Our very own Stuart Kavanagh takes on the Sturt Club’s ribs challenge – but has he bitten off more than he can chew?
On Saturday night, I was thrown down a challenge. As a man who enjoys his food, and occasionally large quantities of it, I was challenged to take on the infamous Sturt Clubs ribs challenge.
How hard could it be, I said. It’s just a kilo and a half of ribs and a kilo of hot chips.
The big question was, would I reign supreme, as I boasted, or be forced to eat my own words?
The challenge is not to be taken lightly. The chef pits a mega serving of his delicious ribs against anyone who thinks they had the appetite, and intestinal fortitude, to slay 1.5 kilos of ribs, and all those chips.
Full of bravado, naivety, and foolishness, I said, “Duh, of course I can do that.”
Those seven fateful words sealed my doom. A colleague made the booking, and interest grew.
Before I knew it, a group of my workmates who were coming to offer moral support, or were they just there it laugh at me. I swallowed hard, and carried on.
As the date drew nearer there was plenty of gentle ribbing.
As work wrapped up on Friday, the anticipation amongst my co-workers rose and some subtle doubt was starting to creep into my mind. Had I really bitten off more than I could chew?
Saturday arrived. Gameday. It was just me versus the ribs – plus a crowd of onlookers – and some serious preparation was required.
I tried not to eat before the challenge, save for a handful of corn chips in the mid-afternoon. Unbeknownst to me, that would be all the success I would achieve.
We arrived at the Sturt Club. A very nice establishment with a great beer garden and numerous other facilities, but my eyes were only for the ribs.
The table ordered. Many in my support team openly mocked me as they received regular serves of ribs, and one simply ordered an entrée of spring rolls.
Everybody’s food arrived and, my ungodly large order of ribs and chips came to the table last – I felt there should have been a trumpet fanfare.
The staff told me the record for completing the challenge was 17 minutes. My confidence grew ever so slightly.
The waitress gave me a rundown of the rules. The challenge had to be completed within an hour.
I had to eat them all myself, and they would be watching me like a hawk in case I felt the desire to cheat. I was given a bowl for the discarded rib bones which was larger than anyone else’s plate.
Formalities over, I attempted to etch my name into Sturt Club, nay Broken Hill, nay Australian history.
I exploded out of the gates. Wolfing down the delicious ribs coated in a sticky barbecue sauce. They were perfection. The meat just fell off the bone, the sauce complimented the meat perfectly and in those early stages, I thought, “I am a chance here”.
Rack after rack was disappearing, and I was making a decent dent in the gigantic portion of meat in front of me.
I stopped for a mouthful of my lemon, lime, and bitters to wash it down. Then I was straight back at it. Another rack went down. Then another, and another.
It was at this point that I started to get the meat sweats.
I looked down at my plate and there were two racks left. I thought it was time for a break. Big mistake. It allowed all the meat I had consumed already to catch up to me.
The next rack was a struggle. The final one was torture. I downed the final piece of meat and looked down at the kilo of chips in front of me. I glanced at my watch. Some 25 minutes to go.
I can’t explain what happened next. All I can tell you is the thought of eating even one of those chips repulsed me. I flagged down a passing waitress and flew the white flag. I was done. The ribs had defeated me.
I still had 20-odd minutes to spare, but I knew I just couldn’t get the job done.
I went home with my ego bruised and my tail between my legs.
The following day was a period of recovery I will spare you the details of. I had many regrets, but I never regretted sampling the food.
Truly, they were the best ribs I had ever tasted. I think my mistake was trying to eat 1.5 kilos of them.
If you have been reading this and thinking, I can conquer this challenge, I implore you too.
Even if you aren’t the type to go toe-to-toe with an ungodly mountain of ribs, the regular sizes are worthwhile. The ribs are truly a work of art. Do yourself a favour and check them out.
The Sturt Club is at 321 Blende St. Their website is https://www.sturtclub.com.au/