The “Belly Buster Burger” : a Crazy Eating Challenge that weighed 20 pounds (11kgs)

Belly Buster Burger made the front page news on Nov.2011
Our Belly Buster Burger challenge made the front page news in Nov.2011

Here is the story of our trip to Clearfield, Pennsylvania, in 2011, where we went to perform the crazy eating challenge of a very ambitious 20 pounds giant burger at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub, aka Home of the World’s Largest Burger Challenges. And when I say giant, I mean literally giant !

First of all, did you know my first cookbook got published? It’s called Cookbook #1: A French Girl’s Cooking Adventures in Her Kitchen, and it’s available online, you’re just a click away, RIGHT HERE!

Clearfield is a remote small town  that is usually pretty unknown from the international tourism scene… but that should get to be known about ! Jerome and I got married in 2011 and had decided to have a unique Honeymoon experience while travelling in the States. Beside of touring in several main big US cities (New Orleans, New York City, Washington DC…), we specifically wanted to experience small town America as well. But we also wanted to do “something big”, something that would be the highlight of what we imagined was “the silly American way of having fun”, something that we could definitely not find back home. Given our passion for burgers, we simply googled “USA biggest burger restaurant” and found out there was one located more or less on our route. More or less – for me – means a 10 to 11 hours trip (one way) away from our main destination’s road. We thought it would be a great way to include the state of Pennsylvania to our honeymoon trip, which otherwise we would not have visited at all at that time. So we booked bus tickets and started our journey from Washington DC to Clearfied, PA. I enjoyed it all the way, as it was really super interesting to leave a big city and really go through small towns and counties that are nothing at all like big cities. Architecture was different, people’s behavior as well, the quality of the air, pretty much everything was like a whole other world. After we passed Philadelphia, we drove through Harrisburg, Lewistown, the Amish County, State College, and then reached Clearfield. We stayed with Peggy Durant over a long weekend at her 1890’s Victorian Loft Bed and Breakfast along the Susquehanna river and had a wonderful time.

So, on our first evening in Clearfield, we headed to Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. We have been very well welcomed and waiter-ed, and had an amazing fun time at our table once the Belly Buster Burger was delivered to us. Denny – the very nice owner – and Peggy had pictures taken with us around the burger, our next table neighbors also took quite some pics and so did we !! The moment was really unique, and we were so astonished at the size of the burger ! That really was the American fun experience we were looking for, with so many great memories to bring back home !

P1030756The whole burger weighed 20 pounds (a bit more than 11 kgs), including 15 pounds of meat (around 8 kgs), and the remaining 5 pounds of buns, cheese and condiments. After the fun part of taking pictures, laughing, etc., came the time to eat it ! But… HOW ?? Where to start ?! Our waitress handed us over a huge kitchen knife and a cake lifter (lol). That was so funny ! We felt like if we were in those cartoons, you know, the ones you’re watching when you’re little and everything is drawn all big and colorful, and none of the yummy foods has a regular size. Well, that was the feeling ! So we plated for ourselves two gigantic portions of Burger with a big “B” (it really deserved the caps lock letter!) and with a regular fork (Thank G-d !) we began picking a bit of each and all of the ingredients to have a better chance of combining them back in the mouth. It tasted delicious ! Not only the aesthetics of the Belly Buster Burger was stunning, but the flavors were really there too. Nonetheless, we stopped the timer about 30 minutes after we started. We only were able to eat less than a quarter of the 20 pounds !

Sophie Halimi with Denny the ownerWe were exhausted (hahaha), but very happy. With so many good ingredients, there was no way the leftovers would go to waste. so we asked Peggy Durant to help us donate the remaining 3/4 of the Burger to one or several charities, if she could, and which she did. That’s how we ended our experience at Denny’s. We stayed two more days in Clearfield and visited the town on foot. This is such a peaceful place with gorgeous houses ! We were there just a few days before Thanksgiving, but all the residents still had kept their houses decorated with Halloween items, which was very cheerful. The town of Clearfield itself was relaxing, and we enjoyed very much walking around and stopping by nice local stores and coffee shops. We had a great lunch at Ethan’s Café, which was recommended by Peggy Durant (very good choice), and we went to the movies on our last night, at “The Ritz”, an old-fashioned movie theater which decoration and atmosphere brought us back in the 70’s or so (although the theater building is much older, by half a century). Pictures are in the gallery just below. If you have more time than we had to travel in Pennsylvania, we heard it’s nice to hike in the area’s backwaters, and to go to the Hershey’s chocolate factory ! Meanwhile, I strongly encourage you to visit Denny’s Beer and Barrel Pub’s website here and have a look at the attractive menu. More info about my various food experiences are on my Facebook Page, and here on this blog obviously, and more about Denny’s upcoming events are on his Facebook page too. 

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2015, All Rights Reserved. 


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