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Tackling the Mugshot Challenge at Mugshots Bar & Grill

I absolutely refuse to admit defeat in a game that is rigged before I ever get started.

Kena Betancur/Getty Images

I have a bone to pick with a certain sports bar who happens to have a food challenge.

So do you know what's incredibly difficult? Successfully completing a food challenge that is not as advertised. I'm not saying that I'm bitter.


Nor am I saying that the things I am about to describe, had they broken the opposite direction, would have led to me being successful in this challenge. But it sure would have been nice to feel like I had a real shot.

Problem #1: The setup - I should have known

So if you stroll on over to the Mugshots menu, you will notice the following menu item:


As soon as I had decided that my wife and I were going to attend the South Alabama - Navy game Thanksgiving weekend, I decided that it was my turn to bite the bullet like Mitchell and Will and Jason before me and engage in one of these food challenges. This one seemed reasonable enough.

Oh my, was I wrong.

Look at that description again: "three seasoned patties piled with blah blah blah toppings." I don't know what image that conjures to you, but I imagine three burger patties stacked on top of one another, loaded with various toppings of various amounts and textures and consistencies, and then tucked within the friendly confines of a bun just barely big enough to contain all that nonsense.

If you watched either of the trailers, you know damn good and well that isn't what arrived in front of me. What actually arrived was three individual burgers (each one about a quarter-pounder, just from eyeballing it). Each of those burgers had its own complete bun, top and bottom, and each of those burgers had two strips of bacon, one slice each of Swiss and Cheddar, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Essentially, I was expecting the equivalent of a Triple Whopper value meal. That was the entire reason I was confident going in, because me and the Triple Whopper go way back. When I was working every day in the motor pool at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, TW and I got together for lunch multiple times a week. I crushed that on a regular basis without even trying.

What appeared instead was the equivalent of two whole Whopper meals, plus a third Whopper sandwich for good measure. If you've watched the hot dog eating contest any time recently, you know darn well that is just a whole mess of bread that does nothing but get in the way of progress. So there's strike one.

Problem #2: The process - you're doing it all wrong

SO MUCH CHEWING. Now, were I a more seasoned food challenge veteran I probably would have taken my time and prepped better. The waitress did say that I could do anything to the food (disassemble it in any way I wanted) prior to her actually starting my 12 minute time clock. I just didn't think to do more than physically deconstruct the burger.

One problem with that: the buns were the thing that were keeping the burger patties at a temperature that made them desirable to consume. Also known as "warm." Once I took that bad boy down, it didn't take until I had pushed through the first of the patties before both the beef and the condiments were room temperature at best and were no longer really appetizing.

Also, did you know you get to axe one thing from the challenge? Yeah, that's a funny one. By "one thing" they mean that you can either eliminate the single onion ring that they put on top, the single fried pickle spear they put on top, the mayo or the mustard. Forgive me if none of that seems like more than "here, dummy, do something to make yourself feel like a winner."

It is insanely difficult to complete a food challenge when that ridiculous feeling of an overfull stomach is the second hurdle you reach.So that was strike two.

Problem #3 - Time itself ceased to exist

Another thing that can make succeeding in a food challenge difficult? One that is specific to this one where you were given a set amount of time in which to complete the consumption of all those calories? It is really hard to pace yourself in a timed challenge when you have no clue how long it has been.

My waitress was forced to use her iPhone as her timer. That was certainly no issue, however she gave me zero assistance by the fact that the only two time updates I got were "four minutes" and "time's up." To compound that, none of the three people I was eating with kept time.

I was not moving quickly during this challenge, so I don't think an update every minute or two would have caused me to miraculously plow through this monstrosity in a sufficient amount of time, but it sure would have been nice.

When the pathetic final bell rang, I had managed to consume two of the three burger patties and about 80% of the fries that came with it, but I most decisively got my ass kicked by this challenge. Chime in down below and let's discuss. Am I righteous in my indignation? Could you have pulled this one off? What would your strategy be?