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Big Texan Steak Ranch Amarillo

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Civil War To Late 19th Century

The Big Texan Steak Ranch – 72 oz. Steaks in Amarillo, Texas

Texas was at war again after the . At this time, blacks comprised 30 percent of the state’s population, and they were overwhelmingly enslaved. When was elected, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Five other quickly followed. A state convention considering secession opened in Austin on January 28, 1861. On February 1, by a vote of 1668, the convention adopted an from the United States. Texas voters approved this Ordinance on February 23, 1861. Texas joined the newly created Confederate States of America on March 4, 1861, ratifying the permanent on March 23.

Not all Texans favored secession initially, although many of the same would later support the Southern cause. Texas’s most notable was the state Governor, . Not wanting to aggravate the situation, Houston refused two offers from President Lincoln for Union troops to keep him in office. After refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, Houston was deposed as governor. Around 2,000 Texans served in the , with a large contingent of recent immigrants in being a Unionist stronghold.

Big Texan In Amarillo Marks Its 10000th 72

The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo earlier this month celebrated its 10,000th contestant attempting to consume its famous 72-ounce steak dinner.

The 10,000th dinner was eaten on Sept. 1 by John Lamons, who accomplished the feat just seconds short of the 60-minute deadline to get it for free. The challenge requires one to eat the 72-ounce steak, salad, roll, shrimp cocktail and baked potato in an hour. If one doesnt finish it in that time frame, it costs $72. More the challenges rules may be found here.

Not only does each contest attempt the feat in the middle of the Big Texans huge dining room, but its streamed live on the restaurants YouTube channel. A little over 10% of contestants successfully finish the meal in an hour.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News, R.J. Lee began the restaurants 72-ounce dinner challenge began in November 1960, not long after the establishment opened on Route 66.

Bobby Lee, who is the late R.J.s son, said the restaurant adopted a western theme partly because of its clientele:

The Big Texans record-holder is Nebraskas Molly Schuyler, a 128-pound housewife who wolfed down three of the 72-ounce steak meals in 20 minutes. Her first dinner during that sitting was consumed in 4 minutes, 18 seconds, which also is a record.

Lee told the newspaper that Schuyler wanted to eat a fourth dinner, but he refused her request.

Lee also said a Bengal tiger on a leash once consumed the steak in about 90 seconds.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Big Texan Steak Ranch
Front view of the Big Texan Steak Ranch
Restaurant information
1960 62 years ago
Food type
7701 Interstate 40 Access Rd

The Big Texan Steak Ranch is a steakhouserestaurant and motel located in Amarillo, Texas, United States, which opened on the previous U.S. Route 66 in the 4500 block of East Amarillo Boulevard in 1960. It relocated to its present location on Interstate 40 in 1970. Fire gutted the west wing of the restaurant in 1976 and destroyed $100,000 in antiques. The restaurant reopened as a larger facility in 1977. The building is painted a bright yellow, with blue trim. A large bull statue advertises their “free” 72 oz. steak . The now-closed Texas Tornado Museum resided off in a far corner of the parking lot on the property.

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The Dream: Eat A Whole Cow

R.J. “Bob” Lee opened the Big Texan in 1960. It stood along Route 66 near the Amarillo stockyards. One day in 1962 a cowboy came in so hungry that he said he could “eat a whole cow.” Bob decided to see if that was true. The cowboy quit after 72 ounces of meat, but Bob was still impressed and announced that anyone who could match it would get their meal for free.

The Big Texan moved in 1970 to a spot along Interstate 40 . With exposure to farther-flung diners, unfamiliar with cowboy lore, the “Free 72 Ounce Steak” challenge adopted the rules that it still follows today .

Amarillo Museum Of Art

Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo

The Amarillo Museum of Art is located on the campus of Amarillo College. It is home to a huge art collection from all over the world. This museum is free of charge and is open to the public.

The 32,000 square foot museum affords you many learning experiences. Lovers of contemporary art are at home here. Be on the lookout for work by famous photographer, Russell Lee.

Here, you can enjoy art in all its forms. Youll see beautiful sculptures collected in Asia, along with pieces from the 2nd century.

Details: 2200 S Van Buren St, Amarillo, TX 79109 | Website

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Big Texan Steak Ranch

If youre a meat lover, then youre going to love The Big Texan. The Big Texan Ranch is famous for its food, steak, and beer. But what makes the Big Texan a popular national attraction is the 72 oz steak challenge. Thousands flock to Amarillo just for this culinary experience.

So whats the challenge? Youre served shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, roll, butter, and, of course, the 72oz steak, and if you complete the entire meal in an hour without getting up or getting sick you get it for free and you get bragging rights for life. Ha! They even have a livestream on their website, if you want to take a look.

Youll also find beers from their on-site brewery, barbeque and other yummy dishes, and a gift shop, of course.

Details: 7701 I-40 East, Amarillo, TX 79118 | Website

Spend Your Amarillo Layover With Us

The Big Texan has more to offer than just big steaks! Stay with us either at our RV park or our AIRBNBs on property.

  • Big Texan Restaurant & Motel – 7701 Interstate 40 East Access RdAmarillo, TX 79118
  • Big Texan Rv Ranch – 1414 Sunrise Dr, Amarillo, TX 79104
  • Starlight Ranch – 1415 Sunrise Dr, Amarillo, TX 79118

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About The Big Texan 72 Oz Steak Challenge

The original of all eating contests, the 72oz Steak Challenge started in 1960 and has not changed one bit according to son Bobby Lee of the Big Texan. The challenger sits on the stage in front of the whole dining room and attempts to eat an entire 72 oz steak as well as ALL the sides in 60 minutes or less. If the challenger succeeds, their complete meal is free otherwise, its $72US, but you get to take home the leftovers so nothing goes to waste.

The current world record holder is Molly Schuyler, a female professional eater and local Texan who first completed the challenge in less than 5-minutes. She returned to beat her record and was able to eat three 72 oz. Steak dinners in under 20-minutes.

Do you dare??

Statistics say that one in every six men conquer the challenge and one in every two women succeed!!

In case eating on a stage in front of the dining room isnt a spectacle enough for you, they also broadcast a live feed on the Big Texan website of the steak eating table.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch and Brew is many things. Consisting of 6.5 acres it includes the restaurant, horse stables, a motel, Starlight Ranch RV Park, and craft brewery, but first and foremost its a 50+-year-old iconic part of Amarillo Texas worthy of a visit.

Super Fun Things To Do In Amarillo Texas


Amarillo is a small and unpretentious city found deep in the panhandle of West Texas. Amarillo carries some unexpected goodies for guests, and you dont need to break the bank because many of the things to do in Amarillo are absolutely free!

Sometimes referred to as the biggest small town in Texas, Amarillo sits at the midway juncture on the historic Route 66 which means there are plenty of fun tourist attractions here. When visiting Amarillo, youll find museums, art galleries, parks, ranches, zoos, and more. You will enjoy a slice of old Texas in a metropolitan setting.

Here are 15 things to do in Amarillo, Texas that youre not going to want to miss.

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Jack Sisemore Travel And Rv Museum

The Jack Sisemore Travel and RV Museum will allow you access to the fascinating world of RVs. Here you will view RVs as you learn about their history.

The museum is another one-of-a-kind rarity hidden in Amarillo. The museum features a personal collection of classic and vintage RVs by Jack and Trent Sisemore. The father and son duo continue to collect RVs.

You will see the worlds oldest airstream here, and the Itascas first motorhome is also not to be missed. Other mobile homes from the 1930s and 40s will also provide a fascinating outing for you and your troop.

Details: 14501 I-27, Amarillo, TX 79119 | Website

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Located just 30 minutes outside Amarillo, youll find the second largest canyon in the United States Palo Duro Canyon. Second only to the the Grand Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a place you really need to see to believe.

Palo Duro Canyon runs for about 120 miles, with 800 feet dips, and up to 20 miles wide! Go camping at the park, which boasts 150 campsites perfect for outdoor lovers. For the adrenaline junkies, there are also many trails for you to go on a hike, try mountain biking, or horseback riding.

Be sure to take on the Lighthouse Trail that will leave you inspired by nature. This is a great trail for every hiking ability, and a great way to see the amazing views.

Make your visit to Palo Duro Canyon State Park more memorable by making a stop at the Visitors Center. The center is set high in the park, so you can enjoy dramatic views from your perch as you learn about the areas history.

Details: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015 | Website

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Texas Air & Space Museum

Amarillo is the hometown of famous astronaut, Rick Husband. Rick was aboard the ill-fated Columbia Space Shuttle that was destroyed as it re-entered earth from space in 2003. Amarillo honors him and other space lovers with the Texas Air & Space Museum.

Pilots and aviation lovers will have a field day here. Get a chance to admire the planes, and you can even board some of them on display.

Look out for the 1945 DC-3. Board the plane and have a look at the cockpit. Other interesting things you can see here include a 1960s duster, a hot air balloon basket, and a bomber B-52 ejection seat.

Try your hand on a C-7 Caribou, used as a training vehicle for astronauts landing on NASA space shuttles since 1958. There are many other airplane models found here too.

Details: 10001 American dr., Amarillo, TX 79111 | Website

American Quarter Horse Hall Of Fame & Museum

Big Texan Steak house  Kathleen Maca

The American Quarter Horse Foundation Hall of Fame & Museum is one of the best museums to be found in Amarillo, Texas. It pays tribute to Americas most popular horse breed, the quarter horse of Texas. Grab your cowboy hat and spurs and find your way here.

You and all horse lovers will time travel back to the day of cowboys when you visit the museum. You will find beautiful paintings, one-of-a-kind riding attire, and other historical artifacts.

All of these relate to the cowboy era and horseback riding that place Texas firmly on every tourists map. You will all be shouting giddy-up after your visit here.

Details: 2601 E Interstate dr., Amarillo, TX 79104 | Website

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County State And Federal Representation

As the seat of Potter County, the city is the location of the county’s trial, civil, and criminal courts. The Randall County Amarillo Annex building is located within the city limits and houses its Sheriff’s Office and Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct 4.

The operates the Amarillo District Parole Office in the city. It also operates the and in , east of Amarillo.

The operates the Amarillo Main Post Office. Other post offices in the city include Downtown Amarillo, Jordan, Lone Star, North Amarillo, and San Jacinto.

In the , Amarillo is located in , and is represented by Representative . In the , the city is in the 31st District in the Texas Senate, represented by , a former Amarillo mayor. It is in the 87th District in the Texas House of Representatives, having been represented by Republican since 1991. Swinford retired in January 2011 and was succeeded by fellow Republican , who is the current representative. That part of Amarillo within Randall County is represented by Swinford’s Republican colleague, , who has served in the 86th District since 1985.

, a 1930s in Amarillo, served in the Texas Senate from 1941 to 1971. He authored the first state school loan programs for returning World War II veterans and college students. He is the father of the program in Texas.

Museums And Art Collections

The is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the breed. The organization is headquartered in Amarillo and has a museum. There is also an exhibited in the museum. In addition, the AQHA and Center City of Amarillo co-sponsors the project, “Hoof Prints of the American Quarter Horse” which consist of horse statues located in front of several Amarillo businesses, such as the downtown Amarillo National building, Nationwide Insurance, and Edward Jones. An area business would purchase a horse statue and a local artist paints on it.

Two of the Amarillo area’s higher education institutions have at least one museum in their campuses. The Amarillo Art Center , opened in 1972, is a building complex with the and concert hall located on the Washington Street Campus of Amarillo College. Located on the campus of West Texas A& M University, the claims to be the largest historical museum in Texas.

, located in the city’s hospital district, is an interactive science center and space theater with over 60 hands-on exhibits. Outside of the building is a steel structure called the Helium Monument which has time capsules and designates Amarillo the “Helium Capital of the World.” Near the proximity of the Discovery Center, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens has gardens, indoor exhibits, and a library for visitation throughout the year.

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Cowgirls And Cowboys Of The West

Cowgirls and Cowboys of the West is a hospitality and tour guide company based in Amarillo. They are conveniently close to Route 66 and offer an authentic Wild West experience to all their clients.

With a focus on Palo Duro Canyon, you get to choose between exploring on horseback or aboard a chuck wagon. No matter what option you choose, Cowgirls and Cowboys of the West will leave you in awe of the canyon.

Embrace the Texan in you in this one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found in Amarillo.

Details: 19100 FM1258, Amarillo, TX 79118 | Website

Amarillo Route 66 Historic District


Have a hunger for open roads? Are you going stir crazy? The historic Route 66 is waiting to take you on an adventure you will be talking about for years to come. Pack your car and go on a road trip along this historic stretch of road filled with activities for tourists.

Route 66 will take you across the west Texas Panhandle. You will weave right through Amarillo, where you will enjoy the Route 66 historic district. Art galleries, bars, restaurants, antique shops, and much more await you here. Most of the buildings are originals from the past.

Stop by the Lile Art Gallery for art, handmade jewelry, and more. Find refinished furniture, antiques, and vintage furniture at JunQtique. To get the authentic feel of Route 66, make sure to stop by Martins Phillips 66 Station. The station is part of the U.S. Route 66-Sixth Avenue Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places!

They say everythings bigger in Texas and thats especially true of the art installations and murals found both along Route 66, in downtown Amarillo, and around town. Make sure you make time to take a look.

A must-stop is Braceros for some hot Mexican dishes. The Golden Light Cafe is also a good place for a pit stop. Wash everything down with some beer on tap the Texan way. How much more Texan can your Amarillo visit get?

Details: 3511 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106 | Website

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Medical Centers And Hospitals

Amarillo is home to medical facilities including Baptist St. Anthony’s and Northwest Texas Hospitals, the Don & Sybil Harrington Cancer Center, Bivins Memorial Nursing Home, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech School of Pharmacy, and Texas Panhandle Mental Health and Mental Retardation. All are located in the Harrington Regional Medical Center, the first specifically designated city hospital district in Texas.

Baptist St. Anthony’s, known locally as BSA, had some of its services listed on the ‘s “Top 50 Hospitals” from 2002 to 2005. BSA was a result of a merger between the Texas Panhandle’s first hospital, St Anthony’s, with High Plains Baptist Hospital in 1996. The BSA Hospice & Life Enrichment Center provides important services to the Amarillo area. The BSA facility, opened in 1985, was the first free-standing hospice west of the that was built and opened without debt.

Northwest Texas Hospital is home to the area’s only Level III designated trauma center.

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