You’ve seen the TikTok. Now, hear what was going through his mind.
16-year-old’s burger-eating challenge may have been just the beginning
By now, more than 25 million people can attest to Ethan Mueller’s Whataburger feat: In about 20 minutes, the 16-year-old from Allen, Texas, pounded a 10-patty burger, surrounded by a sea of cheering friends and Whataburger employees. Since the act was, of course, posted to TikTok — and reposted a gazillion times — practically the whole world knows about Mueller’s new record. We caught up with him to learn the backstory, plus a few things you may not know about the kid who’s now affectionately known as “burger boy.”
Q: What on Earth possessed you to eat a 10-patty burger?
A: Every Wednesday, a group of us from church meet up at Whataburger for dinner. A few weeks earlier, our youth pastor, Logan Howard, told us that when he was in high school, he ate seven patties in one night. My buddy sent me a text that said, “If you can beat him, you’ll get a lot of church cred.”
Q: But why TEN? Why not just beat him with eight patties?
A: I like to one-up people in a very major way. If I’m going to beat them, I don’t want to do the bare minimum, I want to go up and away with it.
Q: Have you ever done anything like this before?
A: I do eat a lot, but I think the closest I’ve ever gotten was a couple of big steaks.
Q: While you were eating the 10 patties, did you ever consider giving up?
A: I did feel like I should maybe rest a little bit. I didn’t, though, because I knew I needed to do it in under 20 minutes.
Q: How did you feel afterward?
A: Pretty good. But I didn’t eat anything for the rest of the day — well, until I went to bed and woke up and ate some breakfast.
Q: The number of social media views is unbelievable! Have you been surprised by all the press?
A: Yeah, I was. I only told a couple of my friends about my plans ahead of time. I’m in the Criminal Justice program at Collin College, and when I walked into class the next day, a few people held up big Whataburger signs. And now the head pastor at our church recognizes me and calls me “Burger Boy” whenever he sees me.
Q: Would you do it again?
A: For money, yes! But I think 12 is the most I would ever eat.
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.