Six pounds of steak in 13 minutes! (not to mention salad, fries, and onion rings)

February 12, 2020 • 2:15 pm

Meet (or should I say “Meat”?) Leah Shutkever, who specializes in eating large quantities of food in short periods of time. In other words, she’s a competitive eater, a job (or avocation) which fascinates me. She’s not fat or anything, and she’s probably a landsman, which makes me kin—and proud. Her performance here is unbelievable: she demolishes a six-pound steak, complete with fries, onion rings, and a side salad, in only 13 minutes. (The restaurant where she’s meeting the challenge, Catllemens Grill Harrogate, gives you a whole hour to finish to get the meal for free. She finishes, setting a record, in less than a quarter of that time.)

Somehow I found this video mesmerizing, and watched the whole thing. If you wish to skip the intro, start at 3:22 . Her YouTube channel is here, where you can watch her dispatch pancakes, burgers, and chicken with equal speed and alacrity. A notable one is where Leah polishes off four Big Macs, four McDonald’s milkshakes, and four large fries in—get this—6 minutes and 15 seconds! Eight pounds of pigs in blankets in 33 minutes!

22 thoughts on “Six pounds of steak in 13 minutes! (not to mention salad, fries, and onion rings)

  1. I always find this stuff gross. I think my reason is two fold: 1) some sort of anorexic dislike of food that has persisted decades later. 2) the thought of doing this seems perverse when food is something so many people can’t have, even in the developed world.

    1. Agree completely. I can’t even fathom why, when, how this became a “thing”. (Sorry Jerry.) Probably hot dogs at Coney Island, but maybe the starving Israelites with their manna. Like an Amarillo Texas nightmare, with the 36oz (or whatever) steak free* (fine print).

    2. As a special case of 2) – why do I have the feeling that many of these “competitive eaters” (at least the ones that do a lot) are bulimic? In which case, it would be horribly *wasteful*.

  2. There’s a theory that slimmer people actually make better competitive eaters because they tend to lack a belt of abdominal fat that restricts stomach expansion. The Japanese superstar competitive eater Kobayashi, being a notable example. I won an eating contest where I consumed an entire pumpkin pie in 2 and a half minutes. I like pumpkin pie! It was my only attempt at competitive eating.

  3. Although seeing any apparently impossible feat performed is astonishing, I do worry about the health effects of this type of extreme eating. It isn’t unknown for competitors to accidentally suffer internal injuries – and in many cases the rules only require participants to keep the food down for a specified number of minutes.

      1. Indeed, she does so at her own risk and is obviously very fit. Nevertheless, I’m not entirely sure competitive eating is ethical (as Diana mentions above), sustainable, or something to be encouraged, but each to their own.

        1. For what it’s worth, my introduction to the world of competitive eating came via Damon Runyon’s A Piece of Pie, though I’m not sure I entirely realised it was an actual thing back then. (And please pity my poor English teacher having to put up with my lame attempts to copy Runyon’s perpetual use of the present tense in my creative writing!) You can find the story here:

          1. Ah, Runyon. One of my favourite authors. But, if I may split a hair, it is not so much that he only uses the present tense, because he does also use the future tense on occasion, as that he never, ever uses a past tense. (There are said to be a couple of occurrences of past tense in his stories, but they are probably misprints).


    1. You know what, Gasper? I don’t give a rat’s patootie what you think. I post what interests me.

      And you know what else? I don’t think it cheapens my website because a). I’ve posted competitive eating videos before and nobody has beefed about it (that’s a joke in case you’re too obtuse to get humor), and b). the subscribers keep growing in number. But we have one less after your rude comment. Were you raised without manners, are you drunk, or is it that you just don’t like steak?

      Watch your tuchas as you leave by the swinging door.

  4. I recall the earlier post about Molly Schuyler (who is also quite small), the competitive eater who ate two 72 oz steak dinners at the Big Texan in less than 15 minutes. There is a video on youtube of Schuyler doing this. She is much less mannerly than Leah as she does not use a knife and fork but just grabs the food with her hands and stuffs it in.

  5. Red meat is hard to digest and the volume on that plate must be as large as her stomach. Her gut must be something to behold. Does she induce vomiting after the camera stops rolling I wonder?

  6. I once saw an animation of Kobayashi’s innards during a competition and the degree of expansion of his stomach was almost beyond imagination. I know that my nocireceptors (if I remember that correctly) would have all fired and I’d have vomited well before achieving a small fraction of what he eats (and I am 6’3 and 190 lbs). Perhaps one can train for such a thing (why would one want to) or perhaps some are just born with the ability. Nature vs nurture…

  7. Again…competitive eating is one of those examples of the competitive spirit gone wild.
    These days you can’t mention any hobby or interest that doesn’t exceed this desire.

    Person A: “I really enjoy reading the works Cormac McCarthy…”


    Though I can’t think of anything that takes this urge-to-compete-in-everything to as vividly pointless and revolting an end as Competitive Eating.

    That said, with a bit of hypocrisy involved, I used to enjoy the series Man Vs Food. But that was for the Host’s personality and mostly for the food tours leading up to the food challenges.

  8. That’s some 2.7 kg of meat, the amount I normally devour in 18 days. I like steak too, but I’m always mixed about steak restaurants forcing a minimum portion of 200g upon you; I can’t eat that much, it’s going to end up in the pig food.

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