Man vs Food Season 1
Man vs Food Episode 15
Location: San Jose, CA
Challenge Results: Man Wins
In his quest to conquer not only the biggest, but also in many cases, the most dangerous food challenges in America, Adam takes on the later in San Jose, California, for episode 15. Richman will attempt to smother the flames of the Hellfire Challenge at Smoke Eaters, a local hotspot. The Hellfire consists of 12 of the hottest wings known to man but, these molten bird parts come with an afterburn time requirement...
For his first stop in San Jose before the challenge, Adam Richman, Man vs Food host and Rock Star (well, maybe aspiring Rock Star), gets his groove on at Iguanas Burritozilla. A true favorite of the college students nearby, Iguanas has a live band where Adam unleashes the musician within as he parties down with the college night life. This one looked tough Adam...I feel for you brother.
Offering up portion sizes calibrated to college student appetites, everything here looked Jumbo size until you see them bring out Burritozilla. This windsock weighs in at over 5 pounds and grants campus wide bragging rights to the few who can finish it. Adam interviews 2 challengers while he's there who reveal their strategy as "speed". Adam is asked to try the challenge, but declines and explains he has an upcoming challenge he's preparing for.
In a cheesy Shakespearean performance, Richman shouts out to the Iguanas crowd; "Is there no one who will stand in my place for the Burritozilla Challenge?!" he asks. Then, a voice in the crowd accepts the challenge and a man comes forward. It's none other than Joey "Jaws" Chestnut appearing on Man vs Food! Joey Chestnut, in case you don't know, is a World Champion Competitive Eater and San Jose native. He tackles the Burritozilla on Man vs Food, and 3 minutes later (yeah, 3 minutes), Burritozilla is dead and (b)eaten. Incredible.
If you're in San Jose, and you want authentic, melt in your mouth BBQ, Henry's is the most recommended place to go. Adam swings in to check out what's cooking. The locals here say they come for the open pit, white oak flame broiling, which makes a noticeable difference in flavor quality. Although the steaks here are fantastic, we're told the most ordered item on the menu at Henry's is the Baby back Ribs.
Antonio Sanchez, head Chef at Henry's, gives Adam the kitchen side tour and inside line on the baby backs. First, he takes his full racks and places several in large pan and covers them in a spice rub, piles on the brown sugar then pours some water in the pan and covers them to bake for 2 hrs in their own steam. When they come out they are ready to eat but no, they get more sauce, and about 10 minutes on the open flame pit to sear them.
Adam sits down with a rack and looks like he's in heaven as he describes the sweetness of the BBQ Bark, and the crunchy sweet pork edges with the Smokey flame flavors. Mmmm...I was ready to head west.
The Hellfire Challenge at Smoke Eaters in San Jose
Finally, Richman arrives at Smoke Eaters. He decides to test the waters by interviewing some patrons about the various heat levels of wings offered at Smoke Eaters. One man tells Adam he saw a guy try the Hellfire Challenge, and the man was so overwhelmed by the spices he nearly passed out. He adds that there are 10 heat levels and he can't get past level 7. Adam looks nervous since the Hellfire isn't even listed in the 10 hottest wings. Another patron tells Adam he tried the challenge himself. Adam asked, "how bad was it?", the man replied, "it's still burning...right here", as he pounds his chest.
The Hellfire Challenge has faced over 30,000 competitors and defeats 8 out of 10 of them. Adam discovers he will be required to sign a legal waiver form in order to compete, and decides he had better find out what they put in these poultry wings of fire. So we head back to the kitchen where General Manager Mike Burke answers Richman's questions.
"No employee at Smoke Eaters will eat a Hellfire", wing he says, "they've seen too many challengers curled up in the fetal position to do that". Adam looks really nervous now. Mike says to make the hottest wings on Earth you start with a sauce made from homemade hot sauce, bbq sauce, duck sauce (adds tang), a pile of cayenne pepper and what works out to be, about 6 ounces of dried habanera per 12 wing order.
The rules of the Smoke Eaters Hellfire Challenge are: 10 minutes to eat 12 wings, fingers must be licked clean, no napkins, drinks, or breaks. Once completed you must sit still for 5 minutes and survive the "after burn" to win. Adam signs the form, right under I AM AN IDIOT, and the Hellfire Challenge begins. Adam tears in to them with speed and fury. Half way through the sweat is visible on his face. Little kids offer him napkins and popsicles to worsen the torture.
With plenty of time to spare, the Man vs Food star eats the last fiery foe and licks his fingers clean. You can see him visibly suffering through the afterburn. Somehow he sits through the pain for a victory, and adds his name to the Wall of Flame.
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