All photos by Scott Lynch
Oct 18, 2021
Delicious agony: Photos from the Eighth Annual Hot Sauce Expo
Chiliheads descended on Greenpoint for eating contests and oceans of fiery sauce to marked the return of the annual celebration
After sitting things out in 2020 due to the pandemic, the annual Hot Sauce Expo returned to Greenpoint over the weekend as nearly 50 different purveyors from all over the country gave away gallons of the stuff to a rowdy crowd at the Brooklyn Expo Center.
“I’m so emotional because it’s been a long two years and I’m just so thankful to see all these happy chiliheads here having a great time in a safe environment,” the event’s co-organizer Lisa Seabury told Brooklyn Magazine on Saturday. “It feels great.”
Alcohol consumption was a big part of the festivities, too, with beer, whiskey, tequila, and, uh, Jagermeister Cold Brew booths keeping the crowd in high spirits, and Farmland Dairies distributed free milk to ease everyone’s self-inflicted pain. Some attendees brought their own heat-soothing remedies—one crew rolled up wearing DIY pretzel necklaces.
But nothing could help those brave souls up on the Stage of Doom for the extreme eating contests.
The two competitions we witnessed on Saturday were, to put it mildly, insane. The Death Wing Challenge, presented by Defcon Sauces, involved wolfing down seven chicken wings smothered in a blend of the company’s two most fiery commercial concoctions—plus just enough of their Zero Sauce, basically an “essence” that’s so hot it has to be dispensed with a toothpick—to ensure at least two days of agony to the unlucky winner.
And then there was the $1,000 Choco Challenge from Fuego Box, won by Sam Resnik this year after the Manhattan resident powered through an astonishing 19 squares of “the world’s spiciest white chocolate bar” in five minutes.
“It was weird, even though I was sweating profusely up there, I was ok chewing them, but then at the end it was so painful.” he said. “My girlfriend’s in town, we had dinner plans, though those might be canceled now because I might collapse. And tomorrow will probably be worse. It was worth it though, for the $1,000 and especially the big fake check.”
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