The Man Who Created the Carolina Reaper Has Invented a New World's Hottest Pepper

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iStock

Smokin’ Ed Currie of the PuckerButt Pepper Company attained hot-pepper preeminence in 2013, when he debuted the Carolina Reaper, the hottest hot pepper at the time at up to 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). His world record-breaking achievement was surpassed earlier in 2017 by the Dragon’s Breath, a chili accidentally bred by a competitive gardener. Now, Smokin’ Ed is back with what he says beats the taste bud-searing heat of both peppers.

According to Thrillist, so-called “Pepper X” took 10 years to develop. It reportedly clocks in at 3.18 million SHU. For comparison, the Dragon’s Breath chili lands at 2.48 million SHU and a jalapeño at just 5000 SHU. The new pepper isn't officially the world's hottest yet—Smokin’ Ed is still waiting for verification from the Guinness World Records committee. He expects to hear back about his submission’s status sometime in November.

Peppers this spicy aren’t always made available to consumers. Dragon’s Breath, the current world record holder, will be restricted to use in medicine. Unlike that example, Pepper X is already available in hot sauce form. The volatile condiment has been dubbed The Last Dab, and it’s being produced as a collaboration between Smokin’ Ed, The Heatonist hot sauce shop in New York, and First We Feast’s video web series The Hot Ones.

The product will now be used as the final sauce that’s consumed by celebrity guests on the interview show, hence the name. While it’s not quite as scorching as the straight pepper, at 2.4 million SHU it’s still hotter than a Carolina Reaper in its raw form. The Last Dab disappeared from shelves quickly, but you can do your body a favor and watch other people experience it instead. Check out the video below.

[h/t Thrillist]

New Jersey's Anthony Bourdain Food Trail Has Opened

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Before Anthony Bourdain was a world-famous chef, author, or food and travel documentarian, he was just another kid growing up in New Jersey. Earlier this year, Food & Wine reported that Bourdain's home state would honor the late television personality with a food trail tracing his favorite restaurants. And that trail is now open.

Bourdain was born in New York City in 1956, and spent most of childhood living in Leonia, New Jersey. He often revisited the Garden State in his books and television shows, highlighting the state's classic diners and delis and the seafood shacks of the Jersey shore.

Immediately following Bourdain's tragic death on June 8, 2018, New Jersey assemblyman Paul Moriarty proposed an official food trail featuring some of his favorite eateries. The trail draws from the New Jersey episode from season 5 of the CNN series Parts Unknown. In it, Bourdain traveled to several towns throughout the state, including Camden, Atlantic City, and Asbury Park, and sampled fare like cheesesteaks, salt water taffy, oysters, and deep-fried hot dogs.

The food trail was approved following a unanimous vote in January, and the trail was officially inaugurated last week. Among the stops included on the trail:

  1. Frank's Deli // Asbury Park
  1. Knife and Fork Inn // Atlantic City
  1. Dock's Oyster House // Atlantic City
  1. Tony's Baltimore Grill // Atlantic City
  1. James' Salt Water Taffy // Atlantic City
  1. Lucille's Country Cooking // Barnegat
  1. Tony & Ruth Steaks // Camden
  1. Donkey's Place // Camden
  2. Hiram's Roadstand // Fort Lee

The Reason Why 'Doritos Breath' Stopped Being a Problem

iStock/FotografiaBasica
iStock/FotografiaBasica

In the 1960s, Frito-Lay marketing executive Arch West returned from a family vacation in California singing the praises of toasted tortillas he had sampled at a roadside stop. In 1972, his discovery morphed into Doritos, a plain, crispy tortilla chip that was sprinkled with powdered gold in the form of nacho cheese flavoring.

Doritos enthusiasts were soon identifiable by the bright orange cheese coating that covered their fingers. But there was another giveaway that they had been snacking: a garlic-laden, oppressive odor emanating from their mouths. The socially stigmatizing condition became known as "Doritos breath." And while the snack still packs a potent post-mastication smell, it’s not nearly as severe as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. So what happened?

Like most consumer product companies, Frito-Lay regularly solicits the opinions of focus groups on how to improve their products. The company spent more than a decade compiling requests, which eventually boiled down to two recurring issues: Doritos fans wanted a cheesier taste, and they also wanted their breath to stop wilting flowers.

The latter complaint was not considered a pressing issue. Despite their pungent nature, Doritos were a $1.3 billion brand in the early 1990s, so clearly people were willing to risk interpersonal relationships after inhaling a bag. But in the course of formulating a cheesier taste—which the company eventually dubbed Nacho Cheesier Doritos—they found that it altered the impact of the garlic powder used in making the chip. Infused with the savory taste known as umami, the garlic powder was what gave Doritos their lingering stink. Tinkering with the garlic flavoring had the unintended—but very happy—consequence of significantly reducing the smell.

“It was not an objective at all,” Stephen Liguori, then-vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay, told the Associated Press in April 1992. “It turned out to be a pleasant side effect of the new and improved seasoning.”

Frito-Lay offered snack-sized bags of the new flavor and enlisted former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman to promote it. Ever since, complaints of the scent of Doritos wafting from the maws of co-workers have been significantly reduced, and the Nacho Cheesier variation has remained the Doritos flavor of choice among consumers.

When Arch West died in 2011 at the age of 97, his family decided to sprinkle Doritos in his grave. They were plain. Not because of the smell, but because his daughter, Jana Hacker, believed that mourners wouldn’t want nacho cheese powder on their fingers.

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