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You’ve seen it on Adam Richman’s Man V. Food, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and countless brunch menus across the land that boast a double cheeseburger served between two donuts. So-called dude food—over-the-top, in-your-face culinary creations with no concern for moderation or decency—is one of the most pervasive trends (or epidemics) in the food world today. Financial Times critic Tim Hayward calls it an “international phenomenon,” while Men’s Health has even issued an impassioned defense of the stuff.

The dude food ethos manifests itself everywhere, from fast-food chains (let’s not beat around the bush, the KFC Double Down is a bro’s wet dream) all the way to the kitchens of respected chefs like Heston Blumental and Martin Picard, who play on notions of testosterone-driven gluttony and indulgence with their cooking.

We’re of two minds about the ascendance of dude food. There are some obvious problems, like the term itself (women love 47-layer dip too) and the potential for both overeating and waste. But we also kind of like the playfulness of the genre, and the willingness to cut through the preciousness and pretension food world with ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck grub.

 TUDOR COCKENTRICE

What’s in it: A cockentrice is a beast constructed by attaching parts of mismatching animals, concealing an edible feast inside. British chef Heston Blumenthal’s version, which he created for his television show Heston’s Feasts, includes the head of a wild boar, the crown of a chicken, the wings and back end of a goose, and the torso of a lamb, all joined together by a taxidermist. Inside, a seared saddle of lamb encases minced dry-cured ham, chicken meat, and goose breasts. Some things you can’t unsee, bro.

Why it’s so bro: The Tudors may have liked theatrics at their feasts, but Blumenthal takes it to a new level. The BBC mini-series where he recreates period feasts is more like British Epic Mealtime. In the Tudor episode, this buche de carne awaits dinner guests inside the pig-bird beast, which is carried to the table by four men. “It actually looks like a swan has died bumming a boar,” says one unreserved diner. That’s true, but the resulting “flying pig” creation isn’t even the finale—Blumenthal blows it up with firecrackers in front of his guests, because Tudors were apparently pyromaniacs, too.

PIZZA HUT’S HAMBURGER/CHICKEN FILET STUFFED CRUST

What’s in it: This Pizza Hut Middle East creation puts Britain’s hot dog-stuffed crust of a few years ago to shame. Pizza Hut will devastate your stomach with its two over-the-top styles exclusive to the region. One is cheeseburger, featuring mini cheeseburgers baked in crust pods around the edge of the “pizza,” which is then covered in ground beef morsels, lettuce and tomatoes, and “Pizza Hut’s special sauce.” Oh, no. Then there’s Chicken Filet, which fills those little crust pods with fried chicken nuggets. The pie is topped with — what else? — more fried chicken nuggets and barbecue sauce.

Why it’s so bro: The only thing that’s not bro about these magical concoctions is the fact that they’re not available stateside.

EPIC MEAL TIME’S FAST FOOD LASAGNA

What’s in it: Epic Meal Time’s classic Fast-Food Lasagna combines 45 hamburgers, a liter of Big Mac Sauce, seven orders of onion rings, cheese, bacon, and a “custom sauce” made from bacon, onions, ground beef, sausage, and a fifth of Jack Daniels.

Why it’s so bro: Did you even read the preceding sentence? There are so many burgers in this deep-dish mess that the hosts had to go to three different fast-food joints. The resulting eight-inch tall mound is taste-tested by a group of “burger bacon buddies,” who swill a few shots of Jack to make it all go down easier.

THE GREAT PYRAMID OF ICE CREAM AT CABOT’S

What’s in it: This mega sundae at Cabot’s in Newton, MA, sits in a bowl almost two feet in diameter, and it includes 60 pints of ice cream with 12 quarts of toppings.

Why it’s so bro: It’s said to feed up to 175 people (and costs $229), but you can cut that in half if you’re eating with real bros.

FRIED KOOL-AID

What’s in it: Introduced to state fairs everywhere in the summer of 2011, these bright red treats are made by combining cherry Kool-Aid powder with a flour-and-water batter, then deep-frying the dough in ball shapes. The finished product gets a healthy dose of powdered sugar.

Why it’s so bro: Let’s be honest, Kool-Aid never went out of style. And now there’s a way to eat your favorite childhood drink in a fried cake ball? Like a red velvet cake that’s also badass? A victory for bros the world over.

KENTUCKY HOT BROWN

What’s in it: Originally created in 1926 by chefs at the Brown Hotel in Louisville for tired partygoers, this open-faced sandwich starts with two slices of Texas Toast laid in the bottom of a baking dish and topped with thick chunks of roasted turkey and roma tomatoes. Then, it’s slathered in a rich Mornay sauce, bacon, and Pecorino Romano and broiled until bubbling.

Why it’s so bro: This is party food with heritage, super heavy on the cheese and messy enough that it’s practically a casserole. Still, real bros eat it with their hands.

GARBAGE PLATE

What’s in it: At Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester, NY, pick from two bases like mac salad, home fries, French fries and baked beans. Then, pick two toppings like cheeseburgers, hamburgers, Italian sausage, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, fried ham, fried fish, chicken tenders, or veggies. Add a little onion and mustard and “hot sauce” (ground beef sauce simmered with spices), pile it into a Styrofoam container or plastic plate, and voila! You have the famous garbage plate.

Why it’s so bro: Every dude loves choices, and the Garbage Plate requires personalization at every step. And when the “toppings” on a menu constitute a meal in and of themselves, you know you’ve reached ultimate bro-dom. (Side note: All hot sauces should come with meat.)

DENNY’S FRIED CHEESE MELT

What’s in it: A grilled cheese sandwich made with American cheese and four fried mozzarella sticks stuck between two slices of sourdough bread.

Why it’s so bro: First off, it’s only $4. And secondly, it’s fried cheese inside a grilled cheese that you can dip in red sauce. That seems like reason enough.

SPILLY’S CHEESESTEAK

What’s in it: SB Nation’s Spilly made a special cheesesteak for the Sixers-Knicks match-up last fall, utilizing well-know foodstuffs from New York and Philly. There’s frozen hamburgers cooked with cheesecake and a cheese sauce made in a blender with Cheez-Wiz, cream cheese, Tang (for color), Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and powdered doughnuts. All this is piled onto big bagel slices and topped with more Tang.

Why it’s so bro: Everyone knows that the cheesesteak is a bona fide bro food — greasy steak smothered with melted cheese stuffed into a soft, hot hoagie. But as usual, dude-food legend Spilly takes it to the next level, which is inedibility. Not even the bro-est bro would attempt this one.

What’s in it: We all know the Romans were creatures of excess, but one feast in particular — for Emperor Nero in 64 AD — is especially famous. It took place on a floating raft, and it’s said that besides 50 other delicacies, guests dined on dormice (yes, rodents), sow’s udders, a hare with wings attached to honor Pegasus, and a calf boiled whole then served wearing a helmet.

Why it’s so bro: Nero’s feasts included orgies, and some of the courses (sow’s udders) were sexual in nature. Also, there’s something inherently badass about presenting your friends with a whole cow rocking a helmet.

What’s in it: For this beloved Quebecois dish, French fries are topped with squeaky cheese curds and salty brown gravy.

Why it’s so bro: What’s more appealing than the original relative of disco fries? Even Canadian fast-food restaurants serve up poutine. Plus, at poutine joints like La Banquise in Montreal, you can get 25 different types—with OTT toppings like sausage or taco fillings—24 hours a day.

What’s in it: In Atlanta, The Nook’s Southern Comfort burger is stuffed with a wad of deep-fried bacon mac and cheese, then slathered with a peach and Southern Comfort sauce.

Why it’s so bro: Here, Southern Comfort takes on a double meaning with the fried mac and cheese, but we’re okay with that. Because in the South, like in Bro Land, every meal is really two meals.

What’s in it: In medieval times, “pies” were like plates or trenchers — not edible, just vehicles for food. For show, English cooks would place live birds in a large pie shell and lift the lid for the king, allowing the birds to fly away.

Why it’s so bro: It may have been turned into a nursery rhyme, but Heston Blumenthal has attempted to recreate the spectacle of live birds placed into a pie before serving his guests their real entrees — pigeon pies. The type of bros who get really excited picking out their own lobster at a Chinese restaurant would go nuts for this.

What’s in it: Although it’s an irregular item only to be found on Value Menus, Burger King’s 1998 creation still has a place in the hearts of bros everywhere—a cheeseburger topped with onion rings and barbecue sauce for $1.

Why it’s so bro: It was created as a short run in 1998 to coincide with Small Soldiers, and the passion of bros kept it alive (the fact that it’s popular in New Zealand says everything).

What’s in it: With all the mega-burgers on offer at Oddfellow’s Burger Kitchen in Ames, IA, it’s easy to misread this particular menu item at first glance. But this “cheeseburger” is actually TWO bacon cheeseburgers smashed between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

Why it’s so bro: Much like the Double Down, you’re replacing the bread portion of a sandwich with something that would make a full meal on its own, which is a pretty bro thing to do. As they (literally) say at Oddfellow’s, “Sometimes bigger is better.”

What’s in it: The biggest burger at the controversial Heart Attack Grill comes with two pounds of beef (in four patties), cheese bacon, and special sauce.

Why it’s so bro: Here, you can buy a heart attack for less than $15. And last April, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded the monstrosity with the crown for “most calorific burger.” It weighs in at 9,982 calories. You can hear the flatlines already. (Sad note: One of the restaurant’s top customers—and unofficial spokesperson—died this week of a heart attack.)

LUTHER BURGER, A.K.A. DONUT BURGER

What’s in it: Generally speaking, it’s a burger, often with cheese and bacon, smushed between two glazed doughnuts for maximum caloric oomph. Find it at state fairs and anywhere Paula Deen roams.

Why it’s so bro: Not only does it include all the major dude-food staples (bacon, burger, sugar, cheese, bacon), but it’s also breakfast and every other meal in one — perfect for the bro on the go. Legend links the origins of the dish to singer Luther Vandross.

KFC DOUBLE DOWN

What’s in it: This sandwich to end all sandwiches uses fried chicken filets as buns (you could opt for grilled, but come on). Inside, the trusty chefs at KFC layer in bacon, the Colonel’s special sauce, and two kinds of (unspecified) cheese.

Why it’s so bro: IT’S A SANDWICH MADE OF MEAT. There is no bread to speak of, and nothing more to argue.

FOWL DE COCHON (PIG TURDUCKEN)

What’s in it: It takes a whole farm to raise a piggie turducken. This super bro spin on the better-known Turducken features the same old chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, but this time all that gets stuffed inside a whole pig!

Why it’s so bro: This is the ultimate meat snack, rolled into crispy pig skin. Plus, cooking it takes all day, providing plenty of time to drink beers and play with fire.

 

DORITOS LOCOS TACOS

What’s in it: That depends on whether you get the regular or supreme. But basically, it’s beefy-cheesiness inside a Nacho Cheese Dorito–flavored taco shell.

Why it’s so bro: It’s a taco made out of your favorite childhood snack, and it leaves that orange dusty goodness on your fingers when you eat it. Don’t forget: You still have the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos to look forward to on March 7.

THE BOBBIE AT CAPRIOTTIS

What’s in it: Everyone knows what a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich looks like. And this version at Capriottis is so much better than that—a 9-inch hoagie is the smallest size available, and it’s stuffed with gobs of stuffing, pull-apart roast turkey, and cranberry sauce squished together until you can’t separate one ingredient from another.

Why it’s so bro: This will remind you of mom’s Thanksgiving dinner all year long—because you can buy it every day, and no one can tell you that you’ve had too much stuffing! No one!

FAT SANDWICHES AT R U HUNGRY? (RUTGERS)

What’s in it: The real question is what isn’t in it. Most of the “fat” sandwiches at this notorious Rutgers University food truck include a combination of mozz sticks, French fries, some sort of breaded meat, and a combination of sauces, all inside a kaiser roll. The Fat Bitch (pictured) features cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and French fries.

Why it’s so bro: With a loyal student clientele and menu items like the Fat Elvis, Fat Fellatio, and Fat Blunt, you know this place is legit. Plus, if your personal combo is outrageous enough, they might name a sandwich after you, placing your God-given bro name on their gluttonous wall of fame.

VOL-AU-VENT AT AU PIED DE COCHON

What’s in it: At Au Pied de Cochon’s sugar shack on the outskirts of Montreal, one of the many gluttounus courses is this pit of puff pastry filled with lobes of foie gras, béchamel, and Victor & Berthold cheese, all topped with a watercress-apple salad and curly fried pig skins.

Why it’s so bro: You can still be a bro while eating fancy, and this is fancy bro food at its best.

CHOCO TACO

What’s in it: A sweet waffle cone acts like a taco shell for ice cream that’s covered in chocolate sauce and nuts.

Why it’s so bro: While it may seem rather quaint by today’s standards, this mashup frozen treat was a gamechanger when it first hit the ice-cream truck, blazing the trail for many dude foods to come.

BUZZFEED’S 47-LAYER DIP

What’s in it: Well, there are 47 layers, so something like that many foods. It’s got both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos, hard-boiled eggs, chicken nuggets, beans, and…the list goes on. The first ingredient, though, is a clear bowl so you can show off your bro prowess when you complete it.

Why it’s so bro: The only thing that could make this mega dip more bro was if it had a nice round 50 layers. But we won’t hold that against the engineers of this masterpiece.

Source

THE 25 MOST INSANE DUDE FOODS OF ALL TIME

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