I love spicy food. When I am eating food that should have some kick, like Mexican food or hot wings, I want it spicy to the point that I almost can’t eat it … but I can’t stop either.
I’m not sure where this taste for the spicy came from. Yes, I grew up on the border with Mexico and ate great Mexican food my entire life. But my parents were originally from the South, so spicy food was not on their menu growing up. And my mom, a great cook, did not make spicy food. Ever.
But my parents had friends who made spicy food. I remember Jim Wombacker, an educator like my parents, used to have us over and he made the hottest salsa I have ever tasted. It felt like a flame thrower to my teenage mouth.
His son, Joey, who was my age, ate the stuff with no problem. But I struggled.
Our palates change as we age, of course, and I started enjoying spicier food as I got older. A friend and I once ate nine of the hottest wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, which are called Blazin’ wings. I finished mine, but he only made it to six. My mouth was on fire for an hour, and I would not recommend this to anyone, seriously.
The Blazin’ sauce is the hottest you can get at Buffalo Wild Wings. It is a ghost pepper sauce that measures at about 350,000 units on the Scoville scale.
What is the Scoville scale, you ask? It is basically the measurement of heat when it comes to chili peppers. The Carolina reaper is the hottest on the scale at 2,200,000 units.
You read that right.
About a year ago, a friend turned my wife and I onto a YouTube series called Hot Ones. Have you seen it? It is a guy who interviews celebrities while they each eat chicken wings with progressively hotter sauces. It is hilarious, as most people can’t take the heat – literally.
The one with Will Farrell is great, but the episode with Gordon Ramsey is the best. His well-developed palate was no match for the hot wings. If you know anything about Gordon Ramsey, you know that he was cursing a blue streak much of the time. It was hilarious.
Well, my lovely wife decided that we should have a Hot Ones party with our friends, and as we have a great group that we hang out with, they were in.
A friend bought all of the sauces they use on the show, except the dreaded “Da Bomb,” which we bought. We also cooked up a bunch of wings, and there was plenty of milk on hand to douse the fires in our mouths. Like the show, I asked questions while people ate progressively hotter wings. We had them labelled 1-10. Da Bomb was an eight, and most people got that far, including my wife, who has really developed a taste for spicy foods.
One other person, my buddy Eric, went for the Last Dab, which was the 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. Eric tried to play it cool, but the 14 glasses of milk he poured down proved he was in some distress.
I started with a four and worked up to Da Bomb at eight. The thing about Da Bomb is that while it is “only” about 135,600 on the Scoville scale, it is not really a hot sauce – it is a pepper extract. Because of this, it tastes horrible. It is like eating charcoal … that is red hot.
With my mouth aflame, I grabbed my last wing and put the hottest sauce on it – the 2.2 million ranked sauce. After Da Bomb, this was almost a breath of fresh air. I didn’t take a single drink of anything during the challenge – to me, that only makes things worse.
I did eventually have a small glass of milk, which helped. I also pledged to not make this a regular thing. I am not that crazy.
All in all, we had a great time doing the Hot Ones challenge. I would not recommend it for the faint of heart, but if you want to have a fun night with friends, it is a spicy good time. Just have a lot of milk on hand. Trust me.
Brad Jennings is Editor of The Ogle County Life.