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Hot wings eating contest
February 8, 2006 12:27 PM   Subscribe

I need tips for winning, surviving, and recovering from a hot wings eating contest.

They're the spiciest hot wings I've ever tasted and I'll be eating as many as I can handle on Saturday. I think we're going to go with a "no water" rule. Any tips to help me? How can I prepare beforehand? Any drugs that'll help me cheat? I've never taken an antacid in my life (I'm 26), should I take one before? Or after? What brand is best? Will this give me the runs? We're doing this at lunch time, so should I skip breakfast?
posted by exhilaration to Food & Drink (28 answers total)
 
Two things that will cut the discomfort from the spice much better than water are milk/dairy products (hence all that sour cream with Mexican food and yogurt with Indian food) and sugar.
posted by scody at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2006


Runs? Probably. I've heard the absolute best thing--and this is purely anecdotal--for combating a future influx of a lot of highly spiced food is to drink a litre of buttermilk ~20 minutes beforehand.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:30 PM on February 8, 2006


Oh yeah, and water won't do anything anyway. Capsaicin is fat- and alcohol-soluble. You want beer, or dairy products.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:31 PM on February 8, 2006


In theory, you could get yourself insanely drunk first, and you'd never even notice the heat.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2006


If you're going the antacid route, get some Prilosec OTC and start taking it immediately (it can take a couple days to kick in). If you don't want to do that, try some ranitidine (Zantac) before gorging.
posted by neckro23 at 12:37 PM on February 8, 2006


Will this give me the runs?

Only away from the toilet AFTER you use it... If it burns on the way in, it burns on the way out.

Milk is the secret, though. And not that skim stuff, good solid homo milk is the best.
posted by shepd at 12:38 PM on February 8, 2006


If spicy food gives you heartburn, then it might be a good idea to take a Zantac-type acid reducer beforehand (Ranitidine or Cimetidine) but at your age I didn't need to worry about that kind of thing.
posted by nowonmai at 12:39 PM on February 8, 2006


All good advice. Also - eat nuts. Not dry roasted, though. Good, greasy peanut oil in your mouth will really help. A mouthful just before you start. More while you eat the wings, if possible. Milk to drink. And if at all possible - a dab or two of vaseline on the old sphincter before you eliminate will save you from a world of hurt.

And for God's sake don't touch your eyes!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:48 PM on February 8, 2006


could you suck on ice cubes for twenty minutes ahead of time, numbing your taste buds?
posted by mikepop at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2006


If you can throw up shortly afterward, you may save your intestinal tract considerable grief, not only from the capsaicin that makes the wings "hot," but from all the grease you may not be accustomed to trying to digest. That's an important thing to remember, if you are not, despite your best efforts, the winner. After all, why be completely miserable for days, if you get no prize for being so?

That said, if you can't relieve yourself of the problems you are in for soon after this nonsense is finished, and while the load is still in your stomach, don't make things worse by trying to retain the load. Your best bet for returning to normal as soon as possible is to encourage things to move through your system as quickly as you can. You may want to take a saline laxative (which are generally available over the counter as Fleet brand products) the morning of the event, to encourage your system to be as empty as possible. And as shortly thereafter as possible, and for as long as it takes you to return to something like normal, you want to keep drinking plenty of fluids. And if you do experience severe diahrea, seek medical help early.

IANAD. Your health and well being are your first concern.
posted by paulsc at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2006


Throwing up that quantity of spicy hot wings can only do bad things to one's esophagus, I'm sure...
posted by disillusioned at 1:10 PM on February 8, 2006


The competitive eating champions often prepare by fasting, while drinking as much water as possible to stretch their stomachs. Also, get in shape; a fit belly is more elastic than a fat one. Eat as much as you can as quickly as you can before your body realizes it's full. Don't bother chewing. Massage your belly as you would to aid a baby's indigestion (clockwise, if you're bent over looking at your stomach, following your large intestines' path).
posted by glibhamdreck at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2006


Also: Don't lick your fingers; don't eat the gristle and cartilage; don't bother trying to pace yourself - eat as much as you can as quickly as you can.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:17 PM on February 8, 2006


Don't eat breakfast. Try to get some exercise beforehand to increase your appetite.

Are you just trying to eat until you can't possibly eat anymore or is it a timed contest against someone else? If it's timed, you should practice eating wings quickly so that you have your technique down. If there's no time limit involved, maintain a good pace so that you don't notice yourself getting full immediately, but take time to breathe.

Also, make sure that you're clear about how much meat you have to get off of the bone for it to count. Try to only eat as much meat as you need to off of each wing for it to be official.

I'd stay away from drugs if you've never taken them. You want to be in top form for the event -- don't risk fucking your stomach up.

Maybe try eating the wings a few times this week to acclimate yourself to the spiciness.

Don't plan on doing anything else for the remainder of the weekend. Seriously. If you have something to do during the afternoon you'll have to skip it. If you have a date or a party to attend Saturday night, there's no way that it'll happen.

I agree with those who say that you should try to puke afterwards, but I think that you should do it privately. If you win and then you puke your buddies might try to take your medal. In most events like this there's an "unwritten" no vomit rule.

Finally, make sure that you get photographs or videotape. After this event, you'll probably never want to have another eating contest again -- you'll want to hold on to the memories.

(By the way, the only real expertise that I have on this issue is that I once ate 16.5 boston creme doughnuts in 15 minutes).
posted by TurkishGolds at 1:23 PM on February 8, 2006


As far as recovery, you want milkshakes and bread. Starch helps a lot. Without knowing the specifics of the contest, I can't give you more advice, really.
posted by klangklangston at 1:59 PM on February 8, 2006


What kind of contest is it? I guess there are two types: eating as many wings as possible vs. eating as hot as wings as possible (e.g. the winner is the person who can finish all the wings and time is the tie-breaker). The former seems no different than other gluttony sports but the later is a different beast.

Two of my friends tried to have the later kind of contest. It was at Cluck-U in Santa Clara, which I don't think is usually this spicy, but these guys got 1 and 1.5 wings in, respectively, before quitting. Both of them had very bad stomach aches and runs afterwards (and one of them had to get on a plane to DC right afterwards). I sampled a small dab of the sauce (or paste, more accurately) with my finger - it burned my lips and made my eyes water. It tasted like extremely concentrated pepper. And that dab was no more than 1/4" in diameter.

In my friends case, I don't think any preparation would have helped. Surely any residue from anything you ate would be gone after the first bite or two. Drinking milk/beer afterwards is obvious. But for the actual contest the only thing that will really help you is speed and resolve. If you slow down and let the pain linger, you're toast. The one thing I'd ask for is access to paper towels or napkins - if you had to slow down it would help to wipe your hands.
posted by mullacc at 2:06 PM on February 8, 2006


a dab or two of vaseline on the old sphincter before you eliminate will save you from a world of hurt.

That's a brilliant strategy. I dunno if I'd ever bring myself to try it, though. Also, in my opinion, 95% of the hurt that comes the day after eating lots of spicy food is the lower-intestinal searing pain, not the exit burning.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:34 PM on February 8, 2006


"95% of the hurt that comes the day after eating lots of spicy food is the lower-intestinal searing pain, not the exit burning."

True - but the drugs mentioned above can help with that (somewhat). The exit burning, on the other hand, can also be considerable, and is usually overlooked.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:41 PM on February 8, 2006


MetaFilter: a dab or two of vaseline on the old... nah, nevermind
posted by rschroed at 2:46 PM on February 8, 2006


Sonya has some good advice. I'd listen to her, as she can apparently eat 162 wings in 12 minutes.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:56 PM on February 8, 2006


Do not drink water! It only worsens the fiery blast of hot wingdom. I would suggest lots of milk around, I've heard it's the best to extinguish a burning mouth.
posted by jne1813 at 3:12 PM on February 8, 2006


Based on this best answer from a recent question about spiciness, I'd suggest maybe putting some honey on the wings to "tame" the spiciness. While it may not be as effective as milk, it certainly won't fill you up as much and thus allow you to eat more wings. Also, eating some spicy peppers beforehand would desensitize your capsaicin receptors so that when you get to the wings, those same receptors would be numb.
posted by junesix at 5:32 PM on February 8, 2006


When things get really hot, you must indeed ingest something sweet. Sugar neutralizes the burning sensation on the tongue because the 'sweet' sensation overrides all other signals sent to the brain (sugar is what humans are wired to instantly consume and use). Well, at least this was the explanation a thai cook once told me to explain why thai cooking often combines sweet and spicy.

All I know is that if it is burning my mouth, I have a couple good quality chocolate chips and and pain subsides. Of course, this method doesn't do anything for your burning lips / cheeks.
posted by maxpower at 8:06 PM on February 8, 2006


Sometimes the only way to win is not to play... :)
posted by anthill at 8:48 PM on February 8, 2006


I don't have any advice - even delivering buffalo wings to a table while waitressing would have me in tears for the next ten minutes - but please update this thread to let everyone know how you did!
posted by granted at 9:11 PM on February 8, 2006


And for God's sake don't touch your eyes!

Seconded! Also, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT TOUCH YOUR PRIVATE BITS.
posted by antifuse at 1:58 AM on February 9, 2006


Ok, here's what ya do. Rent the movie War Games and watch it over and over until you get it.

Ok, here's the spoiler. The only solution is not to play, er, compete. In other words, is it really worth winning? I mean if the prize was $1000 then maybe it would be, or even some lesser amount, but what's the prize here?
posted by JamesMessick at 9:13 AM on February 9, 2006


When things get really hot, you must indeed ingest something sweet. Sugar neutralizes the burning sensation on the tongue because the 'sweet' sensation overrides all other signals sent to the brain (sugar is what humans are wired to instantly consume and use). Well, at least this was the explanation a thai cook once told me to explain why thai cooking often combines sweet and spicy.

It was explained to me that sugar (and dairy) molecules bind to capsaicin molecules in a certain way so as to neutralize (or at least minimize) their effect.
posted by scody at 1:29 PM on February 9, 2006


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