CRAVE: “Spicy Food: Taste the Pain” airs tonight, 11:30EST/8:30PST on Food Network.
For tonight’s episode, we visited Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap in Chicago. They’re famous for their Triple X wings. Main ingredient? The ghost pepper. Known by chile heads as bhut jolokia, it’s like the mutant food spawn of Wolverine and that kid in high school who spent his free time exploding the nasal cavities of nerds.
The Triple X wings are double-dog-dare food. You could either buy a really big truck with metal testes hanging below the rear bumper. Or eat these things in front of people. Both atone for all sorts of petite manhoods. When you order them, you even get a little plastic fireman’s hat.
It’s food spectacle. It’s the bearded lady of their restaurant. The attraction. As we were cutting the peppers in Jake Melnicks’ kitchen—a big, wide-open space with quality ventilation—our entire camera crew began to cough, wheeze, sneeze. We had to stop filming for 15 minutes to regain composure.
As if the ghost pepper wasn’t scary enough. Now it’s airborn??? It’s like you’ve pissed off Charles Bronson. He’s in his Camaro coming after you with a vengeance. He wants to turn your spleen into charcuterie. Oh, and did we mention he can fly?
There are YouTube videos of mentally deranged dudes eating these things and nearly dying.
The chef, a sarcastic lovable badass named Bob Andrea, told us this little story.
Two years ago, he couldn’t find ghost peppers anywhere on the open market. They had simply vanished. “Turns out, the government bought them all to use as weapons,” he explained.
Sounds like a conspiracy story. Like the one about Area 51, where the CIA holds elaborate swingers parties with extra terrestrials. Bullocks, right?
But it makes sense. It’s like pepper spray on steroids. Plus, the Indian government is apparently already turning ghosties into weapons of mass irritation.
So if you show up to Jake Melnicks and they’re out of the Triple X wings, don’t be disappointed. You’re in the middle of a gigantic government conspiracy. So, at least you have that going for you.
(Note: The ghost pepper was long the hottest chile pepper in the world. That title has since been stolen by the Naga Viper, which is hot enough to strip paint. I wouldn’t eat that thing with your mouth.)