If you have ever even heard of Texas, you will know two things about this mythical state in the United States of America. Firstly, that everything is bigger in Texas, and secondly, that Texans love Texas.
Visiting Texas, these two facts lead you to believe that everything will be oversized and over the top. And in Amarillo, we were lucky enough to stay in a hotel that more then delivered on those promises.
The Big Texan hotel in Amarillo is a masterpiece in itself, it is a motel/bar/restaurant combination that takes up the space of probably four of my house and backyard, and I don’t live in the smallest of homes.
Walking into our hotel room felt like walking back in time to a saloon in an old cowboy movie. Suede bedspreads, curtains and pillows created a decor’ that can only be akin to a beautiful disaster; while you can see that there is a good reason designers moved on from this phase, it is a pretty incredible place to visit. Safe to say I won’t be purchasing a similar set anytime soon, but visit the Big Texan again? I most definitely will.
The Big Texan showcases Texans love for all things big, and all things Texas, from the giant statue of a cow (and one of a dinosaur/lizard?) to the pool, which is gloriously shaped like the state of Texas itself. Texas state flags adorn the walls all through the restaurant and bar area, which are an experience in themselves before your food/drinks even arrive.
The bar is massive, and is home to a shooting gallery and an indoor beer-garden type area, with the biggest chair I have ever seen, looking like it was taken straight from Hagrids hut. And yes, we did drunkenly see how many of us could sit on it at once. The answer is six.
Despite all this amazingness, the Big Texan attributes only one of its attractions to it’s fame. Featured on Man vs Food. and known throughout the state, is the steak challenge. The steak challenge is a side salad and bread roll, with the main event being the 72 ounce steak. The size of this cannot be understated.
Stupidly, when I heard there was a steak challenge, my hand shot up so we had a girl on the team, with a little too much encouragement from my friend Damien. Some friend. For all my Australians, 72 ounces of steak is the equivalent to just over TWO KILOS of steak. Two kilos is roughly 4-6 large-ish sirloins. This is a lot of steak.
The steak challenge is streamed live, and I count my lucky stars that no-one was awake to watch me attempt this challenge. At 30 minutes it was looking pretty good, I was ahead of the pack, and then my stomach realised how full I really was.
For future reference, if anyone is going to attempt a food challenge like this: it is usually a bad sign if they provide you with a vomit bucket, “just in case”. And any meal that is considered a “challenge” to finish in an hour, it is safe to say, is ridiculously huge.
It was a traumatising experience, but in retrospect, pretty funny. After the competition, I paid for the steak (you have to pay if you don’t finish it) and walked off with my souvenir cup and T-shirt, and was tactically, though violently ill for a little while until healthy enough to drown my sorrows in the Big Texans own beer.
I did also hear from my comrades that the normal-sized meals were of decent quality, so I’ll have to head back to Texas to check that out for myself. But as far as my experience goes this time around, I’d say the Big Texan is a pretty great time if you’re looking to explore this state.