The Big Texan Steak Ranch

Amarillo, Texas


More than 10,000 people have come, eaten, and conquered a meal that’s as big as Texas itself at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas: the 72 oz. Steak Challenge.

The Big Texan restaurant first opened its doors in 1960. Originally located on Route 66 the restaurant relocated to its current location on Interstate 40 in 1970. The bright yellow and blue building and oversized roadside attractions out front beckon road trippers to pull over for food and fun.

Look for a big steer nicknamed “Big Moo” in the parking lot, a 15-foot-tall cowboy boot, a 27-foot-long dinosaur wearing a cowboy hat (“Big Tex Rex”), and a painted wooden photo op of someone enjoying their big meal.

More than half a million people a year descend on the two story dining room each year to feast on a menu of barbecue, Chicken Fried Chicken, quesadillas, and, of course, steak. Hungry carnivores can choose between top sirloin, prime rib, rib eye, and more. You can even get their very own Big Texan Strip. With slabs of meat ranging from 8oz. To 30oz., the menu appeals to appetites of all sizes. No one will leave hungry.

But for those with a Texas-sized appetite, there is one menu item that can’t be ignored. The world famous 72oz Steak Challenge.

The eating challenge was core to The Big Texan’s appeal from almost the start. Soon after opening, founder Bob Lee decided to hold a contest among the stockyard cowboys to see who could eat the most steaks in an hour. One man ate four and a half 1-pound steaks, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a dinner roll, and a salad in that hour, earning himself the grand prize of $5. Impressed, Lee declared that “whoever eats that much again in my restaurant, he gets it for free.” And his word was kept.

The 72oz Steak Challenge pits stomach against food in an ultimate act of gluttony. If you choose to partake you’ll be given one hour to eat a 72 ounce steak, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, and a roll with butter. That’s four and a half pounds of meat plus all the trimmings. Finish every morsel of food in that time frame you get the $72 meal for free and your name on the wall of fame.

Anyone who comes to the restaurant can try their hand at it, all you have to do is let the server know and they will set you up at a big table and let you have at it to the ticking of a big digital clock.

Many have tried and failed but over 10,000 people have successfully completed the challenge. Everyone from competitive eaters to NFL football players to Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman to professional wrestlers, to average men or women who are just really hungry have met the challenge.

One of the most impressive showings was 130 pound professional eater Molly Schuyler, who ate three 72 oz. steak challenges in a row in 2015, eating the first in 4 minutes 18 seconds and finishing the rest in 20 minutes. Previously she had world’s fastest records at 4 minutes 58 (besting hot dog eater extraordinaire Joey Chestnut’s record of 8 minutes and 52 seconds) and ate two meals in 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

The 10,000th challenge was on September 1, 2021 by 40-year-old John Lamons, who ate his last bite just under the wire at 59 minutes and 50 seconds.

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and The Big Texan is proving that saying right. Route 66 road trippers and big eaters can’t miss this site. Just don’t leave your appetite at home.

Last modified: April 21, 2024
Attraction Type: ,

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

5 based on 1 reviews

7701 I-40, Amarillo, TX 79118

10:00am-10:30pm, Daily


Phone Number:
(806) 372-6000

Official Website

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Photos of The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant
72 oz steak eating challenge at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant
Steak dinner at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant
The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant
The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Restaurant

Know Before You Go

To make the most of your visit to The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, here are some things to know before you go.

  • The free 72oz Steak Challenge offers a free meal if you can eat a 72 ounce steak, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, a salad, and a roll with butter in under an hour. Can’t finish? That will cost you $72. Reservations aren’t required.
  • Watch hungry travelers take on the free steak challenge on the restaurant’s live stream. (Be sure to send the link to your friends and family back home to watch if you take it on yourself!)
  • The Free 72oz Steak Challenge was featured in the first episode of Man vs. Food, which premiered on the Travel Channel on December 3, 2008. Watch it here.
  • Don’t quite have the appetite for 72-ounces of steak? In addition to the regular menu, The Big Texan restaurant also has lunch specials from 10am-4pm, including smaller portions of their rib eye, prime rib, and chicken fried steak as options.

Where to Stay Near The Big Texan Steak Ranch

Need to nap off that 72-ounce steak? Complete your travel itinerary and get a good night’s rest with a stay at one of these Route 66 hotels in Amarillo, Texas.

Big Texan Motel

The Big Texan Steakhouse is best known for its 72-ounce steak challenge. Whether you try to beat the clock for a free meal or not, you can mosey on over across the parking lot to extend your visit at the Big Texan Motel. Attached to the world famous steakhouse, the Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, Texas features 54 units and a Western theme.

The Barfield

The only full-service boutique hotel in Amarillo, The Barfield is housed in the historic Barfield building in the heart of downtown Amarillo. The hotel’s 112 accommodations, feature custom-designed furnishings and luxurious finishes. Enjoy high-speed WiFi, Smart TVs, ergonomic workspaces, and an in-room refreshment center.

Atrea Inn

Atrea Inn is a charming farmhouse boutique hotel. Conveniently located near I-40 and a short drive to the Route 66 historic district in Amarillo, this property boasts a family-friendly courtyard with BBQ pits and a morning breakfast to prepare you for the day on the road.

Enhance your visit to Amarillo with a tour! Whether you love the outdoors, walking tours, or family-friendly adventures, there are plenty of options for everyone.

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Reviews & Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

1 Review of The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

  1. Some day I will do that 72-ounce steak challenge! But for now, a regular rib eye will do. The lunch specials are great (as are the dinners). I know some people think this stop is overrated, but, for me, it combines tasty food (the green chile creamed corn is actually my favorite thing on the menu) with a really fun atmosphere. If you’re lucky you’ll get to watch someone else attempt the steak challenge!


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