It was certified as the world’s hottest chili pepper in 2007 by Guinness World Records (to be surpassed only by one other pepper in 2012).
In 2009, scientists at India’s Defense Research and Development Organization announced plans to use it in hand grenades, as a non-lethal way to flush out “terrorists” from their hideouts and to control rioters.
And, as of tonight, it will be consumed in wing sauce form by 20 lucky entrants into Senunas’ Bar and Grill’s First Annual Ghost Pepper Wing Challenge.
“The whole idea came about because one of our good customers has a garden, and every year he tells us how he grows ghost peppers,” said owner Rose Senunas. “(Bar manager) Dave Scherbenco and I said, ‘Wow, with the amount of wings we move and how popular our wing night is, we might be able to do something with those peppers.’”
Seeing as how Senunas’ wing night, which is typically Wednesday, falls on Mischief Night this year, Senunas wanted to make it the date for the first annual event.
The 20 slots for the event are filled up (with all men and one brave woman), but being a spectator is sure to be a blast. After all, the ghost pepper, also known as Bhut Jolokia, ranks at 855,000–1,463,700 Scoville heat units. It’s 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce and is given its name because Bhut means “ghost,” alluding to the way the heat sneaks up on anyone who consumes it.
Participants must eat four wings doused in the ghost pepper wing sauce, but they have plenty of things to rely on for comfort for their mouth.
“We don’t want to make anybody sick or kill anybody,” Senunas said with a laugh. “There will be pitchers of milk, slices of bread, really anything they want to go along with the wings.”
Senunas is also going to go easy on the wing sauce, puréeing the pepper and adding it a little at a time so that it’s still hot, but bearable. The base for the sauce will be Senunas’ popular mild wing sauce.
All those who make it through will receive a t-shirt, and anyone who participates will receive a chance to win a Burton backpack.