I tried Essex’s ‘hottest’ nuggets and I felt like I was sitting in hell

Carolina Reapers peppers are some of the hottest peppers in the world.

They are as hot and fiery as pepper sprays police use to spray at people to subdue them. Strangely, many foodies use them to give the biggest of kicks to dishes.

So when NUGS owner Reis Esiroglu, 28, decided to make the hottest nuggets in Essex there was only one pepper they were using.

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The nugget joint based in The Rising Sun Pub, Hornchurch, does the Grim Reaper challenge – a portion of meat or vegan based nuggets that are doused in Carolina Reaper sauce that competitors would have ten minutes to complete and then sit there for five minutes.

While your mouth is fire burning during the challenge, milk will be placed in front of you while you are eating or “cooling down” post-consumption to tempt you to drink it.

If you drink the milk during the ordeal, you lose. If you wipe your mouth, you lose. If you get up from your seat, you lose.

But if you win, you are framed on their hall of fame, in which four people have successfully blazed through the challenge.

So as a spicy food lover, I decided to have an attempt at eating the hottest nuggets in Essex and see if I could get onto their hall of fame.

How did they taste?

The Vegan version of the Grim Reaper Challenge in Nugs Hornchurch
The Vegan version of the Grim Reaper Challenge in Nugs Hornchurch
(Image: EssexLive/ReachPLC)

Reis presented the nuggets and was the invigilator for the challenge, where he read out the rules.

I even had to sign a health and safety waiver.

To add to this, I had to wear goggles and gloves for the whole attempt because of how dangerous the sauce can be if it gets in your eyes.

I decided to go for the vegan option of the Cauli-Power Nug, in which a portion of cauliflower nuggets was painted red with Carolina Reaper sauce.

If that was not enough, chilli flakes were sprinkled every inch of the portion with a coat of scotch bonnet slices on top.

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I went into this thinking I had a strong chance of joining the other winners on the wall of glory, as I have a strong tolerance to the hot stuff.

My chilli resume includes having an Extra Hot Nandos chicken with Extra Hot sauce drenched on the chips, and using sauces containing ghost chillies and habanero like it was ketchup.

So, Reis started the ten-minute countdown and I began eating.

At first, it was all good; I barely felt anything for the first couple of nuggets.

But by nugget four, the raging effects suddenly crept in.

All hell broke loose after that. I quickly felt my tongue sizzling and then my jaw burning as the searing impact of the chillies intensify.

I don’t know if it was just the Carolina Reaper or every single spicy concoction on it but my whole body started to tingle a quarter of the way through.

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I changed up the plan and decided to take my time, hoping that some of the effects will calm down, but it only exacerbated the pain.

Struggling to even speak and stomping my feet to cope at this point Reis and the rest of Nugs staff cheered me on.

To make matters worse, my goggle started to slip off because my face was dripping in sweat and tears.

I tried to push it back on my face without getting touching my nose with the sauce, but the plastic glasses were just sliding back down again or fogging up because my body was steaming.

Reis called out a five-minute warning and looked at my plate 60 per cent done but with the roasting sensation of my body, I knew I was now doing it for bragging rights and bragging rights alone.

Nothing was helping the heat to cool off, no matter how hard I blew, feet stomped the floor or fist banged the table.

Finally, Reis told me that the ten-minute limit has expired but I had the choice to carry on.

Well, God loves a trier so I pushed for a finish.

Seeing my determination, Reis and the team motivated me to finish with every full cauliflower nugget bite I took. After 18 minutes and five seconds, I finished the entire portion.

The Final Result

Reporter Arike Idris after completing the Grim Reaper Challenge at Nugs
Tears streaming down my face, did I win the challenge?
(Image: EssexLive/ReachPLC)

Even though I lost, because I did not finish within the ten-minute time limit, I still finished.

So, I may have won the battle, but the nuggets definitely won the war.

My face was drenched with sweat and tears, but I still managed to smile, even though my lips were twitching.

The team kindly gave me two pints of milk and a milkshake after my tongue finished dancing with the devil.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom as Reis told me I was the first woman to attempt and finish the challenge, which I was so pleased about.

It’s nice to know I left some form of a legacy at NUGS.

And to add to that I got to cherish the moment with a polaroid picture to commemorate my achievement, even though that was reserved for winners only.

Reporter Arike Idris finishing the Grim Reaper Challenge at Nugs Hornchurch
Reporter Arike Idris finishing the Grim Reaper Challenge at Nugs Hornchurch
(Image: EssexLive/ReachPLC)

Although, it did not stop me from paying the mandatory £8.99 loser cost of the nugget portion.

All this time, I have been laughing at celebrities going on the Hot Ones.

Now, I know they weren’t playing up and quite frankly have not got a leg to stand on to laugh or judge them because I felt their pain with every bite I took.

Watch my full attempt of the Grim Reaper Challenge on Facebook Live here

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