Recipes Articles Hot Sauce About Spiciest in Columbus Contact Us

Spiciest Dish in Columbus – Hot Chicken Takeover – Heat Seeker’s Edition

Behold! The Heretic Level (or Unholiest) chicken that’s ever been made by Hot Chicken Takeover…

We’ve been eating Hot Chicken Takeover since they moved into North Market and love the full spread. From Ma’s Mac and their slaw to the banana pudding, When we found out about the Heat Seeker’s Club, we were intrigued and hoped we could dub it the spiciest dish in Columbus.

Note: This is coming back for September 21 – 27, 2020 with a new spice mix including ghost peppers! We’ll link to our post after we try it out. 

The Heat Seeker’s Club is a new event from Hot Chicken Takeover that popped onto our radar after a co-worker sent it along suggesting that we ought to go. I was skeptical at first. We’d had the Unholy (aka Extra Holy) which is the off-menu spiciest version they make on a day-to-day basis and enjoyed that quite a bit. We took to Instagram to find out how hot this would actually be.

“It’s a lot hotter than our extra holy!! Hope you’re ready!” ‘A lot’ is one of those phrases that gets tossed around when someone is unsure about how hot it really is, but we love the flavor of Hot Chicken Takeover and the fixings as well, so we were in regardless.

Hot Chicken Takeover Banana PuddingIt was a fun setup when we got there. The patio was closed off for Heat Seeker’s and all Heat Seeker’s got a name take for nose-running networking. First thing to do was check in. The lady of the farm peaced out to get some regular chicken and left me at the registration table. They ran through what made this chicken their hottest ever, something to the effect of it’s four times hotter than Holy, dredged multiple times in the hotness and then punched up again with a paste. I filled out a waiver and requested my meal with no milk. I was assured I’d be wanting milk, but I continued to reject it. “There will be more inside just in case.” The ticket also granted me some banana pudding, a reward for getting through the whole sandwich.

I appreciated the dedication to catering to folks who may not be as tenured in the spicy ways as myself and the waiver is a good way to cover themselves regardless of how spicy the chicken actually was (sometimes weird things happen). Once I was signed in and had a name tag, I wandered inside, snagged my food with three tubs of ranch and a glass of water. Once at the table with the lady of the farm, it was time to see what this “Unholiest” or “Heretic Level” chicken could do.

Hot Chicken Takeover Heat Seekers Club Box

Their sandwich always comes with two slices of white bread per side (classic hot chicken style) and this particular sandwich was then topped with their coleslaw and several pickles. If you look close enough in that picture you can see the spicy oil oozing out a bit.

The first bite was a bit of a shocker. My brain tried to process how much heat I was actually getting and where it was coming from. This was very different than a Reaper or ghost pepper heat, because it was so dense. Remember the cinnamon challenge? Trying to eat a spoonful of cinnamon powder? This was almost the spicy equivalent of that. It was packed with so much cayenne powder coated on the chicken, you had to watch how you inhaled. Several times I got a wave of the cayenne up into my nose, which caused some sniffling.

With the amount of oil and how fried the chicken was, I opted out of drinking any of my water while I ate the sandwich. In our experience we’ve found the oilier the hot sauce, the more likely it is to get even hotter once you get some water into your mouth. I got into a steady rhythm and with the coleslaw and pickles cheering me on (potentially a hallucination).

Ron Fartley eating Hot Chicken TakeoverHere’s me with the last bite. My face says unimpressed, but really it’s more of a “they kept the flavor, definitely bumped up the heat, but they could go hotter” look. The chicken was still delicious and now that the heat part of the meal was out of the way I loaded up Ma’s Mac with ranch, had some water and reflected. Hot Chicken Takeover is by far the best hot chicken place in Columbus, but is the Unholiest the spiciest dish in Columbus? Putting the delicious sides out of my mind (including some banana pudding that came with my ticket), I would say it’s up there, but until they use a different pepper powder, it is not the spiciest. My lips tingled for a good 10 minutes after, but in the moment and after much thought, the Unholiest sits at #3 on our spiciest dish in Columbus (at the time of writing), behind Atlas Tavern and their Reaper sauced wings and Fukuryu Ramen and their Red Dragon Level 4 Ramen.

I spoke briefly with the organizers after finishing up and they mentioned that they will most likely be doing this once a quarter. I asked about kicking it up a bit with some other powders and they seemed open to it? But it could also have been a “we’ll probably still do it the same way next time.” Regardless, Fartley Farms would love to provide some batches of powders in the future to help kick things up a notch. For this event they sold out the tickets that were being sold (we heard it was 50) and seemed to have a good turnout. I even overheard a few people coming up just to see what all the hubbub was about.

If you’ve never been to Hot Chicken Takeover, we highly recommend it. With locations in North Market, Clintonville, Easton and I believe soon to be in Cleveland, they offer 5 spice levels, Cold, Warm, Hot, Holy and Unholy (or extra Holy). This Unholiest sticks with you for a bit and definitely makes your nose run, but it couldn’t snatch the top spot.

 

 

More From Our Quest To Find The Spiciest Dish

Want the latest? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter now!