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The Smoking Tongue

November 08, 2005

Day 113: Melinda's XXXXtra Reserve

This seems to be the official icon of Figueroa Brother's Melinda sauces. It can be seen on the front page of their web site, and in some of their ads. I remember about a year ago they came out with a little contest where people could cast their votes on their favorite Melinda sauce. When the XXXXtra Reserve sauce won, they came out with this cute picture.

"Food is optional, flavor is not."

As they say, food is optional. Today I will be honoring their ad by sucking this sauce straight through a straw. The whole thing. While I'm at it, I'm going to set the first unofficial Guinness Book of World Records for finishing this sauce off in the fastest time.
Here are the rules:
- You must use a straw.
- No food, water, or regurgitation for 5 minutes afterwards.

My plan of attack was simple. Eat a simple lunch, quaff the bottle at my desk before anyone else returns from their lunch, and eat a cookie afterwards.

Eating any amount of hot sauce on an empty stomach is pure disaster. So I had a small meal that left me a little hungry. When I went to purchase my cookie, the cook yelled out to me, "Hey Smoking Tongue, you gotta tell me if this is hot!" The chef poured me up a small amount of rice, and topped it with this special sauce he had made for the lunch entree, Chicken Etoufee. I told him I couldn't taste a god damn thing, but that I was the wrong person to ask. It turns out he had quite a few complaints today from pansy asses that couldn’t hold their Cajun. We sat around bullshitting about spices and heat for about ten minutes.

Back at my desk, there were a few people milling around. I hid the opened hot sauce bottle inside my coffee travel mug, with the straw sticking out. This way, at first glance, people would assume I was really intent on some awesome coffee. If they came to talk to me however, I'd be busted. (I'm not going to stop and talk to them -- I'm going for the record here!)

I started the clocks, and started sucking!
And sucking.
And sucking.

What made this weird was I had no idea how much more I had left.

"How long is a minute?"
-Depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.

At about the 20-second mark, I was wondering if I had tapped into an underground reservoir of this shit. Would it ever end? How much can one stomach handle? An agonizing 10 seconds later and I heard the beautiful sound every kid knows. When you get to the bottom of a pop, milk, shake, and even hot sauce, the air starts coming through the straw and makes that loud gurgling noise. I tipped my bottle to the side a little bit and had more sauce to suck out as it sank to the bottom corner.

And I was done.
Thank goodness! Never has 5 ounces seemed so much!

I stopped the clocks at 36 seconds. Much better than I thought. Especially since I had no idea WHAT to think. For the next five minutes I just sat there staring at my computer screen, waiting for the five minutes to pass. Asking myself, "You're not going to puke, right?" No. That's good. Are you sure? Yes, I think so.

So what did it feel like?
Like sucking jelly through a straw! This stuff is thick, and chunks of peppers and carrots were bouncing off the straw walls, especially through the bendy section. Then it flowed through my mouth, back through the tongue, and down the throat as I swallowed quickly. It wasn't the most pleasant feeling in the world. If I would have coughed, sneezed, or burped, we would have had a serious mess.

So what did it taste like?
Good question. I was too busy swallowing it to really swish it around like mouthwash. Compared to the other carrot type sauces that Melinda is well known for, this one truly features the habanero. Its smell has a nose-twitching acridity that reminds me of red savina habaneros, but Melinda’s ingredient list is silent on the exact type of habaneros used.

So what did it burn like?
The back of my mouth was certainly on fire. Thanks to the straw, my lips and the front of my tongue escaped some of the wrath. The back of the mouth, however, was like an open furnace door being fed wood and coals for the fire. Luckily, for me, it was a tolerable heat, and I had more pressing matters to be concerned about, such as finishing the bottle. When finished, the burn disappeared in a couple minutes

Is this record beatable?
Definitely! I wasted at least 10 seconds fumbling the coffee mug and bottle around trying to get the very last of the sauce sucked up through a straw. Knowing what to expect would also speed things up. I think I slowed down when I started to wonder if it would ever end. However, I’m not going to be in any rush to do this again. Next time I try this sauce, I’m going to enjoy its flavor and heat! On food, even!

You're in deep shit now. I'm looking closely at this bottle and it says: "XXXXtra Hot 2005 Special Reserve". Walking over to my display case, I found the bottle I ate a couple years ago. Its says, "XXXXtra Hot 1997 Special Reserve". One for each year? You better get collecting!

Tomorrow: Torchbearer Sauces #1 Every Day Sauce

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