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  • Jake Gabbard: Freshly ground horseradish root.

  • Plump black tiger shrimp.

  • Refreshing tomato sauce.

  • All combined to make -

  • [coughing]

  • Spiciest shrimp cocktail in America.

  • [rock music]

  • Shoot!

  • Today, I'm in my home state of Indiana

  • to try the legendary shrimp cocktail

  • from St. Elmo Steak House up in Indianapolis.

  • Food writer Alison Stein Wellner

  • actually wrote in an article

  • that the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo Steak House

  • is the spiciest dish in the world.

  • According to her, it beat out currywurst in Germany,

  • spiced sardines and chicken curry in India,

  • and red chilies in Honduras.

  • So she really does mean the spiciest in the world.

  • It has been featured on shows like "Man v. Food"

  • and even "Parks and Recreation."

  • Ron: Gentlemen, welcome to the steakhouse of St. Elmo!

  • [men cheering]

  • Tonight, we eat something's flesh!

  • Jake: So I'm here in my home state of Indiana

  • to answer the ultimate question:

  • Is this spicy dish really worth the drive?

  • [rock music]

  • To find out a little about

  • what goes into this shrimp cocktail,

  • here's St. Elmo Steak House owner Craig Huse.

  • Craig: Yeah, that St. Elmo shrimp cocktail.

  • It starts with

  • just four black tiger shrimp in the bowl.

  • It's a iced bowl.

  • Those shrimp are sweet.

  • They have a nice salty bite to them.

  • They're really crisp on the bite.

  • And then on top of that shrimp cocktail

  • is just a big ladle of our famous cocktail sauce.

  • [dynamic music]

  • We're not gonna divulge all the secrets to the sauce.

  • It's loaded with tons of horseradish in there.

  • So those are large pieces of the root,

  • and we grind them fresh every day.

  • There's a tomato element to it.

  • There's vinegar element to it.

  • There's quite a few ingredients.

  • Jake: A 51-mile drive to Indianapolis

  • might take a second, so I thought I'd call

  • my favorite athlete in the entire world.

  • Hey, Siri, call Joey "Jaws" Chestnut.

  • [phone ringing]

  • Now, Joey holds the world record

  • for the most Nathan's hot dogs eaten,

  • and luckily enough for us,

  • he also holds the world record

  • for most St. Elmo shrimp cocktails eaten.

  • Joey, you hold the world record

  • for most St. Elmo shrimp cocktails eaten.

  • How many did you eat?

  • Joey: Oh, my God. I think my record's, like,

  • 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

  • It's up there.

  • It's a huge record.

  • Jake: And how on earth did you eat that in eight minutes?

  • Joey: I'd take the shrimp,

  • and I knew it was gonna hurt.

  • The sauce was, all the shrimp were covered in sauce.

  • And I'd just eat, eat, eat,

  • drink a little water, get it down.

  • The one good thing about that contest

  • is the contest takes place in December in Indianapolis.

  • So it's pretty cold outside.

  • So my hands were numb; my face was numb.

  • So all of my feelings were a little bit deadened already

  • and numb from the cold.

  • But it was still burning.

  • Jake: OK, now I have a real question.

  • And you can be as honest as you want.

  • I'm driving around claiming that this is

  • the spiciest shrimp cocktail in America.

  • Is it actually?

  • Joey: Oh, yeah.

  • This shrimp cocktail is definitely the spiciest.

  • But when I say spicy, it's,

  • the horseradish spice isn't like a pepper.

  • And the peppers, they stay with you,

  • and they upset your stomach.

  • The reason why I could do, like, 19 pounds of this

  • is because it goes away.

  • It's just this really intense heat,

  • but it goes away.

  • Jake: Do you have any advice or tips for me

  • before I go try this thing?

  • Joey: Oh, my God, don't panic!

  • Your first reaction is gonna be to panic.

  • The people who panic,

  • I think they don't get to enjoy it as much.

  • So just breathe, and it's gonna be hard.

  • Jake: All right. I feel good now. I feel prepared.

  • I'm nervous.

  • Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

  • Joey: Awesome. Great talking to you.

  • Jake: Talk to you later. Buh-bye.

  • [phone chimes]

  • Being told not to panic minutes before

  • I'm supposed to eat this food is terrifying.

  • And, honestly, it's giving me a lot of panic.

  • Before we get to the steakhouse,

  • I wanted to take a second to hype up Indy.

  • It doesn't get nearly enough respect,

  • and there's a lot you can do in just a day.

  • So I went down to Monument Circle

  • and downtown to take in the sights.

  • And then I went over to the Motor Speedway,

  • where the Indy 500 happens.

  • And, finally, it wouldn't be a trip to Indiana

  • if I didn't swing by a cornfield.

  • OK, so here's a bit of a tip for you.

  • The shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo Steak House

  • is only offered for sit-down dining,

  • but if you go right next door to their sister restaurant,

  • Harry & Izzy's, you can get it for takeout.

  • And that's what I'm gonna do.

  • The Canal Walk in Indianapolis is a 3-mile loop

  • that serves as a hub for Indy's vibrant community

  • to go paddleboating, running,

  • or even just experience the outdoors.

  • And it's gonna be the perfect place

  • for me to have this shrimp cocktail.

  • [funky music]

  • This is a beautiful view of Indianapolis.

  • Well, you have a view of the entire skyline.

  • But the real reason I'm here is to try

  • the spiciest shrimp cocktail in America.

  • [coughs]

  • Here we go. Look at that.

  • First, I'm just gonna try it.

  • I'm just gonna have a little taste.

  • All right, just a little bite.

  • [relaxed music]

  • [coughing]

  • That was a little bite.

  • That's good stuff.

  • That is super, super good.

  • Here's what I'm tasting with that shrimp cocktail.

  • I'm getting, like, electrocuted in the brain.

  • [sniffs]

  • And, like, my brain kinda goes numb.

  • Like, you know those moments in your life

  • where you just completely stop functioning?

  • Every single bite of this,

  • your body kinda stops functioning for a second.

  • And I'm taking little bites.

  • I'm not even loading it up.

  • I think what surprises you is that

  • it's, like, not even a second.

  • As soon as it enters your mouth,

  • before it even hits your tongue,

  • you're already just getting, like, overloaded.

  • God, it's so good.

  • You know what's weird?

  • Normally with the shrimp cocktail sauce,

  • it's very tomatoey.

  • With this, it's really light.

  • Like, you get the tomato, it's there,

  • but it's not, like, in your face.

  • It's very, like, lemony, citrus, light.

  • But flavor-wise, it's really well balanced

  • and kind of refreshing, honestly.

  • I think it tastes great.

  • Try it. Give it a try.

  • Victoria: Oh.

  • [coughs]

  • You were being a little dramatic.

  • Jake: OK, if this truly is

  • the spiciest shrimp cocktail in America,

  • there's only one way to test it.

  • And that is to go way extra