Capsaicin Conundrum
July 14, 2010 11:49 AM   Subscribe

How can I preemptively prevent pain from hot wings?

I'm going to go out with my buddies tonight for some hot wings and I hear that this place has the hottest wings in town. I'm already pretty intolerant to spice, but I plan succumbing to peer pressure and eating the wings anyways.

I've checked out a few previous AsMeFi questions such as this one and plan on having a bit of yogurt beforehand. Is there anything else I can do to make sure I don't bawl my eyes out like a baby after eating these wings?
posted by ajackson to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
Best answer: If there is a blue cheese or ranch or any other kind of dipping sauce, make sure to slather it on as much as possible. Some kind of milk based drink would help you a great deal as well.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:52 AM on July 14, 2010

Ranch/bleu cheese dip and celery. There's a reason they're so common at wings places. Also, drink something that has milk/dairy/fat in it.
posted by Night_owl at 11:53 AM on July 14, 2010

You need to get some oils or fats into your mouth, preferably cool ones. So pretty much any dips involving yoghurt, cheese, cream or avocado will help.

But more fundamentally, it's no reflection on your manliness if you prefer food you can actually taste.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:53 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have a glass of milk and a piece of bread at your side. Maybe this is urban legend, but I've heard having a drink of water just spreads the spices around, whereas bread will soak it up.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:58 AM on July 14, 2010

Seconding blue cheese or ranch sauce. Might as well ask for extra up front to keep yourself covered. A more long term solution would be to build up a tolerance to and/or acquire a taste for hot chilies. Pushing yourself on a regular basis to the point when your eyes water and your nose flows will get you there in no time. You might even start to like the rush :)
posted by waxboy at 11:59 AM on July 14, 2010

The last time I went out with friends to eat "suicide wings", as they are called around here, my sister's then-boyfriend dared me to drink my beer through a straw. (Hey, I was 18, sue me). When the wings arrived, I hoed in with gusto. I was enjoying the wings when I noticed one of my other friends staring at me. "Doesn't it burn?" she asked me. That was when I realized I couldn't feel my face.

So, maybe not the healthiest suggestion ever, but from personal experience, getting drunk does wonders for your capsicum tolerance.
posted by LN at 12:06 PM on July 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Milkshake! Calcium to neutralize the heat and a chocolate milkshake can have some seriously awesome synergy with wings.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:12 PM on July 14, 2010

Best answer: Do not wipe your eyes, hair, or face with your hands. Wash your hands EXTREMELY THOROUGHLY before using the bathroom. Then wash them some more.

Order some milder wings for yourself and go in on a shared order of mega-hot wings, from which you have only one or two. Choke them down, win their respect, and then have some food you actually like.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:14 PM on July 14, 2010

Best answer: I also recommend some pepto-bismol or similar to mitigate the "burning ring of fire" at the other end of the eating process.
posted by Kimberly at 12:23 PM on July 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

The best defense against pepper-burn is practice. You'll be getting some tonight.

Short-term, freeze out your tongue a little bit with ice cubes. You'll need a steady supply, it doesn't last long. It doesn't "neutralize" the heat, it just makes the nerves numb.

And, yeah - definitely plenty of blue cheese dressing, like everyone else says.

Lastly, I totally agree with PercussivePaul. Don't eat things that you won't enjoy. It takes a lot of steady consumption of hot stuff to build your tolerance up to a level where you can enjoy a super-hot dish like that. Most people never really do it unless they grow up in a really chili-heavy culture. So, let your friends tease you about not eating the hot stuff. You can laugh at the funny faces they make as they torture themselves.
posted by Citrus at 12:38 PM on July 14, 2010

Do not let any of it touch the tip or the middle of your tongue. Chew on the sides and swallow. Have some bread afterwards or with to help with your digestive issues later.

Goddamn, my mouth is watering now.
posted by lysdexic at 12:46 PM on July 14, 2010

I find Xantac to be incredibly helpful as a pre-emptive heartburn buster.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 2:51 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get drunk, yeah, that works. Simple anesthetic.

People say water doesn't work but it works better than anything else for me. Milk makes you bloated and more alcohol will burn.

I've found eating as much as possible in one go helps, as soon as you stop the burn will catch up with you.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:07 PM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oily/fatty stuff dilutes the oils carrying the capsaicin, so whole milk and full-fat yogurt are good. Likewise cheese. Alcohol dissolves the oils. Get some ice cold shots of something strong and gargle/swish it around in your mouth like Listerine or Scope. However a belly full of yogurt, vodka and hot wings is probably begging for trouble.

I love spicy food and have no trouble consuming several tablespoons of Tabasco in one sitting. But one time I got an order of Pad Thai from a Thai place in Abu Dhabi (lived there for a year), and somewhere in there, as some kind of cruel joke or act of gustatory vandalism or something, they put some crazy X-Files pepper in there that was the worst pain I have ever had. Worse than broken bones, worse than a nipple pierce, anything. I was afraid. I just started running around in a senseless panic, and I thought I was going to faint. For whatever reason, we had a cup of olive oil congealing in the fridge and I just started scooping it out with my fingers and eating the sludge. I lay down on the cool tile floor of the kitchen, and eventually recovered my senses to the point that I was then just in serious pain. And I was weak, shaky, sweaty and in pain for the next several hours.

It was awesome.
posted by holterbarbour at 5:23 PM on July 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

The wife pointed this thread at me, so I feel I should comment. I have a story that dates back about 18 years, back to my freshman year in college.

About a month before the end of the semester, some classmates and I went to a local wing place. This is in central Florida, so there's more than just the typical mild/medium/hot combinations. There's something on the menu called 'nuclear', plus about 15 other spicy-type flavors.

I decided to try their 'hot' wings as I like spicy foods. They arrived and had a good amount of spice/heat, but I was expecting a little more. I good-naturedly ribbed our server (who turned out to be the cook) about who they were a little weak. He laughed and mentioned something about turning up the heat for me the next time.

Flash forward the last day of finals - I had pulled an all-nighter studying for my last exam and by 2:00PM I was a little loopy. I also hadn't eaten since some time in the wee hours of the morning so my stomach was growling and I was crashing. Someone suggested wings as a celebration, so we tromped down to the wings place.

The same cook was working and he recognized me from the back when we walked in. He yelled out from the kitchen that he'd send me something to try. He brings over a small plastic cup full of sauce and puts it in front of me on the table and says, 'Try this'.

In retrospect, I think he meant that I should dip my wings in the sauce (after they arrive).

In further retrospect, I think the substance in the cup might have been glowing. At the time, I wrote it off to the hallucinations likely to occur after an all-nighter.

In continued retrospect, I think I should have clarified his intentions for the consumption of the sauce.

I mention this retrospection because instead of waiting for my wings to arrive and then cautiously dipping one in and taking a bite to gauge the heat of capsaicin-laden hellsauce that the cook delivered, I downed the little cup like a shot.

I remember the look on his face - it was a little bit of shock and surprise. He then started giggling, and went back in the kitchen. He sent out 5 or 6 cups of ranch and blue cheese.

About 10 minutes, all of the food arrives. I can only clearly remember pieces of the next 45 minutes:

- The hellsauce kicks in and starts eating the lining of my stomach. It is likely the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life.

- I chug the cups of blue cheese and ranch as quickly as possible looking for relief.

- I'm on the floor in the men's bathroom writhing in pain.

- I'm crawling back to the booth where we were sitting while my friends and the cook laugh at me.

- I chug about 10 more cups of ranch/blue cheese.

- I look at my wings in abject fear.

I think I drank almost a full bottle's worth of ranch and blue cheese in total.

The key lesson that I learned from this whole incident is while I thought the cook was joking with me (he was - we cleared this up in a later visit), it doesn't mean that he won't be a dick in the execution. So don't be an asshole to the people who make your food. Especially if you're a little punchy.
posted by Jim T at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

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