Feeling Hot Hot Hot (in your mouth)

So you think you’re pretty bold when ordering extra jalapeño peppers for your nachos? Everybody gives an awed look when you put tabasco on eggs? Do you order a spice level 8 at your favorite Thai place, while other wimps stick to a 3 or 4?

Big freakin’ deal. You haven’t tasted hot until the peppers listed below have passed your lips. These babies break the heat meter (or Scoville scale, to be more precise), so be ready with a glass of milk to dull the sizzle and a hanky for your tears.

Bell peppers. Boooooring.

Bell Pepper – measures a big fat zero on the Scoville heat unit (SHU) scale. So far so good, right?

Jalapeño Pepper – The kind you probably eat measure around 4,000 SHU scale. That sounds like a lot, huh. Well you’ll be cleaning your teeth with 4,000 after this list is done with you.

Serrano Pepper – 10,000-20,000 SHU. Okay, we’re getting there. The Serrano pepper is used commonly in pico de gallo and other Mexican dishes, as the fleshiness of the pepper makes it more ideal.

Tabasco peppers. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Tabasco Pepper – Named for the Mexican state, Tabasco peppers fall between 30,000-50,000 SHU. Judging by the number you might think these little juicy peppers are near the top. Not even close.

Habanero Pepper – Now we’re talking. These little devils, produced mostly in the Yucatan Peninsula, can fall between 100,000 and 350,000 Scovilles. The 1999 Guiness Book of World Records listed these peppers as hottest on record. However, the king has been dethroned by several others.

Bhut Jolokia. Can someone get me a glass of water?

Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) – 1,000,000 SHU. That’s right. One million. This pepper, of Indian origin, will slap you in the face in front of your friends. It will report you to the IRS. It will make you cry like The Notebook. It’s evil.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper – Clocking in at over 2,000,000 SHU, this pepper is the current runner up to the title. With a bite that starts deceptively manageable, this shriveled red death pepper builds its heat like a freight train and never stops. It’s basically the terminator of peppers.

Carolina Reaper. As spicy as it is ugly.

Carolina Reaper – Bred in a South Carolina greenhouse, this pepper is the current world champ, clocking in at 2.2 million SHU. If you eat this pepper you’ll never have to prove your toughness in any way again, and your friends will certainly congratulate your pepper-eating success. At your funeral.

Have you tried any of these yet? Have you lived to tell the tale? If so, share that time about that reeeeaaally spicy pepper you tried once down below in the comments section.


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