Two Iowa Restaurants Have Been Featured on the Show ‘Man v. Food’
Back in 2008, the Travel Channel debuted Man v. Food, a show where TV personality Adam Richman attempted different eating challenges at restaurants across the U.S. (and a few in Canada) After four seasons, the show went on a 5-year hiatus, eventually returning in 2017 with a new host, Casey Webb. It has been on the air ever since, with the most recent episode debuting on March 8th of 2022.
Of all the insane eating challenges that both hosts have taken part in since the show's introduction, two of them were done right here in Iowa! Let's start with the Adam Emmenecker Challenge.
Jethro's BBQ in Des Moines is home to an incredibly difficult challenge that consists of all of the favorite foods of former Drake University basketball player Adam Emmenecker. According to the Des Moines Register, you have exactly 15 minutes to complete a "4-pound sandwich consisting of a cheddar cheeseburger, bacon, brisket, fried cheese, buffalo chicken tenders and a pork tenderloin smothered in white cheddar cheese sauce and topped off with a spicy pickle and a pound of waffle fries." Adam Richman attempted the challenge during season three of Man v. Food in 2010, and unfortunately, he failed. Can you blame him, though? I mean, just look at this thing!
Here's a video of a popular YouTuber named Randy Santel doing the Adam Emmenecker Challenge:
Cut to 2017. During season 5 of Man v. Food, Casey Webb traveled over to Johnston, Iowa to take on the Showdown Challenge at Cactus Bob's BBQ Corral. This challenge is less about the amount of food, and more about the level of spice. Here's how it works, according to the website:
"Here's the deal: if you are 18 or older, pay the $15.00 challenge fee and sign a waiver. We will bring you a pulled pork sandwich smothered with our Showdown sauce and set the timer for 10 minutes.
Once you take your first bite of sauced meat, we will start the timer. You will have 10 minutes to eat the whole sandwich and clean the tray without taking a drink, wiping your face or hands or getting up from the table."
In case you're wondering, yes, Casey Webb did complete the challenge! You can check out the video below:
During Casey's visit to Iowa, the Des Moines Register reports that he tried a couple of other Des Moines-area restaurants. He had the King Loin at Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop and the General Tso's Pizza from Fong's Pizza.
If you're feeling confident, there are a few other food challenges that you can try here in Iowa! You can check out a few of them HERE.