Foodie Events / Restaurants

Texas’ Panther City BBQ Tries to Break a Guinness Book World Record — Inside the Attempt at 41 Straight-Plus Hours of Grilling

This Cooking Challenge is Not For the Faint of Heart — Or Mind

BY // 07.14.22

A Guinness Book world record could soon be shattered by two Fort Worth barbecue stars ― Panther City BBQ pit masters Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales. While hitting their target of 42 hours of continuous grilling might not sound that difficult, remember they are taking on this challenge in the sweltering heat of the Texas summer. Which regularly means triple digit temperatures.

Fort Worth’s Panther City BBQ is taking a serious run at the record. Texas Monthly and Travel Texas plan to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest BBQ Marathon Team with their help. The restaurant’s team of only three pit masters is currently attempting to break the record of 40 hours and 53 seconds of continuous barbecuing, with plans to finish and set the record this Friday, July 15th at Panther City BBQ.

I dropped by around lunchtime Thursday, as barbecue seekers lined up as usual. Many of them were unaware of the Guinness Book world record hoopla going on around them. I wanted to see how the grill-master duo was faring after 24 hours in. The challenge began Wednesday and they’ve been grilling nonstop throughout the day and night ever since.

I asked Magallanes if they get any extra credit for achieving a new record in 105 degree heat. The answer? No, they do not. Let the write-in campaign begin. That fact at least deserves a notation —perhaps in parenthesis — in the new the world record entry.

Panther – Chris Magallanes still smiling at about the halfway maker on Thursday.
Chris Magallanes was still smiling at about the halfway maker on Thursday. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

The barbecue they are grilling includes fajitas, tablitas, brisket, hamburgers, yellow and red bell peppers and white onions, all prepared over the course of the multi-day event. All the food will be donated to local community and frontline workers, including the Fort Worth Police, Fort Worth Fire Department, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth and other local charities.

Magallanes and Morales were still smiling and flipping burgers and green peppers when I dropped by. Cooling cloths draped around their necks. The Fort Worth fire department nibbling barbecue at a table nearby, stand at the ready.

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Dehydration, exhaustion and heatstroke are all a possibility. The barbecue duo’s personal trainer was also on hand, nearby. He detailed the strategy for keeping them hydrated, awake and still standing until the challenge is set to end at around 3 pm Friday. They are on a regimen of food-based hydration including green grapes, with a high protein mid-day meal to keep them energized.

The trainer said he knows he can get Magallanes and Morales to about the 35-hour mark. The rest is really up to them — and the sheer willpower to see the challenge through.

Panther City BBQ’s Ernest Morales flipping burgers and grilling green peppers during the Guinness Book marathon grilling challenge.
Panther City BBQ’s Ernest Morales flipped burgers and grilling green peppers during the Guinness Book marathon grilling challenge. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

An eagle-eyed Guinness Book monitor sat near the charcoal grills, making notes on her clipboard about every detail, even noting every addition of charcoal. It’s not like this Panther City BBQ duo is tag teaming with their entire crew to achieve this record. It’s primarily just the two of them manning the grill, with one other teammate on standby.

“If we need a bio break, we only have five minutes and have to take it together,” Morales tells PaperCity Fort Worth.

BBQ fanatics are encouraged to stop by and cheer on the pit masters as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Longest BBQ Marathon as a team. The current record was set in 2017. Panther City’s restaurant and bar will be open its regular hours from 11 am to 4 pm during the record push.

Free food samples from the barbecue will be available for spectators that attend. As added bonus, barbecue devotees can check out Panther City BBQ’s newly opened and updated bar, part of its expanding footprint. The new bar boasts air conditioning and is marked by a neon sign, which reads: “Feed me BBQ & tell me I’m pretty.”

Magallanes and Morales aren’t trying to be pretty with this record. They’re just trying to get through it — one hot barbecue moment at a time.

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