Tips and techniques

Pepper X: Guinness World Records announces world’s hottest chilli

And chilli lovers can try it in Australia as a hot sauce.
Different chillies on plates

It’s official. The Guinness World Records has awarded Pepper X the title of hottest chilli in the world.

The fiery pepper was crowned the world’s hottest recently, after testing by Winthrop University in South Carolina rated it as having an average of 2.69 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU).  This scale measures the concentration of capsaicinoids, the chemical in chillies that produces the sensation of heat when eaten. The previous recipient of the title, the Carolina Reaper chilli, was rated as having an average of 1.64 million units.

By comparison, a jalapeno measures 5,000 SHU on average and the habanero ranges from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.

Both Pepper X and the Carolina Reaper chillies were cultivated by Ed Currie of PuckerButt Pepper Company in the US. He developed Pepper X over a 10 year period, telling Associated Press he cross-bred the Carolina Reaper with an unnamed chilli that was sent to him by a friend and which he described as “brutally hot”.

Although Pepper X is not available to buy (the seeds and chillies are patent protected), chilli-heads hoping to feel the heat first-hand are in luck. Currie’s company produces a range of hot sauces using Pepper X, two of which are available in Australia through Melbourne-based retailer, Blonde Chilli.

Owner of Blonde Chilli, Belle Kaye, says die hard chilli fans are drawn to the most intense hot sauces.

 “There’s no doubt that the most popular products are those made with the world’s hottest chillies,” says Kaye.

Blonde Chilli sells The Classic – Pepper X Edition and The Last Dab XXX hot sauces, both of which carry an extreme heat rating. The Last Dab was created for the popular YouTube show Hot Ones, a talk show that sees celebrities eat chicken wings coated in hot sauce while answering personal questions.

Kaye says The Classic sold out within days of the Guinness World Record announcement.

That hot chilli taste

Currie is one of only five people who have eaten an entire Pepper X. He told the Associated Press he was still feeling the heat three and a half hours later, describing the cramps that followed as “horrible” saying he was “laid out flat on a marble wall for approximately an hour in the rain, groaning in pain”.

The appeal of such an experience? It’s all in the endorphins.

“Every person processes chillies differently,” Kaye says.

“Some people get cramps, some get the sweats or a runny nose, and others get the hiccups. Some people, like myself, get an endorphin rush which is undeniably addictive. There’s nothing like a super-hot sauce to make you feel alive!”

Extreme hot sauce for beginners

If you’re curious but wary of the intensity, Kaye recommends mixing a Pepper X hot sauce with Greek yoghurt, sour cream or hummus to make a dipping sauce or marinade, adding more sauce as your tolerance increases. She describes the flavour of The Last Dab as “earthy, thick, aromatic, well spiced”.

For those keen to try the Carolina Reaper, an Australian-grown version of it is available from Coles.

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