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Popeyes Kicks Off 2023 By Bringing Back a Spicy Fan Favorite
Ghost Pepper Wings are returning to menus nationwide.
Photo by: Photo courtesy of Popeyes
Photo courtesy of Popeyes
If your resolutions for 2023 include spicing things up and saving some cash, Popeyes is ready to help you keep them. The chicken chain is kicking off the new year by bringing back to its menus, after a three-year absence, fan-favorite Ghost Pepper Wings for a limited time for $5.
The crispy chicken wings, which return starting January 3, 2023 at participating U.S. locations nationwide, are marinated “for at least 12 hours" in a ghost pepper spice blend. They are then battered by hand, breaded and served with Popeyes buttermilk ranch to achieve “the perfect level of kick.” The Ghost Pepper Wings are “a more approachable wing option for those who enjoy a little bit of heat and a whole lot of flavor,” according to a press release .
“Our Ghost Pepper Wings have been a fan favorite amongst our guests, combining the perfect amount of spice and flavor for wing lovers,” Sami Siddiqui, president of Popeyes North America, says . “The holiday season can be tough on everyone’s wallets, and we’re so excited to bring back Ghost Pepper Wings at an incredible value that can’t be beat.”
And for those looking to embrace sweetness alongside their spiciness in the new year, Popeyes is also bringing back, for a limited time also beginning January 3, its Blueberry Lemon Pie and a Strawberry Cheesecake cup. The former includes “blueberries and cream cheese with a touch of lemon flavor in a flaky, turnover-style pastry” and the latter boasts “a thick and rich cheesecake filling mixed with strawberry puree, on a graham cracker crumb crust perfectly portioned in an individual cup,” as Popeyes describes them.
Popeyes is also offering $1-per-wing deals (six wings for $6; 12 wings for $12) on delivery orders placed via the Popeyes App or website and offering 200 loyalty points on every order of Ghost Pepper Wings. That’s enough to earn you a free Apple Pie.
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Fatality Draws Scrutiny to Spicy ‘One Chip Challenge’ Product
Harris Wolobah, a 14-year-old in Worcester, Mass., died after he ate a Paqui brand tortilla chip dusted with two of the world’s hottest peppers, his mother said.
By Rebecca Carballo and Remy Tumin
Update: A subsidiary of the Hershey Company said it was pulling the “One Chip Challenge” from store shelves .
One of the last things Harris Wolobah, 14, of Worcester, Mass., ate before he died was a single tortilla chip in a coffin-shaped box that bore an image of a skull with a snake coiled around it, his mother said.
Lois Wolobah said her son’s school called last Friday to tell her he was sick and that she needed to come and get him.
When she arrived, Harris was clutching his stomach in the nurse’s office, she said in an interview on Tuesday.
He showed her a picture of what he had just consumed: a single Paqui chip, dusted with two of the hottest peppers in the world, the Carolina Reaper and the Naga Viper. The label on the box said “One Chip Challenge” and carried a warning — “Inside: One Extremely Hot Chip.” Paqui tortilla chips are made by Amplify Snack Brands, a subsidiary of the Hershey Company.
Ms. Wolobah said she took her son home, but after about two hours he passed out and was rushed to a hospital, where he died. He had faced no underlying health conditions, she said.
The cause of death was not immediately clear; it will be up to 12 weeks before the results of an autopsy are available, Tim McGuirk, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said.
But Ms. Wolobah said she believed the chip had jeopardized her son’s health.
“I just want there to be an awareness for parents to know that it’s not safe,” Ms. Wolobah said. “It needs to be out of the market completely.”
The Paqui “One Chip Challenge” has been criticized for making people sick in the past, but this is the first time someone has linked it to a fatality. After The Boston Globe reported on the teenager’s death , the story spread to other local and national outlets.
“We are deeply saddened by the news report and express our condolences to the family,” a Paqui spokeswoman, Kim Metcalfe, said in a statement. “It would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further.”
The Hershey Company bought Amplify, which is based in Austin, Texas, for $1.6 billion in 2017.
Until Tuesday, marketing materials for the Paqui One Chip Challenge, which sells for $9.99, dared customers to wait as long as possible after eating the chip before eating or drinking anything, and then to post their reactions on social media. “How long can you last before you spiral out?” the Paqui website asked . That language had been removed from the site by Wednesday.
Since this year’s chip was introduced last month, a new round of videos have circulated showing people begging for water , or shoveling ice cream into their mouths, after eating one.
The packaging carries a prominent warning that the chip should be kept out of the reach of children and is intended only for adult consumption. People who are pregnant or who have “any medical conditions” should not eat the chip, nor should those who are sensitive or allergic to spicy foods, peppers, night shade plants or capsaicin , the compound in chili peppers that is responsible for burning and irritation.
The package advises that anyone who experiences breathing trouble, fainting or extended nausea after eating the chip should seek medical attention.
Harris Wolobah is not the first child who has sought medical care after eating the chip. School officials in California and Texas told the “Today” show website last year that students had been taken to the hospital after eating one.
Also last year, about 30 public school students in Clovis, N.M., experienced health issues after eating the chip, KOB-TV of Albuquerque reported . As a preventive measure, the Huerfano School District in Colorado banned the chips, according to a post on its Facebook page .
In a 2020 study , researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center detailed the “serious complications” that can result from eating the Carolina Reaper pepper, noting that a 15-year-old boy had suffered an acute cerebellar stroke two days after eating one on a dare. The Carolina Reaper has been measured at more than two million Scoville heat units , the scale used to measure how hot peppers are. The Naga Viper has been measured at just under 1.4 million Scoville units . Jalapeño peppers are typically rated at between 2,000 and 8,000 units .
But that has not stopped the curious.
Colin Mansfield of Beaumont, Calif., and his nephew Cole Roe, 15, ate the chip together over FaceTime and Mr. Mansfield shared the video on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Mr. Mansfield, who makes his own hot sauce, said that it was like a “really spicy curry” and that the heat began to wear off after about 10 minutes. (His nephew, he said, needed a drink after 30 seconds.)
But that’s when another side effect kicked in for both of them: a crippling stomachache.
“I was on the floor, in a fetal position,” Mr. Mansfield said, adding that he wouldn’t have eaten the chip had he known that it would feel as if “somebody put you on the ground and kicked you in the stomach.”
Devin McClain and Jade Dian, who live in Houston, said they had also experienced stomach pains after recording themselves eating the chip — and then chasing it with water, milk and ice cream — for their YouTube channel.
“It was instant pain,” Ms. Dian said. “The milk was not helping, the ice cream was not helping.”
Mr. McClain said that even after the intensity of the heat had faded in his mouth, he could still feel it in his body.
“You could feel it spread; that’s the worst part, honestly,” he said.
Both suffered stomach pains into the next morning, they said. Would they try it again?
“Not in 2023,” Mr. McClain said. “Unless it was highly requested by viewers.”
An earlier version of this article misidentified the institution that studied Carolina Reaper risks in 2020. It was the University of Mississippi Medical Center, not the National Center for Biotechnological Information, which provided online access to the study.
How we handle corrections
Rebecca Carballo is a reporter based in New York. More about Rebecca Carballo
Remy Tumin is a reporter for The Times covering breaking news and other topics. More about Remy Tumin
Ghost Pepper Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit Recipe
Are you searching for a spicy but sweet snack? Chocolate-covered fruit is becoming more common. How to make this common snack unforgettable, by adding Ghost Pepper of course!
Now the duo of chocolate and strawberries doesn’t have a very long history. Starting their journey in the 1960s by Lorraine Lorusso .
This snack can actually be healthy for you, in moderation. The fruit itself is full of multiple daily vitamins. Dark Chocolate has its own set of benefits as well, it has been claimed to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Ghost Peper contains capsaicin , which is known to boost metabolism.
The ghost pepper is super spicy originating in India, and with 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units ! With a smoky, almost sweet flavor this pepper compliments the dark chocolate. This recipe has Ghost Pepper combined into the chocolate creating a spicy bite each time.
Now we can’t promise it won’t get a bit messy, but this one is worth it! Let us know what you think of this Ghost pepper Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit tray.
Ghost Pepper Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit
- Mixing bowl
- Baking tray
- Parchment Paper
- 6 oz Dark Chocolate Chips Melted
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil Melted
- 1 pinch Sonoran Spice Ghost Pepper Powder
- 10 Strawberries
- 2 Bananas Cut 2-inch pieces
- 1 Granny Smith Apple Sliced
- Mix together melted chocolate, coconut oil, and ghost pepper powder into a bowl until well combined. 6 oz Dark Chocolate Chips, 1 tbsp Coconut Oil, 1 pinch Sonoran Spice Ghost Pepper Powder
- Line baking tray with parchment paper.
- Carefully dip each piece of fruit into the chocolate mixture. Place on the lined baking tray. 10 Strawberries, 2 Bananas, 1 Granny Smith Apple
- Set chocolate-covered fruit aside for 30 minutes, chocolate will begin to harden.
Did you enjoy creating the Ghost Pepper Dark Chocolate covered Fruit? Not sure how to create other spicy meals? Check out the Sonoran Spice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes using the hottest peppers.
Buy Sonoran Spice Ghost Pepper Powder
Related pepper guides & recipes.
- What are Ghost Peppers? How Hot Are They?
- Habanero Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Pepper Guide: Chocolate Bhutlah
- Spicy Cayenne Brownies
- Ghost Pepper Chicken Fajitas
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Bhut Jolokia Chocolate (Chocolate Ghost Peppers)
When it comes to flavor and scorching heat, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper). Known for its smoky and fruity flavor, this pepper is a favorite for hot sauces and more.
Read on to learn more about this rare pepper, including heat, flavor, preparation, and more!
Facts about Bhut Jolokia Chocolate
What are bhut jolokia chocolate peppers.
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers are a rare and extremely hot variety of pepper from India belonging to the Capsicum chinense classification. They are thought to be a natural variant of the more common red ghost pepper, likely crossed with the 7 pot douglah, which is similarly brown in color. Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers are conical in shape, with a distinct point at the end. They mature from green to red to dark brown and have glossy, wrinkled skin similar to many ultra-hot peppers.
How hot are they?
On the Scoville scale, Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers range from 800,000 to 1,001,304 SHU. This makes them extremely hot, and their heat can last for more than thirty minutes after consumption. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in peppers, is abundant in Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers, making them one of the hottest peppers in the world.
What do they taste like?
Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers have a fruit-forward, subtly sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor followed by a delayed heat that gradually builds in intensity. The heat may not develop until 30 to 45 seconds after consuming, but it can linger in intensity on the palate for a prolonged period. These peppers have a floral scent and semi-thick, crisp, light brown flesh encasing a central cavity filled with large membranes and a few round, flat, cream-colored seeds.
Bhut Jolokia Chocolate vs. regular ghost pepper
While Chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers are a type of ghost pepper, they are a unique variant. The color is the most obvious difference, maturing into a deep brown rather than the common red of the ghost pepper. Researchers have yet to discover a genetic explanation for the brown color variation of this pepper (Sarpras et. al., 2016) .
This pepper also has a distinct flavor profile that is subtly sweet and smoky, and its heat level is generally considered to be slightly milder than a regular ghost pepper (which ranges from 855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU).
How to use chocolate ghost peppers
The naturally sweet and smokiness of the chocolate Bhut Jolokia pepper makes it a unique choice for hot sauces, chilis, curries, and other dishes that complement the flavor profile. They can also be dried and ground into a spice or infused into a smoky and hot sea salt.
Due to the intensity of their spice, chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers should be used with extreme caution. They are not appropriate for those who have lower spice tolerances and should be used in extreme moderation until you are comfortable and confident with the heat. Gloves and goggles are recommended when handling or slicing the pepper, and you may want to process them outdoors if possible.
Fresh peppers last for up to 2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator, or they can be processed and dried.
Where to find these peppers
Bhut Jolokia Chocolate Peppers are primarily grown in the northeastern panhandle of India, and are difficult to find in the United States. You can check with local specialty pepper growers or find the seeds online from reputable companies like Pepper Joe.
If you have the rare pleasure of trying chocolate Bhut Jolokia peppers, you are in for a treat!