The Ranting Chef Is an Undefeated Competitive Eating Champion

As a kid I was never the fastest or strongest. I could mostly hit a baseball or sometimes shoot a basket in basketball, and mostly get the tennis ball over the net. Most of the time I could return the volleyball or get the football to the receiver in the neighborhood games, but in no case would anyone think of me as athletic.

One summer we were back in Ohio visiting relatives and the whole lot of us decided to spend several nights at one of the state parks. We spent our days hiking, playing in the pool at the lodge and generally goofing off. As is common, the state park had occasional activities scheduled to keep all of the kids busy. One afternoon we were in the lodge and the activity coordinator found my brother, cousins and I in the pool and asked if we wanted to be in the pie eating contest. Contest or not, asking a kid if he wanted free pie on a summer’s day is a pretty easy way to gain acceptance.

I think there were 8-10 kids total and we each had a slice of chocolate cream pie in front of us. We had to keep our hands behind our backs and when the whistle blew, our hands-free pie eating began. I don’t recall how the pie tasted (chocolate cream means it must have been good) and I cannot remember how long it took me but a mere number of seconds after the whistle, I was done. I put my hand up and the coordinator looked at my empty plate and pie covered face and blew the whistle and announced I had won. On that day I retired from competitive eating an undefeated champion!

Competitive eating has become a big deal. Headlined by the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest on July 4, it was also popularized by the food challenges of Adam Richman in the show Man vs. Food.

Major League Eating and the International Federation of Competitive Eating are the organizations that maintain the records for competitive eating. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • 22oz 7-11 Slurpee – 9 seconds
  • 6lbs Baked Beans – 1 min 48 sec
  • 7 sticks of butter – 5 minutes
  • 80 chicken nuggets – 5 minutes
  • 49 glazed doughnuts – 8 minutes
  • 275 pickled jalapenos – 8 minutes
  • 6lbs SPAM – 12 minutes
  • 121 Twinkies – 6 minutes

Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

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These meatballs didn’t retain their perfectly round shape but acquired an excellent flavor.

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There are quite a few ingredients to these.

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Fry the onions.

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Making the paste.

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Into the bowl.

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Adding the meat.

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Making the gravy.

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These were so good that I could eat 10lbs, 3oz of them in under 10 minutes to set a new record!

Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

prep 15 m ∙ cook 50 m ∙ makes 45 meatballs ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source


For the meatballs:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup minced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Lingonberry jam, for serving (optional)


Make the meatballs: Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined.

Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Make the gravy: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lingonberry jam, if desired.

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Categories: appetizer, Baking3, Beef 2, Main Dish 3, Pork2, Recipes, Sweedish

Author:The Ranting Chef

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6 Comments on “The Ranting Chef Is an Undefeated Competitive Eating Champion”

  1. August 5, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Once again, you make me hungry. I really want to make these.


  2. August 5, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    I’m going to make this one this weekend 🙂

    Looks Yumo!


  3. Kate Gross
    August 6, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    This makes me want to find that picture: you victorious, David still trying to eat, and Greg looking like he could throw up! I would’ve thought it was a whole pie though. What an iconic summer day!


  4. Lori M.
    August 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    A Slurpee in 9 seconds…I have a brain freeze just reading that 🙂


  5. August 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    I like this recipe very much. When my boys still lived at home, I used to make a ‘sort of’ Swedish Meatball – this recipe is much, much better than mine! Planning to make this soon!


  6. August 6, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Just how we make them here in Minnesota, you betcha! (If one has a good recipe – I much prefer this to the sour cream versions!) I like that you included the allspice! The fact that they didn’t stay round means they’re nice and tender!


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