Several of the world's top competitive eaters descended upon the Isle of Capri in Pompano Beach last weekend to see who could eat the most sour dill pickles. Before the event, the record was 2.99 pounds of pickles in six minutes. At least six people bested that number, with Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti taking first with 5 pounds, 11.2 ounces of pickles consumed.
It was quite a spectacle, but when the powerful vinegary scent hit the audience, several people had to back away. Contestants had cups of water and Gatorade to help mitigate the effect of all that salt, but in the 90-degree heat, things got uncomfortable.
The record-setting event was just one stop on the Major League Eating circuit, and most of the competitions and records are far more disturbing than six pounds of pickles in six minutes. So we assembled a list of the ten most disturbing competitive-eating records.
In order from very disturbing to unthinkably disgusting, the list goes:
1) 10.8 pounds of Key lime pie in 8 minutes
Done on March 21, 2006 by Pat Bertoletti, usually a sweet specialist -- the same man who crushed the pickle record in Pompano.
2) 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes
Done September 29, 2007, at Harrah's Louisiana Downs, again by Bertoletti.
3) 7.75 pounds huevos rancheros in 10 minutes
Done March 18, 2006, by Richard LeFevre.
4) 8.4 pounds baked beans in 2 minutes 47 seconds
Accomplished August 7, 2004, by the diminutive Sonya Thomas, who tied for second in the pickle-eating competition.
5) 6.75 pounds fried catfish in 10 minutes
Another record held by Thomas, done on March 20, 2010, at the Rhythm City Casino World Catfish Eating Championship.
6) 3 pounds haggis in 8 Minutes
Done on October 8, 2008, by Eric Livingston.
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7) 3 pounds, 11.75 ounces of World Rocky Mountain Oysters in 10 minutes
Another record of Bertoletti's, set August 28, 2010, at the Isle Black Hawk World Rocky Mountain Oyster Eating Championship in Colorado.
8) 3 pounds, 3 ounces pickled beef tongue whole in 12 minutes
Held by Dominic Cardo.
9) 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes
This disturbing record was set by Takeru Kobayashi himself, the man whose incredible consumption of hot dogs put modern competitive eating on the map.
10) 4 32-ounce bowls (one gallon) of mayonnaise in 8 minutes
Set by Oleg Zhornitskiy. And if you can even read that without feeling queasy, you might have a future in Major League Eating.