Stuffed: 6 mega meals at Howard County restaurants

Do you dare take on these challenging menu items?

  • The 9 Pounder at BGR: The Burger Joint is one of several daunting menu items at Howard County eateries. With its bun and condiments, it weighs about 15 pounds. It's free to those who can finish it in one sitting, but no one has met the challenge since the eatery opened in May.
The 9 Pounder at BGR: The Burger Joint is one of several daunting… (photo by Sarah Pastrana )
October 24, 2011|By Cheryl Clemens

Sean Brown and Doug Jones were brainstorming ideas for a signature burger to add to the menu at Players Bar & Grill in Woodstock when Brown, the restaurant's general manager, threw out a crazy idea.

"We were trying to figure out what we could put on a hamburger that would be unique, and I said, 'How about a chicken breast?'" he recalled of his discussion with Jones, Players' chef. "It started out as a joke, but then something clicked."

Soon their creation also contained two types of cheese and they were toying with adding bacon when Brown had another crazy idea.

"Everybody likes bacon, but Doug's pulled pork is so delicious we thought, why not go with that instead?"

Today the restaurant sells about a dozen Players Signature Sandwiches every night, and according to Brown, almost everyone who orders the mammoth sandwich actually finishes it.

Every week Travel Channel host Adam Richman brings "big food" into American living rooms on "Man v. Food" -- where an episode's big challenge can be devouring anything from a 12-egg omelet in Seattle, Wash., to a 2-foot-long hot dog with all the works in Hartford, Conn.

Closer to home, a number of local restaurants have crafted their own eating challenges, with rewards ranging from bragging rights to a free meal to a photograph on the wall.

When Dave Israel took his wife, Karen, and son, Isaac, for dinner at El Hidalgo in Elkridge one night last summer, he had no way of knowing that very night owner Ricardo Vanegas was unveiling the Ultimate Burrita Prenada -- an 8-pound burrito that was free to anyone who could eat the whole thing in one hour.

"We all knew there was another customer in the restaurant that night trying to finish it and he was really on a mission. Then my wife started joking that maybe I should give it a shot," said the engineer from Elkridge, who decided to give it a go. "But when they brought it out on this giant platter and I saw it was 2 feet long, I knew right away it was going to be impossible to finish."

Israel managed to eat almost one-third of the burrito, but ended up taking the majority of it home stuffed into three large carryout containers. The other customer who accepted the challenge that night only fared slightly better.

"Big food" opportunities may intrigue most people, but only a small number actually take the challenge.
Dr. Carl Lejuez, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Maryland College Park, said that while occasionally a diner like Israel will undertake such challenges on a lark, more typically a "big food" fan is someone who exhibits a degree of extreme behavior in other areas of his life as well.

"There's a pretty good chance this is only one example of a pattern of extreme behavior, even if we're talking about someone who handles everyday events in extraordinary ways," said Lejuez, who, ironically, was an undergraduate student at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., at the same time as "Man v. Food" host Richman.

Interested in seeing if you've got what it takes to conquer a food challenge? We've compiled a list of local establishments with at least one menu item sure to make you loosen your belt a few notches. And remember, if you're afraid there's no way you’ll be able to clean your plate, bring a few friends with you and try a team approach.

1: The 9 Pounder at BGR: The Burger Joint
6250 Columbia Crossing Circle, Columbia,, 443-319-5542

It may be called The 9 Pounder, but the actual weight including the bun and condiments is just over 15 pounds. This notorious burger -- which has been featured on "Man v. Food" and The Food Network -- feeds 10 to 15 and requires 24 hours to special order the brioche bun. It costs $79, but if one person can eat the whole thing in one sitting, it's free.

So what does it take to construct a 9 Pounder?

"We start with 15.4 pounds of the same prime aged beef as our other burgers and cook it to order," said owner Topper Person. "Then we add two heads of lettuce, eight tomatoes, three red onions, four whole pickles and a river of our special Mojo sauce."

BGR has been open in Columbia since May, but so far no one has been able to eat a 9 Pounder in one sitting.

"We've sold a dozen so far, but usually they are for groups, not a single person," said Person. "Usually a group will come in for one, although we did have one boy who loves our burgers so much his dad ordered a 9 Pounder as his birthday cake this summer."

2: Players Signature Sandwich at Players Bar & Grill
10795 Birmingham Way, Woodstock,, 410-461-2900

Can't decide between a burger, grilled chicken and a pulled pork sandwich? Now you don't have to. The Players Signature Sandwich ($12.99) starts with a 6-ounce burger topped with pepper jack cheese, a 4-ounce grilled chicken breast, Monterey Jack cheese, 3 ounces of pulled pork barbecue, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.