• Dennis McCaslin

Are you up for the Challenge? Big Poppa's BBQ in Lamar says come on down!


When it comes to great food, you just can't beat the menu and selection at Big Poppa's BBQ in Lamar. But if you think you're a real eater, then the Johnson County eatery has a challenge for you.


Big Poppa's has introduced their 10 Pound Chili Dog Challenge and it's starting to draw attention throughout the region.


The concept is the same as you see advertised for "Big Steak Challenges" where you have to consume an insane-portioned steak dinner within a certain time frame. But instead of steak, you are required to down a ten pound chili dog. With all the fixins'.


"We have checked and this is the biggest chili-dog challenge we can find in the country," said Nick Sanchez, one of the co-owners of Big Poppa's. "There is a place in Chicago that has a bigger chili dog, but we're the only one doing this kind of challenge."


The challenge is simple.

The chili dog, which is available for purchase for $35 and is designed for catered events, comes in an aluminum pan. The meat itself is from Petit Jean Meats of Morrilton and is encased in a huge bun and onions, cheese and chili are piled on top until the scales hit ten pounds.


All you have to do is sit down and eat the entire thing in thirty minutes or less. If you do, the chili dog is free and you get a $100 gift certificate for the restaurant. If you fail, you have to pony up the $35 but the good news is you get to take the uneaten portion home for later consumption.


"We have had one person try," said Sanchez. "He didn't make it."


A while back, Charles Dillon of Ozark sat down and tried to win the challenge. He was enthusiastic. At the ten minute mark, his enthusiasm started to wane after consuming one-and-a-quarter pounds of the monster and he yelled "uncle".


Sanchez says they have another gastronomic challenger lined up for Thursday. The local chamber of commerce is getting involved and the word is starting to spread. Sanchez he hopes potential challengers nationwide can get the word and with the restaurant just being a short hop off I-40, the Chili Dog Challenge can put Lamar on the map for hungry travelers.


But Big Poppa's is more than just a Chili Dog Challenge. People will drive for good barbecue and, regionally, the restaurant is already making a name for itself with their pulled pork, brisket, ribs and chicken dinners. Add in amazing nachos, smoked sausage, smoked bologna and all the sides, and you can see why locals rave about the food.

"We even served smoked corn in a cup and our loaded 'taters' are a meal by themselves," said Sanchez. "We just try to do good food at reasonable prices and we have some great, loyal customers."


And don't forget about the homemade cheesecake and pies.


If you are ready to take the Challenge, Big Poppa's is located at 249 West Main in Lamar. You can also call ahead for carry out at 479-885-3816.


"Even if you don't want to try our Chili Dog Challenge, I'm betting you will find something you'll like on on our menu," said Sanchez.


Big Poppa's is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am until they sell out. And they sell out a lot.


"I would advise people to call before they come." said Sanchez. "We run out of stuff from time to time, but if you call ahead, we can let you know about that in advance."


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