THE spiciest buffalo wings in the Clarence Valley have been consumed and the gauntlet has been thrown down to anyone who can beat their new record time.

Daily Examiner journalists Matthew Elkerton and Bill North were sweating before they even saw the chicken in the Austin & Co Waterside Dining Hot Wing Challenge yesterday, and for good reason.

Owner and chef Nathan Earp has crafted a delicious but deadly combination - sous vide and fried crispy buffalo wings coated in a dried scorpion chilli sauce, smothered with housemade birds-eye chilli vinegar and finished with tomato smoked paprika and dried ghost chillies.

"I just wanted to do something a little bit different because we had changed menu to an American style and fit in with that theme," he said.

"I thought it'd be fun."

Until yesterday only two people had taken it on, and one - former DEX journalist Terry Deefholts - had succeeded.

As our journalists each sat down to a pair of gloves and a waiver which had to be signed before they attempted the challenge, Nathan advised the pair they would have 15 minutes to dispose of five, and then to sit through another 15 minutes of "burn-off" time to let the effects really sink in before dairy relief was administered.

The risk was great, but the reward was greater, and Matthew was the first to clear his plate in a record time of two and a half minutes.

"My strategy was just to go for broke and not think about anything," he said.

"It feels like hell on Earth. It feels terrible."

Bill took a more measured approach, spooning up the last of his chilli sauce with under five minutes to spare.

"Matt scoffed it down but I didn't want it hitting all at once so I paced myself. It was harder while you weren't eating than while you were," he said.

"I think I'm going a bit deaf."

Finishing the challenge has earnt them an Austin and Co shirt and the honour of having their faces on the restaurant's wall of flame.

"They did very well, quite surprisingly I thought because they both looked like they were about to keel over at a few stages there," Nathan said.



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