Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Complete!

So the Ghost Pepper Challenge is officially complete and I'd just like to share a few thoughts.

First of all, I don't mean to be crude, but because I know some of you are wondering, the peppers were not as spicy coming out as they were going in. This actually really surprised me. I fully expected to have some pretty ridiculous complications in my gastro-intestinals for most of this challenge.

For most of the hotter peppers, I drank a pretty good amount of milk and had some high fat and starchy foods to chase it down, so my only guess is that I managed to break down much of the capsaicin before it reached the other end. That was my goal, I just didn't really think I'd succeed. Even with the final three (Habanero, Ghost Pepper, and Trinidad Moruga Scorpian) I had a pretty sore stomach, but nothing made it all the way through.

Honestly, I was also pretty surprised that I didn't throw any of the peppers up. I've seen Ghost Pepper videos where the person eating the pepper would throw up, and a Trinidad video where the person thought he would. I was heaving for just a moment with the Ghost pepper, and I was worried I was about to puke in a friend's sink, and I think I came pretty close with the Trinidad Scorpian, but in both cases, it never happened.

Biological issues aside, I did receive a few things at the end of this challenge:

  1. 3 months of Reddit Gold from DiavelNJ, Gentleman and Scholar.
  2. "Fire-Eater" Title in /r/GoForGold
  3. Bragging rights and a few cool stories.
Redditor_in_Wild has yet to show up with the one month of Reddit Gold he promised, but I'm not too heartbroken about it.

So that's about it. I'd be happy to answer more questions in the comments, but that's about all I have for now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 10 - Trinidad Moruga Scorpian (1,500,000 - 2,000,000 SHU)

There is a scene in Dante's Purgatory in which Dante has to walk through a cleansing flame to progress on his journey. Of that flame he says, "I would have cast me into molten glass to cool me, when I enter'd ; so intense rag'd the conflagrant mass."

These are literally the most appropriate words I can think of to describe my experience of eating the Trinidad Moruga Scorpian.

This was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my entire life. All of the same effects were there as with the Ghost Pepper, but they were all so much worse. My entire face and throat felt like it was vibrating. My lips felt like they were on fire. My mouth, tongue and throat felt like I had swallowed sand, or thumbtacks. Red hot thumbtacks.

Like Hellraiser, this pepper introduced me to new sensations in levels of intensity which were previously unimaginable.

I have literally never felt anything like this in my entire life...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 9 - Ghost Pepper (855,000 - 1,463,700 SHU)

Well, I just ate a Ghost Pepper. Due to technical difficulties, I decided to skip the Red Savina. If I ever get my hands on one, I'll still eat it, but I got impatient and just wanted to eat the Ghost Pepper.

By the way, I would like to thank the wonderful gentleman at Pexpeppers.com for providing the last few peppers. Excellent service, very polite, patient, accomodating. If this were eBay, they'd get the coveted "Great Service A++++++++++++++++".

This pepper was a surprise. It was immediately unbearable. No build, no subtle rise in heat. It just exploded in a fireball of pain and regret. This is literally the most miserable I've been in a long, long time and it's the most pain I've felt in a long, long time. 

The pepper actually popped when I bit into it and you can hear it quite easily on the video. My breath was so peppery, that my friend who was present was complaining about the smell. She was sitting about 5 or 6 ft away. My entire face was tingling so bad it felt like I was being electrocuted.  My eyeballs were tingling.

At one point in the video, I mention that it feels like pins and needles in my whole mouth. I want to clarify this. I don't mean that feeling like when your leg falls asleep. I mean it literally felt like thousands of sharp, pointy bits of metal jabbing at the flesh in my mouth and throat.

I was trying desperately to think of something to sing. I'm not a singer. Here's the video...

So that's it! We'll see if my resolve holds out a few more days though. I may just go one pepper farther.....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 8 - Habanero Pepper (100,000 - 350,000 SHU)

Oh man, this one actually got me pretty good. This is, by far, the hottest pepper I've had yet, and it actually tasted like it. I'm typing this a few hours after eating it and my stomach still hurts pretty good.

My whole face went numb, I was sweating, my eyes were watering. Oh man, this one was good...

I think I'm gonna take a break for a day or so before I attempt the Red Savina...

But I'm still going for it...

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 7 - Thai Pepper (50,000 - 100,000 SHU)

Today's pepper was the Thai Pepper. Specifically, it was the Thai Dragon Pepper. This pepper was pretty intense, but I think I'd still call it a disappointment because I had such high expectations for it. I mean, sure, it was really hot. In fact, it wasn't really "spicy" as much as just "painful", but I've had peppers similar than this in the Philippines called Siling Labuyo and I was hoping for a kick on par with those.

Nevertheless, these peppers were very hot.

I had a pretty horrible realization today, though. I've eaten 7 out of 10 peppers. I have three left, the Habanero, the Red Savina, and the Ghost Pepper. However, I've only gotten though about 10% of the Scoville scale! This means that 90% of this challenge's heat is in these three peppers!

So these next three will really test my resolve and my digestive track. Here's the Thai Pepper.

Tomorrow is the Habanero. See you then ... I hope ...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 6 - Cayenne Powder (30,000 - 50,000 SHU)

This one is going to take some explanation...

I looked for a long time to find a fresh cayenne pepper. I looked in every local store I could find. I looked online. I even asked around on /r/SpicySwap

For the life of me, I cannot seem to find a fresh, whole cayenne pepper. The closest I've come is Cayenne powder and a few hot sauces.

So I had to settle for powder.

I know that the scoville ratings for cayenne powders vary quite a bit. I tried to find one that didn't have any other ingredients, just the ground pepper. Conventional wisdom says that drying a pepper does not significantly change its scoville rating. Grinding it to powder would not significantly change it unless certain parts, such as the seeds, are left out.

In addition, I felt, for safety's sake, that I should add something to the powder in order to keep this from turning into a horrible, horrible variation on the Cinnamon Challenge. 

I added just a little bit of water. I chose water because, once again, it does nothing to cool the heat of the pepper.

So in the video, the paste you see on the spoon is a mix cayenne powder, and a small amount of water.

If anyone has any objections to the way I've approached this level, let me just say that I totally share your concerns. Find me a fresh cayenne pepper and I'll eat it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ghost Pepper Challenge: Level 5 - Serrano Pepper (10,000 - 23,000 SHU)

Well, I think I've finally gotten to the point where the peppers are getting interesting. The first few were a huge, boring disappointment, as expected. The Jalapeno was surprisingly hot. Now the Serrano was pretty significant.

It took four tries, though. I ate three peppers, which was all I had. The second one was the only one with any real heat, but it wasn't even as bad as the Sriracha sauce. I ran out and bought one more, thinking that maybe I just picked a few duds. I picked the largest, ripest looking one there, and I sure picked a winner...

I still haven't broken a sweat, but for some reason these peppers are making my face tingle. Can anyone tell me if that's normal?

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