A Friend Has Challenged Me To Eat A Raw Carolina Reaper - Surely I Can Game This And Do It Safely?

Is it just me or does someone who would like to see you suffer sound like not much of a friend?

My friends and I, when at a bar, will usually bet a shot of Malort that the loser has to drink. Not because we hate each other but so the bet has some consequence without being too much.

Not sure you can get Malort outside of Chicago though. It has a taste something like bug spray. Nasty stuff but at least it is not (literally) painful.

Some fan created taglines for Malort:

  • Malort, kick your mouth in the balls!
  • Malort, when you need to unfriend someone IN PERSON.
  • Malort, tonight’s the night you fight your dad.
  • Malort, the Champagne of pain.
  • Malort, turning taste-buds into taste-foes for generations.
  • Drink Malort, it’s easier than telling people you have nothing to live for.
  • Malort, what soap washes its mouth out with.
  • Malort, these pants aren’t going to sh** themselves.

Yes, we are all still friends but we are very careful about betting now.

I’ve done this, although with a Trinidad Scorpion. At this level, it doesn’t make a difference which one holds the world’s hottest pepper crown, as they’re all insanely hot, and my scorpion might be hotter than your reaper (or vice versa.)

If you’re used to hot peppers like habaneros and hotter, then the only advice I have for you is don’t do it on an empty stomach like I did. I mention my story here, but I’ll cut and paste it for you in a spoiler box so as not to take up too much thread space:

The trinidad scorpions I grew come with an amusing anecdote. I had been nursing the damned things, growing them from seed, and was so excited when one summer morning I went out into the backyward and finally saw one of the peppers had ripened. I just needed to have a taste right then and there, on an empty stomach. So I pick one off the plant. It’s a tiny pepper, maybe the size of a dime or so. I carefully bite the tip. I wait. I only notice a mild warmth. I carefully take another bite. Hot, I feel something around habanero level, but nothing unbearable. So I just eat the rest. Ah…ok…now I feel a good bit of sharp, intense heat, but nothing a habanero eater is not used to. It’s just that for about half the size the Scorpion packed as much or just a little more punch than a standard habanero.

Then I feel the pepper making its way down my esophagus and drawing a line of heat from my throat to my empty stomach. My stomach is not happy and begins to cramp a little. I drive my wife to the subway and remark that perhaps what I had done was not such a good idea. About a half hour later, my stomach is upset, so I eat some bread and drink some milk, and all is good.

Another half or or so later, my stomach acts up again and feels like it’s full of angry fire ants. There is this concentrated feeling of pain and warmth emanating from my stomach. I run upstairs to bed and lie down. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t even use the laptop to distract me. All I could do is lie on my back, eyes closed, listening to NPR, and wondering whether a trip to the ER was in order. Maybe this was some sort of violent allergic reaction? I get a little light headed and nauseated. I realize that I need to vomit and begin to wonder whether that’s a good idea or whether it’s just going to be fire all the way back up. Eventually, I can’t hold it in anymore, so I run to the toilet and vomit. Thankfully, it wasn’t bad coming back up. I lay my belly on the tile floor to cool it off. After about five minutes, I find the energy to get back up and haul myself back into bed. This time, the fire ant feeling comes back, and I begin to worry, but it subsides after about a half hour. Lesson learned. No ultrahots on a an empty stomach from now on.

This is the only time I’ve ever vomited from eating a hot pepper, and no other pepper has given me this reaction. That said, I blame it on eating it plain on an empty stomach, as I’ve had the Scorpion peppers many times since without incident or any of the same sensations. I just find their flavor (or at least the ones I grew) to be insipid and chemically.[/spoiler]

So the moral of the story: don’t eat it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Bad things are likely to happen.

As for stuff on the other end? I had no effect that I remember. Peppers have long not affected me in that way, though.

If you can do a raw habanero, I think you can do a raw reaper, if you want to. The actual sting of it goes away quickly, in my experience, like ten minutes. But if you’re not used to peppers in this level, do be careful.

So what if your friends are like me, who unironically actually like Malort? I introduced the stuff to my Buffalo-born wife about twelve years ago, just before really hit the hipster mainstream, simply as an old-man Chicago drink. I was just kind of introducing her to some of the lore of the city. I wait in eager anticipation as she throws a shot back. Nothing. No reaction. Just a “hmm…not that bad.” And it wasn’t even a purposefully restrained response. She really did not mind it in the least bit.

There’s actually craft distillery versions of malort out there, too. Pretty sure I’ve seen one made by a NY distillery years ago. Right now, Jeppson’s malort is being made in Florida, I believe, but I think it’s almost heavily biased towards the Chicago-area market. And I read a blurb within the last few weeks that they’re talking about coming back to Chicago.

You may get it past your mouth without incident, but if you’re like this guy, you’ll soon be in such pain that you feel compelled to visit the emergency room. Not sure if you’ll wish you were dead, but you may want to ask the creator of that video if that’s how he felt.

A reaper challenge gone wrong. Once girl screams in agony, later reporting that she thought she was going to die; the other girl vomits blood (sign of a Mallory-Weiss tear in the esophagus from extremely violent vomiting). Even if you protect your mouth, my guess is you won’t be able to stop your stomach from rejecting its contents, especially if you’re chasing it with large volumes of liquid.

Bottom line, eating a Carolina Reaper pepper seems like an acutely bad idea, sure to cause severe pain and likely to cause physical injury.

What is the monetary value of the payout that’s being offered? And what is your financial status that brings you to consider accepting his challenge?

Personally I avoid these challenges - but here’s two stories for those who relish them.

  1. A stockbroker acquaintance of mine was challenged to fit a hamburger in his mouth whole.
    He sort of managed it - and of course when it finally came out it was covered with his saliva.
    Then he challenged someone else to eat it. :smack:

  2. Another challenge was to fit a pool ball in their mouth.
    It finally went in - but they couldn’t get it out without removing an entire row of teeth. :eek:

Oh PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make and post a video if you decide to take the challenge.

I used to manage a bar/cafe where we had a “Ghost Pepper Wing” challenge. The challenge could only be done on the patio, with a trash can right next to you. 95% of ALL contestants used the trashcan. There was ONE and only ONE guy who did the challenge a few times and nailed it. I got to now him well. He stated that he was totally blind to the heat. He also stated that his wife would not kiss him for at least 24-48 hours after each challenge.

Good Luck…Post Video!

So…bring a “emotional support animal” along while he eats it (the pepper…not the emotional support animal)?

Clearly some people do like it. IIRC Malort used to have a little thing hanging around the neck of the bottle that proudly claimed 49 of 50 people who try Malort never try it again. So, in theory, 1-in-50 people actually like the stuff which means there are somewhere around 50,000 people in Chicago alone who like it.

And if it was clear a friend liked the stuff obviously we’d have to substitute something he didn’t like.

I hope it does come back to Chicago.

And FTR I am not a Millennial (Gen-X).

Gen X here, too, though I’m missing the reference I guess.

Just noting I am not part of the hipster crowd you mentioned.

I think your best bet is to find an edible dish soap and take a swig with it.

I’d test it out with a habanero or something first.

Vomiting dish soap is going to be better than tearing your esophagus trying to vomit out an oil that has bonded to your stomach lining.

Get sciency. Mix a few soaps with blended habanero in small dishes and taste each to see which did the best job breaking up the capsaicin.

Ah. I didn’t mean “your friends” as in you personally. Irony I find more a Gen X trait, anyway.

Eat the Reaper, Beat the Reaper, Don’t Fear the Reaper…what’s next in this sequence?

These aren’t my people
these aren’t my friends

Are you allowed to cut up the pepper? Most people have been told that “the seeds are the seat of the heat.” But that’s not really true. The worst of it is in the white “membrane” (probably not the right word) that surrounds the seed and grows along the ribs of the pepper. So if you can scrape that out you’ll have an easier time of it. Still not easy, mind you, just easier.

If you have a small enough pepper that you can just swallow it whole, that’s your goal. But you need to prepare your stomach to digest as much of it as possible. Happily, 151 rum is an excellent choice. Also a big bowl of oatmeal to dilute the stuff that doesn’t break down as it moves through your system. And a few Tums chewed up and swallowed with whole milk beforehand will protect your tooth enamel from any ensuing barf.

If you have to chew it then be ready with some cold, strong alcohol to rinse your mouth with. Rinse twice with that and gargle with whipping cream.

Have a bucket and a stack of towels ready for the inevitable barf and drool. If your hair is long consider cutting it or at least tying it back.

Preparation “H” is, as it says, preparatory. Use it before you need it.

Here is some advice from the true experts:

Your prayers are answered

Bon Appetite magazine says soaking a chopped hab in vodka for 2 hours will render it quite mild. You wouldn’t want to drink the vodka though (well some of you crazies would).

Found the article

If you can get hold of some Cytotec (misoprostol) beforehand, that might be a good thing. It was included in a combination NSAID I took a few years back - to protect the stomach against the effects of the NSAID (diclofenac a.k.a. Voltaren, I believe).

The side effect, for me, was farts-from-hell. You did not want to be a small room with me.

Of course, it’s prescription only, which would require a compliant MD to write a scrip for a couple doses.

I wonder: would antacids be of any help with this sort of thing? People with GERD are advised to avoid spicy foods as those can trigger acid production - so while the acid reducers won’t do anything the napalm itself, it might reduce your body’s unfriendly response.