Buffalo Wild Wings' Blazin' Challenge


The average person's stomach can hold about a liter of food, or close to two pounds' worth. But who wants to be average? All over town, restaurants are offering up contests of confection, defying brave eaters to ingest more food than they should eat in a week -- daily recommended values be damned!

Armed with a big mouth and an empty stomach, our intrepid writer Zach Fowle has dared to become one of these food fighters -- travelling metro Phoenix to face new challenges and prove to the animal kingdom that man belongs at the top of the food chain.

Am I getting jaded?

This week's Feast of Fury requires a rare visit to a chain restaurant. Buffalo Wild Wings (705 S. Rural Road, 480-858-9464) -- they of the crazy-cheap wing specials and moderately entertaining commercials of referees sabotaging sporting events -- celebrated the opening of a brand spankin' new location in Tempe on Monday. Each wing spot across the nation offers a contest amidst the chicken-filled menu: the Blazin' Challenge.


​For $8.99, you get 12 chicken wings slathered with Blazin', the top end of the heat spectrum on Buffalo Wild Wings' 14-sauce rainbow. "Keep away from eyes, pets, children," the description of the sauce declares. "It's like walking on hot coals, EXCEPT YOU EAT THEM!"

The stuff's made with cayenne red pepper, dehydrated habanero chiles, jalapeno peppers and garlic, among other things. A representative said the Scoville Units for Blazin' range from 200,000 to 350,000, depending on the peppers and the season. Finish all 12 spicy wings within six minutes and you get a t-shirt and a spot on the wall of fame.

Glory aside, I'm loath to rise to the Blazin' Challenge. Recall, if you will, my previous experience with hot wings


So you understand my reluctance. But I do have some support: Todd is again attempting the challenge alongside me. He'll do anything for a free t-shirt.

We place our twin orders and about 20 minutes later a manager swings by, microphone in hand, and announces our attempt to the restaurant. He then lays down the rules:

"If you touch your face, you lose. If you take a drink, you lose. If you throw up, you have to eat the pieces you threw up."

I'm told to take of my glasses because my eyes are going to water anyway, but I leave them on so they'll act as safety goggles and allow me to dive in to the meaty wings with impunity.


​The clock starts and Todd and I scarf. I'm pleasantly surprised: the meat is nice and juicy and the sauce is sticky and subtly sweet. The heat slowly builds after the first wing and I'm troubled, expecting an onslaught of fiery pain. But the wave of spice never seems to crest. Relieved, I focus on finishing the remaining wings as quickly as I can.

I look to my right. About 20 of the wait staff are watching me silently, expectedly. Holy shit. One of them berates me: "I've seen girls eat faster than that!"

Todd, who looked like he might not be able to down all the meat for a while, stages a major comeback, surging late and finishing strong. We both complete the challenge at 4:16, nearly two minutes before our deadline.

Maybe these months of eating too much spicy food have ruined my sense of spiciness forever, because the Blazin' Challenge was, truthfully, pretty weak. Frankly, BWW, I'm not impressed. The last hot wing challenge I encountered left me writhing in pain on my couch, staring at the wall in silence and hugging myself like an upset kindergartener.

That's not to say it wasn't mildly distressful. After I finished eating, waves of painful heat blazed on my tongue and on the outside of my mouth, and it took a few glasses of water to cool me off. My eyes watered a bit, my nose became a little runny, my hands shook a bit. But it was all a sad shadow of what I've endured before.

If you're looking for a kinder, gentler hot wing challenge, check this one out. 

The spoils of victory

Location Info

Buffalo Wild Wings

13311 W. McDowell Road, Goodyear, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

did it once, it's easy and defeatable. just don't think about the heat..


I want to take the blazin challenge! I'm not worried about the heat, im just a little skeptical as to whether I can eat 12 wings in 6 minutes. I's it hard to eat that much so quickly? I'm a chick. Also do you get a free shirt if you conquer the challenge?


My hubby and I are about to do this challenge in TN and I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that since we have been eating a lot of hot food for a while they won't be that bad! I have noticed that things I used to think were hot aren't anymore. My favorite sandwich actually contains jalapenos, hot sauce and pepper jack cheese. While that doesn't compare to the heat of the blazin sauce, that combo is no longer hot to me. Before just the jalapenos would have been too much. ANYWAY:) wish us luck! 


Are you allowed to drink beer in between wings, or do you have to wait until you've finished the full dozen?

Actually, I often find that the heat doesn't hit me until I've stopped eating.

Zach Fowle
Zach Fowle

No drinks, no napkins, no nothing in between. Once that clock starts, it's just you and the wings.

Agreed about the heat — you never know how hot it is until you stop.

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