When it comes to over-the-top spectacle, Las Vegas is the champ, and LBS: A Burger Joint believed it had one in its the Extreme burger. It turned out that in the current super-hyped world of burgers, “extreme” no longer is enough.
LBS, in Vegas’s Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa, offers a variety of tasty but un-extreme burgers, such as The Steakhouse with peppercorn-crusted beef, grilled wild mushrooms, red-onion marmalade and horseradish steak sauce. But for that element of sequin-studded Vegas razzle dazzle, LBS owner Billy Richardson and Chef Anthony Meidenbauer created the Extreme. Six half-pound beef patties are layered with American cheese, portobello mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, spicy mustard, herb mayo, house LBS sauce and “ghost peppers” on a sweet egg bun. Accompanying this tower of burger power is a pound of hot fries. Finish it all in under an hour and LBS not only would waive the $30 price but also rename it in your honor.
The challenge isn’t just poundage, it’s the tiny but powerful naga jolokia peppers, known as ghost peppers. “We don’t just wear gloves, we wear carpenter’s masks. It gets pretty rough” when handling and cutting peppers with a record 1 million+ Scoville units of heat, says Meidenbauer. Competitive eater “El Toro” Jimenez failed to complete the Extreme challenge.
But another pro eater, Ron “Undertaker” Koch, polished it off in 28 minutes. Put it away, ghost peppers and fries and all, “like it was nothing,” says the admiring chef. LBS agreed to rename the burger The Undertaker, but Koch—a Vegas resident—wanted something more: He asked that the restaurant make the burger a bigger challenge. So now it has been nearly doubled in size to 11 patties (with more cheese, mustard, peppers etc.). That, says Meidenbauer, just might make it truly impossible to master. “Even Ron couldn’t finish the new version,” he says. Self-styled glutton Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” program may take a shot at it when the show next films in Vegas, Meidenbauer says. He doubts the new burger will have been tamed by then.