Well, we’re rounding the corner of winter weather. Spring is coming soon.
That means chili season is heating up and with the 31st annual St. George Island, Florida Chili cook-off set for Saturday, March 2, pepper heads everywhere are uniting for chili and the fixins’.
Is it just me or does it seem that lately there is a new “Hottest Pepper in the World” every year?
Time was, the iconic Habanero Pepper was the hottest pod out there for years. It has always had a maximum heat level of 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The Scoville rating scale is the standard measurement of the spicy heat in chili peppers. Scoville Heat Units indicate the amount of capsaicin present in a chili pepper. This chemical is what burns the tongue and clears the sinus cavities while bring tears to your eyes and grown men to their knees. It’s all very scientific and the Scoville scale has been around since 1912.
Then the Guinness Book of World Records had to get in on the act and all hell broke loose. In 2007, Guinness designated the Naga Bhut Jolokia, also known as the Ghost Pepper, as the hottest pepper in the world. Native to the Assam region of India, the Bhut Jolokia hit the scales at 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.
A few years later, a new pepper was discovered, and the Trinidad Scorpion was the declared the baddest of the bad, coming in at 1,450,000 Scoville Heat Units. One tiny bite, a couple of quarts of milk and a six-pack of Bud Lite Lime later and your mouth is still on fire.
But this year there is a new kid in town.
The HP22B after eight years of cultivation has come out with a rating of 1,470,00SHU. The grower describes it as having a fruity, sweet-hot aroma with undertones of chocolate and cherry. This is not Napa Valley wine; it’s just a pepper that is going to burn the crap out of the inside of your mouth. They have given it the name the Carolina Reaper and I beg you, if you come across this little red pepper, wear a set of welder’s gloves when handling it and use it sparingly.
So let’s substitute this fiery gem in our world famous chili powder. Use the pepper dried.
World’s Hottest Chili Powder w/ chocolate, cherry undertones
3 Ancho Peppers, Stemmed
3 Cascabel Peppers, Stemmed
1 Tsp. Carolina Reaper Chili, Dried
2 Tbs. Cumin
2 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1 Tbs. Mixed Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tsp. Allspice
Dash of Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
Throw all the ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until it becomes a fine powder.