There are a lot of world records out there, and Lehi resident Susie Bulloch was part of two-person team that used just two grills and a lot of hot dogs to break a record last week in New York City. Bulloch and Tennessee resident Drew Battistelli set the Guinness World Record Aug. 11–13 for the longest-running group BBQ.
Bulloch and Battistelli had never met before last Tuesday, but were both selected to attempt the record through videos they sent into the Ballpark Finest Grillathon. They started about 7 p.m. Tuesday night, and finished just as people were rolling out of bed Thursday morning. The original world record was set at 30 hours, but the duo surpassed that at 34.35 hours.
“It was totally last-minute. I submitted my video the day the contest ended, actually,” Bulloch said. “I got a call a few days later saying I was picked. It was crazy. It was only a week and a half from when they told me I’d won a spot to when we left for New York.”
Bulloch’s entry may have been a bit spontaneous, but her preparation for the Grillathon has been long in coming. Bulloch grew up around the food industry down near Bryce Canyon, working at her parents’ restaurant and hotel in Tropic, Utah. After marrying, she and her husband, Todd Bulloch, discovered their mutual love of good food, and Susie learned how to create family meals. She worked on various recipes to delight their tastes, while feeding their three children.
Their contacts with other foodies got Susie a freelancing job for a grilling company. Almost three years ago, she started grilling four to five times a week and writing about the experiences for the company.
“I’d never grilled before, but I love food. Grilling turned into a passion for me, and it’s still my favorite way to cook,” Susie said. “Plus, I love that it saves doing dishes.”
She was laid off from the company recently when they brought all of their employees in-house, and Susie wanted to continue working from home. She used the layoff to kick start her own work, with the focus on grilling. She started a blog, HeyGrill, Hey, to share her grilling experiences and recipes, right about the same time she competed in the Traeger Wood Pellet Grills Meat Madness tournament in March. She made it to the Elite Eight of that competition and was invited to cook on television.
“That was the first time I cooked on TV, and I was hooked,” Susie said. “I love the interaction with the hosts and audience. I love sharing what I love with so many people, and showing them why the grill is such a great tool.”
Since then, she’s been a regular contributor on Good Things Utah, and her dream now is to have her own show on the Food Network. One of the highlights of the trip for her was getting a tour of the Food Network offices and meeting one of the network’s executive chefs.
“That opportunity was huge for me. That’s my end goal,” Susie said.
By staying awake for two nights straight, she may just be one step closer to that goal with her recent world record. In order for the attempt to be legitimate, she and Battistelli were given five-minute breaks every hour. They could save up the break allotments, so they accumulated into longer times, but all breaks had to be taken together. One of their breaks was about 45 minutes long, but Susie just relaxed. She didn’t want to fall asleep at that point, because she knew she wouldn’t be able to wake back up to continue.
Ballpark executives were hoping the duo could set the new record at 38 hours, so they could end their attempt right about the same time that news media were in their offices for live morning broadcasts. But Battistelli was so exhausted the paramedics called it in the 34th hour. They immediately sent him back to his hotel to sleep.
“That’s why I’m the only one in Thursday’s photos,” Susie said. After doing media interviews, Susie finally stumbled back to her hotel to sleep. Her husband had never been to New York before, so she sent him off to go sightseeing.
“I’d already been to New York before, so I didn’t mind,” Susie said.
She and her partner, Battistelli, served more than 3,200 hot dogs to people on the street at the Gansevoort Plaza in the meat-packing district of Manhattan, and donated the rest to a homeless shelter. One would think, after grilling hot dogs for almost 35 hours straight, Bulloch would be sick of them, but she was back to grilling chicken, steaks, and yes, franks, for her extended family and friends on Aug. 17 to celebrate the world record.
“Grilling is my specialty, but I mean, I started with a free grill we got off Craigslist, and went on to winning the record. And I am just a regular stay-at-home mom,” Susie said.