by Steven Doyle
The ghost pepper is said to be the very hottest naturally grown pepper known on the planet. Ringing in at warp factor nine, or up to 1,050,000 on the Scoville scale. In comparison, the jalapeno is a mere 2,500 on average. Weapons grade caspium starts at a 2,000,000 rating. The ghost pepper is one mean pepper. In its native home of India, the pepper is called Bhot Jolokia, and is often used by natives to ward off elephant attacks. It is one bad ass pepper and should be feared.
Dallas resident and professional competitive eater Alex “Moose” Perez ignored these facts last evening when he accepted a special eating challenge that involved the ghost pepper. It was at the Addison pub Back 9 where he was offered the challenge of eating one whole pizza laced with a ghost pepper sauce. The challenge was to eat the entire $25 pizza and it would be his for no cost what-so-ever. He would join the ranks of dozens of people who have accepted the challenge, but only a single entry actually won. Moose would be number two.
After all the legal waivers were signed, the pizza was delivered. Moose allowed the pie to cool down so that he could scarf the pizza with ease. He not only wanted to beat the ghost pepper challenge, but he wanted to do this in record time. He had 30 minutes, to finish the pizza.
Finally, the clock was set and Moose tore into the pepper laced pizza. His strategy was to eat a circle around the interior of the pizza, presumably where there was more sauce, and tend to the outer crust of the pizza at the en of the challenge where the pepper’s heat would be less intense. The bar room crowd gathered, taking photos and even videos in hopes of capturing the next winner.
Alas, nearly half way into the challenge sweat starting pouring off Moose’s face. A few times he clutched his throat and said that it was tightening. His breathing became more labored, and he set down the slice that was grasped in his fist. He stared down at the pie and announced he was finished. He had over 18 minutes remaining.
A humongous stein of milk was rushed over to the Moose, presumably to settle his stomach. There were a few moments where he considered being taken to an emergency room. After some time outdoors breathing in cool air he finally felt some bit of relief.
Later Moose sent me a message that he was finished with ghost pepper challenges, but had more than a few interesting challenges on the books for 2014. The tiny pepper won this round, it usually does. Ask any Indian elephant.