Red Hot Silly Feckers – chilli-eaters munch the world’s hottest peppers at Grillstock

11 Jun
Picture of Matt courtesy of Clifton Chilli Club

Picture of Matt courtesy of Clifton Chilli Club

What happens when you’re invited to eat 13 of the world’s hottest chilli peppers one after another, on stage, at a food festival? Matt Tangent – a DJ and producer better known for spinning hot tunes and composing fiery tracks – knows, and he’s here to tell us all about it.

Meat, Music & Mayhem – That’s the tagline for GrillStock BBQ & Music Festival and I was there on day one of Bristol’s fifth hosting of the mammoth event on Saturday, June 7 to experience my own fair share of all three – particularly the mayhem bit as I was taking part in the chilli pepper eating contest that very afternoon.

I’ve done some crazy things in my time but that has got to be near the top of the list.

A couple of hours prior to mouth-lavageddon, I made preparations by lining my stomach with some of the best food the festival had to offer including hot dogs with slow roasted pulled pork & coleslaw from Pit Smoked BBQ.

I also sampled succulent ribs & BBQ smoked chicken from various teams partaking in King of the Grill – an authentic two-day, US-style, low ‘n’ slow barbecue cooking competition. The ribs were a particular favourite and I believe had sold out pretty much everywhere by early evening.

The music was fantastic too. I’m sure the bass notes from Levi ‘Reggae, Reggae Sauce’ Roots and his 13-piece band playing just before chilli-hell kick-off were of the same resonant frequency as my spleen.

It certainly felt like it. And of course headliners The Fun Lovin’ Criminals put on a great show too featuring their Pulp Fiction hit Scooby Snacks, and Love Unlimited.

So, yeah, the chilli eating contest – I’ve always loved hot and spicy food and have chilli, in one form or another, on at least two out of three meals a day.

However, as I soon found out, eating stupid amounts of super-hot chilli pods in quick succession is not the same as pouring über fiery sauce over your cornflakes. It’s a completely different ballgame.

With chillies supplied by The Chilli Alchemist and the competition supported by the Clifton Chilli Club, it started out mild before rapidly climbing the Scoville scale to the hottest chillies on the planet.

I’m proud to say I managed to reach the final three out of the initial 12 fellow nutters who entered.

After several rounds of the milder varieties I merrily munched through a Dorset Naga, Bhut Jolokia and finally a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion at 1.5 million Scoville heat units before, alas, my body’s natural purging instincts took charge and put the kibosh on my attempt at chilli chomping worldwide domination.

Will I give it another go next year? Hmmm…

The ‘heat’ of chills is measured in Scoville Heat Units, based on the concentration of capsaicin – the chemical that gives a chilli its ‘bite’ – within the pepper.

The competition started with a Padron at 500-2,500 Scoville Heat Units. The Jalapeño – a chilli with which many readers will be familiar, and which is hot enough for most – comes in at 3,000 to 5,000 SHU. By Round 13 the remaining contestants were tackling the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion at a staggering 1.5 million SHU.

See the video at


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