Mar 222019

Almost as soon as we started fulltiming other RVers told us that we had to stop at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas for dinner.

If you’re not familiar with this roadside icon, the Big Texan is a famous steakhouse that has been serving travelers and locals alike, since 1960. The restaurant is famous for their 72-ounce steak, which is free if you can eat it and all of the trimmings; a baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail in one hour. That’s a lot of steak! A lot of people have taken the challenge over the years and succeeded, the record being just over nine minutes! And in 1966, Bill Soloweyko, a professional wrestler who went by the name Klondike Bill, actually ate two of the behemoth steaks in the allotted hour!

We had driven past the Big Texan more times than I can remember, and every time I told Miss Terry that we needed to stop someday and check it out. And on one trip across the Panhandle we finally did it.

We spent two nights at Amarillo Ranch RV Park, which is just a mile or so from the Big Texan, and when we checked in they asked if we planned to have dinner there. I said we did, and was informed that the restaurant has free limo service that would pick us up at our campsite. All we had to do was tell the campground office what time we wanted to go. We agreed on 6 p.m., and our limo arrived right on time.

And what’s a Texas limo without steer horns on the hood, right?

The parking lot was packed, including a Rolls Royce from the Gumball 3000 coast-to-coast road rally. There is also free RV parking in the rear of the complex, and we’ve known several RVers who have boondocked there overnight. And who can blame them? When you eat that much steak, who has the energy to move very far?

Even with all of the cars in the parking lot, we did not have to wait. This is a big place that can accommodate a lot of people, and we were seated almost immediately. The tables are arranged in groups of three, family style, and we were assigned to a center table, requiring us to slip past other diners already seated, but everybody seemed to get along well in the close quarters. Even if you don’t want to eavesdrop, you can’t help becoming a part of the conversations at neighboring tables.

As you would expect, the restaurant is decorated with stuffed animals and a western theme, and has a gift shop, micro brewery, and of course, steaks. Lots and lots of steaks! But don’t worry, you don’t have to take the 72-ounce challenge, they have a good selection of smaller cuts, as well as other options if you’re not into beef.

There was no way I was going to attempt the monster 72-ounce steak, so I opted for the 18-ounce rib eye, which was delicious but more than I could finish. Terry had an 8-ounce filet that she couldn’t finish either. Both were very good, but to be honest, I really don’t think our meal was any better than what we could get at Texas Roadhouse, for less money.

But unlike Texas Roadhouse, where the music is always so loud that it’s hard to have a conversation, at the Big Texan they had a trio of cowboy singers who came to the tables to play requests. And Texas Roadhouse doesn’t give you limo service to and from home!

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Point Taken, the tenth book in my friend Ben Rehder’s excellent Blanco County mystery series. I’ve read just about all of Ben’s books, and I don’t think he could write a bad story if he tried. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – How many boxes of these Girl Scout Thin Mints do I have to eat before I start seeing any results?

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “A Steak As Big As Texas”

  1. When I saw the title to this one I said to myself, The Big Texan Steak Ranch!

    We stopped at 2pm, watched a guy finish the challenge and had a couple of great steaks. I’d take I-40 again just so I could stop for steak!

    Next time we’ll plan on an overnight stay in Amarillo.

  2. I loved that place! It’s all about the ambiance!!!

  3. Stayed at the Overnight RV Park on the east end of town on our last visit. Rode the Longhorn Limo and had a great meal. Not our first visit, and won’t be our last.

  4. I have been there also and although I did not take the steak challenge I found it entertaining watching others make the attempt. I chose a steak much smaller but it was good and the atmosphere was memorable.

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