Holy Jolokia

The Bhut Jolokia

The bhut jolokia is the hottest pepper in the world, coming in at an astounding 1,075,000 SHU. It is literally more than 134 times hotter than the hottest jalapeno peppers!!!  This pepper is only grown in a handful of places worldwide so it is relatively unknown to the general populace.  My family and I only found out about it because we are big fans of Man Vs. Food.  That guy can eat anything and I am constantly surprised by the things he is willing to subject his stomach to.  However, I really think the episode involving ghost chillies (the bhut jolokia) pretty much wins for the worst food he has ever eaten.

It was terrible.  He was sweating and pounding his fists on the table.  They even made him wear gloves to eat that burger to avoid getting pepper burns on his hands! It was like he was eating fire itself.  Yet somehow, it was also strangely intriguing…

I think it is because my father has always been a huge fan of spicy foods.  He is the kind of guy who can dump four tablespoons of cayenne on his pasta and still say it isn’t hot enough.  I found myself wondering if he would be able to stand the heat of the bhut jolokia.  So, for Christmas last year I ordered him a little sampler pack.  It had bhut jolokia sauce, bhut jolokia powder, and–of course–whole, dried bhut jolokia peppers.  He tried them and loved them.

I was a bit disappointed by this to be honest.  While he has admitted that they are hot, he was not put off by that at all.  I had thought I had finally found his match.  Over time, I started to think that maybe–just maybe–those peppers weren’t so hot after all.  I mean, they didn’t even seem to affect him at all beyond his admission of their heat.

Then, on Thursday, this strange and terrible compulsion came over me.  I started to think that maybe I should eat one of them too.  They couldn’t be that bad; TV is full of lies after all.  My brother started baiting our father, telling him that he would eat a whole bhut jolokia for $20.00.  My dad offered $10.00.  Somehow, my brain decided that this meant I should eat one too…

Thus, we came to have a showdown with the hottest peppers in the world on a dare and a whim…

Little Red...

Jonny selected the smallest pepper that he could find.  I wasn’t sure about his logic–that sucker was red!! However, he insisted that it would be the one he took on.  As he tore off the stem, he cried out in agony–pepper juice had gotten into a cut on his finger.  He said it was the worst thing that he had ever felt.  Yet, for some reason, he still stuck that evil little pepper into his mouth.  He bit down once and immediately began cussing and screaming from the heat.  He made the mistake of swallowing it without chewing the rest.  By the time he was finished, his face was bleach-white and he was sweating and shaking like he had a fever of dangerous intensity.  He adamantly insisted that it was the worst thing that he had ever tasted.

Looks like he saw a ghost....or maybe just a ghost chilli!!

Why then did I still insist on eating one too?  What in the world in wrong with me?!

*Cue the crazy Western fight-scene music now please*

I chose a longer, blacker pepper as my opponent.  I reasoned that the less red a pepper is, the less hot it must be as well.  I also had a blonde moment in thinking that perhaps the heat would be more evenly spread due to the pepper’s length and that this would somehow lessen the effects.  As I went to put the pepper in my mouth, I nearly chickened out.

The smell alone was enough to make my lungs ache. Plus, I looked up just in time to see Jonny still swiping at tears in his eyes.  This was clearly a very potent pepper indeed.  It was too late though.  So I tossed it in my mouth and began to chew…

At first, nothing happened.  It actually had a very pleasant flavor.  It reminded me of a particularly smokey BBQ sauce.  It was very rich and very earthy.  I began to think Jonny must just be a wuss…

And then the flavor finally hit me.

It was unlike anything that I have ever experienced.  It defies all explanation and description except to say that it was like a revolt was being waged in my mouth.  The heat was beyond terrible.  Jonny jokingly said that his body would be cooler if he climbed into the oven and set it to bake.  I am wholly inclined to agree with him…

It caused my mind to shut down completely.  It reduced me to a single-minded determination to find water.  The rest of the world ceased to exist for me.  Nothing else mattered…there was only water.

I literally drank seven 32 ounce glasses of water. I had to have water in my mouth constantly or the heat was unbearable.  I couldn’t stay in one spot either, I took to pacing to try to distract myself from the inferno raging in my mouth and throat.  Nothing seemed to be working.  Then my father suggested I eat a slice of cheese.

I don’t think I will ever be able to look at cheddar the same way again.  It seemed to draw the heat out of my taste buds and transfer it into the cheese.  The cheese mutated into some bizarre and completely unappetizing form of pepper jack–only hotter than any I had ever tasted before.

It worked though…sort of anyway…

The heat remained, but it became tolerable after nearly ten minutes of agony.  I do not know how the Man Vs. Food guy could possibly have sat for five minutes after eating it without gulping down milk.  That just astonishes me because my body took control.  I don’t understand how he possibly could have controlled himself.

Seriously, that pepper is HOT!!!

And the heat doesn’t go away either.  The pain went away about forty minutes after consumption, but the side effects lasted much longer.  I had the shakes for nearly two hours after.  It was to the point where walking outside into the hundred degree weather felt good.  I couldn’t keep my body temperature up because that pepper had been so hot.  Then I had the strangest sensation that the pepper was just sitting at the top of my stomach, barred entry because my stomach knew how horrible it would be.  It was not at all pleasant.  Finally, i had heartburn for many hours afterward.  I even woke up with a mild case of it on Friday morning!

The Agony of Victory...

And the worst part is that my father slept through us actually eating the peppers.  We couldn’t wake him up and it made me feel guilty.  So now, I am going to go a second round with the hottest peppers in the world tomorrow morning…

Again, what in the world is wrong with me?!

Still Recovering,

The Butcher of the Bard

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6 Responses to Holy Jolokia

  1. toadette16 says:

    You are crazy to eat it again just so your father can see. It gave you shakes and heartburn and you’re doing it again?!?! Insanity girlie, insanity.

  2. Victoria Garson says:

    OMG!!! now I understand your post…didn’t see this and still don’t know how to subscribe. you’re insane jennifer i will not do it. the man sauce was hot enough im not going to try these things…plus amelia wouldn’t like that.

    • Yeah I imagine it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience for her. Someday when she’s thirty her therapist would ask, “What’s your earliest memory?”
      Her response: “The day my mama tried to kill me by inserting ghost chillies in my breast milk…”

  3. NateIsAGirl'sName says:

    oh gosh!! I can’t handle too-spicy foods, so I would probably give up the ghost if I ate one. Kudos to you on your experience! We only live once…


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