Man vs. Steak
Before undertaking an epic challenge, it's best to seek wisdom from a master -- someone whose experience stretches back decades, and could make mockery of your youthful vigor.Your challenge: Singlehandedly take down The Ultimate Steak at Brand, a 120oz porterhouse that usually feeds six (+2 sides -- au gratin potatoes and one of your choice). Succeed, and it's on the house; fail, and sayonora $267.Your master: Vegas-based competitive eater Rich LeFevre (aka "The Locust"), world record holder for the gluttonous consumption of chili, donuts, birthday cake, Spam, pizza, and jalapenos (247 in eight minutes -- hot damn). We interviewed him as he took down The Ultimate:If a guy's coming to Las Vegas with plans to eat large, should he do some preparation at home first? I don't think it would be wise to go in not knowing your capacity. You can get an idea. You probably can't find a 120oz steak, but you can get five regular steaks that add up to 120oz and see how you feel afterwards.What do you do to prepare for this sort of thing? I eat normally up until the day before, and then I watch what I eat in the morning -- a Starbucks Frappucino maybe, with wheat germ and oatmeal.Is there a danger in trying to ingest a 120oz slab of prime meat? The danger is in eating beyond your capacity. Some of these guys are water training to expand their stomach, but I'm not sure how safe that is.What's your strategy going in? Work my way through the meat, see how I'm doing, and then start hitting the side orders.Au jus, or not au jus? I don't need au jus, this meat is very juicy.What kind of chewing are you doing? I have to chew it quite a bit. I'm not like [competitive eating superstar] Joey Chestnut, who can take one or two bites and just swallow. You have to work harder to get it down that way, so I do a lot of chewing.Do you think a lot of competitive eaters focus too much on the hot dogs, because that's where the TV exposure is? Yeah. To measure a competitive eater you have to look at everything, not just hot dogs or hamburgers. That's a sandwich food and there's dunking involved. And dunking can really change the totals quite a bit.Any two-sport athletes in competitive eating? William "Refrigerator" Perry tried it. We went up against each other in a cake-eating contest. That's one of my other world records -- birthday cake. I ate five pounds in a little over 11 minutes. [Perry] could only eat about an eighth of it. And he was in the hot dog contest at Coney Island, and he ate four and backed away.Where do you think competitive eating fits in the cavalcade of American sports? It's an entertaining thing to watch, as long as you don't take it too seriously.Have you had any injuries that plagued your career? I swallowed my tooth in a contest once.Is there an age where your metabolism is prime for competitive eating? It's certainly not an advantage being old, that's for sure. I think the younger guys have a better chance of doing great. But this is my kind of eating. I'm doing pretty good.How can a guy tell if he really has what it takes to be a competitive eater? You can always weigh yourself before you eat, eat as much as you can and then see how much you weigh afterwards. When you get a difference in double figures, then you can actually make some money [on the circuit].What's the key to getting into competitive eating? It's the speed mainly. There are a lot of big eaters, but you have to get used to eating fast. I was never a fast eater and never will be. But with jalepenos I just got into a rhythm, where every two or three seconds I would eat one. You have to get in a perfect rhythm to beat [the great eaters].So what do you say to the people who chastise you, your haters -- because there's hunger in the world and gluttony is a sin? The hunger in the world is nonsense. Because the IFOCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating) contributes a lot for world hunger. And we don't waste food.You're a horse -- you're taking it down! And I'm not full either. I'm not having any trouble at all. I thought it was really going to be tough, but nah. Excellent guys, beautiful steak, everything was delicious. I could probably eat another 20 ounces. But that was good. That's a good challenge. Do I get any ice cream? I'll have a couple scoops of ice cream if you've got any.