When the hot-dog king Joey Chestnut has a cheat day, he goes all out.
The 36-year-old is the 12-time winner of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every Fourth of July on Coney Island. Last year he ate 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes — which is still three hot dogs short of his all-time record in 2018, when he ate 74.
On Thursday, Chestnut set his sights on a new challenge: breaking the Big Mac eating world record.
The previous record was 30, so Chestnut ordered 32 Big Macs from an Indianapolis-area McDonald’s using UberEats. On McDonald’s own app, the order is limited to just 15 burgers; probably because one sandwich comes in at 540 calories. Chestnut noted in the video that the burgers totaled 15.36-pounds of food, 18,016 calories, and $127.38 – plus tip.
“I’m excited,” Chestnut says in the video. “This is like a dream of mine since I was a kid.”
During the 13 minute video, Chestnut begins dripping with “meat sweats” after five and a half minutes, on burger No. 7. But according to Chestnut, that’s pretty normal.
He’s only on burger No. 11 after 10 minutes, the duration of most eating contests. His sweating has gotten worse, and by minute 25 he admits that he’s running out of steam, after 24 burgers.
However, Chestnut says his love of the burgers makes it easier to eat a lot of them in this type of setting. He was amazed that the Big Mac still tasted good even over halfway through the challenge.
“It’s so much easier to eat food that you’re familiar with and that your body already knows…Over decades I’ve eaten hundreds of Big Macs and I have an amazing tolerance for Big Macs.”
Throughout the video, Chestnut gave commentary, and talked about the way that Big Macs reminded him of his grandfather.
“They would sell two Big Macs for $4, and me and my grandpa would get four of them. I’d end up eating three.”
As the video winds down, Chestnut compares it to the last couple miles of a marathon.
“I’ve never run a marathon, probably never will,” he jokes. “But it must be nice knowing that you’re closing in on that goal, and right now I’m closing in on my goal of the 32 Big Macs.”
Chestnut also talked about his routine, saying that the specific way he eats the burgers and stacks their boxes helps him focus and push himself.
Three burgers from the end, Chestnut says that his throat is suffering, while his stomach and tastebuds are fine still. But even though he’s struggling, he makes it to the finish: 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, 15 seconds. To celebrate, he lets out a huge belch.
At the end of the video, the champ invites his fans to send him ideas for new food challenges.
“Anything fun and something not too easy,” he says. “I like pushing myself. I like eating. I like going into a food coma afterwards.”
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