Seven Michigan Eating Challenges That Are Sure to Make You Hungry

Order up! Michigan may be known for its beautiful scenery and outdoors, but Michiganders know all too well that the state boasts some of the best restaurants around. While many of these hometown spots offer delectable classics, a few others bring something far ‘bigger’ to the table.

We rounded up seven eating challenges across the state that are available to try year round. So prepare your stomach, and mind, for these gargantuan Pure Michigan food feats.

The Dog Central Challenge
Dog Central, Mount Pleasant
If you’re heading to Mid-Michigan, ask around: Many of the Mt. Pleasant locals will know about the famed Dog Central Challenge. Dubbed as a test of both mental and physical toughness, challengers are tasked with taking down three foot long hotdogs with chili and two toppings, a bed of French fries, stack of onion rings and a 20 oz. fountain pop to wash it all down. If you complete the challenge, your determination earns you a spot on the Wall of Fame. But be warned! Losing the challenge earns you a spot on the Wall of Shame

Other Dog Central challenges include: most hot dogs eaten in two hours, most hot dogs eaten in one half hour, and the Ghost Chili Challenge (three hot dogs with ghost pepper chili)

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Photo courtesy of Dog Central

Lumberjack Club
The Grill House, Allegan
Do you have what it takes to join the Lumberjack Club? This 42oz Top Sirloin is not for the faint of heart. The record time for eating this monstrous steak is 5 minutes and 26 seconds, but you get one full hour to take on this mountain of meat. Don’t worry if you can’t finish it in under an hour – you’ve still had a wonderful steak dinner, and now you can have a tasty steak and egg omelet for breakfast!

50-Wing Challenge
The Winter Inn, Greenville
Every Sunday, challengers are invited to take part in the famed 50-wing challenge. You’ll have one hour to eat 50 of the Winter Inn’s delectable wings in the hopes of earning a plaque to put on the Wall of Fame. If you’re able to finish the challenge, you’ll receive a Winter Inn t-shirt, $15 gift certificate, and, of course, bragging rights as the wing champion.

Big Bambino Burger
Stucko’s Pub, Marquette
If you’re looking for a burger challenge, look no further than Stucko’s Big Bambino.  This mammoth one-pound burger is topped with a quarter pound all-beef hot dog, three slices of bacon and three slices of American cheese. Served with lettuce, tomato, pickle spear and one pound of fries, this majestic sandwich will bring even the burliest-burger lover to their knees.

Hellfire Hat Trick 
Mallie’s Sports Grill and Bar, Southgate
Spice-chasers head to Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, a Detroit suburb, to take on the “Hellfire Hat Trick.” Eat 1 hellfire burger, 6 hell fire wings and 1 bowl of hellfire chili in 30 minutes or less with a 5 minute burn period. Complete the Hat Trick and win free burgers for a year or a $100 Mallie’s gift certificate. This challenge is so hot it was even featured in USA Today Travel’s list of America’s spiciest eating challenges. 

Also available at Mallie’s – a burger challenge even more mammoth than the Big Bambino! The 10 lb. Monster Burger Challenge dares the largest of appetites to finish it all in 2 hours or less and it’s free. Plus, you get $100 and your photo on Mallie’s Wall of Fame!

Photo courtesy of Mallie's Grill n Bar

Photo courtesy of Mallie’s Grill n Bar

Burrito Challenge
Sabor Latino, Ann Arbor
If you’re looking for a challenge in Ann Arbor, take a trip to Sabor Latino for the hearty Burrito Challenge. You’ll come face to face with a triple-size burrito stuffed with beans, rice, you choice of meat or vegetables, lettuce, cheese, habanero-onion slaw, and topped with sour cream, guacamole and cheese. If you finish the burrito, you’ll earn a $20 gift card, your picture added to the Burrito Challenge Hall of Fame Facebook page and Sabor Latino will pick up your bill.

Have you conquered an extreme Michigan eating challenge? Do you know of any others to add to the list? Tell us! 

Interested in learning more about places to eat in Michigan? Head over to Michigan.org/dining for more delicious Michigan made entrees.

Unearthing Hidden Gems on an 1,800 Mile Eastern Upper Peninsula Ride

Car, Horse, Motorcycle or ORV – No matter what your preferred method of transportation, guest blogger Bryan Much shares his tips for taking the road less traveled on an Eastern Upper Peninsula ride.  

Eastern UP you say?  Yeah, been through there many times. Nice place!”  That was me before I took the time to dig in and really explore the history, scenery, and attractions of the area.  I always thought the eastern UP was “nice”, but now I’m in awe of all that I’ve missed over the years.

I like to do my exploring on an adventure motorcycle, but a car – or even a horse (as I learned along the way) – will take you to treasure.  With motorcycle riding upon us, it’s a good time to share some opportunities for the curious to explore and enjoy.

Rolling along to take in hundreds of points of interest, I covered about 1,800 miles of Pure Michigan goodness.  My goal went beyond the entertainment of taking my own trip.  I wanted to share some information that would make it easier for others to plan a trip of their own. On my trip, I toured counter-clockwise generally along the lakeshores with loops deep into the interior.  I crossed and re-crossed the bridge, ferried to Drummond Island, and rode the highways and back roads that took me where I wanted to go.

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My favorites points of interest usually involve history.  Visiting places and exploring what once was in the past is a very rich experience for me – especially when you add in some interpretive displays or stories from books.  We are still making history today, so the modern and new are equally fascinating.  The thrill of watching a giant ore ship navigate a narrow channel leaves an impression not easily forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

It’s not just the places.  The people you meet and the stories they share make for a memorable trip.  Slowing down and taking a moment to chat often brings great reward.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

The end of the day brings the time to reflect while relaxing on a beach listening to lapping waves while watching the sun slowly sink below the horizon.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Photo courtesy of Bryan Much

Waterfalls, mom-and-pop restaurants, fishing villages, wildlife, and history new and old are all part of the fare.  The pictures and stories from my own trip can be viewed here.  Hopefully, it will help a few people sort out some places they’d like to explore on a trip of their own.

So take a look, make some plans, and go hunting for some treasure of your own!  See you in the eastern UP!

Bryan Much retired from the military after having advanced from Private to Colonel. He now spends much of his time advocating for off-highway motorcyclists and exploring and recording paths for them to ride and enjoy.  He serves on two councils relating to trails and is a member of many organizations related to this recreational interest.

The Agri-Tourist’s Guide to Taking a Michigan Farm Tour

Spring is here, which means Michigan’s growing season is just around corner. Today, the Michigan Agritourism Association shares their insider tips for having some fun on a Michigan farm this summer. 

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As warmth fills the air and the sun stays up longer each day, spring is a welcome relief from a winter of bone-chilling temperatures. Michigan farms are waking up. Greenhouses are planted, seedlings are sprouting, newly born baby animals cry out, and orchards will soon be blooming.  Farm crews are opening up the barns, dusting “winter” off the play areas, and preparing to open the wonder of a farm to visitors.

Asparagus3Fresh, delicious, local produce will soon be available at road-side stands and farm markets, along with an opportunity to interact with those who grow your food. Asparagus is the first harbinger of spring  that normally pops out of the ground in early May. It can be prepared in so many different ways and is a treat to the taste buds after a long winter.

Insider tip:  Since it is only available fresh for about 6 weeks, try to get it as frequently as you can before it is gone for the season! 

This year’s Asparagus festival is May 15-17 and includes a Kick Ass-paragus 5K Fun Run/Walk, the infamous asparagus poem contest, a parade full of homemade asparagus hats and more.

In June, strawberries make their debut!  Many Michigan farms offer picked or u-pick strawberries, which is a fun experience for families. Ask the farm folks to show you the different growth stages of a strawberry:   from their start as small white blossoms to plump red ones which quickly fill up a quart box.

SB6_11_14Insider tip:  Wear a red shirt for when the strawberry juice drips down your chin!

In late June and into July, the growing season kicks into high gear with cherries, raspberries and blueberries.  If you loved picking strawberries, look for farms that offer U-Pick on these fruits, too.

Insider tip: If you’re not already a jammer, try hand-making jams and jellies and freeze them to savor the flavors year round!

The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City is one of the oldest and largest festivals in the country. The eight-day celebration, held July 4-11th this year, is jam-packed with activities for all ages. Though not as large, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries take main stage at various festivals around the state.

tomatoesThrough mid-July well into August, indulge in fabulous Michigan sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, sweet onions, peaches, plums, and almost any vegetable you desire.

Insider tip:  Visit the farm market first to get what is locally fresh in season, then plan the rest of your meal planning and shopping from there. Grilled vegetables?  Absolutely delicious!

For longer outings, look for farms which offer farm-style play areas, animal petting, and educational sessions and tours. Enjoy the onsite bakeries and food venues for fruit slushies, ice cream, fruit pies and of course – donuts!   We have no scientific proof, but farm bakery donuts just taste better when eaten while enjoying fresh air and the views of a farm!  A down-to-earth farm outing will simulate all five senses, teach you how food is grown, and most importantly, it’s just plain fun.

donutsInsider tip: Look for picnic areas, inviting benches and chairs to pull up and soak it all in. 

Plan your next experience by searching for local farms at www.michiganfarmfun.com or with a printed directory available at Michigan Agritourism Member locations, Michigan Farm Bureau offices, Michigan Welcome Centers or by calling the Michigan Agritourism Association office at (866) 964-3628.

Have you been to a Michigan farm? Tell us about your visit!

Allissa McManus and Beth Hubbard are passionate Board members of the Michigan Agritourism Association, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote agritourism by supporting our membership of farmers, farm marketers, and agritourism operators, who work tirelessly to provide fresh, delicious produce, education and farm fun to residents and visitors of our great State of Michigan. For more information about us and our members, please visit www.michiganfarmfun.com.