The Tab vs. The Harley Burger Challenge

Editor Tom Clark takes one for the team and goes up against the ‘We Be Burnin” Burger

Burger Challenge Harley Tab Tom Clark


Let’s be clear: I did not want to do this challenge. I asked everyone else here at The Tab whether they wanted to volunteer themselves to take on the burger, and promised short term fame in return. But no one did. In hindsight maybe that should have been a warning, but I decided step up to the plate and confront the challenge myself.

Doesn’t look that bad, right?


This is the third year hipster hotspot The Harley has hosted its annual eating challenge, and this time they decided to go down the ‘spicy’ route. Enter the ‘We Be Burnin’’ burger, a five patty outfit featuring “five different kinds of spice” and served with a wodge of ghost chili fries. But hey, these are just words, so everything was going to be fine.

I was up against 6 other fools who fancied their chances, and sitting on my competitors stool I was surprised to find that I was actually nervous. Before I knew it the basket filled with meat and potato was in front of me, and despite it taking me about 10 seconds to pick the bloody thing up, we were off.

And we’re off



The first bite was hot. I tried thinking of comparisons to make, but then realised that this is what people use when making comparisons. No corner of my mouth escaped the searing pain of the chilli. In terms of tactics, my thinking was along the lines of ‘get it in you before your body knows what’s going on’, and with a rush of adrenaline facilitated by the cheering crowd, this tactic was working well early on.

Hotness became less of an issue fairly quickly, as my mouth went into a state of shock and sensibly decided to stop listening to the wailing screams of perishing taste buds. Now the problem was quantity. Chunks of tough meat refused to go down easily, at one point leaving me perilously close to rejecting the meat from whence it came.

Crying and sweating



We were about 4 minutes in, and the early adrenaline had long worn off, to be replaced by fatigue and nausea. My body was sending a clear, insistent message: I am full. But I steadied the ship, and thanks to getting rid of chips in between ‘meat stages’, I soon chewed the last mouthful of gristle, stood up and displayed my empty mouth with pride.

I had actually won. I didn’t mean to win; this article was designed to end in admirable but futile defeat. But my (hardly impressive) time of 6 minutes was fastest on the day, and I lapped up the glory along with the post-trauma milk. Apparently excessive quantities of chilli can have a disorientating effect, and for the rest of the evening I was feeling pretty ‘out of it’ to say the least.

A quick wipe…

All gone



So I was now unintentionally through to the ‘grand final’ in two days’ time. However, after my experiences the day after the challenge, I was much less enthusiastic about going through it all again. To remain implicit, the burger had had its revenge. Seeing as I had no realistic chance of winning (someone apparently wolfed his down in under three minutes), I had very little reason to go back, so decided to quit whilst I was ahead. As much as I love The Tab, I prefer a functioning digestive system.

I had won the battle, but ultimately the burger had won the war.