No matter what you do, someone will trump you, including breeding the world’s hottest pepper. Sounds like the guy who bred the previous record holder, Carolina Reaper, got dethroned. However, as luck would have it, Smokin’ Ed Currie bred them both; the Reaper and Pepper X.
Is it even possible to beat Pepper X for being the hottest pepper in the world? I can’t imagine why anyone would want to! It’s 3 times hotter than any pepper commercially grown for the food market. And having a Scoville rating at over 3.18 million units makes it 2 times hotter than the Carolina Reaper. But Ed never set out to breed ONE hotter than hell pepper. His goal is more of a journey, breeding an entire HP series, and his PuckerButt Pepper Company has been working on that for something like 18 years.
So, it’s no surprise to him that he’s submitted Pepper X to the folks at Guinness World Records in September. He’s been working at unseating the Carolina Reaper (HP22B) from the world’s hottest pepper status all along. It was just the first one presented to the public. Chiliheads responded to its flaming flavour profile by catapulting it to global stardom.
But technically, the Reaper was already unseated twice as the world’s hottest pepper.
First, Ed announced the release of the HP56 Death Strain pepper in 2015, which boasted a Scoville heat index of 2.9 million units. Not sure what happened with that one, as nothing came of it. But there’s a lot more to making chiliheads go mad for a pepper than heat, so maybe it just didn’t perform as well as expected in a finished product.
Then in May 2017, a new pepper called Dragon’s Breath with a Reaper-beating 2.4 million Scovilles materialized in the UK. The Daily Post reported the pepper was created for medical use as an alternative anesthetic. But the next day, The BBC said the plant breeder was awaiting Guinness hottest pepper record confirmation.
While Neil Price in the UK awaited the coveted Guinness document, Smokin’ Ed pulled Pepper X out of his hat. He sent its lab work (several years worth) off to Guinness sometime in September. And since Pepper X totally outdoes Dragon’s Breath in heat, Ed’s pretty confident that he will receive world’s hottest pepper confirmation from Guinness next spring.
The chilihead world is surprisingly dog-eat-dog. So much so, that a few weeks after news of Ed’s new Guinness submission blasted through heat-loving media channels, the PuckerButt Pepper Company was robbed. Though the locations of Ed’s growing fields are as guarded as a national secret, someone got wind of where Pepper X was in production. They stole whole plants out of the field.
Any suspects? A competitor, of course. And it’s the only way anyone else could lay their hands on some Pepper X. They’re having a hard enough time filling orders for The Last Dab pepper sauce made from PuckerButt’s harvests, let alone supplying competitors. But with a bottle selling for $50 on eBay, it’s easy to see how tempting securing a repeating source would be. It’s way too early in the game for seed availability.
But selling a finished product as containing Pepper X would be akin to tying your own hangman’s noose. No, it makes more sense that they want the plants in a quest for record-breaking breeding stock. And why would anyone steal Carolina Reaper plants when getting seed isn’t hard? But the local paper seems confused, while the police report states “prize, world record peppers” and says nothing to identify the actual plants taken. My guess is the reporter knows nothing about plant breeding, chili pepper espionage, or Pepper X.
So, while chiliheads everywhere await Guinness’ official conclusion, I thought you’d find Smokin’ Ed Currie’s path to breeding the hottest pepper in the world interesting. Always into horticulture, he was already growing peppers in the late ’80s, and cannabis (long before it was legal in Michigan). Then he took up soberly growing peppers for his health in a South Carolina backyard. His awesome homemade salsa led to meeting his wife, and it was her idea that he should turn those tasty creations into a business.
Why hot peppers? He discovered that if anything would protect him from cancer, it was making the hottest peppers a part of his daily diet. Ed Currie has a lot more than a couple of hybrids capable of contending for the coveted title of the world’s hottest pepper creator. He’s been breeding for high capsaicin and flavour for over 16 years, and his cache of unique hybrids totaled 426 in 2015, according to the Los Angeles Times. And some of his peppers get used in cancer research, showing promise in treating four common types of the disease.
Select shops sell all natural PuckerButt Pepper products from Fort Mills, SC to Toronto, Ontario, and ship internationally online. It’s more than just hot sauces, Ed makes smokin’ hot nuts, mustards, jellies, chocolates, and brownies too. They’re all super spicy, but don’t all contain the world’s hottest pepper. Most feature a signature blend of fiery fruits.
Supposedly, Pepper X is a temporary name. Why change perfection? Just tack on the official HP serial number and leave it’s smokin’ hot notoriety intact.
- It Won’t Kill You
- Pre-order The Last Dab (made from Pepper X)
- LA Times
- Pepper Seed Interview
- Homemade Hot Sauce recipe