micronesia, Federated States of 91.1
      3. Cook Islands 90.9
      4. Tonga 90.8
      5. Niue 81.7
      6. Samoa 80.4
      7. Palau 78.4
      8. Kuwait 74.2
      9. United States 74.1
      10. Kiribati 73.6

      So…America is beaten by a bunch of tiny Pacific Islands, and Kuwait (by .01%). Sure, Samoans are fat. But not one other country on this before Argentina (#13) even begins to compare to America in terms of size or relevancy to the world.

      Put it this way. There is probably more fat in human skins within the borders of America than in any other country in the world.

    • zyodei says:


      P.S. in that list, Australia is at 60%, while the U.S. is at 74%. So unless they went on a massive binge, they didn’t. They’re nowhere close.

  35. ludwigk says:

    You get to bring 4 friends, so 10 lbs of burger apiece, this is totally doable for 5 moderately capable eaters. A group of competitive eaters could pack it away in a few minutes. WAY out of my league, however. Once as a teenager I ate an entire large pizza over the course of an afternoon (~4 hours), but beyond that, I’ve never attempted any serious binging for fear of of ensuing gastrointestinal suffering.

  36. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    There was a local place when I was in high school that served what was essentially a two-and-a-half-gallon virgin daquiri. If you drank it all, you got it free. They had a whole wall of pictures of people barfing after finishing it. Me and four or five friends ordered it one night, and even split five(ish) ways, we were all sick all the way home. It was vile.

  37. kwsventures says:

    Stupid gimmick. Remember the radio station contest to see who could drink the most water? A lady died from drinking too much water. Now you and your buddies eat a 50 pound burger and die for $1,000.00 that will cover the mass funeral.

  38. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    what are the dimensions of that thing?
    i’d be willing to guess it’s at least 24″ high, and 30″ diameter

  39. meefer says:

    As a man who has taken down a 48 oz steak and lived to tell about it, I am in no way attempting this monstrosity.

  40. boricuachick says:

    The human stomach can hold about 1.5 liters normally but it can go up to 2-4 liters when the stomach is distended. Soooo, that would be approximately one gallon of food per person max. One gallon = 128 ounces. Even if 4 people were able to eat ONE GALLON of food each that would only equal 512 ounces. 50 lbs of burger = 800 ounces. Not even close. LOL.
    It’s a sucker’s bet.

    • Squot says:

      @boricuachick: Only thing is, that’s 128 fluid ounces, not weight ounces – think of it this way, a gallon of lead weighs WAY more then a gallon of water, or, say, a gallon of feathers.

      The space something takes up has little relation to weight.

  41. GoVegan says:

    Sick! This is a classic example of not respecting the life of another being and using some poor animal for our amusement. This should be filed under the “Screw the Animals, Environment and Other People” section because you would have to be a severe glutton to even order this.

  42. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Holy crap! Does that thing come with a surgical team on standby?

  43. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Living in excess baby and loving it! Only in the USA!

  44. Shadowman615 says:

    I’ve been to the Big Texas a few times, while passing through Amarillo. That’s the other restaurant they refer to in the article that offers the 72-oz Sirloin, Baked Potato, and Shrimp cocktail meal in an hour. They also make a big production about it there. Whoever tries it eats up on a stage and gets his picture taken, name in a book, etc.

    Nice place though, complete with gift shop and amusements. They even serve rattlesnake as an appetizer. I never went for the 72 or the rattlesnake, but I did have some of the best (normal 12-14oz size) strip and sirloin steaks I’ve ever eaten.

  45. CapitalC says:

    I think the tag should be “stupid food” rather than just “food”. Seriously, who in their right mind sits down with 4 friends and says “I can eat 10lbs of beef right now.”


  46. Meathamper says:

    Blecch. That just made me full again.

  47. ChibiKyKiske says:

    so is the $1000 for the hospital bill when you pass out after eating the burger?

  48. Anonymous says:

    I live about two minutes from this place on foot. The only decently-priced things on the menu are the normal-sized burgers and the breakfast food. It’s got to have gimmicks like this if they don’t just want to be skipped over. Its only other saving grace is that it’s the only 24 hour eatery in ten miles – even the McDonald’s around here closes at midnight.