When it comes to eating competitions and restaurant challenges, the South offers a feast for the senses. From mouth-watering ribs and tamales to a vast assortment of pies, food for eating challenges reflect local delicacies. It also offers big eaters a great way to tour the region. Here’s our list of some of the must-see eating challenges in the South for the remainder of 2015.
1. The Cannon Brew Pub
Sure, you might eat a hamburger or two at a backyard barbecue. But have you ever attempted to eat three burgers piled high with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, jalapenos and other toppings? If not, then consider checking out Turning Blue Burger at The Cannon Brew Pub in Columbus Georgia. Challengers have to eat the specialty burger, which is served with chili cheese fries, within 30 minutes. If you clean your plate, the burger is on the restaurant and you receive a commemorative T-shirt.
2. Kooky Canuck
It’s not often that Tailgate Fan comes across a food competition that encourages teamwork. Kooky Canuck’s King Kookamonga does exactly that. Two people take on one six-pound burger (12 pounds when you add in all the cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc.) The two-contestant challenge is free if you finish the burger within 60 minutes. Can’t find a friend to take on the challenge with you? Then consider the restaurant’s Kookamonga, which is a smaller (but not small) version of the challenge. Cleaning your plate will get you on the restaurant’s Wall of Fame. It will also put you in esteemed company; challenge conquerers include professional eaters Joey Chestnut, Matt Stonie, Meredith Boxberger and Michelle Lesco. The restaurant is located in Memphis, Tennessee.
3. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
September 7, 2015
When it comes to regional cuisine, the moon pie stands out as one of the South’s favorite delicacies. On September 7, fans of the sweet treat can try to eat as many moon pies as possible during the annual eating competition at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park in McCalla, Alabama. The annual event can draw quite a crowd; during last year’s event, contestants ate almost 400 moon pies.
4. The Western Days Festival
September 26, 2015
Tamales, much loved in Texas and other places, are a great eating challenge food. And the fine folks at the World Tamale Eating Championship at The Western Days Festival in Lewisville, Texas know this. Held on September 26, the competition has a total cash prize of $3,500. This Major League Eating event has some serious numbers behind it. In last year’s competition, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gobbled up 75 tamales in 12 minutes to claim the title.
5. International Rice Festival
October 15-18, 2015
The rice-eating contest at the International Rice Festival lets you test the limits of your stomach with, perhaps, the most basic of foods. Of course, there’s more to the Festival than the eating competition, including a rice and Creole cookery contest, arts and crafts fair, entertainment, a parade and more on the schedule. The festival is held in Crowley, Louisiana, October 15 through October 18.
6. Andouille Festival
October 16-18, 2015
Head out to LaPlace, Louisiana, for the 42nd annual Andouille Festival. Held October 16 through October 18, the festival is a celebration of the smoked sausage andouille. Competitive eaters will want to throw their hat in the ring for the annual andouille-eating contest. Nicknamed the “Dang Douille,” the contest challenges competitors to eat as much of the sausage as possible. While you’re at the festival, check out the gumbo cookoff and other activities.