Craig Clarion restaurant’s Big Barnyard Burger has yet to be tamed |

Craig Clarion restaurant’s Big Barnyard Burger has yet to be tamed

From left, Jordan Todd, CJ Skowronski and Matt Moore partake in the Castle Ranch Steakhouse Big Barnyard Burger Challenge Wednesday night during the Business After-Hours Mixer hosted by the Craig Chamber of Commerce at Clarion Inn & Suites. The five-pound, heavily topped hamburger meal is a new special at the restaurant, free to those who can complete it in 30 minutes.
Andy Bockelman

There’s only one word appropriate enough to describe what’s been happening at the Clarion Inn & Suites lately: Big.

The Craig hotel was the site of this month’s Business After-Hours Mixer by the Craig Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night, and aside from the food, drinks and door prizes available to the crowd, three brave souls got a taste of the newest offering from the on-site restaurant Castle Ranch Steakhouse: the Big Barnyard Burger Challenge.

Putting famed grill products like the Whopper, Big Mac and Jumbo Jack to shame, the BBB is not for the faint of heart. The specialty bun alone weighs 20 ounces, barely containing the 1 1/2-pound ground beef patty.

But that’s not all — four sausage patties, four slices of bacon, 3 slices of ham, three fried eggs and five slices of cheese also contribute to the dish’s weight of five pounds, which doesn’t include french fries and lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles on the side.

Craig residents Matt Moore, CJ Skowronski and Jordan Todd sat at the forefront to take on the challenge of polishing off the whole meal in 30 minutes under the gaze of a sizable audience.

Castle Ranch recently began featuring the Big Barnyard Burger to customers, though no one has been able to complete the deal in the half-hour timeframe. The story was no different with the trio of competitors Wednesday.

Todd came the closest with about one-quarter of the monster burger remaining. He said this was not the first eating challenge he’s done, once successfully tackling a 72-ounce steak, baked potato and salad in one hour.

“The bread is what gets you,” he said, referring to the giant bun, which filled him up faster.

The sheer variety of food was a surprise for Moore as he tucked into his serving.

“The sausage kind of threw me off, but other than that, it was awesome,” he said. “It had an interesting flavor, and it’s not what you’d expect on a cheeseburger, but it’s good.”

Moore and Skowronski each got through about half their burgers before time ran out for them.

Skowronski said he wasn’t sure he would be interested in any other competitive eating events.

“I would do it again for fun, but not competing just so I could get a free meal,” he said. “I still had a good time.”

Aside from the newest menu item at Castle Ranch, the Clarion also has some significant plans to attract customers to its Sports Page Bar, though that won’t be its title much longer.

Renovations to the bar in the upcoming weeks will temporarily relocate it to another part of the building, and when it’s all completed, the new title will be Cassidy’s Bar and Lounge, a nod to the moniker it held until about five years ago, inspired by Western outlaw Butch Cassidy.

Clarion owner Sholom Jacobs said the change will be to better fit Craig’s image and also add an upscale, energetic feel with numerous activities for locals, hunters and tourists alike to continue to reinvigorate the lodging as a part of the regional economy.

“It’s hopefully going to be like the way it was,” Jacobs said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or

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