With his nose running, his forehead beaded with sweat and his mouth full, Dan Schmitt called out, “Can I get some more mustard?”
The German-born Minneapolitan was about halfway through a 3-foot-long sausage, and showed no signs of stopping.
Schmitt was taking part in the Meterbratwurst challenge, a longtime contest at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, northeast Minneapolis’ classic German restaurant.
The Meterbratwurst is the latest over-the-top dish to be featured in our video series, Outta Control.
The meter-long sausage is made and tubed in-house at Gasthof (2300 University Av. NE., Mpls.). It’s then coiled around itself into a snail shape, broiled and served on a silver platter.
Contestants must eat all that meat (about 1.75 pounds) and two sides of their choice to win a printed certificate honoring their feat. They also get a shot of apple schnapps.
“The stakes are low, but you’d be surprised how many people want” the certificate, said Mike Japor, the restaurant’s manager.
The tradition harks back to an Oktoberfest celebration some 20 years ago, when then-owner Mario Pierzchalski came up with the idea to offer a food challenge. After the tents came down, guests kept asking for the Meterbratwurst, Japor said. So it remained on the menu.
The restaurant sells about 20 a month, more around Oktoberfest. But fewer than half of those who request it are able to finish it, even without a time limit.
Still, there have been some memorable Meterbratwurst eaters. One put the whole platter away in two minutes and 40 seconds. “He picked it up and shoved it down his throat,” said Bill Koncar, who has played accordion in the restaurant for 23 years.
In 2009, Adam Richman filmed an episode of “Man v. Food” at Gasthof, and he ate the whole thing.
Schmitt, 32, originally hails from Stuttgart, and has lived here since age 9. He and his mother and grandmother get together every Sunday for homemade meals, so he knows a thing or two about German cooking.
He ordered his Meterbratwurst with sides of sauerkraut and spaetzle.
“It tastes as good as anything in Germany,” Schmitt said. But would Germans ever serve something of this magnitude?
“No,” he said. “This is really an American, do it Texas-sized, thing.”
As Schmitt made his way to the inside of the meat spiral and then moved on to the side dishes, Koncar stood behind Schmitt and taunted him with the accordion.
“Don’t stop eating,” he sang to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Schmitt didn’t stop. And in only 30 minutes, he’d cleared his silver platter. He washed it all down with a beer — 64 ounces of beer, that is.
To see more photos and videos from this series, follow us on Instagram at @outtacontrolmn.