"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Thanks to Eat Feats for digging this up. The Clearfield Progress newspaper ran a story about Denny's giant burger, including giving plenty of love to the UEPa. Excerpt below. I like how I said "We come here every year." It's sort of true, we were there in 2006 and now in 2007 and we definitely plan to go back!

Ian Hickman of Sterling, Va., was able to break the restaurant's record by consuming a 2-pound hamburger, with a total weight of approximately 5 pounds, in 14 minutes and 45 seconds. The previous record was held by Daryl Teats of Woodland, who consumed a 2-pound burger in 1993 in 15 minutes.

"Denny's is sort of our Mecca," said Dave Schoffner of the United Eaters of Pennsylvania. "We come here every year."

The United Eaters of Pennsylvania is competitive eating club whose members came to Clearfield on Saturday for the event from all over the state, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, said Mr. Schoffner.

"We've tried other places, but none of them comes close to matching the food and atmosphere of Denny's," said Mr. Schoffner.

Super Sized Meals also highlighted the UEPa's participation in the day's festivities. If that site isn't already on your daily reading list, it damn well should be.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Every time I go to Denny’s (which is twice now) I get a giddy feeling when I pull into the parking lot and feel a little sad when I have to leave. Granted, the former is probably due to me having not eaten in 24 hours prior to arriving and the latter might have something to do with having three or four pounds of burger in my belly, but that’s just how I feel.

For the most recent visit, six members of the UEPa—all pictured below—were asked by Denny to visit on Saturday and be part of the unveiling of Denny’s new “World’s Largest Burger” (123 pounds). We also participated in a two-pound burger eating contest (roughly five pounds total). The details of Ian Hickman and Mark Lyle’s attempts are detailed in photos below, but Beau, myself and Wing Tut all ran out of time, having eaten about four pounds of our burgers when the hour expired. In his Denny’s debut, the newest member of the UEPa, Carey Poehlmann, was victorious. He downed his last bite at the 56 minute mark and now has his name on the wall at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. Pssh! Rookies.

DENNYS2 UEPa and 123 pounder
The six members of the day’s UEPa team posing with the largest burger ever created (123 pounds). The burger was unbelievable and almost didn’t look real. I’m still trying to figure out how the 100+ pounds of burger and top bun didn’t crush the bottom bun completely flat. Maybe some ingenious support system was in effect. From left to right: Ian “The Invader” Hickman, Dave “Mega Munch” Shoffner, Beau “Beauhemian” Faulkner, Mark “The Human Vacuum” Lyle (yellow), Derek “Wing Tut” Payne (red), Carey “Still Needs a Nickname” Poehlmann.

DENNYS2 Phill and the burger
Phil, the chef and artist behind the burger, applies some greenery before the burger tips the scales at 123 pounds. Denny is in the apron on the right. He gave a heartfelt speech to the packed room and said that this would be his last attempt at the record. He did say that when his son takes over the restaurant, he may choose to keep the burger wars alive.

DENNYS2 Ian eating
Ian Hickman tearing into his burger. He would finish in 14 minutes and 45 seconds to set the new world record for the fasted time for a Denny’s two-pounder (4 lb 12 oz total) with “the works.”

DENNYS2 Vacuum digging in
As is the case with most of Denny’s big burgers, eaters are given the choice of holding one item but for the main contest, we decided to hold nothing. Mark “The Human Vaccum” Lyle didn’t participate in the main event. Instead he performed solo for the German TV cameras (they planned to time elapse the footage and air it on what they called “the German equivalent of the Today Show”). Due to allergies, the Vacuum ordered his burger without tomatoes. Here we see just some of Mark’s flawless and awesome technique. He would finish with a time of 13 minutes 30 seconds, a new record for the two-pounder “with one item held.”

DENNYS2 Ian Carey Mark finishers
The day’s only finishers of the two-pound burger.

DENNYS2 Katie helping Beau
Beau's girlfriend Katie digs into Beau's scraps after he wisely threw in the towel (that’s him on the right envying her technique). On the drive up there she seriously considered competing and still thinks she could have been a contender. After seeing her gnawing fearlessly on Beau’s cold, congealed left overs, I would have to agree.

DENNYS2 Tut and meat lollipop
Derek “Wing Tut” Payne defies his mother’s advice and decides to play with his food. In this picture he’s taken a skewer and made a “meatpop” out of his left over burger. After several minutes of very intense and slightly disturbing licking, the technique proved worthless and he put the pop down, admitting “maybe it wasn’t a good idea to get so drunk last night.”

DENNYS Fighting Eagles Crew
This is a team of eaters from South Jersey called the Screaming Eagles. They would attempt the 15-pounder (two person team in foreground), the famous Ye Old 96er (one man, back left) and the three-pounder (one man, back right). With their yellow shirts they definitely took the award for “Best Eating Team That Looked Like An Actual Team”, reminding all UEPa members that we really need to get some t-shirts. Despite their uniformed approach, the burgers would be the winners in this battle.

A full set of pictures can be seen here and Wing Tut’s recollections of the day’s events, with photos and video, are here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I'm helping a friend move today and will back to post more pictures and details, but in the interest of getting the news out there, here's a preliminary report about the UEPa's trip to Denny's.

The burger was amazing (123 pounds, easily topping the 105-pound record). For the two pounder contest, Ian "The Invader" Hickman won handily and SET A NEW RECORD for the fastest time to complete the two-pounder (5lb 9oz total) with a time of 14 minutes 45 seconds (previous record 15 minutes). Someone said Bob Shoudt held the 15 minute record, but I wasn't aware that he ever made it up to Denny's and that remains unconfirmed.

The German TV crew asked Mark "The Human Vacuum" Lyle to eat his two-pounder separately, with a fixed camera which they planned to use to create a sped up montage of him eating. He dug in immediately after our contest ended giving us an opportunity to cheer him on. His burger came out 15 ounces lighter than Hickman's (having allergies, he ordered his without tomatoes but with extra onions to compensate, but it was still light). Extra onions or not, he displayed awesome technique and devoured it in 13 minutes 30 seconds.

A new record? Who knows.

Wing Tut crunched the numbers and found that Hickman ate 6.03 ounces per minute (or 9.83 seconds per ounce) and Mark ate 5.48 ounces per minute (10.95 seconds per ounce). Using those rates, had Mark's burger been equal in weight to Hickman's, he would have finished with a time of 16 minutes, 14 seconds. I hate reducing it to a numbers games, which is why I think both records should stand -- one as the "with everything" record, and one as the "one item held" record.

Check back later today for pictures and more results, including a standout performance by the newest member of the UEPa.

UPDATE: I forgot to subtract the weight of the plate in my calculations. The real numbers should be:

Ian Hickman - 76 oz./11.64 seconds per ounce/5.15 ounces per minute
Mark Lyle - 61 oz./13.28 seconds per ounce/4.52 ounces per minute

Friday, February 23, 2007


I just got a text from Wing Tut talking about how excited he is about tomorrow. Glad to see I'm not the only one. But my inner hypochondriac always comes out in the 24 hours prior to an contest. Every strange stomach gurgle makes me freak out. Every sniffle too.

"Ohmygod, what's that weird feeling in my stomach?! What's that pain in my intestine?! I'd better not be coming down with something!"

I just have to tell myself: It's all in my head. It's all in my head. It's all in my head. Unless it's a head cold. Oh shit!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I got "really thirsty" yesterday and drank a gallon of water after lunch. I did it again today and will probably get thirsty again tomorrow. I'll bet getting thirsty will stretch my stomach a bit and help me eat more on Saturday. At least that's what I've heard. I'm sitting here at my desk trying not to focus on the fact that I feel like I swallowed a beach ball. I really don't like getting thirsty.

(UPDATE: I actually drank two liters of water, not one gallon. I thought two liters equaled roughly one gallon, but it actually takes 3.8 liters to make a gallon. Stupid metric system.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Carey has brought up lots of good points about the future needs of the UEPa. T-shirts, slogans, mascots. All are needed. Carey also suggested a mission statement, which might be going too far, but I think it's funny and should be considered. If not a mission statement, then maybe a credo of some sort.

Thanks to Steakbellie, we do have a kick ass logo, which will no doubt become a part of our group's identity moving forward. I guess the next logical step toward become a real organization (although a slightly tongue-in-cheek one) is a website. We can talk about all of these things this weekend at Denny's (which happens to be our official annual meeting place).

Speaking of Denny's, I spoke to Denny today and he confirmed that we will be eating the TWO-pound burgers (not the three-pounders) and that the record is 15 minutes. But he also mentioned something else. He said a German TV crew would be there and he'd like two people to attack the restaurant's legendary 15-pound Beer Barrel Belly Buster burger for their cameras. I told him that since we've only got six eaters right now, eliminating two would leave four (I'm real good at math) and that would be close to the "too few" mark for a decent eating contest. I suggested he try to find two local eaters from Clearfield to either eat the 15-pounder or join the two-pounder contest to replace the two UEPa eaters who go for the monster.

We'll see what he says. Basically since there's money on the line in the two-pounder contest, I figured we'd all rather do that, but if anyone would rather hit the 15-pounder, let me know and I'll pass it along to Denny.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I talked to Denny today about this Saturday's world record burger event and it looks like the details of the day's events are all figured out. The new world's largest burger will be unveiled at noon and 30 minutes later the United Eaters of Pennsylvania will dig into their complimentary lunches.

Each eater (right now it looks like six of us) will get an official Denny's two pound burger and the first to finish wins. To put it in perspective, the burger in the picture above is a three-pounder. The total weight of the two-pounder, with bun and condiments, should be around four pounds and the current Denny's record time is 36 minutes. The winner gets $100 cash plus a gift certificate and the runner-up gets a gift certificate. Denny is also hooking each of us up with some goodies from the gift shop.

It takes about two-and-a-half hours to get to Clearfield from Harrisburg, so the central PA crew will probably leave here at 9 am on Saturday in order to make it up there by 11:30 and in plenty of time for the ceremony. Worst case scenario, we get up there around 11 and end up having to kill a few minutes at the restaurant bar and by the time the contest starts we're half drunk and can't eat for shit. Or is that the best case scenario? I'm not sure.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


From the good folks at Accoutrements comes Bacon bandages! I love these things almost as much as I love real bacon. The package advertises a "Free Toy Inside!" but do you really need one? I don't think so. These things make me want to try to jump my bike over a ramp made with a thin piece of plywood propped up on some books just so I can wipe out and have a reason to wear a bacon bandage on my elbow.

Friday, February 16, 2007


FOOTNOTE: The song is an old Muppets tune called "Manamanah."

Thursday, February 15, 2007


You may have read about this here, here, here or even here, but I wanted to do my part to spread the word about this because damnit, that's how we roll in this competitive eating community of ours. Long story short, Eater X's mom needs a kidney. If you've got Type O blood, you might be a match. Check out X's blog for details and more info about how to help.


Someone from the Dr. Keith Ablow show left the comment below on my fantasy eating team post. If you're near NYC and want to score some face time on national TV, drop her a line. From the show's website, it looks like the format is similar to Dr. Phil or any of those "help me help you" shows. Not sure what their intentions are. Hopefully good and not all "you suck...these people are bad influences...you're going to eat yourself to death...there are people starving in Tulsa!"

I'm writing from the Dr. Keith Ablow show in NYC, a nationally syndicated talk show produced for FOX. We will be doing a show about competitive eating on Feb. 20th. We'd like to feature a fan who idolizes Ed "Cookie" Jarvis or Tim Janus along with others, who'd like to start competiting in the sport. If anyone is interested please email me at:katya.golberg@drkeithtv.com

And it goes without saying that if you're a contracted member of the IFOCE, aspire to be a member of the IFOCE, know someone who's a member of the IFOCE or once watched an IFOCE contest, you should probably check with the IFOCE before going on this show. Actually, someone should probably tell the IFOCE that this show is happening.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Has anyone noticed that in four days, after this Saturday's Wienerschnitzel World Chili Cheese Fries Eating Championship, there will be no future events on the IFOCE calendar? That makes me sad. It's okay though. They say the hungriest hour is just before dawn (which is when the buffett opens).

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Last week we made those veggie "Boca" burgers. I know, not my proudest eating moment, but I did slather mine with mayo to add a little extra taste and to kick up the artery-clogging quotient a few notches. Fast forward to this morning. Heather was making tuna salad and she announced that our mayonnaise was expired. No biggie, I thought, then asking, "How expired?" Said Heather, "September."

Mmmm...nothing like some four-months-past-its-expiration-date mayo to take your meatless burger to the next level. In retrospect, I should have felt more repulsed when Heather told me that, but I wasn't.

Friday, February 09, 2007


This week I've been exchanging emails with Denny from Denny's Beer Barrel Pub. He wants the United Eaters of Pennsylvania to come up to his restaurant in Clearfield, PA on the 24th of this month to be a part of the unveiling of his new world record largest burger ("over 115 pounds"). Right now it's going to be me, Beau, Carey and possibly one other coming up from Harrisburg. Wing Tut has said that he's clear that weekend too and Ian Hickman may join us as well. We still need to dig up 6 or so more eaters.

Denny and I were kicking around some ideas for the event. Initially he wanted about 12 of us to try to eat the giant burger, to which I suggested cutting it in half and having two teams of six compete to see which team can eat the most in one hour. After the hour, the remants (oh yes, there will be remnants) would be weighed and one team would win. I like the concept of a team competition. You don't see that a lot in competitive eating.

He liked the idea too, but has reconsidered carving up the giant burger because he'd like to keep it intact for follow-up media inquiries and photos that are likely to trickle in during the days following the ceremony. Instead he suggested something involving several one- or two-pound burgers on a platter and the UEPa gang can eat those. Maybe we'll still do the team thing. Maybe we'll turn it into an individual event. His crew is still ironing out the details. I'm just glad he doesn't want us to come up a week later to eat the seven day old burger.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Wing Bowl isn't an event that can be covered in just one blog entry (as Steakbellie also has found). That said, I discovered a few photos and videos of Wing Bowl 15 that were shot be other people that I felt deserved to be shared so I'm highlighting them here. This might be my last Wing Bowl entry. I guess that means Wing Bowl can be covered in two entries. At least from my perspective.

The always hungry Dante Taylor over at the Hungover Gourmet also attended Wing Bowl and captured this iconic image. Any man (and most women) who were there won't forget that Wingette any time soon.

I saw this a lot at Wing Bowl. It's a natural by-product of a four hour eating contest preceded by eight hours of binge drinking.

I remember this fight. I also remember thinking, "How many guys in yellow shirts does it take to break up two drunken assholes? Apparently the answer is four. And who are the guys in purple? They didn't help much.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


My headache is finally gone, so I figure it’s finally time to chronicle the adventures in beer and boobs that is Wing Bowl 15. Overall, the whole event was everything I’d hoped and imagined it would be. We pulled our U-Haul into the Holiday Inn parking lot at around 10:30 pm the night before and immediately started setting up our tailgating headquarters. That would last until 4:30 am, when the entire tailgating crew migrated through about half a mile of parking lots to the Wachovia Center.

I think Evan said this at some point in the night, and I agree, that Wing Bowl is like three events all rolled into one. The tailgating, the wing eating contest, and the after parties. Being old and out of shape, we skipped out on the afterparties, but the first two events are displayed in the following photos.

Beau, Evan and I cracked open some Yeung-Lings as soon as we boarded our train in Harrisburg en route to Philly. Evan is our agency copywriter and was trying to write some copy for an ad during when this picture was taken. I won’t divulge which client he was writing for, except to say that they’re the fifth largest ice cream distributor in the nation.

Pat Bertoletti (left) stopped by our party around 2 am. With him are me and Carey (right). Later, Pat left to squeeze in an hour of sleep in his Holiday Inn hotel room. I’m not sure how much sleep he would get because Crazy Legs and Eater X, who also stopped by after Pat left, went up to visit him. Despite the lack of rest Pat would eat 170 wings in Wing Bowl 15 to take second place.

Here I am with Joey Chestnut in the Holiday Inn lobby at around 4am after he’d just wrapped up an interview with the WIP radio crew. About 5 hours later Chestnut would be crowned the winner of Wing Bowl 15 after eating a record 182 wings.

Pete Miernicki’s crew was coincidentally set up across from us in the tailgating lot so we played beer pong and flip cup with them throughout the night. This game came down to the last cup and the flash from this photo was indirectly blamed for causing our guy (left) to lose his concentration and cost us the match. Yeah, I’m sure it was the flash and not the 15 beers he had that night.

Carey’s sister Chris (left), Beau, Me, and Carey kicking back in our tailgating wagon. Half the reason we got the U-Haul was because of the snow and rain that was predicted for that night. It didn’t rain, but the U-Haul was still a smart decision.

Some random guy came up and asked if he could heat up his burgers on our grill. He was excited.

Pete Meirnicky shows off his “Entourage Pass” which gets him behind-the-scenes access as a member of Joey Chestnut's posse.

Carey and Crazy Legs meet at last. Legs was wearing his trademark shorts despite temperatures hovering around 25 degrees. At one point, two girls came up to him asked “Aren’t you cold?”. When he explained that he wasn’t, they followed with “Is it hereditary?”

This was the view from our seats in the upper bowl. The cars on the right and the tables are behind that guy's head. I have to honestly say that I recommend upper bowl and lower bowl to the standing room floor area. The obvious reason being, on the floor you have to peak over everyone's heads and you can't watch the jumbotron which shows great angles of the eaters, the entrances, clips from past years and, of course, the Wingettes and Wingette wannabes in the stands.

Steakbellie makes his entrance with his entourage. His massive “Can of Whoop Ass” float was awesome and definitely the best prop of all the entrances.

Joey tearing into one of his 182 wings while his supporters look on. The fact that he was able to stay so focused on his wings despite the distractions surrounding him is unbelievable.

The projectile vomiting at the beginning and end of this clip is classic footage from the 2001 Wing Bowl of Matt "Sloth" Dutton's legendary reversal. Coincidentally, the clip was shown just as one of the competitors (who is he?) threw up and was DQ'd. He tries to force it back down, but the judges had seen enough.

Pat Croce, the commissioner of Wing Bowl 15, announces Joey Chestnut as the winner. As you can tell, the 20,000 fans at the Wachovia Center didn’t like “The World” eaters from the IFOCE and roundly boo’ed them every chance they got. In another video I shot of Sonya’s third place announcement, one guy next to me shouted “the world sucks!” and later “fuck the world!”

If you want to see some Wingettes getting frisky with each other or a flasher showing off her best top AND bottom assets, check out this video or this video. They suck a little bit because I shot them with my camera, but who cares.

A full set of my pictures from Wing Bowl 15 can be seen here. You can also see WIP DJ Angelo Cataldi's photos here.