About five years ago I went to the Quaker Steak & Lube in Middleton on a Tuesday night for all-you-can-eat wings. I concluded the evening by trying to eat the Atomic Wings, which are so hot you have to sign a waiver to try them. Despite my love for all things spicy, I could not even eat one and thus failed.
Fast forward to this week. A new Quaker Steak opened up downtown in July in the space formerly occupied by Uno’s. I felt it was finally time to redeem myself. But first, I had to look at the reasons why I failed:
- I ate the Nos. 2-5 spiciest wings prior to trying the Atomic. That apparently weakened my ability to take on more heat.
- I drank soda. I didn’t realize that carbonation only enhances spicy foods.
- I didn’t use any ranch of blue cheese sauce with the Atomic wings. I wanted to test the flavor first, and that was a mistake. The flavor, by the way, is HORRIBLE. Most spicy foods actually taste good, but not these.
I first ordered a glass of milk (sadly, Quaker only has 2%–it was so gross). On the first set of wings, you have to get eight, so I simply ordered the honey mustard wings. I kept the blue cheese intact for the Atomic, which I ordered next. After signing the waiver, the waitress brought over four of them.
First, how hot are they? They have a Scoville rating of 150,000. For comparison, a cayenne pepper rates about 30,000-50,000.
I tried hard not to breathe in the aroma of the wings, then began digging in. I generously dipped each bite into the blue cheese, and ate as fast as I could. It didn’t help that the wings were really temperature hot, so I was battling two fronts. I polished the first wing before I had to drink some milk (again, super thick and gross).
Each wing I ate was more difficult than the previous. By the fourth wing, the waitress came by to see how I was doing. I mumbled “fine” as my tongue was numb at this point. But seeing the end in sight, I scarfed down that last wing (then I chugged the rest of the milk along with a glass of water).
I sat for a few moments to bask in my glory before running to the bathroom to wash my hands and face, the latter of which was covered in sweat. Admittedly, I also had to splash water into my mouth and spit to try to cool off my tongue, which was in mortal pain.
I came back to the table and ate three more wings (Asian sesame) before declaring my stomach closed for the evening. My stomach felt really, really bad all the way through dinner the next day, like I had been snacking on jalapenos for 24 straight hours or something.
At least I got my name on the wall!
**Addendum: Sadly, Quaker Steak has added an even spicier wing called the Triple Atomic. It rates at 500,000 Scoville units. No thank you!