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That’s a-spicy chicken wing

hotwings.jpgOver at Concurring Opinions, there’s a link to a Reuters article about a Chicago pub that requires patrons to sign a waiver before eating the hot wings. Jack Melnick’s Corner Tap makes its buffalo wings with Red Savina peppers, e.g., a habanero. Habaneros are, if you don’t know, one of the hottest peppers on God’s green earth. Like eating fire.

But waiver business this isn’t a new idea. When I was back in college, I was visiting some friends up at Penn State, and we wondered into one of the local staples, a chain called Cluck You Chicken. And Cluck You had a “Wall of Flame,” where one could have their name appear if they ate a full 14-piece order of the chain’s hottest wings, the thermo-nuclear wings.

There were no names on the wall.

So cocksure of ourselves, myself and another friend wonder up to the counter and ask for two orders. The cashier asks us if we’re sure. We say yes. She asks us if we’d like to taste the sauce first. We say no. She says they usually have folks sign waivers (friends said this was true, but I suspect it was more for the sake of the gimmick than anything else), but they’re out at the moment — but seriously, are we sure we don’t want to try it first. We say no.

Two minutes later, a cook comes out of the back. He says he refuses to make these batches up until we try the sauce. So my friend and I each dip a finger into the sauce and taste. “Cook it up, man,” I say.

Hot sauce sometimes has a delay before kicking in, you know? So as the chef returns to the kitchen, shaking his head, my taste of the sauce — which I now know was made with habaneros — kicked in. One of my eyes melted a little bit. I turned to the group and suggested that this process was going to kill me.

Needless to say, neither my friend nor I got our names on “The Wall of Fire.” I don’t think he even made it through one wing, while I only managed to make it through two.

About a year later, I inexplicable decided to take a bite of a habanero, despite knowing their ferocity. It hurt. A lot. But I learned something valuable that time. Whatever with your milk. If your mouth is on fire from something like a habanero, find a good air conditioner and stick your tongue as close to the output as possible. That freon air is magic, I tell you. Magic.

| Comments (5)


We had a Cluck U in Gainesville. You won't find my name on any Wall of Fire, though. They teach sanity at the University of Florida.

The red savina isn't just any habanero. It's got its own section in the Scoville scale above the other habanero peppers. I want to see someone try the only pepper rated higher on the scale: the Naga Jolokia, the Indian pepper said to be over twice as hot as the savina, with the world record for being the hottest chili in the world!!

I have horrible sinuses. This habanero sauce could help me breathe clear for a week.

I was in Chinese Turkistan last year and took a dare to eat one of their tiny black peppers. My tongue burned for an hour. I found that by immersing the end of my tongue in a beer, the burning stopped. But it started again the moment I took my tongue out of the beer. So only eat this stuff where you won't feel self-conscious about having your tongue stuck in a beer glass for an hour.

The Stonehouse bar in Edmonton, AB has a similar contest, including the waiver. I didn't see any names on the wall either. I watched a guy get through about 3 before he had to hang up his spurs. The waiver was a legal joke, though, and probably wouldn't have any actual effect in court.