Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Which is the Hottest Pepper: Ghost, Bhut or Naga Jolokia?"

I get asked that question often, by folks who have seen or heard news reports about the Ghost Pepper being the hottest hot pepper, or the Naga Jolokia or Bhut Jolokia. Actually, the commonly-accepted answer is very simple: They all are! The names "bhut jolokia," "naga jolokia" and "ghost pepper" all refer to the same chili pepper from India, which has been rated as the hottest hot pepper on the planet (although apparently there are some recent challenges, as you'll read below). The American name for this pepper is Ghost Pepper, while the two most common names used in India for this incendiary chili are Bhut Jolokia and Naga Jolokia. The ghost pepper is red or orange when ripe, and looks somewhat like an elongated habanero pepper that has had its end pulled into a pointy taper.

Many tests have rated the Ghost Pepper at over a million Scoville units (SU's), and it is still considered by many to be the hottest hot pepper. More recently, however, this claim has been challenged by the Infinity Chili grown in England (which one test rated at just a few more SU's than the Ghost Pepper), the Dorset Viper pepper (which once tested at over 1,500,000 SU's), and the Naga Viper pepper (rated at over 1,300,000 Scoville units in several tests). Apparently these tests are very controversial in the chili pepper community, and a clear scientific consensus is lacking although the popular consensus seems to support the Naga Jolokia (aka Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper) as the reigning hottest hot pepper.

If you're interested in trying a hot sauce made with the Ghost Pepper, here are a few to consider:

Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce, from the makers of Dave's Insanity Sauce, features the Naga Jolokia as the main ingredient and also includes a healthy dose of pepper extract, all in a garlic-vegetable oil base that will ensure an unrelenting, long-lingering burn in your mouth. This one is not for the faint of heart!

Dave's Insanity Private Reserve Hot Sauce is a limited-production, collector's edition hot sauce released each year by Dave's Gourmet and formulated to be their hottest hot sauce. In recent years, this sauce has gotten its intense heat from the Bhut Jolokia (aka Naga Jolokia or ghost pepper). Each bottle is numbered and hand-signed by Dave himself, and comes in a wooden coffin wrapped with yellow "caution" tape.

If you're looking for a natural ghost pepper hot sauce that's not spiked with extract and is actually edible (while still being insanely hot), choose Melinda's Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce. Melinda's begins with their traditional all-natural Caribbean hot sauce base, adds a bunch of Naga Jolokia peppers (that's the main ingredient), and then blends in a little onion and tropical fruit to balance out the fiery heat with pleasant flavor (assuming you can tolerate the burn, that is!). Like other Melinda's Hot Sauces, Melinda's Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce is Kosher certified.

At this time I'm not aware of any commercially available hot sauces made with the Naga Viper, Dorset Viper or Infinity Chili, but if we add any to our online store you'll read about it here first!

Zestfully yours,

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