Bhut Jolokia, a.k.a the Ghost Pepper: The Most Overrated Chili Pepper on Earth

Categories: Indigestion
Yesterday, I went to Taco Asylum, the current It place of OC dining. You'll have to wait for my review of it when I have the time to write it (probably tomorrow; editing Edwin's review for next week right now), but I did want to devote a separate post to one of the ingredients it's making a shitload of hay about: the bhut jolokia, the subcontinental chili known as the ghost pepper and multiple times hotter than the infamously hellish habanero.

The ghost pepper is a clunker.

Sure, Taco Asylum presented it in severely mitigated forms: as stringy wisps in one taco, and as a hot sauce in another. It did burn, and my intestinal tract is still roiling--but my problem with the ghost pepper predates my Taco Asylum experience. I have previously bitten into a raw ghost pepper before and experienced its burn, but the chili is lacking--smoky like chipotle, but without a lingering sweetness; hellish like habanero, but without its citrus aftertaste.

Contrary to what frat boys believe, Mexicans and other pepper-loving cultures eat them for flavors, for the promise of palate-pleasing deliverance from the agony of the heat. I toss serranos into my pozole not just for its spice, but also for its verdant bouquet. We roast and pickle jalapeños for their fleshy texture, not just for their heat. The bhut jolokia only functions as a gimmick, and the world shouldn't bother with the Miami Heat of peppers unless trying to show off--and if you're showing how tough you are by eating peppers, you better be drunk, a teenage boy or wagering cash. Otherwise, you're WEAK SAUCE.


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12 comments
Justin Allan
Justin Allan

I like dried ghost peppers.  Very smoky with a lingering heat.  They don't sting instantly, but seem to spread out on the tongue, lips, and roof of the mouth in a subtle but serious way.  I only use a small amount but really do appreciate the taste.  I generally am not fond of the habanero, on the other hand, unless masked by other flavors in a sauce.  Tends to have an aftertaste of industrial cleaner or something.  Pequin peppers are my favorite to eat just straight up.  I'll put those little guys on just about anything or even eat them as a side dish.  Very nice little kick but not too overwhelming.

iSellJolokiaInMiami
iSellJolokiaInMiami

your crazy, these are the god of peppers. i sell bhut jolokias and bhut seeds in Miami, Flcontact me at misterbrownstone06@yahoo.com

Misterbrownstone06
Misterbrownstone06

dude wherever you went , had some cheap imitation jolokia. bhuts are the spiciest pepper in the workd, except for one other that was genetically engineered in california and i dont consider that plant in my spice scale.

Stisper
Stisper

Tearsofhiroshima is my favorite hot sauce. They make a jolokia sauce that i use in everything...even if the name is a little...well.. too soon?

tearsofhiroshima.com

Deadly Dick
Deadly Dick

The Bhut Jolokia pepper is unique in the way the heat works, it is a in the back of your mouth type of heat that works so well in many dishes. In jerky it allows you to taste other flavors then the heat comes in from the back. In my XXX Pretzels it brings the flavors and the heat. Like any spice it is how it is used. Any hot pepper, or spice eaten whole is going to make you wonder why you would use that. Try a spoonful of black pepper and tell me how good it is.

Peter Hemton
Peter Hemton

Found a great use for the Ghost Chili in TATS Sauces & Marinades Ghost Pepper Sauce. This Southern California sauce company has found the right way to use this pepper. I use their Original Ghost Pepper Sauce on my pizza, breakfast burritos, chili and wings. They have this amazing Ghost Barbecue Sauce with cherry and sesame that I glaze on my chicken and ribs. BEST BARBECUE SAUCE I'VE EVER HAD!!! www.tatsoriginal.com

Delilahsnell
Delilahsnell

If yalls like the ghost, you will have to try Backyard In A Jar's Ghost Jelly, sweet, a little acid and lots of heat.on-line soon!

PepperGuy
PepperGuy

The ghost pepper, used in moderation, has a great flavor. The chocolate and yellow/lemon version of it offer some interesting twists too.

http://thepepperseed.com

Jeff Overley
Jeff Overley

Anyone pretending to appreciate the subtleties of the ghost pepper is lying or crazy. The thing is toxic and best left to its alternative use as the active ingredient in a non-lethal grenade.

Parker70400
Parker70400

I have to disagree, having had several hot sauces that have the ghost pepper as their main ingredient and only pepper. It is absolutely delicious. I have the powdered form and dried flakes as well, and they add heat and deliciousness to eggs, pizza, fried rice, burgers, and so much more. I wouldn't bite into a pepper itself; that's for the frat boys. But every version of the pepper I've had has been a fine mix of tasty and fiery.

Phil Nigash
Phil Nigash

Gustavo, while the habanero is still the king of peppers in my book (for the perfume-like flavors alone) the Bhut Jolokia is certainly no clunker. Granted I'm a Gringo, but after experiencing the Jitlada Dynamite Challenge last Spring in Los Angeles, I had the feeling of being light-headed that I'd only ever felt from stupidly eating a Habanero straight from the vine.

None of this matters, however. Along comes the Naga Viper to steal the crown for world's hottest pepper. And you know we're all going to be crazy enough to try it, given the chance.

Parley Baer
Parley Baer

Taco Asylum (evidently named to suggest the owners’ other place -- The Haven) is far from the only restaurant in Southern California that treats some chiles as single-dimensional. Even the estimable Babita in San Gabriel, which has outstanding dishes both spicy and mild, sends out an item called Shrimp Topolobampo that should be ruled an act of terrorism. You can't get through a forkful and taste anything other than heat (which, for people with dead taste buds, may be the point). I overlook Babita’s peculiar loss of culinary concentration, because of the excellence of their other food. I doubt I’ll be as forgiving towards the Asylum but do plan to try the place.

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