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Chiliheads Of The World… Ignite!

June 7, 2012

I love hot peppers. I’ve grown them, dried them, ground them, made salsa with them, and I look for every opportunity to use them in my food. My favorite food genres are Mexican and Chinese. If my head isn’t sweating and my nose isn’t running when I leave the restaurant, the food wasn’t hot enough.

Friends like to give me hot pepper sauces as gifts. There are thousands of fiery concoctions on the market and I must admit that most of them are too hot even for me. The people who create these sauces try to make them as hot as possible. They also choose names for their sauces that humorously indicate the heat level. There are tamer names like Acid Rain, Swamp Scum, Road Kill, Facepuller, Lethal Ingestion, Rug Burn or Tears of Joy.

Other names seem to fall into five categories. There are the ones that point out how it feels going in like the “Fire” category: Earth’s Core, Liquid Lava, Dragon Fire, Torchbearer, Spontaneous Combustion, Blaze and Ignite; and the “Hell” category: Satan’s Rage, Stairway to Hell, Devil’s Blood, Devil Juice, and Death’s Swill.

There’s the “Mass Destruction” category: Liquid Napalm, Agent Orange, and Da’ Bomb – Ground Zero; and the category that describes how it feels coming out the next day: Chapped Ass, Bayou Butt Burner, Sir Fartalot, Colon Blow, Hemorrhoid Helper, Ass Blaster, Red Rectum, Holy Shit Habanero Sauce, Fiery Fart, Whoop Ass, Kiss Your Ass Goodbye and Ass In Space.

Finally, there are sauces named for a heat level so high that you may need to go to the emergency room: Dead Zone, Brain Damage, Liquid Stoopid, Mega Death, FleshFeast and, of course, The Hottest Fuckin’ Sauce.

The heat level is determined by the amount of capsaicin contained in the particular peppers used and where those peppers fall on the Scoville Heat Index Scale (shown above). A green bell pepper has no capsaicin and therefore is rated zero Scoville units. At the top of the scale is pure capsaicin with a rating of 15,000,000 units. Pepper spray is rated 2,000,000 to 5,300,000 units.  The hottest pepper I’ve grown was the Habanero with a rating of 200,000 to 350,000 Scoville units. That is one hot pepper!!! Anything hotter than that is only for those with suicidal tendencies. The hottest sauce I’ve had was Da’ Bomb – Ground Zero which carries the appropriate warning: “Wicked Beyond Belief”, and weighs in at 234,000 units.

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