Come On, Baby, Light My Fire

Admiral, this one’s for you.

I nearly brought an end to LobaBlanca this weekend, through hot sauce-induced self-immolation.

Okay, that might be a tad bit hyperbolic…but it sure felt like the truth while it was happening.

Allow me to set the scene: To satiate a craving for barbecue that I’ve been fighting for a while, we decided to have lunch at a local barbecue chain that does some pretty decent brisket and pulled pork. As part of my plate, I ordered a side of collard greens. The only way I know how to eat greens is with hot sauce. If you’ve never tried it, you simply don’t know what you’re missing.

Mind you, I love spicy food. I will add hot sauce to practically anything, but I particularly love it on collard greens. Therefore, I didn’t think twice about going over to the condiment shelf and looking for an appropriate hot sauce. Several of the bottles had kitschy labels like “Fart Machine” or “Ass in a Bucket.” I’m sorry, but I couldn’t bring myself to select these options. Kitsch or not, anything pertaining to someone’s posterior is simply not appetizing at all.

Dogs, however, are always the way to hook me in. I’m a sucker for a cute dog cartoon, especially a cute, smiling dog in a chef’s hat…which is what was on the bottle of Mad Dog 357 Magnum that I ended up choosing. Because of the dog on the bottle.


I opened the bottle, poured what I thought was an appropriate amount of hot sauce over my greens, and stirred it all up to give everything a chance to marry. I’d mostly mixed it, but there was still a nice, shiny dollop of sauce (about the size of a chocolate M&M) right on the top. So I scooped up that section of greens and popped them into my mouth.

Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to carry Satan’s baby inside you? I don’t have to wonder anymore. See, what I learned (regrettably too late) was that the 357 in the name stood for this sauce’s level on the infamous Scoville Scale.

No, not 357 on the scale. More like 357,000.

357,000. You can see it right there, printed on the label. I would have seen it if I’d been paying more attention to the words and less attention to the cute Hell Hound.

I think the highest range to which my preferred spiciness has heretofore reached is maybe…maybe into the 100,000 range on the Scoville Scale. (I do loves me some Thai chili peppers).

The scale range of this hot sauce? I can’t say with absolute certainty since I’ve never actually been stabbed in the stomach, but I think this is as close to such a feeling as I ever want to experience.


It started out okay, slightly hotter than what I was used to, but not too terrible. This is a slow build of the worst kind. Next came the tears, trickling out of my eyes uncontrollably. Next, my lips turned the brightest shade of red they have ever turned. It was like I was spontaneously transforming into Pennywise the Clown. Without the awesome fangs, of course. Then came the myriad trips to the soda fountain, for water refill after water refill after water refill…to the point where I just wanted to shove everyone out of my way, wrap my mouth around the spigot, and flick the switch until the hell fire brewing in my gut melted the entire machine.

Then came the true agony. I struggled through the rest of my lunch (minus the collard greens, which had gone from tasty side dish to cruel and unusual punishment that should be banned by the Geneva Conventions), but when I stood to leave, I was struck by searing pain. My first thought? Oh dear prophets, that hot sauce is eating its way through my stomach! Ironically, my second, third, and many subsequent thoughts were the same.

It was horrible. And unending. And nearly unbearable. As long as I was sitting, I was somewhat fine. Movement, however, made the earlier knife wound analogy seem almost preferable. This was like that creepy “intestines wound around a barbed spool” scene from The Cell. Although honestly? I think having my intestines reeled out of my body onto a barbed spool might have been slightly less painful. This pain took the better part of Saturday evening to finally recede to a point where I could once again stand upright.

What lesson did I learn? READ THE LABEL. Don’t be swayed by the cutesy dog cartoon. The cutesy dog is actually trying to kill you, especially when he appears above the words “MAD DOG.” I also learned that there is a distinct limit to my own personal enjoyment of hot sauce. This surpassed that limit by about a thousand light years.

Here’s a review of Mad Dog 357 Magnum. Please note that I’m one of the doofuses (doofi?), not for want of showing off but for lack of general awareness.

See, Admiral? We all make spicy mistakes 😉