Would You Eat This? “Love at First Sting” Burger At Hopdoddy Requires A Waiver
Would you eat a burger laden with peppers so hot that the restaurant requires that you sign a waiver before consuming it?
Chileheads and culinary daredevils can sink their teeth into a hot pepper-topped burger, Love at First Sting, now through August 22 at all Hopdoddy Burger Bar locations. The burger comes with a mini vanilla milkshake on the side to help temper the heat. Two of the peppers that top the $13 selection—the Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’ and the Bhut Jolokia—were once ranked hottest in the world. For that matter, three of the four featured peppers are deemed “superhot” because they each surpass 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), the standard form of measuring a pepper’s heat level.
(For perspective, a bell pepper is 0 SHU, a mild jalapeno is 2,500-5,000 SHU, a habanero ranges from 100,000 to 500,000 SHU and a Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’ pepper is 1,463,700 SHU).
Josh Anderson, a manager at Hopdoddy’s River Oaks location at 4444 Westheimer, says the waiver that diners are required to sign is partly for fun and partly for practical reasons. In 2015, the company served a chile burger called the Ghostland Buratory, which included raw sliced Bhut Jolokia, Serrano and habanero peppers. The Love At First Sting includes those same ingredients plus raw Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’ peppers, chipotle mayo, ghost pepper salsa roja and ghost pepper Jack cheese. Lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions round out the contents between a house-baked egg bun.
Anderson says if they run out of ghost peppers the kitchen will substitute them with Carolina Reapers, which are currently ranked hottest in the world (for now) at up to 2,200,000 SHU.
So how does the Love at First Sting offering measure up? Most chileheads are sadly accustomed to weak claims of “really hot” pepper dishes that come out tasting like mild tomato sauce or bell peppers. In this case, they will appreciate the solid effort of Hopdoddy’s creation in terms of burn and flavor.
Likewise, the use of raw ingredients allows the natural fruity pepper nuances to come through (yes, these peppers have a flavor other than “hot,” believe it or not) and add bright notes plus a nice crunch to offset the juicy meat. As mentioned, Hopdoddy courteously includes a miniature vanilla shake to accompany each order. We preemptively ordered a standard size one—just in case—but we barely touched it. After all, the goal is to enjoy the kick of the chile, not drown it in capsaicin-coating dairy.
That said, the waiver covers risks such as stomach pain, hiccups, sweating and unconfirmed threats of “psychedelic visions” among others—and there’s a certain inevitable (ahem) “biological backlash” to which we are all susceptible.
Is it the hottest food you’ll ever eat? That’s unlikely for dedicated chileheads, but possible for some. That said, it is legitimately fiery fare, so order at your own risk! If you try this burger, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of it.