Dunking your challenge food in liquid can benefit you in some very “chewy” situations, but there are many other times when dunking is just not necessary. If a challenge involves an incredibly thick and chewy bun or crust that would take forever to eat normally, soaking the bun in liquid before consuming it would definitely speed up your eating pace because it eliminates the need for a lot of extra chewing. The liquid will soften and moisten the fully submerged bun or crust a lot faster than you would by just taking many small bites and then sipping on the beverage of your choice afterwards. With those added positive benefits though, there are also many negative drawbacks that you should consider before deciding to dunk your food. As you will learn below, there are many situations where the negatives outnumber the positives, so dunking is not necessary. Here are the pros and cons of dunking challenge food so that you can make your own decisions regarding whether or not you should dunk during your next eating challenge, if the “house rules” even allow you to dunk. We have also included a helpful list of situations where it is acceptable, along with a list of times when dunking is just gross and unnecessary:

Situations where dunking is acceptable

1. If a challenge (burger, hot dog, or sandwich) involves a really thick, dense, & chewy bun

2. During a slider burger challenge where there is more bun involved than actual meat

3. If a pizza or calzone challenge has a really thick, dense, and chewy exterior crust

4. If a pancake or breakfast challenge has pancakes that are really thick and chewy

5. If you are running out of time and there is still some bun or crust left to finish

Situations where dunking is unnecessary

1. When the restaurant’s “house rules” specify that dunking is prohibited (obviously)

2. If the regular-sized bun, crust, or pancake(s) is thin, light, moist, and easy to eat normally

3. Dunking meats only (burger patty, hot dog, sandwich and BBQ meats) to help them slide down faster

4. French fries, tater tots, and anything where you have to submerge your entire hand while dunking

5. If the high carb item is paper thin and dunking will not really help much (tortillas, pita and flat breads)

Things you can do to moisten your food without dunking

1. Eat the meats and toppings first while they are warm and juicy before they cool down and become dry

2. Eat your chewy items along with creamy side items and toppings (baked beans and coleslaw)

3. Eat your chewy items along with water-filled vegetables and toppings (pickles, tomatoes, and onions)

4. Dip your chewy items in sauce (ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch, and marinara) to help consume them faster

5. If your taste buds are not picky, let the grease from your burger soak into the bottom bun and soften it


1. It will keep your jaw from getting tired – you won’t have to chew nearly as much before swallowing

2. It moistens the food so that the item can be swallowed quicker and more safely than without dunking

3. You are able to consume the food much faster so that you can finish everything before time expires

4. This is given due to the above qualities, but your challenge time can be significantly less when dunking

5. If the thick bun or crust is bland & flavorless, dunking in your favorite beverage can improve the taste


1. Once an item is fully submerged in a liquid, the taste and look of the food becomes really unappealing

2. The large amount of excess liquid soaked up by the high carb item takes up extra space in your stomach

3. Dunking can be very messy and may cause excess liquid to drip all over yourself and your eating area

4. Some excess food particles may get left behind in the dunking cup, which owners usually frown upon

5. Most spectators consider dunking to be extremely disgusting, so a lot less people will want to watch

6. If people find you to be disgusting due to you dunking, it will be tough to build any type of “following”


Dunking food in liquid can definitely be beneficial for helping you consume very thick and dense high carb items such as burger / hot dog / sandwich buns and pizza / calzone crusts. For those such items, it’s up to you whether or not you want to dunk them in liquid to help you consume them faster and more easily. If the flavor and look of the food are important to you and you feel that the negatives outweigh the positive benefits, feel free to use any of the possible tips for moistening your food without dunking that are listed above. Dip your pizza crust in a side of marinara sauce or eat your burger bun along with the side of coleslaw. Dip your bread into your cup of baked beans or use syrup and melted butter to help consume your pancakes. Whatever you decide, please be sure to follow Proper Food Challenge Dining Etiquette before, during, and after your challenge. Respect the restaurant, the spectators and customers watching you, and yourself by practicing proper manners while you are eating.

Use common sense when deciding whether or not you should dunk a particular food. If you have to ball up and crush a particular item and submerge your entire hand so that you can dunk it and keep everything together (french fries would be an example), it would be wise to avoid dunking and eat the food normally like a civilized human being. Otherwise, you will definitely make a mess and nobody wants to see the liquid on your hands flying everywhere. Dunking your hamburger patty may save you an extra five seconds, but it will also ruin the taste of the meat while leaving disgusting grease marks behind in your dunking cup. If you know you will be dunking during a challenge for sure, it would be a wise move to bring your own solid cups so that people aren’t grossed out by the look of your dunking liquid. Along with bringing your own cups, you may want to also bring your preferred dunking beverage too if you think the restaurant probably will not have it available. I try not to dunk food very often, but I typically use regular sweetened lemonade when I do, especially during contests.

I absolutely hate the taste of anything dunked into regular water, but the intense taste of the lemonade helps to make the flavor of the cold and wet food somewhat bearable until I’m finished eating. As mentioned in Proper Use Of Beverages During A Food Challenge, every eater has his or her own unique preferences when it comes to selecting which liquids to use during their competitions, so feel free to use whatever you think will help you withstand the flavor of your liquid-filled food. Now that you know the pros and cons of dunking challenge food in liquid, you can make your own decisions regarding what you want to do during your next food challenge that involves thick and dense high carb items. If you do decide to dunk though, be sure to do it as cleanly as possible, and do not go overboard. A lot of liquid gets absorbed while dunking and all that excess liquid acts just like the regular liquid that you sip throughout the challenge. If you consume too much liquid during quantity challenges, you will fill your stomach up with liquid and you won’t be able to finish the last few bites. When practiced in moderation under proper circumstances, dunking can be beneficial towards helping you win tough challenges. While it has positive qualities, it also has many negative drawbacks, so remember those before dunking your food, and also please avoid situations where it is just not needed to get the victory. For another interesting article relating dunking and competitive eating, please read Dunking: The Steroids Of Competitive Eating.

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