Here we are, wearing our badges of honor, in a photo posted by @garciasn (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bill_roehl/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Here we are, wearing our badges of honor, in a photo posted by @garciasn (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bill_roehl/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Bill and I hopped in the Suburban Assault Vehicle with Kim and the Nephew this evening and motored over to Girvan Grille in Brooklyn Park for the Ghost Wings Challenge: Eat 10 wings in 15 minutes and win a spiffy T-shirt (Bill and I are posing in ours above) and get your photo on their wall o’ fame. The big, meaty wings, covered in a thick, sweet sauce made from the Bhut jolokia pepper, were the hottest I’ve ever eaten. They were also the tastiest I have ever enjoyed — the sauce was sweet and smoky, with a good hint of garlic. We tried to get executive chef Jim Malinowski to tell us what was in the sauce, but he told us it is the only recipe at the restaurant that he won’t share. But Chef Jim was very generous with his time and gave us a few of the dried Ghost peppers to bring home with us. w00t! I’d love to see him go up against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America with Ghost chiles as the secret ingredient.

Wings with the bite of the King Cobra, originally posted by @garciasn (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bill_roehl/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wings with the bite of the King Cobra, originally posted by @garciasn (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bill_roehl/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The rules of the challenge were simple, but hard to abide by once you got going. You had to eat all 10 wings, picking them clean. You couldn’t wipe your face or hands with a napkin or handkerchief. And you couldn’t eat or drink anything else during the challenge. Oh, yeah, and if you gobbled everything down really quickly, you still had to wait the full 15 minutes for the challenge to be completed. The first few bites were tentative as we tested the potency of the sauce. Almost immediately, our tongues and lips caught fire. Another real challenge: the wings were piping hot right out of the kitchen, so we had to be careful not to burn our tongues and mouths by eating the wings too quickly. After my first few bites of saucy goodness, my tongue felt like it was swelling up, then it and my lips went numb. Early on, Bill and I figured out we needed to set a steady pace designed to have us finished by the end of the 15 minutes, but not too soon before the buzzer. We did very well at that, both of us eating steadily and getting down to one wing with about a minute to go. Restaurant manager Jon Fehrmann told us we would know if we were going to finish by the third wing. He was spot on. That’s when the endorphins really kicked in. Bill said he was getting dizzy and his nose and lips glowed bright red. My eyes swelled and tears ran down my face. My nose started running after the seventh or eighth wing. I stopped talking and laughing as I started eating wing four. Letting oxygen into my mouth just caused the flames to flare up. I began to feel lightheaded and tried to remain focused on eating the wings one at a time. I had to keep reminding myself not to lick the extra sauce off my fingers and not to reach for my glass of water or my napkin.Bill and I both paused for a half-minute or so after wing nine. That, at least for me, turned out to be a mistake. That gave my brain time to catch up with the intense pain in my mouth, throat and intestines. When I bit into wing 10 with a minute to go, the pain was at its most concentrated.

It seemed like half the restaurant staff gathered around our table to cheer us on. The chefs and several other kitchen crew kept offering us encouragement. We also had a great waitress who kept the time for us during the challenge. What a great experience. The folks at Girvan Grille really made us feel at home and treated us like VIPs. Not to mention that their prices are quite reasonable (our wings were under 10 bucks) and the rest of the food really tasty, according to Kim and the Nephew. I would highly recommend the Girvan Grille.

The best part of the whole experience is that Bill and I will be invited back in a few weeks for the Girvan Grille’s Ghost Wing Tournament of Champions, pitting the folks who have conquered the challenge against each other to see who can eat the most Ghost Wings in a set amount of time. Bill and I are pumped! Plus, we get to eat for free as champs! Now I know how the gladiators must have felt in Rome (maybe a better analogy might be sumo wrestlers, given my bloated belly…)

Check Bill’s site in the morning to get his take on the whole ordeal. In the meantime, you can find the rest of his pix in his Flickr photostream and watch a video of us eatin’ our wings on the YouTubes.