Guilty Pleasures

We Survived Taco Bell's Dare Devil Challenge (and Didn't Even Get a Free Shirt)

The Guilty Pleasure: Dare Devil Loaded Grillers
Where to Get It: Taco Bell
Price: $1 each
What it Really Costs: Stomach lining, intestinal distress, and a good amount of self-esteem.

Every month, it seems Taco Bell wants to go one of two ways with our taste buds: weird or spicy.

This month, it obviously decided to go with the latter, releasing not one, not two, but three new hot variations of its Grillers, each more fiery than the last.

The way Taco Bell promotes the Grillers makes it seem like a Mortal Kombat “Test Your Might” tower, to which eventually you’ll reach a level where you just can’t press buttons fast enough to win. Except in this case, your taste buds (and digestive tract) just can’t handle anymore heat.

Let’s start from the mildest and go up, shall we?

The mild “Chipotle” variation of the Dare Devil Loaded Grillers tastes exactly like most other items on Taco Bell’s menu. There’s a little kick to it, but not really enough to notice. The ground beef and cheese sauce are obviously the exact same ingredients you’d find in anything else, and the red tortilla strips really just add a little color, but not much notable taste. As with most entry-level tests, if you think this is hot, you’re probably better off stopping here (and not touching real spicy food).

After a couple of bites of the medium “Habanero” Griller, we noticed that it was pretty much on par with anything else Taco Bell bills as “spicy.” It’s the same basic ingredients as the first version, but with the “hot Taco Bell” taste instead of the “mild Taco Bell” taste. By the time we finished, we were definitely feeling a little burn on our taste buds. We did pause for a moment to consider how much spicier the last one could really be.

Once we’d made our way through the first tortilla-heavy bite or two of the spicy “Ghost Pepper” Griller, there was definitely a new level of spice present. The flavors (and ingredients) were all the same, but taken up a notch in fieriness. It wasn’t the hiccup-inducing, sweat-dripping, set-your-mouth-and-fingers-on-fire kind of hot (and it was certainly no Guatemalan Insanity Pepper), but it was definitely spicier than we’d expected. On Taco Bell standards, the spice factor on the hottest variety had to be a 10, because while it’s not the type of uncomfortable hotness that provides a real challenge to eat, it definitely burns enough. For that matter, it’s one of the hottest fast food items we’ve ever tried, and if it came in a bigger burrito form with the fiery sauce throughout, we might need a minute in the middle of it.

Ultimately, the #DareDevilChallenge (as Taco Bell is calling it) didn’t prove to be all that challenging, but it did open our eyes up to how spicy the fast food giant is willing to make something that can still appeal to the public.

If you’re into spicy foods, it won’t overwhelm you, but once you get over the guilt of having to order “one of each” at the drive-through window, the Dare Devil Loaded Grillers are actually a pretty pleasant experience. Now shouldn’t we get a T-shirt or something for finishing all three in under 10 minutes?

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Josh Chesler
Contact: Josh Chesler