Sink­ing your teeth into it all

Big Texan Steak Ranch is home to a 72-ounce steak meal and more

Los Angeles Times - - TRAVEL - BY RYAN RITCHIE Stew Moss, a taxi­dermy bobcat, a stage­coach, an over­size rock­ing chair and an 18-foot-tall Big Texan boot. travel@latimes.com

Those who know noth­ing about Amar­illo, Texas, might as­sume it’s noth­ing more than the sort of town where cross-coun­try driv­ers get ga­so­line, stretch their legs and dream of be­ing home. Although the Pan­han­dle city is an ideal lo­ca­tion to fill ’er up, there’s one, shall we say “big,” rea­son to visit Amar­illo: the Big Texan Steak Ranch, brew­ery and mo­tel, whose bill­boards en­tice trav­el­ers from hun­dreds of miles away with its boasts of over­size steaks, po­tent beers and Old West kitsch. Rather than won­der why a res­tau­rant would pro­mote it­self so widely, you’ll marvel at the ads lur­ing cus­tomers with a free 72-ounce steak din­ner for those who can eat the meal within an hour. The tab: One night at the Big Texan Mo­tel costs about $90 dur­ing sum­mer, while din­ner for two (with drinks) can be had for about $60.

The bed

The Texas aes­thetic is on full dis­play at the Big Texan Mo­tel (7701 In­ter­state 40 East, Amar­illo; [806] 372-5000,

www.big­texan.com), thanks to cedar walls, Western paint­ings and saloon doors on some of the bath­rooms. Sure, not all of the in-room tele­phones work (the front-desk at­ten­dant said they were fried due to ex­treme heat), but that’s what cell­phones are for.

The meal

If the free 72-ounce steak sounds tempt­ing, con­sider this: You’d bet­ter be re­ally, re­ally hun­gry, be­cause din­ers also must con­sume a baked potato, salad, din­ner rolls and three fried shrimp to win the chal­lenge. For those who don’t want to go up a weight class in one meal, there are other meaty op­tions, in­clud­ing smoked baby back ribs, a bar­be­cue brisket sand­wich and chicken-fried steak. The Big Texan also brews more than 10 beers on-site in a re­frig­er­ated semi-truck, so or­der the $12 sam­pler. The 10 four-ounce serv­ings are the ideal way for in­de­ci­sive guests to en­joy the rasp­berry wheat, the rat­tlesnake IPA, the pe­can porter and the whiskey bar­rel stout. If steak and beer aren’t enough, the Big Texan also has a shop that sells fresh home­made fudge (sam­ples al­ways avail­able).

The f ind

Even if steak isn’t your thing, there are plenty of rea­sons to stop at the Big Texan. The first is the live rat­tlesnake in the gift shop, be­cause how of­ten do you see a live rat­tlesnake a few feet from cof­fee mugs printed with the Texas map? The sec­ond is the shoot­ing gallery, a throw­back to clas­sic Amer­i­cana where you try to kill zom­bies, Drac­ula, skele­tons and Franken­stein’s mon­ster. Then there’s the out­door beer gar­den with a stage for one-man blues band

The les­son learned

The Big Texan isn’t just a road­side at­trac­tion. It’s a des­ti­na­tion, which is why the busi­ness plans to move a quar­ter­mile down the high­way by Oc­to­ber 2017. This move is in­flu­enced by the fact that the Big Texan loses about 60 cus- tomers a day be­cause of the paucity of park­ing and the one-hour wait at the res­tau­rant.

Amar­illo Travel & Tourism

A TRIP TO

the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amar­illo, Texas, won’t steer you wrong. Aim for the shoot­ing gallery or beer gar­den.

Amar­illo Travel & Tourism

AMAR­ILLO HAS

a pop­u­la­tion of nearly 200,000 and is the largest city in Texas Pan­han­dle.

Amar­illo Travel & Tourism

BIG TEXAN STEAK RANCH

of­fers a free 72-ounce steak din­ner if you fin­ish it in one hour.

Ryan Ritchie

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