East London

Published on March 6th, 2014 | by Gavin

Red Dog Saloon Hot Wing Challenge

Red Dog Saloon Hot Wing Challenge Gavin

Summary: Great time out with a group of friends. Take the hot wing challenge at your peril!


Fun & Fiery

There comes a time in everyone’s life where you must test your limits, just so you know what your limits are.  Take me for example, I have long been of the opinion that there is no such thing as “too hot” when it comes to chilli.  From an early age I was introduced to the scotch bonnet pepper by my Jamaican parents and have been enjoying the XXX sauce ever since.  In fact, I have searched far and wide to find the ultimate chilli sauce, and was disappointed by the much heralded “Dave’s Insanity Sauce”, which turned out to be anything but.

In my never ending quest, a fellow foodie introduced me to Red Dog Saloon, an American style bar and grill in the trendy Hoxton Square in East London.  At first glance it looks like any other BBQ diner specialising in pulled pork sandwiches, hickory smoked meats, mac n cheese etc, but sectioned off in the corner of the menu is something different.  Emblazoned in bright red capital letters it reads ‘HOT WINGS CHALLENGE made with fresh Naga Viper chillis’.  Oh yes, this is what it’s all about, my whole life has led up to this 1 defining moment; this is my Everest, the Lord Voldemort to Harry Potter (you get the picture).

I’m not too sure what a Naga Viper chilli is, but it can’t be THAT bad and I confidently stride up to the saloon and take my seat with entourage in tow.  There’s only one reason why I’m here and when I order the Hot Wing Challenge a look of terror comes across the waitress’ face as she pleads with me not to do it.  This is the first time waiting staff have ever discouraged me from ordering a dish and I start to have second thoughts.  I have third thoughts when they bring out a waiver form to sign and a pair of gloves that must be worn throughout the challenge.

The rules of the challenge dictate that you must eat 6 wings in 10 minutes followed by a 5 minute ‘burn time’ without any drinks.  If I manage to get one of the top 10 times, my legacy will be cemented with a picture hung up behind the bar, but seeing as the leading time is under 40 seconds, I think even this record is beyond me.

My nerves build as I wait for the chef to prepare my wings and when they eventually arrive, I can feel my heart beating through my chest and I begin to perspire.  The smell of the wings alone makes my head recoil, singeing my nose hairs in the process, but I’ve come this far so there’s no going back.

I take a big bite out of wing 1 and start to chew slowly.  Strangely there is no burn but a weird tingling sensation on my tongue.  I note that it’s taking longer than usual to swallow, but soon enough the first piece slides down my throat as my adoring fans look at me longingly waiting for some kind of reaction.  I open my mouth to reassure them that it’s not that hot but for some reason I can’t get the words out; I try once more…nothing.  And then the pain hits me like a speeding train and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before or since.

Suddenly my body starts shaking uncontrollably; I’m sweating like I’ve just completed the London marathon and I have to sprint to the bathroom to spare further embarrassment.  I’ll spare you some of the gory details but I spent much of the next 20 minutes hyperventilating and splashing water on my ever reddening face.  Even when I regained my composure and make my way back to the table, my entire mouth is numb and remained so until I went to sleep that evening.

Defeated and still in a sense of shock, I look up at the waitress and she gives a little shrug of the shoulders before proceeding to remove the remaining 5 and a half wings from the table.


Red Dog Saloon, 37 Hoxton Square, N1 6NN.  Nearest Station: Hoxton Overground

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About the Author

Born and raised in Croydon, South London, Gavin is a lover of cocktails, a passionate foodie, and a self-proclaimed ‘dancing god’. A (relatively) normal guy that decided to start blogging about his experiences around the city he loves.

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