Battle of the Bhut
Battle of the Bhut XXX Wing Eating Contest in Chicago, Illinois.
Battle of the Bhut XXX Wing Eating Contest in Chicago, Illinois
Many people will claim that they are the “biggest fan” of something. They throw it around that they are the #1 Cubs fan or Robert Pattinson’s biggest fan. And they might have their reasons. But how many people can really truly measurably be called something’s number one fan?
While I will never state that I am competitive eating’s number one fan (as I know a few others who could also claim the title) I think it is safe to say that I am amongst the top ten in the world. And I doubt anyone would deny that distinction.
And this was a contest to end all contests, something so crazy to even think to attempt: Jake Melnick’s Battle of the Bhut XXX Wing Eating Contest. For five minutes professional eaters would dig in to baskets of hot wings made from the Bhut Jolokia pepper (AKA Ghost Pepper): the hottest pepper on the planet! Considering I can’t even eat a mild wing it was something I couldn’t even imagine taking a bite of let alone eating for minutes on end.
The first contest was shorter and with not-as-hot wings and between local firefighters and newspeople. They crazily dug into the wings for three minutes and then chugged down dairy and beer to cool their burning mouths.
The winner, beating all the fireman, was NBC’s Wayne Johnson with 18 wings.
Alyssa and I waited as they reset the table for the next round. She was excited!
And they brought out Joey Chestnut, the current number one ranked competitive eater in the world. He wasn’t there to compete, just to watch, but he dug into a wing to try it anyways.
And then it was time to announce the competitors. There were the two winners from last year. There were some other locals wanting to give it a shot. There were, of course some of the best professional eaters in the world.
And of course some of them seemed to be already vying for next year’s best dressed eater award. With Tim “Gravy” Brown in a suit-turned wife-beater complete with condom throwing and his own personal umbrella holder. And Pat was rocking an Evel Knievel jumpsuit.
And they were all ready to eat. It would be a 5-minute contest in which they would try to eat as many of the crazy hot “ghost pepper” wings as they could. They weren’t allowed to dunk the wings or to use dairy to counteract the sting as they ate. As they brought out the wings you could smell the heat in the air. The odor was that strong.
And then the time counted down. And then they were off eating. While the pros and amateurs and previous winners alike did well at keeping up eyes were definitely on the middle three: Erik “The Red” Denmark, Tim “Gravy” Brown, and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti to eat the most and take the victory home.
You could see the pain on some of their faces as they powered through eating wing after wing. And after five minutes time was called and many scrambled to drink milk or, in Tim’s case, get the hot sauce out of their eye.
The judges counted the wings and assessed the amount of debris left behind until coming up with the winners.
In third place, Chicago’s own Tim “Gravy” Brown with 33.
In second place, Chicago’s own Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti with 34.
And the winner, eating 35 insanely hot Bhut Jolokia covered wings, was Seattle’s Erik “The Red” Denmark. Upon being announced the winner he grabbed a bottle of the XXX sauce and downed it before grabbing his trophy and his giant $1,000 check.
After twenty eating contests I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an intense five minutes of gluttony. While most are more a battle between eaters, but with numbers so close and with such heat in the air, this one was most definitely of a battle against the food.