Today, it’s all about the sauce. Sometime in the last year, my boyfriend introduced me to a YouTube show called Hot Ones, where celebrities are interviewed while eating chicken wings of increasing heat. If you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch (a few of my favorites: Key & Peele, Terry Crews and Eric Andre).
After watching enough of these, we decided we wanted to try it ourselves. We sourced (read: spent a silly amount of money on) an authentic lineup of sauces from the show and then gathered a group of our bravest friends to basically do the equivalent of lighting our mouths on fire.
We followed the ‘rules’ and format of the show pretty stringently. We purchased like 50 bone-in plain wings from Buffalo Wild Wings (much to their confusion, I’m sure), and added two teaspoons of each sauce per 5 wings to sauce them. We did not follow the cautions on any of the bottles, some of which instructed using a much smaller amount, or diluting with water. We had an interviewer with questions, 8 wings in front of each of us and we were ready to roll.
1. Sriracha – Scoville 2,200
Sriracha is my go-to, my ride or die. We go through a bottle a month of this stuff in our house. Pro tip: add it to your mac & cheese, I can’t eat it without Sriracha now. What I’m saying is, this wing was a breeze.
2. El Yucateco – Scoville 5,790
I had also had this sauce before, and it’s not my favorite. It’s not so much the heat, though it does have a kick, just the overall harshness of the taste that doesn’t do much for me. It seems to have a vinegar-y taste that I’m averse to, yet I still cleaned my wing (because single bites are for cheaters).
3. Pain is Good Louisiana Style – Scoville 13,000
This sauce was actually quite good, and one of the few we’ve be able to incorporate into our regular cooking (which was a bonus now that we are the owners of 8 mostly full bottles of incredibly hot sauce). The Cajun flavor really came through, while still providing a pleasant amount of kick, making this my favorite wing of the bunch.
4. Dirty Dick’s – Scoville 21,000
Dirty Dick’s is also a solid hot sauce. Good flavor with a tolerable amount of heat, it’s another one that we’ve since integrated into everyday use in our kitchen. Made with habanero, you definitely notice the heat, but with ‘tropical flavors’ it has a more well-rounded flavor with a touch of sweetness that makes it very approachable. It’s a favorite of mine on eggs and related breakfast dishes. I will honestly probably buy this one again when we run out.
5. Pain 100% – Scoville 40,600
This is where things started to take a turn. People say the Scoville Scale isn’t totally reliable because it isn’t very scientific, but, if anything, it was an appropriate marker for ranking our order and managing expectations. And seeing this was allegedly double the heat of the last, it certainly seemed to be true. This sauce was hot, and not good. It was the worst tasting of the bunch, with a bitter bite and no real flavor to round it out.
6. Dave’s Insanity – Scoville 180,000
With the last wing being the first where I really started to notice a persistent heat, this one really just stepped on the gas. This is where I started to feel pain. This sauce is, obviously, very hot, and compounded by the heat of the wings before it, I was in full on sweat mode.
7. Mad Dog 357 – Scoville 357,000
This shit is no joke. Seriously. Scovilles aside, I thought this was the hottest sauce. It was so unbearable because not only does it hit you with an initial kick up front, but it also employs a slow burn that builds on the back end. I had now lost control of the fluids coming out of my face; tears, sweat, snot flowed freely. And it doesn’t let up, the heat comes in waves, just when you think it’s ebbing away, it flares right back up again. Forming and completing coherent sentences was near impossible. (We recently added a measly teaspoon of this stuff to a 9×13″ curry casserole I made, and it was almost inedible.)
8. Blair’s Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage – Scoville 550,000
At this point, all I could feel and taste was pain, so to still be able to register that this was really freakin’ hot is testament to how hot it truly is.
So in the end, was I miserable? Yes. But, I was also triumphant. I completed the challenge (without taking a prolonged break between the last two wings unlike SOME people). The aftermath was honestly more brutal than I anticipated; my mouth, eyes, basically my whole face tbh, was on fire for a solid thirty minutes afterwards. I tried vigorously to wash the oils out of my hands, but still got my eyes burning after rubbing them THE NEXT DAY. It was insane. But would I do it again? Probably.
My favorite party game is now trying to bait people into trying toothpicks of the hotter stuff.