Love (REALLY) hot peppers? Step aside, ghost peppers, a new kid is on the playground. You are in for a treat if you haven’t heard of them yet. Here is everything you need to know about this up-and-coming pepper variety that happens to be one of the hottest on the planet.
Chocolate Bhutlah sounds like a fancy chocolate cake or another fancy-schmancy dessert, right? Do not let the name lead you astray because instead of being a sugary delight, it’s a light-your-mouth-on-fire hot pepper.
This little pepper is quickly gaining attention thanks to its scorching heat and cool name. Today all of your burning questions (pun intended!) will be answered about this hot sensation. Here is everything you probably didn’t know about Chocolate Bhutlah.
What is the Chocolate Bhutlah Pepper?
The Chocolate Bhutlah (scientific name Capsicum cinense) was first grown by expert grower Chad Soleski in Wisconsin by accidentally crossing two other very hot peppers: a Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) and a 7 Pot Douglah (chocolate Douglah).
The funny name for the resulting pepper is a mashup of the names of the two peppers Soleski used to create the Bhutlah.
The first Bhutlah variety was red, but a chocolate-colored variety was developed since then. The Chocolate Bhutlah started gaining popularity when a YouTuber named Ted Barrus ate one of these mean peppers on video.
What Does a Chocolate Bhutlah Look Like?
The Chocolate Bhutlah pepper has bumpy skin and elongated Naga-type pods that are wider than Naga peppers and Ghost peppers. The peppers range from about 2.5-4 inches long and have a distinctive, glossy chocolate brown exterior.
It may not look like much from the outside, but this pepper packs a serious (and long-lasting) punch.
Current Bhutlah Varieties
In addition to the chocolate variety, there are currently 2 other types of Bhutlah peppers.
The original Bhutlah (known as Bhutlah Red OG) is red and looks much like a Naga pepper but tastes a lot like a ghost pepper. There is also a large strain of the Bhutlah original that both looks and tastes like the original Bhutlah.
Bring on the Heat: Chocolate Bhutlah Scoville Units
Now what you really want to know: just HOW hot is the Chocolate Bhutlah pepper?
The Scoville scale is a unit of measurement to indicate the relative heat of chili peppers (or anything made with chili peppers). The scale measures the amount of capsaicin – the compound that triggers human heat receptors – in pepper varieties.
To give you some context about the amount of heat this pepper with throw your way, here are a few common Scoville ratings:
- Bell peppers = 0 Scoville heat units
- Poblano peppers = 1,000-1,500 Scoville heat units
- Serrano peppers = 10,000-23,000 Scoville heat units
- Habanero peppers = 100,000-350,000 Scoville heat units
- Ghost peppers = 855,000-1,000,000 Scoville heat units
- Chocolate Bhutlah = 2,000,000 Scoville heat units
Habanero and ghost peppers are hot peppers indeed, so it may seem shocking to read that the Chocolate Bhutlah tops out at 2,000,000 Scoville heat units. Yes, you read that correctly – it’s 2 million.
Yowza – that is one scorching hot pepper!
Or, to put it another way, the ghost pepper is used as the base ingredient for military-grade pepper spray, and the Chocolate Bhutlah is twice as hot as that.
Is the Chocolate Bhutlah Hotter Than the Carolina Reaper?
At this point, no. The Carolina Reaper still edges over the Chocolate Bhutlah as the world’s hottest pepper at a sizzling 2.2 million Scoville heat units.
However, it is possible that over time this new bad boy scorcher could overtake the Carolina Reaper.
Whether that happens will depend on whether it can rate slightly higher and hold that rating as growers continue breeding them for a few more generations of peppers. Stability throughout successive pepper generations is key when it comes to making that “hottest peppers of the world” list.
What does the Chocolate Bhutlah taste like?
First and foremost, the word “chocolate” refers to the color of the pepper, not the flavor. If you bite into one of these morsels of heat, you will not be tasting chocolate!
Most chocolate varieties of peppers have a slightly smoky flavor, and the Chocolate Bhutlah is no exception. It tastes similar to its cousin, the Chocolate Ghost pepper, which is not as spicy and has a slightly earthy quality similar to the Chocolate Habanero.
Overall this pepper has a slightly sweet fruity, floral flavor with notes of smokiness and earthy nuttiness. Most peppers deliver heat that builds up as you eat it, but not the Chocolate Bhutlah. It packs a powerful punch almost right away and lingers, making it seem even hotter!
Can Eating a Chocolate Bhutlah Hurt Your Health?
With a pepper this hot, it is not surprising that some people are concerned that eating them can cause health problems.
There is good news: the capsaicin that causes your body to register “heat” triggers specific neurons in the body that are responsible for perceiving pain. The neurons tell the brain that it’s burning even though it’s not because they are not able to distinguish between the effects of hot peppers and an actual burn.
That, in turn, causes your body to respond as if you have ingested a harmful substance. You may find yourself retching them back up when you eat very hot peppers. And you will definitely trigger those same pain receptors as those peppers travel through the body and come out on the other end.
So, while the pepper is not actually burning you, it feels like it is.
That said, anyone with acid reflux, high blood pressure, or prone to ulcers should exercise caution and moderation when eating very hot peppers.
Remember, the body reacts as if it is burning, which means your blood pressure can increase, and you can experience aggravated acid reflux. Additionally, hot peppers could trigger ulcers, and the receptors in your stomach will make it feel even worse.
Where Can I Buy Chocolate Bhutlah?
Ready to take the challenge and try one? These peppers and their seeds may not be as common as some popular hot peppers, but they are becoming more available seemingly by the day.
Try your local garden center. If you can’t find them there, do an online search, and you’ll find Chocolate Bhutlah plants, dried peppers, and seeds for purchase on Amazon or online garden centers such as Tyler Farms.
Growing Chocolate Bhutlah
If you prefer to grow your peppers instead of buying them, you can find seeds at your local gardening store or through many different shops online. Here is some helpful information when it comes to growing your own hot pepper plants.
Sowing and Planting
Your pepper seeds need warm temperatures to germinate and are late-season bloomers, needing 110 days from planting to mature fruit.
Unless you live in very warm climates, sow your seeds about 40-60 days before the time you want to transplant outside. Sow seeds in your soil and keep them moist but well-draining.
In 4-6 weeks, your seeds will germinate. Transplant them outside about 2 weeks after your last frost.
Hot pepper plants need a lot of direct sunlight, but they need time to acclimate to direct sunlight. As you prepare to transplant your plants outside, slowly acclimate them to the sunlight by exposing them for brief periods and gradually increasing the length of time in the sun.
Once acclimated, try to plant them in a location that gets at least 8+ hours of sun (10+ hours is preferable) in loose, well-draining soil.
Keep the soil moist, and use a general fertilizer once the plant begins to flower. Use tomato cages or stakes to lend support if your plants get tall and start to lean to the side.
The peppers will grow green and turn brown as they mature. These peppers only develop their famous taste and heat rating once they are mature, so let them stay on the plant until they turn brown.
To harvest, use scissors or garden shears to cut them off and avoid tearing the stems and damaging the plant.
Consider wearing gloves as you harvest your Chocolate Bhutlah so that the capsaicin does not get on your skin.
How to Use the Chocolate Bhutlah
As with most extremely hot peppers, this heat-packing variety is ideal for adding to salsas, chile recipes, hot sauces, stews, and soups when you want some kick.
As you add it to your food, keep in mind how powerfully spicy this pepper is, and start by just using a small amount. Then you can gradually work your way into using more without numbing your whole mouth.
If you love the flavor of the Chocolate Bhutlah and enjoy a punch of heat, try adding some to your fajitas, stir fry, salsa, or burrito.
Tips for Cooking With Hot Peppers
When it comes to cooking with hot peppers, do not underestimate the punch it will deliver – even if you eat hot peppers regularly. Use these tips to make the experience as painless as possible.
- Start simple – when using extremely hot peppers like the Chocolate Bhutlah, start using hot sauce where you can easily control how much you use…and the heat you add to your food. Then gradually start adding the heat directly to things like salsa and chili.
- Less is more – A small sliver of one pepper is probably all you need. Aim to under spice, and you will probably get it right. If you try to add lots of spice, you will end up creating something you can not eat.
- The heat will increase over time – Do you think that salsa or hot sauce is hot now? Just wait. As those ingredients marry together over time, they will get even hotter. Use with caution!
How to Handle Extremely Hot Peppers Safely
When you think of hot peppers, you may only think about your mouth being on fire as you eat them. However, the oil inside the peppers contains the compound capsaicin, which will set off pain receptors anywhere it comes in contact with tissue.
Those same oils that burn your mouth can also irritate your eyes and skin. Use these safety precautions for adding hot peppers to your recipes without directly touching the volatile oils.
- Wear gloves – using plastic gloves, rubber gloves, or even small plastic bags will protect your skin. If you do accidentally come into direct contact with the oil, immediately wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water.
- Avoid touching your face or eyes – if you touch the oils, do not rub your face or eyes until you have washed your hands and the painful tingling sensation subsides. If you get the oil into your eyes, flush them with cool, clean water.
- Wash cutting tools and cutting surfaces – the pepper oils will also transfer to your knives and cutting boards/counters. Thoroughly wash all of these surfaces with warm, soapy water to prevent spreading the oil to your hands or other surfaces.
- Know how to handle chili burn – learn this ahead of time so that you are not flailing around and making things worse when you are in pain. Most important: water will make things worse and spread the burn. Reach for milk instead because it is slightly acidic and will break down the oil. You could also use lemon juice for breaking down oil on the skin (it’s not pleasant to drink but would work if needed)
Pro Tip: If you work with hot peppers a lot, consider installing an eye-washing station to make washing out your eyes much easier and more effective.
Ready to taste the unique Chocolate Bhutlah flavor? This extremely hot pepper may not be as popular or well-known as the ghost pepper (yet!), but it is quickly gaining popularity. I hope this post answered all of your questions about this deliciously sizzling pepper.
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